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Chris Martenson

Fed cuts rates half-point, leaves door open for more

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday slashed overnight interest rates by a half-point to 1.0%, and signaled that downside risks to growth remain, indicating even more rate cuts could come.

In its statement, the Federal Open Market Committee said the pace of growth has slowed "markedly" and the extraordinary financial market stress could put the economy at greater risk.
The Fed said that inflation was no longer a threat and that the central bank will cut rates as needed to boost the economy.

No real surprise here, but I will make a comment or two. The Fed, representing status quo interests, is desperately trying to recreate the exponential expansion of credit and debt that marked the last 2 decades (but really picked up steam from 2000 onwards).

The Fed cuts rates to 1.00% – the war on savers continues

Fed cuts rates half-point, leaves door open for more

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday slashed overnight interest rates by a half-point to 1.0%, and signaled that downside risks to growth remain, indicating even more rate cuts could come.

In its statement, the Federal Open Market Committee said the pace of growth has slowed "markedly" and the extraordinary financial market stress could put the economy at greater risk.
The Fed said that inflation was no longer a threat and that the central bank will cut rates as needed to boost the economy.

No real surprise here, but I will make a comment or two. The Fed, representing status quo interests, is desperately trying to recreate the exponential expansion of credit and debt that marked the last 2 decades (but really picked up steam from 2000 onwards).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In this report I will review the advice and predictions I made on May 27, 2008 (exactly five months ago) in a report entitled Charting a Course Through the Recession.

In striving to be accurate, fair, and complete, and in the spirit of constant improvement, it’s important to review where we went right and where we went wrong.  I’m pleased to say that many of my predictions were right on target.  I didn’t anticipate such an aggressive dollar advance, but now I see this trend continuing for awhile.  I am continuing to recommend some of the same prudent actions as always.  Stay out of debt, keep cash close by, get some money out of the dollar (gold), and know your neighbors.  And stay tuned for more from me in future reports.

Market Predictions and Outlook Update
PREVIEW
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In this report I will review the advice and predictions I made on May 27, 2008 (exactly five months ago) in a report entitled Charting a Course Through the Recession.

In striving to be accurate, fair, and complete, and in the spirit of constant improvement, it’s important to review where we went right and where we went wrong.  I’m pleased to say that many of my predictions were right on target.  I didn’t anticipate such an aggressive dollar advance, but now I see this trend continuing for awhile.  I am continuing to recommend some of the same prudent actions as always.  Stay out of debt, keep cash close by, get some money out of the dollar (gold), and know your neighbors.  And stay tuned for more from me in future reports.

As bad as the US is, there are worse problems elsewhere.  This is why I think this credit crisis will not play out like any previously and why I think there’s a better than even chance of a systemic banking crisis.

In times past when a country experienced a bubble or a banking crisis, there was always a country next door that hadn’t where the savvy could hide out.  Where does one hide out today?

Europe on the brink of currency crisis meltdown


The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.

Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

“This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, says the emerging market crash is a vastly underestimated risk. It threatens to become “the second epicentre of the global financial crisis,” this time unfolding in Europe rather than America.

Austria’s bank exposure to emerging markets is equal to 85pc of GDP – with a heavy concentration in Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia – all now queuing up (with Belarus) for rescue packages from the International Monetary Fund.

Exposure is 50pc of GDP for Switzerland, 25pc for Sweden, 24pc for the UK, and 23pc for Spain. The US figure is just 4pc. America is the staid old lady in this drama.

Those figures in the bottom two paragraphs are quite the eye-openers. Somehow Austria’s bank system loaned out 85% of Austria’s GDP to emerging markets that are even now resorting to emergency measures to stem the erosion of the their currencies against the dollar.  The problem, apparently, is that these countries were loaned vast amounts of money denominated in dollars.  The faster their currencies fall, the more it costs them to pay back their loans.  
Some of these currencies have fallen by 40% in a matter of weeks.

International instability

As bad as the US is, there are worse problems elsewhere.  This is why I think this credit crisis will not play out like any previously and why I think there’s a better than even chance of a systemic banking crisis.

In times past when a country experienced a bubble or a banking crisis, there was always a country next door that hadn’t where the savvy could hide out.  Where does one hide out today?

Europe on the brink of currency crisis meltdown


The financial crisis spreading like wildfire across the former Soviet bloc threatens to set off a second and more dangerous banking crisis in Western Europe, tipping the whole Continent into a fully-fledged economic slump.

Currency pegs are being tested to destruction on the fringes of Europe’s monetary union in a traumatic upheaval that recalls the collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.

“This is the biggest currency crisis the world has ever seen,” said Neil Mellor, a strategist at Bank of New York Mellon.

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, says the emerging market crash is a vastly underestimated risk. It threatens to become “the second epicentre of the global financial crisis,” this time unfolding in Europe rather than America.

Austria’s bank exposure to emerging markets is equal to 85pc of GDP – with a heavy concentration in Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia – all now queuing up (with Belarus) for rescue packages from the International Monetary Fund.

Exposure is 50pc of GDP for Switzerland, 25pc for Sweden, 24pc for the UK, and 23pc for Spain. The US figure is just 4pc. America is the staid old lady in this drama.

Those figures in the bottom two paragraphs are quite the eye-openers. Somehow Austria’s bank system loaned out 85% of Austria’s GDP to emerging markets that are even now resorting to emergency measures to stem the erosion of the their currencies against the dollar.  The problem, apparently, is that these countries were loaned vast amounts of money denominated in dollars.  The faster their currencies fall, the more it costs them to pay back their loans.  
Some of these currencies have fallen by 40% in a matter of weeks.

Here are some interesting stories I collected this week.

US surrenders power to appoint World Bank president
The US is to lose its power to appoint the president of the World Bank after the UK’s development secretary, Douglas Alexander, brokered a deal to throw open the post to candidates from any country.

Backed by European governments and developing countries, Alexander overcame resistance from the US and Japan to secure a reform he described last night as "a significant step forward".

My Comment:  This may not seem like much, but symbolically it is huge.  The World Bank wields enormous influence, and for Europe, et al., to demand, and receive, the right to fill the post speaks volumes about US prestige and power at this time.  

US losing influence, housing starts, and the next Iceland

Here are some interesting stories I collected this week.

US surrenders power to appoint World Bank president
The US is to lose its power to appoint the president of the World Bank after the UK’s development secretary, Douglas Alexander, brokered a deal to throw open the post to candidates from any country.

Backed by European governments and developing countries, Alexander overcame resistance from the US and Japan to secure a reform he described last night as "a significant step forward".

My Comment:  This may not seem like much, but symbolically it is huge.  The World Bank wields enormous influence, and for Europe, et al., to demand, and receive, the right to fill the post speaks volumes about US prestige and power at this time.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

One of the most emailed stories at the NYT website today is an Op-Ed piece by Warren Buffett entitled Buy American. I Am.

I think this piece deserves some closer attention because Warren Buffett is so influential in the world of money. Let’s examine his ideas closely.

Warren’s Risky Play
PREVIEW
Friday, October 17, 2008

One of the most emailed stories at the NYT website today is an Op-Ed piece by Warren Buffett entitled Buy American. I Am.

I think this piece deserves some closer attention because Warren Buffett is so influential in the world of money. Let’s examine his ideas closely.

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