No one could have predicted the sheer scope of global monetary policy bolstering the private banking and trading system. Yet, here we were – ensconced in the seventh year of capital markets being buoyed by coordinated government and central bank strategies.
Today we welcome Nomi Prins as our newest contributing editor to PeakProsperity.com. We’re thrilled to have her keen perspective & analysis added to that of our other editors. Please join Chris and me in giving her a very warm welcome to the site community.
It’s Keynesianism for Wall Street. The unprecedented nature of this international effort has provided an illusion of stability, albeit reliant on artificial stimulus to the private sector in the form of cheap money, tempered currency rates (except the dollar – so far) and multi-trillion dollar bond buying programs. It is the most expensive, blatant aid for major financial players ever conceived and executed. But the facade is fading. Even those sustaining this madness, like the IMF, are issuing warnings about increasing volatility.
We are repeatedly told these tactics benefit broader populations and economies. Yet by design, they encourage hoarding, or more crafty speculative behavior, on the part of big financial firms (in the guise of obeying slightly adjusted capital rules) and their corporate clients (that largely use cheap funds to buy their own stock.) While politicians, central banks and multinational government-funded entities opine on “remaining” structural weaknesses of certain individual countries, they congratulate themselves on having staved off more acute crises. All without exhibiting the slightest bit of irony.
When cheap funds stop flowing, and “hot” money shifts its attentions, as it invariably and inevitably does, volatility escalates as it is doing now. This usually signals a downturn, but not before nail-biting ups and downs in the process.
These four risk factors individually, or collectively, drive rapid price fluctuations. Individually, they fuel market volatility. Concurrently, they can wreak far greater havoc:
- Central Bank Policies
- Credit Default Risk
- Geo-Political Maneuvering
- Financial Industry Manipulation And Crime
Events that in isolation don’t impact markets severely can coalesce with more negative results. This is important to understand when prioritizing personal investment decisions. In this two-part report, I will outline driving forces behind today’s volatility and provide suggestions as to what you can do to protect yourself, and even thrive, going forward.
Take Central Banks First
Two weeks ago, stock and bond markets dipped when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen announced, “equity market valuations at this point generally are quite high.” She admitted, “There are potential dangers.” She saw no bubble. The Fed continues to claim its policies have fostered sustainable – if slow – growth for the mainstream economy.
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About the Article Source
Executive summary: Father of three young children; author; obsessive financial observer; trained as a scientist; experienced in business; has made profound changes in his lifestyle because of what he sees coming.
First of all, I am not an economist. I am trained as a scientist, having completed both a PhD and a post-doctoral program at Duke University, where I specialized in neurotoxicology. I tell you this because my extensive training as a scientist informs and guides how I think. I gather data, I develop hypotheses, and I continually seek to accept or reject my hypotheses based on the evidence at hand. I let the data tell me the story.
It is also important for you to know that I entered the profession of science with the intention of teaching at the college level. I love teaching, and I especially enjoy the challenge of explaining difficult or complicated subjects to people with limited or no background in those subjects. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Once I figured out that most of the (so-called) better colleges place “effective teacher” pretty much near the bottom of their list of characteristics that factor into tenure review, I switched gears, obtained an MBA from Cornell (in Finance), and spent the next ten years working my way through positions in both corporate finance and strategic consulting. From these experiences I gather my comfort with numbers and finance.