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Venezuela Devalues By 46%

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Venezuela was ahead of the rest when Chavez repatriated the country’s gold. Now it looks to have stolen a lead in the currency wars. If history has thought us anything it’s that those who devalue fair best. The question remains who will be next to devalue so openly or will nations continue to do so via stealth mode via money printing.

While the rest of the developed world is scrambling here and there, politely prodding its central bankers to destroy their relative currencies, all the while naming said devaluation assorted names, “quantitative easing” being the most popular, here comes Venezuela and shows the banana republics of the developed world what lobbing a nuclear bomb into a currency war knife fight looks like:

  • VENEZUELA DEVALUES FROM 4.30 TO 6.30 BOLIVARS
  • VENEZUELA NEW CURRENCY BODY TO MANAGE DOLLAR INFLOWS
  • CARACAS CONSUMER PRICES ROSE 3.3% IN JAN.

And that, ladies and gents of Caracas, is how you just lost 46% of your purchasing power, unless of course your fiat was in gold and silver, which just jumped by about 46%. And, in case there is confusion, this is in process, and coming soon to every “developed world” banana republic near you.

From Bloomberg

Venezuela devalued its currency for the fifth time in nine years as ailing President Hugo Chavez seeks to narrow a widening fiscal gap and reduce a shortage of dollars in the economy.

The government will weaken the exchange rate by 32 percent to 6.3 bolivars per dollar, Finance Minister Jorge Giordani told reporters today in Caracas. The government will keep the currency at 4.3 per dollar for some products, he said.

A spending spree that almost tripled the government’s fiscal deficit last year helped Chavez win his third term. Chavez ordered the devaluation from Cuba, where he is recovering from cancer surgery, Giordani said. Venezuela’s fiscal deficit widened to 11 percent of gross domestic product last year from 4 percent in 2011, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

The move can help narrow the budget deficit by increasing the amount of bolivars the government gets from taxes on oil exports. While a weaker currency may fuel annual inflation of 22 percent, it may ease shortages of goods ranging from toilet papers to cars.

In the black market, the bolivar is trading at 18.4 per dollar, according to Lechuga Verde, a website that tracks the rate. Venezuelans use the unregulated credit market because the central bank doesn’t supply enough dollar at the official rates to meet demand.

Source: ZeroHedge, Bloomberg

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Happy Anniversary Federal Reserve

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Happy 100th anniversary to the Federal Reserve, created on 3rd February 1913. 96% devaluation and has been fucking things up ever since.

Dollar-Value

UK Economy Is Screwed

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Trust Max Keiser to say it straight in this clip from the BBC’s Daily Politics when asked about the state of the UK’s economy. A quick 4min clip, but key points are as follows:

  • UK made the wrong decision in supporting bondholders and banks instead of the economy.
  • Bond market on verge of collapsing.
  • Sterling is selling off.
  • Bond yields are moving up.
  • Rating agencies are going to downgrade the UK.
  • Borrowing costs will rise which will affect mortgages.
  • All currencies are depreciating against Gold.
  • Gold is becoming the World’s Reserve Currency.
  • Sterling heading for sharp devaluation which won’t help exports.

2013: Let The Currency Wars Truely Begin

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Up until now the G20 countries were shafting each other quietly through various means of currency devaluation. Many new terms for printing money were added to the lexicon. Lately the rhetoric has begun to get more aggressive. ZeroHedge writes of the Russia’s Central Bank Chief’s warning that “the world is on the brink of a fresh currency war”. Along with gold repatriation stories, 2013 is shaping up to be a tough year ahead for Central Bankers.

It will not come as a surprise to anyone who has spent more than a few cursory minutes reading ZeroHedge over the past few years (back in 2009, then 2010, and most recently here, and here) but the rolling ‘beggar thy neighbor’ currency strategies of world central banks are gathering pace. To wit, Bloomberg reports that energy-bound Russia’s central bank chief appears to have broken ranks warning that “the world is on the brink of a fresh ‘currency war’.” With Japan openly (and actively) verbally intervening to depress the JPY and now Juncker’s “dangerously high” comments on the EUR yesterday, it appears 2013 will be the year when the G-20 finance ministers (who agreed to ‘refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies’ in 2009) tear up their promises and get active. Rhetoric is on the rise with the Bank of Korea threatening “an active response”, Russia now suggesting reciprocal devaluations will occur (and hurt the global economy) as RBA Governor noted that there is “a degree of disquiet in the global policy-making community.” Critically BoE Governor Mervyn King has suggested what only conspiracists have offered before: “we’ll see the growth of actively managed exchange rates,” and sure enough where FX rates go so stocks will nominally follow (see JPY vs TOPIX and CHF vs SMI recently).

Via Bloomberg:

The world is on the brink of a fresh “currency war,” Russia warned, as European policy makers joined Japan in bemoaning the economic cost of rising exchange rates.

Japan is weakening the yen and other countries may follow,”

 …

 The push for weaker currencies is being driven by a need to find new sources of economic growth as monetary and fiscal policies run out of room. The risk is as each country tries to boost exports, it hurts the competitiveness of other economies and provokes retaliation.

 Yesterday “will go down as the first day European policy makers fired a shot in the 2013 currency war,” said Chris Turner, head of foreign-exchange strategy at ING Groep NV in London.

 …

 The skirmish may lead to a clash of G-20 finance ministers and central banks when they meet next month in Moscow, three months after reiterating their 2009 pledge to “refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.”

 While emerging markets have repeatedly complained about strong currencies as a result of easy monetary policies in the west, the engagement of richer nations is adding a new dimension to what Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega first dubbed a currency war in 2010.

Source: ZeroHedge

US Dollar To Be Devalued – Ben Bernanke Already Told US His Plans

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The blueprint for what is happening today was foretold in a speech given by Ben Bernanke to the National Economists Club, Washington, D.C. November 21, 2002. There was 5 main points to take from the speech. The first 4 have already happened, the last was if the other 4 didn’t work Bernanke would devalue the US Dollar.

The main points of Bernanke’s policy are as follows:

1. Lower interest rates to zero.

First, the Fed should try to preserve a buffer zone for the inflation rate, that is, during normal times it should not try to push inflation down all the way to zero.6 Most central banks seem to understand the need for a buffer zone. For example, central banks with explicit inflation targets almost invariably set their target for inflation above zero, generally between 1 and 3 percent per year. Maintaining an inflation buffer zone reduces the risk that a large, unanticipated drop in aggregate demand will drive the economy far enough into deflationary territory to lower the nominal interest rate to zero.

2. Buy securities from the banks to expand the Feds balance sheets

Second, the Fed should take most seriously–as of course it does–its responsibility to ensure financial stability in the economy. Irving Fisher (1933) was perhaps the first economist to emphasize the potential connections between violent financial crises, which lead to “fire sales” of assets and falling asset prices, with general declines in aggregate demand and the price level. A healthy, well capitalized banking system and smoothly functioning capital markets are an important line of defense against deflationary shocks. The Fed should and does use its regulatory and supervisory powers to ensure that the financial system will remain resilient if financial conditions change rapidly. And at times of extreme threat to financial stability, the Federal Reserve stands ready to use the discount window and other tools to protect the financial system, as it did during the 1987 stock market crash and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

3. Increase the money supply.

If we do fall into deflation, however, we can take comfort that the logic of the printing press example must assert itself, and sufficient injections of money will ultimately always reverse a deflation.

4. Buy our countries debt.

The Fed was able to achieve these low interest rates despite a level of outstanding government debt (relative to GDP) significantly greater than we have today, as well as inflation rates substantially more variable. At times, in order to enforce these low rates, the Fed had actually to purchase the bulk of outstanding 90-day bills.

…… Unlike some central banks, and barring changes to current law, the Fed is relatively restricted in its ability to buy private securities directly.12 However, the Fed does have broad powers to lend to the private sector indirectly via banks, through the discount window.13 Therefore a second policy option, complementary to operating in the markets for Treasury and agency debt, would be for the Fed to offer fixed-term loans to banks at low or zero interest, with a wide range of private assets (including, among others, corporate bonds, commercial paper, bank loans, and mortgages) deemed eligible as collateral.14 For example, the Fed might make 90-day or 180-day zero-interest loans to banks, taking corporate commercial paper of the same maturity as collateral.

……The Fed can inject money into the economy in still other ways. For example, the Fed has the authority to buy foreign government debt, as well as domestic government debt. Potentially, this class of assets offers huge scope for Fed operations, as the quantity of foreign assets eligible for purchase by the Fed is several times the stock of U.S. government debt.

5. Devalue the dollar.

Although a policy of intervening to affect the exchange value of the dollar is nowhere on the horizon today, it’s worth noting that there have been times when exchange rate policy has been an effective weapon against deflation. A striking example from U.S. history is Franklin Roosevelt’s 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against gold in 1933-34, enforced by a program of gold purchases and domestic money creation. The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly. Indeed, consumer price inflation in the United States, year on year, went from -10.3 percent in 1932 to -5.1 percent in 1933 to 3.4 percent in 1934.17 The economy grew strongly, and by the way, 1934 was one of the best years of the century for the stock market. If nothing else, the episode illustrates that monetary actions can have powerful effects on the economy, even when the nominal interest rate is at or near zero, as was the case at the time of Roosevelt’s devaluation.

History has shown us that this has happened already in the past and is a weapon than can be used when all else fails. Well it looks as if we are coming to that point now as all else has failed. Previously the dollar was devalued by 40% and I’m sure we can expect something similar this time around.

New evidence has appeared given by Kyle Bass. Click here to see the post.

For further reading on dollar devaluation and expected bank runs check out the following articles 

Paul Broadsky, Gerald Celente, Barry Ritholz , Gonzala Lira

Austerity Can’t Work, You Need to Devalue Your Own Currency!

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David McWilliams put it well when talking about austerity not working, he said

Yet the really strange thing is that it(austerity) is billed as being mainstream economic thinking. It is not mainstream economics, it is highly radical. What is mainstream and proven is the power of devaluations. Yet those recommending the course of action that mainstream economics tells us to do are labelled radicals.

Because Ireland isn’t able to devalue, it chooses the austerity route.

Therefore, government spending will be reduced dramatically. But if the government is not spending, who is?

We should be, but we are not because we are worried about the future, so we are saving. Who is spending the missing 11pc of our income which has just been taken out of the Irish economy? Now here is where our policy gets a bit hopeful to say the least because in order for our economy to stay just as it is, foreigners need to massively increase their buying of Irish goods.

Ireland has tried an “internal devaluation” through cutting wages. Latvia has tried a similar soultion, but how does this stack up with Iceland who simply devalued their currency and became competitive overnight.

Irish and Latvian wages have remained more or less the same since 2008 against our competitors. In contrast, Icelandic wages against its competitors have fallen dramatically. Iceland has become dramatically more competitive vis-a-vis Ireland and Latvia because it devalued its currency dramatically in 2008/09. Iceland in one sharp devaluation has achieved what Ireland and Latvia are supposed to achieve over years of grinding down wages. If we are supposed to achieve Icelandic levels of wage competitiveness, we will have to shrink the economy over the next few years. By having their own currency the Icelandics did in a few weeks what we have been trying — unsucessfully — to do over four years.

We are currently being told that the euro breaking up is a terrible thing but David McWilliams is of the mind that having your own currency and devaluing is the solution.

Having its own exchange rate allows a country to adjust quickly. Yes, living standards when measured in euro fall, but that has to happen in both the Irish and the Icelandic case. The question is how do you achieve this and are you giving your people a chance?

There is a reason why no economy in the world has ever emerged from a recession like ours without changing its exchange rate. The reason is that it simply can’t be done. There is no evidence anywhere, ever, that shows that a country can operate a successful “internal devaluation” — particularly an economy carrying as much debt as we have.

Is Irelands “internal devaluation” really working?

Much is made of the “flexibility” of the Irish labour force. But the flexibility is not in wages but in levels of unemployment. The Irish labour market adjusts alright, but the adjustment comes not in falling wages but in rising unemployment and emigration. This is what we don’t want to happen, yet this is what the policy is leading to.

So those getting paid too much in Ireland still get paid too much, yet the people who feel the real cost of the “internal devaluation” are those who lose their jobs because rather than cut wages, employers cut staff.

When people are laid off, it is very difficult to get a new job because no one is spending in the economy. The government is not spending and the people are not spending. But what about the the much heralded export-led growth which postulates that foreigners will buy loads of Irish goods, more than compensating for the fall in domestic spending?

Well it doesn’t happen, partly because Irish wages don’t fall as we can see in the chart, so Irish goods are no more competitive than they were a few years ago. Yes, exports have risen, but nowhere near enough to offset the local contraction. This is why unemployment has trebled in three years and why emigration is running at over 1,000 people a week. It is not that the policy of internal devaluation is not working, it can’t work. It has never worked anywhere, ever.

As economists who propose the normal tried and tested solution to carrying too much debt, i.e. devaluing your currency, now politicians and the MSM are labelling them as radicals or extreme.

The truth is that what is extreme is following a policy which has never worked anywhere and the cost of which is mass unemployment and mass emigration. Now that is truly radical.

 

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