Tuesday, September 28, 2010

POMO Commences; Currency Wars Underway

Get used to hearing and seeing the acronym "POMO" because it will become a substantial part of the financial lexicon over the coming years. In some circles it is already standard parlance.

POMO stands for Permanent Open Market Operations and is a tool used by the Federal Reserve to supply liquidity (cash) to markets. The Fed announces these POMOs in advance, so nobody is surprised by them, though the general public has little to no idea of their existence. On Wall Street, however, they are greeted like manna from heaven, because, in a way, that's what they are.

Technically, the Fed sells Treasuries to Primary Dealers (PDs), such as Goldman Sachs, morgan Stanley and all the rest of the Too Big to Fail (TBTF) crowd, then buys them back via the POMOs to replenish the brokerages with fresh infusions of cash. These primary dealers then do what every red-blooded crooked bankster does with free money - they invest it in stocks. It's all very tidy and well-organized and though there's no explicit instruction from the Fed that the PDs should or must buy stocks, it's pretty much an implied contract.

So, just in case you're wondering why stocks begin to nose-dive - like today, down more than 80 points on the Dow at 10:00 am - and then suddenly recover and turn positive, it's thanks to the Fed and the Primary Dealers and the POMO. It's all one big happy family down there in lower Manhattan, keeping the indices moving ever higher, no matter the real conditions in the economy.

On top of the Fed and the banksters keeping the world safe from true price discovery (rigging the markets), there's more going on out there in the wild world of high finance that most people don't know about nor understand at all, especially in the FOREX markets where dollars are exchanged for Yen, Euros for Francs and all manner of currency changes hands constantly.

The latest craze among Central Bankers - those devious minions of high muckety-mucks, like our own dear Federal Reserve - is called "race to the bottom," in which each nation tries to see who can devalue its own currency faster than the other guys. The reasoning is that a cheap currency will cause exports from that country to sell more quickly, thus boosting profits for the most-favored corporations.

If it all sounds very socialistic, maybe even fascist and totalitarian, that's because, as a policy, it is. Nothing causes countries to become extinct better than debasement of the currency, but, since the central bankers don't want to disturb the TBTF private banks with real accounting standards and true remedies to bad loans, bad trades, bad debts (the reason the global financial system nearly fell apart in 2008 and also why no banks went bankrupt), the race to the bottom strategy is most favored these days.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Japanese have tried their hand at it to little avail, but also Switzerland, South Korea, Brazil and even Peru have been out selling their own currencies and snatching up others in planned attempts to cheapen their own money. Strangely enough, this kind of monetary protectionism is the same kind of thing that exacerbated, broadened and lengthened the Great Depression, although back then it was mostly done by slapping tariffs on foreign goods. Today's method is so much cleaner, simpler and effective. At least that's what the brainiacs at the Fed and other central banks would like you to believe.

The problem with racing to the bottom is that when everybody does it, the net effect is bad for everyone, but mostly the working or middle class of the participating nations because the workers get paid in dollars or yen or yuan or euros that were worth more yesterday than today, and the process continues until somebody eventually defaults, bringing that nation to quicker ruin than the other players.

Rest assured, even though America likes to be first in everything, this is one game we're probably not going to win, though our Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is trying as hard as he can, announcing that the Fed will just print up an additional $100 billion per month in order to assure that the US dollar will be wanted by nobody. So far, we're winning, but the Eurozone nations and the Japanese will probably beat us down the abyss of financial ruin and become the first to create some other exchange, like barter or shells or whatever they think people will readily use.

The entire concept of currency debasement is not new. It has been around for years. It's just that now, with economic stress manifold, it's become popular. These central bankers know that time is not on their side. They realize that the days of floating currencies are coming to an end and that eventually some kind of asset-backed currency will have to replace the fiat (paper) money, and that asset is likely to be gold, silver, oil or a combination of all of them.

In the meantime, stocks will be moving at the whims of the primary dealers and not along the lines of fundamental valuations. It's almost a certainty that stock markets will rally and crash, making boom and bust the normal cycle rather than something to be avoided. In fact, we're already there. The 2008-2009 crash was just the first taste. There are many more crashes and mini-rallies to come. That's how the PDs make their money after all, trading, and being on the right side of more trades than the other guy.

Because of all this manipulation, my job just got easier. Now, all I have to do is announce the size of the POMO, when it's going to be completed and report how high stocks rose. Simple, easy and clean. Unfortunately, not a real market and nowhere for individual investors to play. Here's a hint: buy gold and silver from a dealer and take physical delivery. It's just about the only way to protect yourself from the currency manipulators who would steal all your wealth.

Dow 10,858.14, +46.10 (0.43%)
NASDAQ 2,379.59, +9.82 (0.41%)
S&P 500 1,147.70, +5.54 (0.49%)
NYSE Composite 7,310.32, +46.95 (0.65%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,140,495,250
NYSE Volume 4,189,045,750

Advancing issues pounded decliners, 3956-1766. New highs: 397; new lows: 35. Volume was in the toilet. Apparently the computers didn't find the POMO all that interesting.

November crude fell 34 cents, to $76.18. Gold made another new high, up $9.90, to $1,306.60. Silver reached another 30-year high, gaining 23 cents, to $21.69. Don't think the precious metals traders are going to take a break here. As long as the developed nations of the world insist on devaluing their currencies, gold and silver will price higher. They are, after all, not only the most-trusted store of value, they're going to be used as money again, real soon.

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