The motivating idea behind the various U.S. bank rescue measures was to do whatever it would take to get bank loans to the private sector growing again. That mission remains distinctly unaccomplished.
Despite all the policy machinations — from TARP capital infusions to outright asset purchases, temporary lending facilities, a near-zero fed funds rate and various guarantees on bank liabilities — loans outstanding in the commercial banking system have continued to contract. Instead, banks have preferred to accumulate securities rather than make new loans. Even those purchases have flattened in recent months as banks are back to hoarding more excess reserves.
We won’t argue with the counterfactual — without these measures, the contraction in bank loans outstanding would no doubt have been much more dramatic, as an Austrian-style simplification of balance sheets would have naturally gathered momentum following the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy. But the reality is neither the household nor business sector is eager to add to its debt, and bank loan officers are still battling rising loan loss recognition from the last private credit bulge. This is much as we anticipated — the private sector has hunkered down, is spending less money than it is earning and is paying down or liquidating existing debt loads.
Rob Parenteau, the former editor of the world-famous Richebächer Letter.
It makes sense for banks to be hoarding capital while they sort out their balance sheets. The idea that they want to lend when the regulators are climbing over their books looking for trouble makes little sense. As noted the consumers and businesses are not all that interested in borrowing unless they have pressing problems or the capital comes with few strings.
It will be a while before we reach the ‘new normal’.
"There has been an issue that has preoccupied my mind for a long time," writes Dr. Marc Faber. "In economics, it is generally accepted that if the quantity of money and credit is increased, prices will rise… However, since economics is so complex… I question whether the expansion of central banks' balance sheets and policies of zero interest rates could have a deflationary impact…" The good doctor wrestles with the question, in today's essay...
The Biotech iShares ETF is up 23% since the Oct. 15th bottom. No, that is not a typo. Biotechs have torched the S&P over the past two months--more than doubling the returns of the big index. And biotechs as a group are up more than 38% year-to-date. In fact, since we first highlighted the June comeback, the Biotech iShares have gone nowhere but up.
The oil market has been under siege for six months. From service providers to producers this downturn has been painful. Of course, we’ve known all along that oil prices were a little toppy over the summer. In fact, when asked just how low oil prices could go I usually answered with a simple “lower than you’d expect…”
Our forecast that Cuba would be open and integrated within 5-10 years is on track after yesterday's big announcement. Ahead of schedule, even. Click here to see how some investors have profited and what the island's likely future is...
The opportunity to sell and install LEDs is enormous. We’re talking about over a billion lighting fixtures. And the areas with the largest potential -- like parking lots -- have barely begun to change. Banker to the presidents Chris Mayer says you could triple your money in this new tech trend. Here's what you need to know.
It's a theme we've shared with you since April. And it's only gotten worse. The gaming industry has come under all sorts of pressure--a situation I first noticed in the charts. The powerful, multi-year uptrends started showing cracks. And it wasn't long before those cracks turned into gaping holes you could drive a friggin' truck through. That's where things stand today.