Jim Rickards: The Numbers Impacting the Fed

[Ed. Note: Jim Rickards’ latest New York Times bestseller, The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis, is out now… Learn how to score your free copy here. This book transcends geopolitics and rhetoric from the Fed to prepare you for what areas in gold and markets you should be watching — now.] 

Jim Rickards joined Stephen Guilfoyle on The Street to discuss his latest take on the numbers that will move the Fed in through its decision making process.  During the conversation Jim Rickards and Mr. Guilfoyle, also known as “Sarge” on Wall Street, cover how the Federal Reserve will continue to push rates higher and potentially trigger a recession.

To begin the discussion Sarge prompted Rickards’ on his read regarding the trajectory of monetary policy in the United States. Rickards noted, “I see the Federal Reserve raising rates in June — the market is getting there, they’re not quite ready yet though. The Fed is on track to raise rates four times a year until 2019 in order to get the Federal funds rate at 3.25%. The expectation is rate hikes in March, June, September, December in a sequence until 2019.”

“There are only three reasons that the Fed might his a “pause button.” There are only three reasons they would do so. First, if job creation falls below 75 thousand per month, which is a pretty low hurdle. Second, if the stock market fell out of bed and I don’t mean 5%. If the Dow was to fall more than 2000% that would cause the Fed to pause. The third thing would be disinflation. Inflation is currently moving toward the Fed’s goal but if it started to move the over way [you could see the central bank take a pause]. If you don’t see those things then expect the Fed to raise four times a year.”

Jim Rickards The Fed

The bestselling author went on to note, “This has nothing to do with the business cycle. This is where I think Wall Street has got it wrong in assuming “you’re raising rates when the economy is strong, so the economy is strong” which has been true for seventy years – it’s not true now.  They’re raising rates into weakness.  The Fed has to get rates up so that they can cut them in the next recession. They skipped a cycle and now have to make up for lost time.”

Jim Rickards is an American economist and bestselling author who just released the paperback version of his book The Death of Money. Rickards’ is a currency wars expert who has advised the United States government on issues related to currency wars and international economics.

When asked whether the Fed could cause the next recession Rickards’ pressed, “They might.  That’s the finesse. Can you raise rates in order to prepare to cure the next recession, without causing the recession you’re trying to cure?  I think the answer is probably no.  For the first time ever the Fed is tightening into weakness.  Now the Fed is tightening for a completely different reason than the business cycle. They’re trying to make up for lost time.”

When asked whether the Federal Reserve is acting on partisan reasoning Rickards’ did not hold back in expressing, “I have recently written on just that where I noted – Donald Trump owns the Fed.  What I mean is he’s got three vacancies that he’ll be able to fill. There is a lone Republican on the Federal Reserve’s board with Jay Powell. He’s been alone ‘in the sandbox’ for years and he’s going to potentially three Republican replacements joining him to take up four seats. Janet Yellen [the chairman of the Federal Reserve] is up in January 2018.”

“While that will need Senate confirmation, expect President Trump to name her replacement by November – if not sooner. So that will allow for a fifth Republican on board. Then, Stanley Fischer term with end in June 2018. That will allow for six seats to be filled. At that point Lael Brainard will be the last remaining board member from a Democrat. No president has had that many vacant seats at one time since Woodrow Wilson… You’d have to go all the way back to the creation of the Fed in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson had a vacant board except for two automatically filled seats.”

Jim Rickards The Fed 2

“Trump owns the Fed. Whatever Trump wants, he’s going to get. The question is, what does Trump want? A lot of speculation is that he’ll want ‘easy money’ because he’s talking about a cheaper dollar. [Expect Trump] to put ‘hard money’ people on the board to not fight the currency wars but to fight the trade wars.”

The Street host then asked whether Rickards’ whether he expected practitioners rather than academics to be appointed? Rickards took the case to point saying, “I think there will be a mixture. The leading candidate right now to replace Janet Yellen is Kevin Warsh.  He was on the board before and there is no reason for him to go back on the board unless he’s going to be chairman.”

Rickards’ signals, “If he is seen being appointed to one of the vacancies, you know he’ll be the future chairman. That would make Yellen a lame-duck from day one.  I think we will see people appointed who will believe that interest rates should already be at 2%.”

If you’d like to catch the entire interview with Jim Rickards’ discussing the Fed and the rate hike — CLICK HERE.

Thanks for reading,

Craig Wilson, @craig_wilson7
for the Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning