Essay by Eric Worrall
Here I make the case that the financial crisis engulfing the USA’s banks and financial sector can be traced straight back to Biden’s inflationary green energy push.
Breitbart Business Digest: Markets Humiliate Jerome Powell
JOHN CARNEY 4 May 2023
When Banks Talk About Solid Liquidity, Look Out Below
To put it lightly: Jerome Powell is not having a good week.
The market seems to be in full panic mode. What set off the sell-off on Wednesday evening was a relatively anodyne report that PacWest was “weighing strategic options,” which could include a sale of the bank or even a break-up. Normally, news that a company is considering a sale pumps up its share price. But in the midst of a crisis on confidence for banks, this has the opposite effect. Investors figure you are not selling because you want to, but because you have to.
Similarly, the market seemed to have interpreted PacWest’s attempt to be reassuring as a sign of weakness.
“The bank has not experienced out-of-the-ordinary deposit flows following the sale of First Republic Bank and other news,” PacWest said in a statement. “Our cash and available liquidity remains solid and exceeded our uninsured deposits.”
Memories of 2008
Many on Wall Street recall that on March 13, 2008, Bear Stearns Chief Executive Alan Schwartz went on CNBC to dispute widespread speculation that the investment bank faced a cash shortage.
“We don’t see any pressure on our liquidity, let alone a liquidity crisis,” he said.
That was a Wednesday. Over the following weekend, Bear Stearns had to be rescued by JPMorgan Chase with support from the Federal Reserve.
Read more: https://www.breitbart.com/economy/2023/05/04/breitbart-business-digest-markets-humiliate-jerome-powell/
Why do I think this is Biden’s fault? The reason is Biden’s attack on fossil fuel and reckless borrowing to push forward the green transition is a major driver of inflation.
Green energy transition will further fuel inflation: Bank of America
Matthew CranstonUnited States correspondent
Nov 17, 2021 – 3.45pm
Washington | The rush for resources and labour to build renewable energy capacity could add more than 3 percentage points to inflation, according to economists at Bank of America, who have used estimates from the International Energy Agency and International Monetary Fund.
Ethan Harris, the bank’s chief economist, said while demand for technology to mitigate climate change could add up to 0.4 of a percentage point per year to GDP, this “could be held back by a lack of productive capacity, labour shortages and inflation”.
“This in return can come above the 1-3 per cent inflation IEA estimate,” Mr Harris said.
The IEA estimates in a joint analysis with the International Monetary Fund that the net zero energy transition will cost about US$150 trillion ($204 trillion) in total investment over the next 30 years, or $US5 trillion per year.
“[Inflation] could be higher and uneven, as financing of $US5 trillion will increase investments, demand for employees would push wages and supply disruptions could increase prices,” Mr Harris said.
Read more: https://www.afr.com/policy/energy-and-climate/green-energy-transition-will-further-fuel-inflation-bank-of-america-20211102-p5954d
Why does inflation impact bank stability? The reason is inflation, and the interest rate response, creates instability in bank investments. Banks tend to invest customer’s money in bonds, in fixed interest rate IOUs issued by reliable payers like the US Government. The bonds (IOUs) can be sold on, but the price you can get for those sold on bonds varies depending on the current interest rate, and can dip below the original price paid for the bonds. When interest rates go up, the value of fixed rate bonds which were sold when rates were lower tends to drop.
Buying bonds from rock solid payers is normally a great strategy for keeping your money safe. But the surge in inflation has hammered the value of those bonds. That drop in bond price is causing banks to suffer cash shortages, and is eroding their ability to cover account holder withdrawals.
The value of the bonds doesn’t exactly track interest rates, other factors such as the duration of the bond, the length of time until the money is paid back, and future expectations of interest rate and inflation rate changes can affect perceptions of value. But as interest rates go up, as the Fed puts up rates to counter the damage caused by Bidenflation, the value of existing bank holdings of bonds takes a beating.
Bonds were seen as a safe haven – but they are central to this bank crisis
Tue 21 Mar 2023 00.11 AEDTFirst published on Tue 21 Mar 2023 00.10 AEDT
Troubles at Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse are due partly to impact of rising interest rates
If you’re a banker, it’s been a month to forget. Two regional US banks have gone to the wall, central banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been forced to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency lending to shore up the financial system, and the Swiss financial group Credit Suisse has been ignominiously absorbed into the larger UBS at the behest of its regulator. About half a trillion dollars have been wiped from banks’ stock market valuations.
Inflation is high in the UK, mainland Europe and the US. The standard macroeconomic policy to arrest high inflation is not to strike hard public sector pay deals; it is for central banks to increase interest rates. Higher rates mean a higher cost of borrowing for everyone, reducing the propensity of households and businesses to spend money on credit and reducing aggregate demand versus supply. Doing this in a way that cools inflation without inducing a recession is a hard balance to strike. This is precisely what the Bank of England, European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve have been trying to do for the past year.
In the US, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed this month after a depositor run – the second-largest US banking failure by assets in history. The run followed an admission of a near-$2bn (£1.6bn) loss on its long-dated government bond holdings, putting it in need of recapitalisation. Signature Bank and the tiny Silvergate – the two banks who were by reputation the most closely linked to the cryptocurrency industry – were also shuttered as depositors fled.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/mar/20/bonds-bank-crisis-silicon-valley-bank-credit-suisse-interest-rates
Obviously Biden’s green energy policies weren’t the only source of inflation. The war in Ukraine has disrupted fuel and food supplies. But if the USA had maintained a pro-fossil fuel energy policy, and prioritised energy independence over Net Zero, the USA would not have been so vulnerable to global fuel price shocks. Perhaps the US Secretary of State would not have had to shake the hand of a an oil rich dictator who is on the DEA’s most wanted list, in the hopes of winning access to his oil.
Biden could still fix this. Even a credible attempt to change course on energy policy, right now, would have an immediate impact on US markets. Interest rates would fall, in anticipation of inflation dropping, and bond prices would rise, providing immediate relief to those banks which are quietly on the brink of an insolvency crisis. Remember I said bond prices are partially driven by expectations of future inflation. A business friendly policy pivot would feed into those expectations, and create confidence that inflation was on the way down.
A relaxation of harsh environmental crackdowns, which are driving up business costs and helping to drive up retail price inflation, would also help restore confidence.
But countering the financial forces which are driving the US banking crisis would require Biden to renounce his Net Zero green energy fantasies, and copy President Trump’s energy policies, to alleviate pressure on energy prices and food affordability, two of the major US measures of inflation.
Why is food affordability affected by energy prices? Because food production costs are heavily tied to the cost of fuel and energy, through the need for large quantities of energy intensive fertiliser and other agricultural chemicals, and all the agricultural equipment and truck miles required to grow, transport and process food.
I doubt Biden will take sensible corrective measures. In my opinion we are as likely to see an outbreak of common sense from the Biden administration, as we are to see a flock of green pigs flying into the sunset.
The window of opportunity to fix this mess is very narrow – even a small delay in changing course could lock in the coming bank crash. Further borrowing and spending, which seems likely as 2024 approaches, is throwing gasoline on the inflation fire, and increasing the pressure on banks.
The only remaining question, how were banks caught so flat footed by the fall in in the value of their bond holdings? Banks have access to financial instruments such as put options and futures, which could have been used to hedge (insulate) their bond holdings against inflation driven loss in value.
There is only one explanation which makes sense to me – the banks which are currently suffering distress miscalculated, they weren’t anticipating that inflation would be so bad. Perhaps some bankers actually believed Biden’s green energy transition would succeed, and positioned their portfolios in anticipation of that success. Or perhaps they thought Biden was lying about his commitment to Net Zero.
Whatever the explanation, the blind faith of bankers in their market forecasts, combined with Biden’s reckless and inflationary green energy policies, have brought the American financial system to the brink of disaster. But sadly this is the nature of systemic banking failures. The hard lessons are always learned after the fall.
via Watts Up With That?
May 5, 2023 at 08:59PM