Since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first brought up the notion of tapering there has been hysteria over the inevitable tightening of interest rates. Some people confused tapering for tightening and some insist it is the same thing.
Even after five years of the Fed’s most aggressive accommodative policy in history, there is still a lack of hoped for quality credit creation in the economy, which could be a sign that the greatest deleveraging of the U.S. economy since the Great Depression is still not complete. The Fed’s unrelenting dovish policy appears to support this concern.
The U.S. Federal Reserve decided to withdraw $10 billion from its monthly purchases in spite of the global concerns and the slowdown in emerging markets and that concerned investors are now left “wondering” what the next “shoe to drop” will be.
In December the Federal Reserve saw enough evidence of economic strength to begin tapering its Quantitative Easing (QE3) program and markets are adjusting to this new reality. So far it has been a tough pill to swallow with emerging markets being the first to feel the pains of withdrawal.
Provided the economy performs as well as Federal Reserve policymakers expect, the Fed will phase out large-scale asset purchases within the next 10 months. That’s a big “if” of course. The Fed has been projecting a stronger recovery each of the last four years, only to see growth average around a tepid 2%.
As governments try to boost growth with a weaker currency, low inflation may eventually turn into higher inflation when monetary debasement continues. When a local currency devalues, gold prices in local currencies typically shoot up as local citizens scramble for an alternative currency to protect their wealth.
Thanks to the Fed's tapering, a wider public is becoming aware of currency instability in diverse economies, from Turkey to Argentina, and India to Indonesia. Indeed, on Tuesday night Turkey raised overnight interest rates by a whopping 4.5% to 12% in an attempt to stop a run on the lira.