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Fed’s Jerome Powell Misled Congress, Denied Financial Danger

Feb. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—The New York Federal Reserve today saw the most heavily oversubscribed of its liquidity loan operation in the five months since it began after the crisis in the troubled interbank lending market developed. In the process of bailing out that crisis, it has driven the U.S. stock market to the highest levels relative to GDP in U.S. history, and is continuing to drive it up day after day until it crashes.

The Fed made $30 billion in two-day repurchase (“repo”) loans, yet had an additional $29.8 billion demand unmet. It also made overnight liquidity loans of an additional $48.5 billion.

Pam and Russ Martens, in their “Wall Street on Parade” blog, point out what that means: 1) at least one Wall Street trading house is in a liquidity crisis, and primary dealer banks are unable/unwilling to offer it help; and 2) the fact that this liquidity is massively going into hedge funds—either directly or through intermediary bank lenders with a big markup—and that the hedge funds are using it to speculate in equities futures and derivatives, is the cause of the soaring markets.

Since the 2008 crash, the share of the wealthiest 10% of Americans in these stock markets has also soared, to 84%. Households headed by “millennials,” in particular, have very little wealth in stocks or otherwise. But the presence of rising stocks in Americans’ 401k and other retirement savings accounts, induces some to accept that the stock markets indicate a growing economy.

Meanwhile American Banker reported today regulators’ great concern that banks already own far too much corporate leveraged-loan debt, which they fear will blow up on these banks in the first downturn—already essentially underway. The Fed announced it will have to stress-test banks for leveraged loans this year for the first time.

Yet Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell went before House and Senate on Feb. 11 and 12, and gave what one press report described as a claim that “the U.S. economy is in a more or less perfect condition.” There is nothing, Powell said, that needs to be fixed—with one exception: The Federal budget should be cut to reduce fiscal deficits, particularly the healthcare entitlement programs.

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