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Albert Edwards On Terminal Competitive Devaluation, The Nuclear Option

Apparently devaluation works to head off deflation. No less than Ben Bernanke told us so in his Nov 2002 speech Deflation: Making Sure "It" Doesn't Happen Here - link. He said “The Fed can inject money into the economy in still other ways. For example, the Fed has the authority to buy foreign government debt, as well as domestic government debt. Potentially, this class of assets offers huge scope for Fed operations, as the quantity of foreign assets eligible for purchase by the Fed is several times the stock of U.S. government debt. “I need to tread carefully here. Because the economy is a complex and interconnected system, Fed purchases of the liabilities of foreign governments have the potential to affect a number of financial markets, including the market for foreign exchange…Although a policy of intervening to affect the exchange value of the dollar is nowhere on the horizon today, it's worth noting that there have been times when exchange rate policy has been an effective weapon against deflation. A striking example from U.S. history is Franklin Roosevelt's 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against gold in 1933-34, enforced by a program of gold purchases and domestic money creation. The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly. US CPI inflation went from -10.3% in 1932 to -5.1% in 1933 to +3.4% in 1934. The economy grew strongly, and by the way, 1934 was one of the best years of the century for the stock market. If nothing else, the episode illustrates that monetary actions can have powerful effects on the economy, even when the nominal interest rate is at or near zero, as was the case at the time of Roosevelt's devaluation.” Hence Bernanke openly stated back in 2002 that the end game, especially when all else fails (fiscal deficit too high and QE shown to be impotent), is to print money to drive down the dollar. This is default in all but name. Investors ignore this at their peril.

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