Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.BrExit House Prices Crash, Flat or Rally? UK Housing Market Affordability Crisis - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Stocks Bull Market Climbs Wall of Worry, Bubble? When Will it End? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold Price Is Now On Its Way To All-Time Highs - Hubert_Moolman
4.Deutche Bank Stock Price Crash - The EU Has Problems Far Beyond the Brexit - Harry_Dent
5.UK interest Rate PANIC CUT! As Banks Prepare to Steal Customer Deposits - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Gold and Silver Bull Phase 1 : Final Impulse Dead Ahead - Plunger
7.Central Bankers Fighting An Unprecedented Global Economic Slowdown - Gordon_T_Long
8.Putin Hacking Hillary for Trump, Russia's Manchurian Candidate? - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Stock Market Insiders Are Secretly Selling, Cycle Top Next Month - Chris_Vermeulen
10.Gold Sector - Is it time to Back up the Truck? – Mortgage the Farm? - Peter_Degraaf
Free Silver
Last 7 days
Can Stocks Survive Without Stimulus? - 25th Aug 16
Why Putin Might Be on His Way Out - 25th Aug 16
Bond Guru Gary Shilling - The Bond Market Rally of a Lifetime - 25th Aug 16
A Zombie Financial System, Black Swans and a Gold Share Correction - 25th Aug 16
OPEC’s Output Freeze: What Has Changed Since Doha? - 25th Aug 16
Merkel Prepares For a Deliberate Crisis While White House Plans For a Disastrous Succession - 24th Aug 16
Suspicious Reversal in Gold Price - 23rd Aug 16
If Trump Can’t Pull Off a Victory, Expect a Civil War - 23rd Aug 16
Ceding ICANN and Internet Control to Globalists - 23rd Aug 16
How to Spot an Oversold Stock Market - 23rd Aug 16
Gerald Celente Sees Worst Market Crash, New Military Conflict, Gold Spike to $2,000/oz - 23rd Aug 16
EU Olympics Medals Table Propaganda Includes BrExit Britain - 22nd Aug 16
BrExit Win's Britain Olympics Success Freedom Dividend, Economy Next - 22nd Aug 16
Stock Market Top Forming, but Slowly - 22nd Aug 16
(Really) Alternative Banking Systems - 22nd Aug 16
Vauxhall Zafira Fires - Second Recall Issued - Inspection Before Bursting into Flames? - 21st Aug 16
Will the Stock Market Bubble Pop Regardless if the FED Never Raises Rates? - 21st Aug 16
US Government Spending - 3 Big Stories Not Being Covered – Part III - 21st Aug 16
Silver Analysis - 20th Aug 16
SPX New Highs, Correction Next? - 20th Aug 16
Housing Bubble - The Marginal Buyer Holds The Pin That Pops Every Asset Bubble - 20th Aug 16
Gold Miners Q2 2016 Fundamentals - 19th Aug 16
Which Price Ratio Matters Most in a Fiat Ponzi? - 19th Aug 16
Big Policies, Bigger Failures - 19th Aug 16
Higher Crude Oil’s Prices and USD/CAD - 19th Aug 16
Here’s Why You Should Look for Dividend Stocks and How - 19th Aug 16
Deglobalization Already Underway — 4 Technologies That Will Speed It Up - 19th Aug 16
These 6 Charts Show Why the Average American Is Fed Up - 18th Aug 16
SPX Easing Lower - 18th Aug 16
Low / Negative Interst Rate’s Legacy - 18th Aug 16
The 45th Anniversary of The Most Destructive Event In Modern Monetary History - 18th Aug 16
USDU - An Important Perspective on the US Dollar - 17th Aug 16
SPX Completes Wave 1 Decline - 17th Aug 16
How to Quickly Spot Common Fibonacci Ratios on a Chart - 17th Aug 16
When Does a Forecast Become a Trade? - 17th Aug 16
Kondratiev Wave - The Financial Winter Is Nearing! - 17th Aug 16
Learn "The 4 Best Elliott Waves to Trade -- and How to Trade Them" - 16th Aug 16
Stock Market Bears Turning Bullish At New All Time Highs - Time to Get Worried? - 15th Aug 16
Job Seekers Sacrificed to the Inflation Gods - 15th Aug 16
A Look At Commodities and Financial Markets Trading Week Ahead - 15th Aug 16
Stock Market New Top Forming? - 15th Aug 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Trade Elliott Waves

Can Bernanke Force Banks to Lend by Halting Interest on Excess Reserves?

Interest-Rates / Credit Crisis 2012 Jul 13, 2012 - 07:03 AM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock

Interest-Rates

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSeveral readers have ask me to comment on a King World interview of Michael Pento.

Before I offer my comments on Pento's thoughts, let me say upfront that Eric King is a world-class interviewer. King lets his interviewees have their say, no matter what it is.

It is up to listeners to decide whether the message makes any sense or not. King merely wants the position to be well stated.


Email Request From US

Hello Mish:

Have you listened to Mike Pento's scenario where the FED will cease to pay interest on reserves held at the FED, as a result, forcing banks to loan out the money to seek some return. He believes that they will be encourage to purchase US treasuries:

Is this viable and/or probable?

Thanks for providing us with such a great blog.

All the best,

Dan

Email From Down Under

Dear Mish

I follow your work from Australia with great interest. I was impressed with your argument that the creation of new money will not lead to price increases because it is deposited with the Fed, and does not make it into the real economy.

You will no doubt be aware of recent comments by Michael Pento on King World News that the Fed is about to eliminate the incentives for the banks to deposit excess reserves with the Fed, and that this will force the banks to lend in the economy and cause significant inflation, and presumably a drop in the USD.

I would be greatly interested in your views on this, as a deflationist, because if Pento is right then the reason for deflation over inflation might be eliminated. Furthermore, the worsening in key stats such as auto sales and official unemployment might just be the trigger that forces the Fed to squeeze the money out into the economy.

Best regards

Henry

Primer on Bank Lending

With that background out of the way, my first thought is "Here we go again. How many times does such silliness have to be rebutted before it stops?"

Banks lend if and only if both of the following are true.

  1. They are not capital impaired
  2. They have credit-worthy borrowers willing to borrow.

That is not an opinion. Rather, that is a statement of fact. I discussed this at length many times.

Excess Reserves Yet Again

Here is a discussion from BIS Working Papers No 292, Unconventional monetary policies: an appraisal.

Note: The above link is a lengthy and complex read, recommended only for those with a good understanding of monetary issues. It is not light reading.

The article addresses two fallacies

Proposition #1: an expansion of bank reserves endows banks with additional resources to extend loans

Proposition #2: There is something uniquely inflationary about bank reserves financing

From the article....

The underlying premise of the first proposition is that bank reserves are needed for banks to make loans. An extreme version of this view is the text-book notion of a stable money multiplier.

In fact, the level of reserves hardly figures in banks' lending decisions. The amount of credit outstanding is determined by banks' willingness to supply loans, based on perceived risk-return trade-offs, and by the demand for those loans.

The main exogenous constraint on the expansion of credit is minimum capital requirements.

A striking recent illustration of the tenuous link between excess reserves and bank lending is the experience during the Bank of Japan's "quantitative easing" policy in 2001-2006.

Japan's Quantitative Easing Experiment

The Bank of Japan's quantitative easing

Despite significant expansions in excess reserve balances, and the associated increase in base money, during the zero-interest rate policy, lending in the Japanese banking system did not increase robustly (Figure 4).

Is financing with bank reserves uniquely inflationary?

If bank reserves do not contribute to additional lending and are close substitutes for short-term government debt, it is hard to see what the origin of the additional inflationary effects could be.

Lending Theory

There is much additional discussion in the article, but it is clear that money lending theory as espoused by many did not happen in Japan, nor is there any evidence of it happening in the US, nor is there a sound theoretical basis for it.

In fiat credit-based economies, lending comes first, reserves come second.

Fed's Next Move

Pento was preaching the same thing on IB Times FX in The Fed's Next Move

As I predicted as far back as June of 2010, the Fed will soon follow the strategy of ceasing to pay interest on excess reserves.

Since October 2008, the Fed has been paying interest (25 bps) on commercial bank deposits held with the central bank. But because of Bernanke's fears of deflation, he will eventually opt to do whatever it takes to get the money supply to increase. With rates already at zero percent and the Fed's balance sheet already at an unprecedented and intractable level, the next logical step in Bernanke's mind is to remove the impetus on the part of banks to keep their excess reserves laying fallow at the Fed. Heck, he may even charge interest on these deposits in order to guarantee that banks will find a way to get that money out the door.

Commercial banks currently hold $1.42 trillion worth of excess reserves with the central bank. If that money were to be suddenly released, it could through the fractional reserve system, have the potential to increase the money supply by north of $15 trillion! As silly as that sounds, I still hear prominent economists like Jeremy Siegel call for just such action. If they get their wish, watch for the gold market to explode higher in price, as the U.S. dollar sinks into the abyss.

Emphasis his.

Facts of the Matter

  1. Money supply has already soared by any number of measures.
  2. Credit expansion has been anemic except for student loans and FHA (both with government guarantees)
  3. The Fed did not cease paying interest on excess reserves as predicted in 2010.
  4. It would not matter from a lending perspective if the Fed did.
  5. The idea that excess reserves will come pouring into the economy, multiplied 10 times over is widely believed nonsense. In practice, lending comes first, reserves second. (see "The Roving Cavaliers of Credit" by Steve Keen for further excellent discussion).

Inflationary Nonsense

The simple fact of the matter is Pento has no idea how bank lending works in the real world.

There is no other way to state it. If banks thought they had good credit risks, they would lend (provided of course they were not capital impaired).

Moreover, by paying interest on reserves, Bernanke is slowly recapitalizing banks over time. Would Bernanke easily give that up? Well he hasn't so far. Nor has he even dropped a hint of it.

Even if Bernanke did cease paying interest on excess reserves, it would not impact bank lending for reasons stated.

What If?

For the sake of argument let's play "What If"?

What if the Fed were to reduce interest rates on excess reserves to -3%. Would that do it? Well, it sure would get banks to do something, but that something might not necessarily be lending!

For example, banks might bet against the US dollar, bet on gold, plow into the stock market, etc., etc., etc., but there is no reason to assume banks would extend credit to unworthy borrowers.

Moreover, Bernanke (as foolish as he is), is at least bright enough to figure that out.

Thus, the idea that Bernanke can get banks to lend by reducing interest rates on excess reserves is 100% without a doubt, fatally flawed nonsense from both theoretical and practical standpoints.

ECB Cuts Reserve Rate to Zero

As a practical matter, the ECB just cut interest on reserves to zero. The result is reduced liquidity as banks shut down money market funds rather than lose money.

Please consider How Money Market Funds Were Wounded by European Interest-Rate Cuts

The cut in the interest rate was meant to convince banks to stop parking money, to lend more, to get more money into the system and make it more stable - in Wall Street parlance, to add "liquidity."

But the backlash from banks shows that they're willing to close money market funds rather than lose profits. The effect, ironically, is to reduce liquidity in the financial system.

JP Morgan alone pulled $29 billion in assets.

It's supposed to be different here?

Why?

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2012 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved.


© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

R.E.B
13 Jul 12, 13:44
Only Theory

Whilst this article may or may not be true in theory, the reality is that if the powers that be really wanted to get these reserves into the economy they would. If they are not going into the economy then it is because they do not really want them to. Lets face it, the "rules" mean nothing. They make, and break, the rules as they go along with impunity. So far they have built an entire system based on imaginary money and accounting fraud. The trifling matter of whether these reserves get into the economy is ultimately a policy decision, not a law of physics!


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife