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As Barry suggests, have we just seen the end of the Bernanke put? Based on the way markets are trading today it would appear Ken Rogoff was right that Bernanke doesn't have the stock market's back.

However, in all likelihood Soros is right about how policymaking powers-that-be will be forced to bailout Too-Big-To-Fail banks should the financial system begin to teeter again, in which case the only real question is for how long can the current central bank shell-game be sustained in a low-to-no growth economic environment?
No one -- not Ben Bernanke, not Alan Greenspan, not Milton Friedman if he were alive, nobody -- knows for sure just how much more room the Fed's balance sheet has before non-negligible inflation kicks in. However, former Fed Chair Paul Volcker for one is starting to get nervous.
Federal Reserve Total Assets ($s Trillions)
(click to enlarge)

From the chart you can see that the Fed's assets have basically plateaued since the end of QE2 in June at $2.9 trillion. I'm wondering just how big a factor the psychologically and perhaps politically important $3 trillion mark (round numbers make for good headlines) was in the FOMC debate on whether to launch full-scale QE3?
One thing I'm not wondering about is whether Ben Bernanke will continue to expand the balance sheet if push comes to shove in the form of another crisis. If you study the man and his academic writings, not to mention how he responded three years ago, then you know that he will simply not stand pat and allow the banking system to take a serious tumble on his watch even though these efforts may be preventing market prices from clearing.
From an investment perspective, unless the economy picks up again there is very little extreme downside risk to the price of gold in the current environment. Interest rates are low and getting lower, central banks are buyers, and the Fed and other central banks are printing money or will continue to do so as turbulence continues. Any short-term weakness in the price of gold should be considered a buying opportunity, but position yourself accordingly for a continuation of the recent volatility. And if Soros is right about Greece defaulting by December then expect to see gold breach the $2,000/oz. mark by end of year.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Source: Is The Bernanke Put Kaput?