The Pause That Will Not Refresh

By: Peter Schiff | Fri, Aug 4, 2006
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When combined with last week's soft GDP numbers, today's weak jobs report, which contained an up-tick in the unemployment rate, gives the Fed all the cover it claims to need to ignore evidence of accelerating inflation and finally come through with the highly anticipated "pause." Global stocks, bonds, foreign currencies and gold will likely react positively to this development. However, in relatively short order, I expect U.S. markets to come under renewed selling pressure, particularly the bond market, as increasing inflation fears and diminished demand for long-term dollar denominated debt undermine the rally.

In my opinion, the relative calm created by the long, slow, and utterly predictable series of ¼ point rate hikes over the past two year has lent primary support for the U.S. dollar and the bond market. Once this prop is removed by a Fed pause, despite a knee-jerk bond rally, I expect both bonds and the dollar to be sold. But what the Fed giveth on the short end, the market will likely taketh away on the long end. Ironically, when the Fed finally stops notching up short-term rates, the market will likely start pushing up long-term rates. This will frustrate the Fed and Wall Street bulls who had hoped that a pause would breathe life into the stagnating economy.

A surge in long-term rates will immediately translate into higher mortgage rates, putting the final nail in real estate's coffin. The bubble is finally dead, may it rest in peace. Unfortunately the same can not be said for those who bought into it, and those who financed the speculation. For them, and the entire nation for that matter, the real estate nightmare is just about to begin.

Despite the strong likelihood that the hoped-for soft landing for the economy will more resemble a crash and burn, consumer price increases will only accelerate. This will come as a shock to most economists and Wall Street strategists who naively expect slower growth to cool inflation. Unfortunately, when it comes to inflation's effects on consumer prices, they ain't seen nothing yet. When the stagflation scenario is finally embraced as fact, things will really start to unravel for the U.S. dollar, bonds, stocks, and real estate.

The dollar fell sharply in reaction to today's data, with the British pound rising to its highest level in fourteen years. Gold prices surged as well, confirming that the rally in U.S. stocks and bonds will likely be short-lived. Ironically, the mythical "strong dollar policy" which Treasury Secretary Paulson reiterated in robotic fashion only last week in an interview on CNBC, may finally be put to the test. As a result, either it, or the pause, will have to be sacrificed. Either way, it's bad new for the U.S. economy, its financial markets, and the dollar itself.

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Peter Schiff

Author: Peter Schiff

Peter Schiff C.E.O. and Chief Global Strategist
Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.

Peter Schiff

Mr. Schiff is one of the few non-biased investment advisors (not committed solely to the short side of the market) to have correctly called the current bear market before it began and to have positioned his clients accordingly. As a result of his accurate forecasts on the U.S. stock market, commodities, gold and the dollar, he is becoming increasingly more renowned. He has been quoted in many of the nations leading newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Investor's Business Daily, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Arizona Republic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Christian Science Monitor, and has appeared on CNBC, CNNfn., and Bloomberg. In addition, his views are frequently quoted locally in the Orange County Register.

Mr. Schiff began his investment career as a financial consultant with Shearson Lehman Brothers, after having earned a degree in finance and accounting from U.C. Berkley in 1987. A financial professional for seventeen years he joined Euro Pacific in 1996 and has served as its President since January 2000. An expert on money, economic theory, and international investing, he is a highly recommended broker by many of the nation's financial newsletters and advisory services.

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