Gold Confiscation, Inflation, And Suddenly Virtuous Central Bankers
When the world’s major central bankers get together, as they did at the Fed conference in Washington this weekend, ironies abound. Off to the side was Turkey’s government that had just floated a plan to get its people to turn in their physical gold in exchange for “certificates,” a first if still voluntary step in what may become a process of gold confiscation. In the background was the Fed, which in January had promised to keep interest rates at record lows through 2014, come hell or high water, after having purchased $2.3 trillion in bonds. And in the foreground were the money printers of Japan and Europe.
“If low interest rates induce investment projects that are only profitable at such interest-rate levels, this could have an adverse impact on productivity and growth…,” said Masaaki Shirakawa, Governor of the Bank of Japan, the champion of deficit monetization and ultra-low interest rates.
He was worried, he said, about “side effects” such as rising commodity prices—a non sequitur after he’d announced in in mid-February that the BOJ would plow another ¥10 trillion ($128 billion) into asset purchases, having already done three waves of asset purchases in 2011. And then we learned that board members fretted that this might be considered monetization of Japan’s deficit. Um, yes.