US economy faces ‘everything problem,’ Fed has bad options: researcher
- Fed Chair Jerome Powell has only “terrible” options, financial researcher Luke Gromen said.
- Powell faces historic inflation and the risk of recession and financial catastrophe, he said.
- The Fed’s inflation fight threatens to worsen the US government’s debt and deficit woes, he said.
Jerome Powell has only “terrible” options to choose from, as the Federal Reserve chair weighs the threat of historic inflation against the risk of a financial and economic disaster, a veteran researcher says.
Powell’s latest headache, the recent flurry of bank failures, points to a much bigger threat to America, Luke Gromen told RealVision in a recent interview. The head of Forest for the Trees, a financial-research firm, said the core issue lies with the government’s debt and deficit spending.
“It’s not a banking system problem,” he said. “It’s a US Treasury G7 sovereign debt, balance of payments problem.”
“Treasuries underpin everything,” Gromen continued. “It’s the collateral for the whole system. So if we’re going to have a Treasury problem, we’re going to have an everything problem.”
The federal government has about $31.5 trillion of debt, exceeding the US economy’s fourth-quarter GDP of $26 trillion, the Pew Research Center says. Servicing the debt costs about $400 billion a year, or nearly 7% of the government’s annual budget. The federal deficit also grew by nearly $250 billion to $723 billion this fiscal year.
The US government partly funds its deficit by issuing Treasuries. Silicon Valley Bank imploded in part because the surge in interest rates over the past year slashed the value of its long-dated Treasuries. The lender opted to sell some of those government bonds to shore up its finances, causing its customers to panic and withdraw their largely uninsured deposits. The bank run spurred the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to take control of the bank and guarantee all of its deposits.
Gromen argued the banking saga is symptomatic of the problem dogging the Fed and the US government. Demand for Treasuries from foreign central banks has waned over the past decade or so, and rising interest rates mean the government’s debt is growing more expensive, he said.
If the Fed keeps hiking rates to crush inflation, it risks causing a recession that results in lower tax revenues, banks selling Treasuries to offset more loan defaults, and the government spending aggressively to shore up the economy, he said. That would exacerbate America’s debt and deficit issues, he noted.
A recession would likely pull down asset prices as well, which could deter consumers from spending, erode GDP, and cause a “debt death spiral,” Gromen said. Essentially, the Fed has to choose between letting inflation run riot, or tightening its policies further and risking a financial and economic disaster.
Gromen warned that if Powell forges ahead in fighting inflation, he could “collapse the system,” cause the Treasury market to fail, and spark Western sovereign debt defaults.
“Paul Volcker could be a hard ass because the US government, the Treasury market functioning was never put at risk by what he was doing,” Gromen said, referring to the former Fed chair who “broke the back” of inflation in the 1980s. “It is by Powell and we can see that.”
“He tried to bluff the markets while he was holding a hand with three high,” he continued, referring to Powell’s pledge to conquer inflation. “When the markets have a royal flush, trying to bluff it with three high is a stupid move.”
Gromen’s advice to investors navigating the tricky backdrop is to avoid excessive leverage, allocate 5% to 10% of their portfolios to gold, and hold about 2% of bitcoin, as he expects the most popular cryptocurrency to outperform.
Quebec proposes making French mandatory for all economic immigration programs – Canada Immigration News
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has proposed major changes to Quebec’s economic immigration criteria.
Speaking on May 25 with the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Christine Frechette and the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, Legault says the changes will ensure that nearly 100% of new economic immigrants to Quebec will know French before they arrive in the province by 2026. This is meant to promote Francophone economic immigration in Quebec.
“As we have seen for several years, French is in decline in Quebec,” said Legault. “Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more than other successive governments since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Lévesque government. But if we want to reverse the trend, we must go further. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely Francophone economic immigration. We all have a duty, as Quebecers, to speak French, to transmit our culture on a daily basis, and to be proud of it.”
Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration
Knowledge of oral French will be required for adults. This is meant to ensure that those who wish to settle in Quebec will be able to communicate in French throughout day-to-day interactions at work and in their communities.
The changes are part of a new permanent immigration program for skilled workers in Quebec. The province says the Skilled Worker Selection Program will “take into account the diverse needs of Quebec.”
Candidates in the program will be evaluated in four categories that have not yet been made clear, but the province says that three of the categories will require that the principal applicant and their accompanying spouse have knowledge of French.
There will also be revisions to existing programs. For example, the work experience requirement will be removed from the Quebec Experience Program for graduate students from a French-language study program.
Family reunification measures include making it mandatory for the guarantor to submit a plan for reception and integration that will support the learning of French for the person they are hosting.
Immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments. Quebec’s agreement is unique from other provinces in that it can select all its economic immigrants. Quebec does not have the authority to select family class sponsorship applicants or those who arrive in Canada as refugees or other humanitarian classes.
For 2023, Quebec has targeted that 65% of newcomers admitted to the province will be economic class.
Increasing immigration numbers in Quebec
The province is also considering raising the number of permanent selection admissions from 50,000 to 60,000 per year by 2027. This is in stark contrast to Legault’s recent comments that there was “no question” of Quebec accepting any rise in the number of newcomers and publicly rejecting the federal Immigration Levels Plan, which has a target of 500,000 permanent residents admitted to Canada each year by the end of 2025.
These changes also follow Quebec’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023, where it was announced that the province would move away from plans that forecast only the coming year and begin introducing multi-year plans for immigration by 2024.
Why the changes?
Quebec is unique in Canada as it is the only province where French is the official language. The province is fiercely protective of its language, saying it is vital to protecting Quebec’s unique culture and status.
Legault is the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and is currently in his second term as Quebec’s premier, having been reelected last October. One of the main pillars of the CAQ party is to protect the French language in Quebec.
Immigration was one of the key issues in the recent election. Throughout his campaign, Legault said that Quebec would allow only 50,000 immigrants per year into the province as it would be difficult to accommodate and integrate more than that into Quebec society. He said that accepting more than that would be “a bit suicidal.”
Regardless, Quebec, like the rest of Canada, is experiencing a labour shortage as the population ages and the birth rate remains low. A report released last March by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that the province could face an annual shortfall of up to nearly 18,000 immigrants, who would be able to fill Quebec’s labour needs.
Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration
Lira hits record low, but stocks rise after Erdogan win in Turkey
The Turkish leader won the presidency for a third time after a run-off vote on Sunday.
The Turkish lira has plunged to record lows after the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a sign that currency markets are not confident in the country’s economic future after the longtime leader’s re-election.
The Turkish currency weakened to 20.01 to the dollar on Monday after the high-stakes run-off a day earlier.
But Turkish stocks, on the other hand, rose as Erdogan entered a third decade in power with the benchmark BIST-100 index up 3.5 percent and the banking index rising more than 1 percent.
The lira fell to a record low as the country battles a cost of living crisis and depleted foreign reserves.
On the campaign trail, Erdogan pledged to slash inflation to single digits and boost economic growth, a message he reiterated in his victory speech late on Sunday. But analysts said his economic policies are unorthodox and predicted they will lead to more pain for Turks.
“In our view, Erdogan’s biggest challenge is Turkey’s economy,” Roger Mark, an analyst at the Ninety One investment management firm told the Reuters news agency. “His victory comes against a backdrop of perilous economic imbalances with his heterodox economic model proving increasingly unsustainable”.
Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, an emerging markets research firm, told the agency: “An Erdogan win offers no comfort for any foreign investor.”
“Only the most optimistic would hope that Erdogan now feels sufficiently secure politically to revert to orthodox economic policy,” he said.
Interest rate cuts sought by Erdogan sparked a devaluation of the Turkish lira in late 2021 and sent inflation to a 24-year peak of 85.5 percent last year. The president had argued that higher interest rates cause inflation while central banks around the world were raising rates to reduce price rises.
Turkey’s struggling economy, also reeling after the country’s devastating double earthquakes in February, was a major thorn in Erdogan’s prospect for re-election.
The leader has defended his economic policies, reassuring Turks that investment, production, exports and an eventual current account surplus will drive up Turkey’s gross domestic product.
U.S. economy and new incentives put Canada at disadvantage in Stellantis negotiations, professor says
Two weeks of negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and Stellantis have failed to produce a new deal for the NextStar EV battery plant in Windsor, Ont. Ian Lee, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says the economic might of the U.S., coupled with the incentives offered in recent legislation, make it extremely challenging for Canada to compete.
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