FRA Co-founder Gordon T. Long is joined by Michael Pento in discussing topics from the government debt problem, the current boom in gold and the outlook of the dollar.
Mr. Pento is the President and Founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies (PPS). PPS is a Registered Investment Advisory Firm that provides money management services and research for individual and institutional clients. Mr. Pento is a well-established specialist in the Austrian School of economics and a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX Business News and other national media outlets. His market analysis can also be read in most major financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He also acts as a Financial Columnist for Forbes, Contributor to thestreet.com and is a blogger at the Huffington Post.
Prior to starting PPS, Mr. Pento served as a senior economist and vice president of the managed products division of another financial firm. There, he also led an external sales division that marketed their managed products to outside broker-dealers and registered investment advisors. Additionally, Mr. Pento has worked for an investment advisory firm where he helped create ETFs and UITs that were sold throughout Wall Street. Earlier in his career Mr. Pento spent two years on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He has carried series 7, 63, 65, 55 and Life and Health Insurance Licenses. Mr. Pento graduated from Rowan University in 1991.
Keynesian Interest Rate Manipulation
"You cannot take interest rates down to zero percent and then in the negative territory, constantly increase the amount of something I like to call 'quantitative counterfeiting' and ultimately hope for a good ending. It's just not possible."
They're constantly pushing interest rates lower and lower and now to the point where if you're going to loan money to somebody, you're going to pay them to do it. The reason their doing this as a method to make their debt serviceable; they need to make ends-meat so they borrow at lower cost. We know there is going to be a collapse because markets have been aggravated and not allowed to function for years.
"30% of all the worlds sovereign debt now has a negative sign in front of it, that's $7 trillion."
Here's the main issue, let's consider Japan: There is -0.1% for the Japanese 10yr note, an all-time record low. You're loaning money to Japan, a nation that has 250% debt-GDP and you're loaning this money going out for 10 years. All for the deal that you're going to lose money each and every year in nominal terms, and then they have an inflation target and assuming they meet it, Japanese authorities will eventually step in and all of a sudden begin fighting inflation. The only thing this can lead to is an enormous implosion.
"Price discovery is essential, it is the nucleus of capitalism and we haven't had it in decades."
Sustaining Government Debt
"As debt has increased, interest rates have gone lower; it is all that they can do."
When you base a nation's growth, not on productivity and the size of the labour force, rather on market bubbles, furthermore when you consider there is 19-20 trillion in the US of outstanding debt; there is just no tax base that can finance this.
Look what Draghi had to do, it was not enough to buy $60 billion euros a month, they went to 80 billion, and why just buy government debt when you can buy corporate debt? These practise make no sense, seemingly there is no rationally thinking individual that enforces decisions.
We are stuck until we are hit with an inevitable implosion. The trigger will be when they reach their inflation targets and then become inflation fighters. There will be a period of time following this where you will see bond yield completely unravel, they will soar, and consequently stock prices and economic growth will plummet.
Central Bank Patterns
Local banks have their excess reserves at the central bank, and now the central banks rather than paying to keep the reserves, they are charging for the reserves. They are doing this so banks can go out looking for someone who cannot pay back in taking out a loan, else they will simply go buy more sovereign debt.
"Have we become such children in this world where grown men and women cannot just come forth and admit they have made a mistake and admit there will be a year or two of a recession or depression followed by prosperity?"
If you have so much debt which you cannot pay back, something has to change; the debt needs to be restructured. Debt is not fixed by artificially taking out interest rates and forcing individuals to take out more debt. We are not adjusting we just keep rolling the debt over and over.
"Capitalist systems do not work unless you have a cleansing at some point of excess debt. It is a healthy and necessary part of growth."
The Gold Boom
Well now in a time where if you stick your money in a sovereign note in a bank, you either get nothing from it or even charged for doing so, gold is definitely lucrative now more than ever. Additionally the ratio between gold miners and gold has never been lower than it is now. As interest rates go more and more negative across the globe, more and more money will be put into gold because for every ounce of gold you'll pull out just that, an ounce of gold.
"The only escape is a deflationary depression on a global scale from the likes of which the world has never seen."
Advice for Investors
"Gold is going to be a winner no matter what happens, there is no losing scenario for gold."
To have 20-25% of my portfolio in mining shares which is high as far as Wall Street is concerned. So have gold, short in the market, and the only place being long is with energy. being long with energy as of late has proven to show great results. Forget base metals and in terms of energy it's a great hedge in being short in the market.
The Future of The Dollar
"As I predicted, I have been on record in December of 2015 in saying the dollar will fall hard and it did. I knew it was going to happen because I knew the economic data wasn't supportive of floor rate hikes and this is what the dollar was priced in. It is important to question not what the dollar is going to do against the Yen and Euro, but moreover intrinsically against gold. I believe all the currencies out there are going to lose their value, the reason being that the real money out there and it has been for thousands of years, is none other than gold. "