Market forecaster Martin Zweig famously warned investors against underestimating the power of the Federal Reserve Bank to control markets. He coined the phrase “Don’t fight the Fed” back in the 80’s. Precious Metals investors are wondering if this is still good advice.
On one hand, it is pretty hard to argue with that bit of wisdom.
The Fed Zweig was referencing had begun taking a more overt role in markets, using interest rates as a tool for managing the economy.
Paul Volcker dramatically raised interest rates to put price inflation from the late 1970’s back under control.
Zweig hailed from an era of less irresponsible central bankers. He expected them to use their immense power in rational ways.
Today he might be disturbed by just how vast the powers of the central bank have become. Officials there recognize no limits on their authority. They buy stocks, spearhead bank bailouts, monetize federal debt, and act as a lender of last resort in the repo markets.
The Fed’s balance sheet exploded to 4 trillion dollars over the past decade. It is stuffed with assets few others wanted to buy; U.S. debt with very low yields, dodgy mortgage securities and who knows what else.