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America’s Reckless Money-Printing Could Put the World Back Into Crisis

May 2, 2011
Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph
4/30/2011

Last week, Ben Bernanke suggested that the US base interest rate will stay close to zero for an “extended period”. It’s been there since December 2008

Traders took these words to mean that the Federal Reserve won’t hike rates until the first few months of 2012 at the earliest.

Bernanke also pledged to do whatever is required to keep America’s economic recovery on track – confirming that the second programme of “quantitative easing”, or QE2, would be completed. These two related announcements – the “reprieve” and the “sugar rush” – sent Wall Street into renewed spasms of synthetic joy.

In the real world, US growth is slowing sharply. Annualised GDP rose just 1.8pc during the first three months of 2011, down from 3.1pc the quarter before. America remains mired in sovereign, commercial and household debt.

Yet as the Fed chairman spoke, US stocks hit their highest level since before the sub-prime crisis. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, incredibly, closed at a 10-year peak.

So the Fed will keep on “printing” virtual money – at least for now. By the end of June, it will have purchased $600bn (£363bn) of longer-term Treasuries, with the US government effectively buying its own debt from funds created ex nihilo. That’s on top of the original $1,750bn (£1,048bn) QE scheme, launched in late 2008.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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