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Read of the Day: How QE Negatively Distorts Expectations

Via Seth Klarman and Zero Hedge:

“While QEs 1 and 2 had no lasting impact, they did give a short-term boost to the stock market. But because that effect was ephemeral, it’s hard to comprehend why anyone would believe that QE3 will turn out better. QE3 is bold in its apparently unlimited duration, which may be intended more to demonstrate the Fed’s determination rather than any actual conviction that it will work. Perhaps the oddest part of the ongoing QE scheme is that everyone can see in its fullness and boldness the attempted manipulation of Americans’ behavior. (If people know they are being manipulated, do they behave exactly the same as if they don’t know?)

While anyone would be glad to have a cheaper mortgage as a result of QE3, would they really believe this would make their home worth more? It’s more of a credit holiday, whereby the government offers you better terms than previously available. In addition to making explicit the implicit U.S. government guarantee of more and more of the U.S. residential mortgage market, the rousing stock market approval of this measure is seen as a free lunch. But of course it is not free.¬†For one thing, buying mortgage securities with newly printed money has the same inflationary risk that QEs 1 and 2 posed. This probably explains why gold rose strongly in response to this announcement.”

Not totally in-line with my thinking, but not far off either….Read the full piece here.

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