Jim Rogers says QE3 has already started
Federal Reserve has already started QE3, says investor Jim Rogers
Veteran US investor Jim Rogers believes the Federal Reserve has already launched a third round of quantitative easing, despite chairman Ben Bernanke failing to mention stimulus measures in his Jackson Hole speech last week.
By Andrew Trotman
3:00PM BST 03 Sep 2012
Mr Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, believes that America’s central bank is secretly printing money to avoid “getting egg on their face again” after previous attempts to kickstart the faltering economy with $2 trillion of QE failed.
“I do not know if they [the Fed] will announce it,” he told India’s Economic Times. “I know they are going to print more money. They already are. If you look at their balance sheets, you will see that something is happening, assets are building on their balance sheets and they are not coming from the tooth fairy.
“They are a little bit embarrassed because they announced QE1 and QE2, and it did not work. So they may try to discuss it. They may just continue to do it without getting egg on their face again, but they are going to print money, they are all going to print money. It is the wrong thing to do, but that is all they know how to do.”
He told the Daily Telegraph: “They probably have learned how to do things off balance sheet. I have nothing to confirm this but everyone else has learned how, so they probably have too. This is just a comment on human nature.”
Mr Bernanke said in his annual speech at Jackson Hole on Friday that the country’s high level of unemployment – it climbed to 8.3pc in July – is a “grave concern” and that the “economic situation remains far from satisfactory”.
The US’s plight is echoed across the Western world as the eurozone grapples with its own debt crisis that threatens to see Greece leave the single currency. Spain and Italy are also struggling with recession as austerity measures championed by Germany eat away at growth.
And Mr Rogers believes there is no end in sight to the eurozone’s problems.
“There are going to be more problems coming out of Europe,” he said. “You have got countries that are essentially bankrupt. Nobody is dealing with the problems in Europe. You look at everyone out there. They all have higher debts and all of their projections, maybe Bulgaria and one or two more countries do not have higher debts in their projections, but everybody has got increasing debt. The solution to too much debt is not more debt.”
As turbulence rocks Western stock markets – the Euro Stoxx 50 index is down 3.1pc from its year-high in March after falling 18.8pc – investors have turned to emerging markets such as Asia for returns. However, Mr Rogers – whose Quantum portfolio gained 4,200pc in the 10 years to 1983 as the S&P advanced about 47pc – says the East has major problems of its own.
“I doubt [India can overcome its sluggish growth]. The debt to GDP in India is now more than 90pc. Study shows that when you get that high debt ratio, it is very difficult to grow in a dynamic way… India has inflation for its own reasons… I am not a fan of India. In fact, I am short on India.”
Even China, which has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years, is at risk from a financial crisis as the government seeks to cool the economy. Chinese manufacturing fell to a three-year low on Monday in a further sign China is headed for a “hard landing”.
“China tried tightening for three years,” Mr Rogers added. “It started back in 2009 or so to try to kill the inflation bubble and the property bubble. Rightly so in my view. Now they are starting to loosen up. I would not loosen up yet if I were China because they need to kill inflation totally and they need to totally pop the property bubble. But I am not China. They are going to do what they want to do.”
With the eurozone crisis spreading to all corners of the globe, traditional safe havens have come to the fore. The gold price, for instance, traded above $1,900 an ounce last year but is now around $1,689. However, Mr Rogers believe this will start to rise again once governments are forced into restarting stimulus measures.
“Unfortunately, all central banks know to do is to print money. You are going to see more money printing, more debasement of currency and, therefore, the price of gold will go much higher over the course of the decade… The situation with gold is that it has been up 11 years in a row without a down year, which is extremely unusual.”
Another commodity that is predicted to rise is oil, as supply issues and potential wars push the price ever higher.
“The surprise with oil is going to be how high it stays and how high it goes,” Mr Rogers said. “We are running out of known reserves of oil. There may be a lot of oil in the world. If there is, we just don’t know where it is. So prices are going to stay high and go much higher. If America goes to war with Iran, they are going to skyrocket.”
Mr Rogers recommends buying oil if the price crashes on a country such as Spain leaving the eurozone.