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moneymetals

Greg Weldon: Stock Market "As Overextended as Anything I’ve Ever Seen" Audio Player

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Greg Weldon, CEO and President of Weldon Financial. Greg has over three decades of market research and trading experiencing, specializing in the metals and commodity markets and even authored a book in 2006 titled, Gold Trading Boot Camp where he accurately predicted the implosion of the U.S. credit market and urged people to buy gold when it was only $550 an ounce. He's a highly sought-after presenter at financial conferences throughout the country and is a regular guest on many popular financial shows, and it's great to have him back here on the Money Metals Podcast.

Greg, good to talk to you again today and thanks for coming on.

Greg Weldon: Thanks, Mike. My pleasure.

Mike Gleason: When we spoke to you last back in February, Greg, we talked about the U.S. dollar. It had been sliding for more than a year and looked weak. Since early April, however, the greenback has been rallying hard. The move has been weighing on gold and silver prices over the past couple of weeks. What is your take on the dollar's recent move higher? What's driving it? Do you think it has further to climb or is this a bit of a sucker's rally?

Greg Weldon: Well, how about all of the above? I think that it's a corrective move first of all. I see an upside push maybe towards 96 would be kind of a target for a rally here in the dollar. I think the secular pressure on the dollar remains in full force, and that is Twin Towers deficits particularly the deepening U.S. budget deficit, how that links into first of all the tax cuts of course, but really more significantly, the rise in interest cost. So you're kind of in this cycle here where higher interest costs beget higher debt which begets deeper deficits which begets higher interest costs, so on and so forth.

I think longer term by the end of the year we're probably looking at a lower dollar, but having said that I think last week gave us a really good kind of example as to why the dollar has pushed higher here, and it really kind of only broke out in the last few days. And I think that's on the back of the downside reversal you have going on in some of the European bond markets after Mario Draghi's press conference last Thursday. I thought it was very interesting the comments that he made, particularly about, "We don't see signs of sustained inflation. We see a moderating in the economy. That moderating is sharp, it's broad, although we believe it's temporary."

So, the thought process had been that maybe the ECB, once the end of September came and the QE kind of taper, ran down that they might actually tap out from QE. And as a preparation for raising interest rates next year, something that is still priced into the futures market in the Euro Board deposit rate futures, but less so than it had been. And I think the key here of course is inflation. I think inflation is going to be rising throughout the rest of the year. We talked about this earlier in the year, the end of last year in our January year ahead piece and we targeted the May to June period for this to start to really show up in the data. And I think we're going to see that in terms of energy prices.

And then the wild card, which is the Ag markets and food prices, which we see on the rise as well, particularly as it relates to the U.S. grain crops and some of the stuff that we can talk about maybe in a minute. But I think that in that context, thinking that European bond yields are going to break down further from here seems unrealistic unless in fact the ECB is going to re expand QE, something that Mario Draghi floated on Thursday. So I think that really caught the market by surprise. It really hurt the euro, boosted the dollar, but I think to suggest that the German two-year can get back below -60 basis points at a time when German GDP growth is three percent, and German inflation is 1.6 and likely to rise. I mean, not only is it a negative 60 basis point two-year in Germany, think about the real yields you're talking about here. They're so deeply negative.

We saw the same thing in the U.S. really in September when then chair Janet Yellen suggested they wanted to not normalize rates, but go to neutral, which meant to lift the bond market, particularly in the short end, which was wildly overpriced because of QE to the level of inflation. And that's what we've seen in the two-year note. It went from 140 when she made these comments in September of last year to where it is now at 250, which is a new high. So, in the context of the rising ECI, the rising wages in the U.S. ... and let's not forget, and one point I'll make without making this answer too long ... If you look at the U.S. Employment Report from last month, all the talk was about hourly earnings being subdued and not rising. The fact of the matter is a lot of the Fed reports show us, tell us very clearly that firms looking for skilled workers, having difficulty finding skilled workers, are now extending the hours of their current workers. So, if you're not making more per hour, but you're working longer hours, you're still making more money.

So the weekly earnings from the Employment Report were at 3.3. You got import prices of 3.6, and now you got from the ECI private sector wages are around 3. So you see some movement here in the U.S. that boosts the two-year to two and a half, at the same time the German two-year is falling and thus the yield differentials kind of come back into vogue as a driving force in the dollar. But I think that the decline in European bond yields will be short-lived and I think you'll see a reemergence of an upside push, particularly in Germany. And that's probably something that will add to pressure on the dollar later in the year along with a continued deficit widening story.

Mike Gleason: Greg, those of us who question whether or not the Fed can get away with raising rates, look at the months ahead as sort of a moment of truth if "normalizing" interest rates means that treasury yields are headed back to four to five percent. You've got to think that it will just crush the federal budget and the U.S. economy, which is addicted to ultra-low rates as we all know will in our view have to endure some painful withdrawal symptoms. And now on the one hand, the Fed has hiked rates several times seemingly without major repercussions. On the other, volatility is creeping back into the equity markets and the indexes have fallen since their highs in late January. Mortgage rates have moved higher. So we're very curious about how this will play out and wanted to get your thoughts. Is the Fed going to be able to stay the course and double the Fed funds rate over the next 24 months here, Greg? Or are the markets and the economy at large going to rebel and force officials at the Fed to abandon their plans for tightening?

Read/Listen to the full podcast here (source) ​

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