The Federal Reserve put investors at ease yesterday, reaffirming low interest rates for the foreseeable future even as most expect the Fed's quantitative easing program to become a thing of the past relatively soon.
Not so fast, says Peter Schiff, CEO of EuroPacific Capital. “I don’t think they ever had a plan to hike rates,” he told Yahoo Finance. “I think their plan is to launch QE 4, but they can’t come out and admit that so they’ve been pretending that they’re gonna raise rates. And I’ve been saying for months and months that they’re gonna come up with an excuse as to why they couldn’t. The latest excuse is ‘well, the dollar’s too strong.’”
Schiff notes that he predicted QE 4 even before QE 3 was announced. He says the strategy simply won’t work but the Fed has no other recourse but to keep the free money flowing.
“You’ve got so many people that think the Fed can stop QE because they’re convinced it worked. It hasn’t worked; it’s just made the U.S. economy more dependent than ever on QE and zero percent interest rates,” Schiff argues.
So what then, in his estimation, will wake everyone up to the reality that QE didn’t work?
“I think it’s going to be a currency crisis,” he says, “a sovereign debt crisis when the world understands that it’s QE infinity.” That ‘QE infinity,’ Schiff says, is also part of the reason the dollar has had such a surge of late. He says people think QE is temporary and that the Fed will raise rates, and so they have driven the dollar higher.
“The Fed is saying a stronger dollar might mean that consumer prices will come down,” he says. “But why is that a threat? What the Fed is really worried about is falling stock prices and falling real estate prices, not consumer prices.”