March 24, 2009
Pension trustees and insurance company portfolio managers look away now. Your increased commitment to government bond holdings in recent times is about to blow up spectacularly.
At least, that is the view of Ron Paul, the US congressman who ran against John McCain in last year’s Republican Party presidential nomination.
[efoods]His is a minority view. Yields on government bonds worldwide have been falling fast over the past few months and in the UK, the commencement of “quantitative easing” this month sent bond prices soaring.
But the credibility of both western governments and their currencies is waning, and has been ever since the gold standard was abandoned in 1971, says Mr Paul. And that means even “safe” investments are far from safe, he claims.
“People will start to abandon the dollar as current and past economic policies create a steep rise in interest rates,” Mr Paul says.
“If you are in Treasuries, you will need to be watchful and nimble to time your escape.”
Unfortunately, cashing out will not protect the value of investments, he insists, because “fiat” currencies will all decline over the coming years as measures to try to haul the world economy out of recession fail. “The current stimulus measures are making things a lot worse,” says Mr Paul.
“The US government just won’t allow the correction the economy needs.” He cites the mini-depression of 1921, which lasted just a year largely because insolvent companies were allowed to fail. “No one remembers that one. They’ll remember this one, because it will last 15 years.”
At some stage – Mr Paul estimates it will be between one and four years – the dollar will implode. “The dollar as a reserve standard is done,” he says. He sees little hope for other currencies where central banks have also created too much liquidity dating right back to the early 1970s.
“Europe and the US will both have to fundamentally change their money systems,” he adds.
And don’t even mention shares to Mr Paul: “The last place you want to be is in the stock market,” he says. “It may not bottom out for 10 years – just look at Japan.”