By Dan Weil
It wouldn’t be fair to call ace money manager James Rickards an optimist about the global economy.
“We are in a depression. This is a global depression,” the author of “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System” told RT news service.
“It started in 2007, and it is going to continue indefinitely. Depressions are structural, monetary solutions are cyclical. You cannot solve a structural problem with a cyclical remedy. Monetary policy will not work.”
He was referring to the Fed’s massive seven-year easing program that has seen the federal funds target rate at a record low since December 2008 and has seen the Fed’s balance sheet balloon to $4.5 trillion.
Rickards, a portfolio manager at West Shore Group, doesn’t have too rosy a view of the foreign exchange market either.
“I think this is one long currency war,” he said. “We are now getting into more of a battle, more of a confrontation. The U.S. dollar is the only strong currency that cannot last. The U.S. cannot have a strong currency, because we are desperate for inflation.”
Meanwhile, Albert Edwards, chief global strategist for Societe Generale, says that the yen’s weakness — it dropped to a six-year low against the dollar last week — spells danger for the world economy.
“Investors ignore Japan at their peril,” he writes in a commentary provided to Moneynews.
“We have felt for some time that a fragile Chinese economy could be pushed over the edge by a further yen devaluation. . . . The next phase of global currency wars may have begun.”