Print the page
Increase font size

The State of the Markets

Chris Campbell

Posted May 12, 2022

Chris Campbell

Everyone wants to know WTH is happening in the markets. Fear is high. The noise is loud. Today, James shares his play-by-play of what’s actually happening behind the scenes, and what he predicts is coming next. Read on.

The State of the Markets

James Altucher

I’m getting a lot of questions right now about the state of the markets.

If you didn’t read my take on the Coinbase situation, the TL;DR is that those headlines were meant to drum up more fear after the company missed on earnings when everyone is already on edge…

But also like I said yesterday, investors who make money are the ones who see beneath the headlines.


Here’s a summary of the "behind the scenes" activity happening at the Fed since 2008, plus my prediction of what will come next…

1: First, the Fed Printed Money. Here’s How…

In 2008 the Fed needed to save banks so it started buying US T-Bills. The buyers would put the money in banks, increasing reserves.

The Fed would then PAY interest on excess reserves to the banks. This currently gives banks $100bn a year (roughly).

Note, the Fed did the same thing in March 2020 with TRILLIONS of dollars. 40% of all the money printed in US history has happened since March 2020.

2: Interest Rate Hikes are Sort of a Myth

NOTE: the Fed does not boost the economy by lowering interest rates. They used to do that but that ship has now sailed since interest rates are still near 0% (the example of why this no longer works is Japan 1989 up to present day).

So the reason the markets fell yesterday is not the interest rate hike but the "threat" of the Fed reducing the money supply. This is the real crack and the US is the crack addict. It's all money supply. Not interest rates.

So why do they even bother to raise rates? Well...

3: Btw, This is Why Bitcoin was Created

THIS is why Bitcoin was created in 2009 (no coincidence that it was 2009). To avoid these manipulations by a committee and let the market decide monetary policy.

4: So Why Are They Raising Rates?

The FED now is raising interest rates. BUT THEY KNOW THIS IS USELESS. There is no potential for them to raise higher than the inflation rate. They know this is meaningless but they need to pretend while they do other strategies to fight inflation since everyone thinks this is the method the Fed uses. Perception is reality.

But now the Fed is also THREATENING to reduce the money supply by not lending to the banks on the banks’ excess reserves. IF THIS HAPPENS:

    a) S&P goes to 3,000

    b) BTC goes to $15,000

    c) real estate falls 20-40% (8/x) BUT....

5: Think Ten Moves Ahead

There's a saying from chess that is useful to understand here: "The threat is stronger than the execution". WHICH MEANS....

6: Is the Threat real?

The threat of doing this tightening is what is driving down the markets and crypto. The Fed has done NONE of these things yet but people are afraid they are (since they have suggested they might). THE QUESTION THEN IS..

7: Is the Fed Stupid or Smart?

a) If the Fed is STUPID then they will do what they suggest and they will collapse the economy.

b) If they are SMART then they are already doing "the threat is stronger than the execution" strategy.


8: The Secret Way They are Stopping Inflation

The decline in the stock market (which is a much bigger portion of people's wealth than any other time in history) is WHAT IS GOING TO STOP INFLATION. People's wealth will decline so much in the immediate short term that it will instantly stop inflation.

The FED knows this so they will do one more rate cut (to keep the fear up) and then stop and even boost money supply or start buying bonds again. They know the stock market is more important to inflation than interest rates.

9: What About Supply Side inflation?

There are other "existential" fears in the market (like war, oil prices, supply shocks) but the market had already baked that in.

This, in fact, was/is the Fed's primary feeling about inflation. That it is mostly supply-based and will clear up. But they needed to act to calm everyone down.

10: The Truth About the Fed in the 2008 Crisis

In 2007-2009 the markets did not collapse because of housing prices. Housing prices had already gone down in 2006 and were beginning to rise again.

The crash that lasted from November 2007 to March 2009 was caused by a little known accounting rule called FASB 157 which forced banks to change the way they value housing derivatives, WIPING OUT ALL BANKS OVERNIGHT. And GUESS WHAT?

FASB 157 started in November 2007 and was STOPPED in March 2009. Perfectly bookending the last crisis. None of the literature mentions this. All of the Fed actions were somewhat meaningless (hence the creation of BTC).

I mention this to point out that the stuff we see and think on the surface is rarely the source of the real problems.

11: Fear Factor

The Fed knows that the only tool in its arsenal to stop inflation is fear. They WILL SUCCEED because of these threats (particularly the one made yesterday about reducing money supply by SELLING US Treasury Bonds, which is economics 102).

When the Fed sells a trillion dollars worth of treasuries, the purchasers have to withdraw money from banks to pay the trillion. So banks have less money, do less lending, etc. Which crushes the economy, BUT…

12: The Fed Can’t Reduce Inflation, the Stock Market (and other declining assets) will Reduce Monetary Inflation

The Fed knows this. Knows the power of fear. Knows that inflation and prosperity are tied together. Knows prosperity is more dependent on the stock market than ever before. WHICH MEANS…

We will see inflation instantly decline over the next few months (the fear worked) and the Fed will use other manipulations to drive the market up (like they did in 2009) and buy mortgage bonds, maybe even corporate bonds. With inflation declining there is HUGE RISK of collapse if you also reduce the money supply.

13: The Dollar will Strengthen as the Rest of the World Notes What the Fed is Saying

The market will remain volatile through this period but not quite collapse (since the Fed will not truly reduce money supply) and the $ will strengthen on these threats (so other countries will want to be in dollars).

Other countries investing in US Treasury Bonds lowers interest rates and gives banks more reserves.

When banks have more money, the money inevitably flows into "want" versus "need" assets (think stock market, real estate, crypto, etc).

14: But What if the Fed is Stupid?

If the Fed is stupid (which I know they are definitely not), this won't happen. But the Fed knows what they are doing. This is their playbook. The key is to keep calm, be optimistic, and enjoy the move upwards towards the end of the year in markets, crypto, real estate.

15: This was ECON 102


Obviously I jest, but I hope you get the idea.

It may feel like the sky is falling, but remember — this isn’t something the markets haven’t seen OR survived before.

Chris Campbell
For Altucher Confidential

Crypto’s Black Friday

Posted December 02, 2022

By Chris Campbell

Two years ago, we had exactly this kind of opportunity. Everyone ignored it and missed out big time.

Stop Waiting For the Pivot

Posted December 01, 2022

By Chris Campbell

Wall Street has been hung up on this idea of pivoting for months, and frankly, it’s cost investors a fortune.

The Great Crypto Shakeout

Posted November 30, 2022

By Chris Campbell

There’s no shortage of reasons to hate crypto right now…

Managing Risk in a Recession

Posted November 29, 2022

Wherein Jim Rickards ponders, “Is this the calm before the storm?”

Managing Risk in a Recession

Posted November 28, 2022

By Chris Campbell

Investors and traders should be aspiring stoics. You're likely to make bad decisions if you get upset or excited over a profit or loss.

James: “The End of the Bear is Near”

Posted November 22, 2022

By James Altucher

Wherein Altucher explains why he believes the end of the bear is near.