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posted by janrinok on Saturday February 21 2015, @08:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-me-worry? dept.

Some time ago we discussed negative interest rates here on Soylent News. At that time there was some discussion of deflation and why it is such a mixed bag for consumers, companies, and countries.

The Economist has an article that explains deflation rather succinctly.

It turns out that deflation is bad because we are all so burdened with Debt. Not only personal debt, but corporate debt, and national debts. You end up paying debts with money that is more and more dear as time goes on.

Deflation poses several risks, some well-understood, one not. One familiar danger is that consumers will put off spending in the expectation that things will get even cheaper, further muting demand. Likewise, if prices fall across an economy but wages do not, then firms’ margins will be squeezed and employment will stagnate or decline. (Neither of these dangers is yet visible; indeed, America and Britain are seeing strong employment growth.) A third, well-known risk is debt deflation: debts become more onerous because the amount that is owed does not fall, even as earnings do. This is a big worry in the euro zone, where many banks are already stuffed with dud loans.

But in addition, all tools of Monetary Policy become useless.

The least-understood danger is also the most serious, because it is already here. Deflation makes it harder to loosen monetary policy. All of which means that policymakers risk having precious little room for manoeuvre when the next recession hits.

While some have been eager to see monetary policy reigned in, we did see the effects of this during the height of the recent depression, (which some claim we are still suffering from).

The US Federal Reserve had run out points it could cut when lending money to large banks. There were periods in 2010 where the Fed was lending money to banks at Zero Interest Rate. The link explains a number of serious risks with this policy.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday February 22 2015, @02:06PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 22 2015, @02:06PM (#148085) Journal

    HFT involves fraud and frontrunning.

    Actually, no it doesn't. It involves high frequency trading, hence the name.

    Fraud, because orders are placed into the system that the owner does not intend to execute.

    But the owner will honor those orders, if they do execute. So not fraud. If a greasy spoon has a challenge that they'll give you a 96 ounce steak for free, if you eat it all, they expect most such people will not be able to finish the challenge. That doesn't mean the challenge is fraudulent as long as they do provide the meal for free in the rare cases where someone does complete the conditions of the challenge.

    Front-running, because HFT outfits spend a fortune to set their gear physically closer to exchanges' computers so their money-making orders can beat traditionally-placed orders to the punch to take advantage of the price information sussed out by their fraudulent bulk "trades".

    Merely being first to take advantage of new information, knowledge of the market, or of traders on the market is not front running. It has a specific meaning [].

    Front running is the illegal practice of a stockbroker executing orders on a security for its own account while taking advantage of advance knowledge of pending orders from its customers.

    Markets are a zero-sum game. For every winner, there is a loser. The money HFT outfits are raking in is coming out of someone else's pocket. Do you have a 401k account? Perhaps your parents have a pension? Those are the people who are losing to HFTs' winnings.

    Markets are by their nature a positive-sum game. Every trade is or was willingly agreed to by the participants. Even forced trades are due to contracts that the trader agreed to earlier.

    If your pension or 401k account is losing measurable money to HFT then they're trading wrong. It's too bad you can't tell from looking at the prospectus that your fund managers have such problems, but that's not the fault of HFT.