The Burning Question In The Financial World Is: Can Central Banks Go Bankrupt?

April 22, 2015

For us the answer is obvious.

Additionally, analyst Jeff Berwick has his views:

Can Central Banks Go Bankrupt?

But if you are confused about what a central bank is, this reply to an un-named but popular competitor might be as good as any place to start.  If it takes coercion to create or sustain its activity it is probably not economic; it is probably an extra market deal.  If its board of directors is appointed by the president and congress it cannot be independent.  If it does not submit itself to a profit/loss test it is a bureaucracy.  If it is a bureaucracy then it is not accountable to the consumer.

It cannot be a private company.

It does not lend money any more than the government can create wealth.

The assets of the Fed are typically bought with a check.

Sometimes the purchases are funded by the sales of other assets in which case no new liabilities and no new money is created.  In other instances, especially according to the definition of quantitative easing, it is a blank check that is never cashed and becomes a deposit liability.  But this only means that if it is called the central bank has to print up the notes for which it has a monopoly privilege to counterfeit…a privilege that is decreed, enforced, and protected by government.

The Fed is in the rare and enviable position of having its liabilities in the form of Federal Reserve Notes constitute the legal tender of the country. In short, its liabilities—Federal Reserve Notes— are standard money. Moreover, its other form of liability— demand deposits—are redeemable by deposit-holders (i.e., banks, who constitute the depositors, or "customers," of the Fed) in these Notes, which, of course, the Fed can print at will. Unlike the days of the gold standard, it is impossible for the Federal Reserve to go bankrupt; it holds the legal monopoly of counterfeiting (of creating money out of thin air) in the entire country.” Rothbard

To understand why a central bank cannot go bankrupt is to begin to see what it is.


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Ed Bugos is a mining analyst, investment banking professional, and senior analyst at The Dollar Vigilante (an online guide to surviving the dollar crash), with more than 20 years experience in the investment business advising clients on portfolio and trading strategies.

China is the world’s biggest gold producer with more than 355 tons annually. Australia is second.