Yen Weakness: Buffett’s “Shot Heard Round the World”
We returned recently from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. The most exciting and profound comment to us was what Warren Buffett said about the unprecedented actions the last three years by the Federal Reserve Board. Buffett was asked about the risks of the Federal Reserve’s current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low. Buffett said he has faith in Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, but did acknowledge that it will be a “shot heard round the world” as soon as it looks like the Fed’s Treasury buying plan winds down. At Smead Capital Management, we have been thinking for over one year about the ramifications of the open market setting short-term interest rates and the Federal Reserve Board beginning to reverse their “quantitative easing”. We looked closely at the winners and losers from the current policy and it brought us to today’s key question. What if Yen weakness/Dollar strength is already the “shot heard around the world” and most market participants are missing this fact?