Most Popular
1. Banking Crisis is Stocks Bull Market Buying Opportunity - Nadeem_Walayat
2.The Crypto Signal for the Precious Metals Market - P_Radomski_CFA
3. One Possible Outcome to a New World Order - Raymond_Matison
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Apple AAPL Stock Trend and Earnings Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
6.AI, Stocks, and Gold Stocks – Connected After All - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Stock Market CHEAT SHEET - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.US Debt Ceiling Crisis Smoke and Mirrors Circus - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Silver Price May Explode - Avi_Gilburt
10.More US Banks Could Collapse -- A Lot More- EWI
Last 7 days
US Interest Rates - When WIll the Fed Pivot - 1st Mar 2024
S&P Stock Market Real Earnings Yield - 29th Feb 2024
US Unemployment is a Fake Statistic - 29th Feb 2024
U.S. financial market’s “Weimar phase” impact to your fiat and digital assets - 29th Feb 2024
What a Breakdown in Silver Mining Stocks! What an Opportunity! - 29th Feb 2024
Why AI will Soon become SA - Synthetic Intelligence - The Machine Learning Megatrend - 29th Feb 2024
Keep Calm and Carry on Buying Quantum AI Tech Stocks - 19th Feb 24
How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - 17th Feb 24
Why Rising Shipping Costs Won't Cause Inflation - 17th Feb 24
Intensive 6 Week Stock Market Elliott Wave Training Course - 17th Feb 24
INFLATION and the Stock Market Trend - 17th Feb 24
GameStop (GME): 88% Shellacking Yet No Lesson Learned - 17th Feb 24
Nick Millican Explains Real Estate Investment in a Changing World - 17th Feb 24
US Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 7th Feb 24
Stocks Bull Market Commands It All For Now - 7th Feb 24
Financial Markets Narrative Nonsense - 7th Feb 24
Gold Price Long-Term Outlook Could Not Look Better - 7th Feb 24
Stock Market QE4EVER - 7th Feb 24
Learn How to Accumulate and Distribute (Trim) Stock Positions to Maximise Profits - Investing 101 - 5th Feb 24
US Exponential Budget Deficit - 5th Feb 24
Gold Tipping Points That Investors Shouldn’t Miss - 5th Feb 24
Banking Crisis Quietly Brewing - 5th Feb 24
Stock Market Major Market lows by Calendar Month - 4th Feb 24
Gold Price’s Rally is Normal, but Is It Really Bullish? - 4th Feb 24
More Problems in US Regional Banking System: Where There's Fire There's Smoke - 4th Feb 24
New Hints of US Election Year Market Interventions & Turmoil - 4th Feb 24
Watch Consumer Spending to Know When the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates - 4th Feb 24
STOCK MARKET DISCOUNTING EVENTS BIG PICTURE - 31st Jan 24
Blue Skies Ahead As Stock Market Is Expected To Continue Much Higher - 31st Jan 24
What the Stock Market "Fear Index" VIX May Be Signaling - 31st Jan 24
Stock Market Trend Forecast Review - 31st Jan 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Stealth Inflation

Economics / Inflation Oct 28, 2009 - 05:30 PM GMT

By: John_Browne

Economics

Over the past two years, the federal government and the Federal Reserve have dispersed trillions of public dollars, run up enormous deficits, and kept interest rates at zero. In just about any economic textbook, this combination of policies would be described as the perfect recipe for inflation. Yet, with the exception of the usual increases in health care and education, prices by and large are not rising. Many have concluded that our economic leadership has simply outsmarted the textbooks.


The benign CPI figures are serving as a rallying point behind which the financial talking-heads are forming a parade of optimism. The low CPI is their 'proof' that inflation is not a pressing concern. This view is two dimensional.

Inflation is classically described simply as an increase in the money supply. Although these changes will impact price levels, it doesn't necessarily follow that prices will rise when inflation is high. Instead, inflation may merely result in stable prices at a time when prices would otherwise be falling.

In the popular mentality, however, inflation is simply defined as prices rising. After decades of steadily rising prices, people seem to have forgotten that prices sometimes fall. In light of the bursting of a number of record-breaking, government-fueled asset bubbles, prices should be declining across the board (as they did in the Great Depression). The fact that prices are stable, or have even rallied in some sectors, indicates that inflation is already spreading across the economy.

After falling to just 6,547 in the months after the crash, the Dow has rallied past the 10,000 mark. This should strike even novice investors as unjustified. Jobs are still being lost, a massive healthcare entitlement and carbon tax are winding through Congress, and no one with at least one foot in the real world has a palpable sense of imminent recovery. Corporate earnings have fallen far behind the rally in shares prices, stretching valuation multiples to pre-crash levels.

While not quite as frothy, home prices are now moving up for all the wrong reasons. The seminal Case-Shiller Index of home prices is now up for the fourth month in a row. The index's designer, Professor Robert Shiller, has stated recently that the current upward trajectory is unsustainable. In fact, the levels are still above the 50 and 100 year trend lines.

In the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, and after the largest housing bust on memory, single-family home prices should be falling well below the trend lines. But with a doubling of the monetary base and special interest programs like the homebuyers' tax credit, home prices have stabilized and even increased in some markets. That's the work of inflation.

With GDP growth now returning to positive territory, many inflation hawks ask why inflation has yet to truly manifest. The explanation can be found in the difference between monetary base and money supply.

The latest $1.9 trillion injection of government money was composed of some $900 billion of stimulus, of which only about 20 percent has been distributed. However, in its attempts to stabilize the financial system, the government has already spent some $1 trillion of TARP-type funds.

The TARP money, financed by an increase in the monetary base, has been provided to the banks at zero cost. And for the first time ever, the Fed is paying interest on bank reserves. Therefore, the banks can loan money to the Fed and to the government, via Treasury securities, at an interest rate spread of some 3 to 4 percent without risk. Given these incentives, it makes no sense to loan to anybody else.

So, despite a massive increase in the monetary base, credit remains tight and price levels flat.

However, if the Fed stops paying interest on bank reserves or otherwise 'persuades' the banks to lend, the $1 trillion will be leveraged up by the banks and spewed out into the economy. Fractional reserve banking will transform a $1 trillion monetary base injection into a $9 trillion increase in money supply. When that happens, prices for everything will go through the roof.

So for now, inflation is like a ninja stalking our economy. It's lurking in the shadows but can't easily be seen. But once its strikes, it will be fast and deadly.

By John Browne
Euro Pacific Capital
http://www.europac.net/

More importantly make sure to protect your wealth and preserve your purchasing power before it's too late. Discover the best way to buy gold at www.goldyoucanfold.com , download my free research report on the powerful case for investing in foreign equities available at www.researchreportone.com , and subscribe to my free, on-line investment newsletter at http://www.europac.net/newsletter/newsletter.asp

John Browne is the Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.  Mr. Brown is a distinguished former member of Britain's Parliament who served on the Treasury Select Committee, as Chairman of the Conservative Small Business Committee, and as a close associate of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Among his many notable assignments, John served as a principal advisor to Mrs. Thatcher's government on issues related to the Soviet Union, and was the first to convince Thatcher of the growing stature of then Agriculture Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. As a partial result of Brown's advocacy, Thatcher famously pronounced that Gorbachev was a man the West "could do business with."  A graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Britain's version of West Point and retired British army major, John served as a pilot, parachutist, and communications specialist in the elite Grenadiers of the Royal Guard.

John_Browne Archive

© 2005-2022 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in