Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Bitcoin Price TRIGGER for Accumulating Into Alt Coins for 2022 Price Explosion - 30th Nov 21
Omicron Covid Wave 4 Impact on Financial Markets - 30th Nov 21
Can You Hear It? That’s the Crowd Booing Gold’s Downturn - 30th Nov 21
Economic and Market Impacts of Omicron Strain Covid 4th Wave - 30th Nov 21
Stock Market Historical Trends Suggest A Strengthening Bullish Trend In December - 30th Nov 21
Crypto Market Analysis: What Trading Will Look Like in 2022 for Novice and Veteran Traders? - 30th Nov 21
Best Stocks for Investing to Profit form the Metaverse and Get Rich - 29th Nov 21
Should You Invest In Real Estate In 2021? - 29th Nov 21
Silver Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 21
Silver Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 28th Nov 21
Crude Oil Didn’t Like Thanksgiving Turkey This Year - 28th Nov 21
Sheffield First Snow Winter 2021 - Snowballs and Snowmen Fun - 28th Nov 21
Stock Market Investing LESSON - Buying Value - 27th Nov 21
Corsair MP600 NVME M.2 SSD 66% Performance Loss After 6 Months of Use - Benchmark Tests - 27th Nov 21
Stock Maket Trading Lesson - How to REALLY Trade Markets - 26th Nov 21
SILVER Price Trend Analysis - 26th Nov 21
Federal Reserve Asks Americans to Eat Soy “Meat” for Thanksgiving - 26th Nov 21
Is the S&P 500 Topping or Just Consolidating? - 26th Nov 21
Is a Bigger Drop in Gold Price Just Around the Corner? - 26th Nov 21
Financial Stocks ETF Sector XLF Pullback Sets Up A New $43.60 Upside Target - 26th Nov 21
A Couple of Things to Think About Before Buying Shares - 25th Nov 21
UK Best Fixed Rate Tariff Deal is to NOT FIX Gas and Electric Energy Tariffs During Winter 2021-22 - 25th Nov 21
Stock Market Begins it's Year End Seasonal Santa Rally - 24th Nov 21
How Silver Can Conquer $50+ in 2022 - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Betting on Hawkish Fed - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 21
Your once-a-year All-Access Financial Markets Analysis Pass - 24th Nov 21
Did Zillow’s $300 million flop prove me wrong? - 24th Nov 21
Now Malaysian Drivers Renew Their Kurnia Car Insurance Online With Fincrew.my - 24th Nov 21
Gold / Silver Ratio - 23rd Nov 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Can We Get To 5500SPX In 2022? But 4440SPX Comes First - 23rd Nov 21
A Month-to-month breakdown of how Much Money Individuals are Spending on Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
S&P 500: Rallying Tech Stocks vs. Plummeting Oil Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
Like the Latest Bond Flick, the US Dollar Has No Time to Die - 23rd Nov 21
Why BITCOIN NEW ALL TIME HIGH Changes EVERYTHING! - 22nd Nov 21
Cannabis ETF MJ Basing & Volatility Patterns - 22nd Nov 21
The Most Important Lesson Learned from this COVID Pandemic - 22nd Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 22nd Nov 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Why Bailouts Will Lead to Inflation Not Deflation

Economics / Money Supply Dec 07, 2008 - 10:40 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: The U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) both fell in October. Those declines – combined with sharp downward spirals in worldwide stock and commodity prices – have caused many analysts, and even central bankers, to worry that we are on the brink of deflation.

Such concerns may be warranted in the short-term. But in the long run, deflation won't be the challenge we face.


Thanks to an overly aggressive central bank, and more than $1.5 trillion in U.S. Treasury Department bailout programs – as well as other factors related to the ongoing global financial crisis – inflation will be the problem that ultimately bedevils us.

As long as oil and commodity prices drop, the PPI and CPI indices, which include oil and commodity prices, also will fall. Such a decline, however, does not constitute deflation; it is simply a one-time price adjustment. This is particularly true if most of the commodity-price declines are simply a reversal of excessive increases that had occurred over the previous year. That's essentially what we've been seeing here.

However, the deflation believers currently have an additional argument: With output in the United States plunging, and the stock market down around 50% from its October 2007 peak, there are very few pressures pushing prices upward. For instance:

  • Manufacturers, facing sudden sales declines, cut prices in an attempt to clear inventories or engage in foreign sales drives, intensifying price competition in all markets.
  • Nobody is pushing for wage increases – folks are all too pleased to keep their jobs, and their employers know this.
  • So while the U.S. economy is declining sharply, prices will not increase significantly and may even decline.

But even this will not turn into deflation, unless the recession is exceptionally prolonged. Currently, output and employment are dropping very sharply, as is the stock market . This cannot continue for more than a few months – the latest being perhaps late spring of the New Year. As output declines, forces pushing it towards recovery will become stronger and equilibrium will appear.

Provided world trade remains open healthy – and doesn't plunge by 60%, as it did during the horrid stretch from 1929 to 1932 – we will avoid a second Great Depression , so the bottom in output cannot be all that far down, and will be reached relatively quickly.

Since inflation was running at more than 5.0% when output began its steep descent, it is unlikely to have turned significantly negative by the time the economy reaches bottom. After all, the so-called “core” PPI rose at a rapid clip of 0.4% (equivalent to 5.0% per annum) even in October, while the Cleveland Fed's “median” CPI, which smoothes out fluctuations, rose by 0.1% in October and 3.2% over the past year.

Once the bottom has been reached, the excess liquidity that has been created over the last few months through the various bailouts – such the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which is fueling bank takeovers, and not expansionary lending, and the follow-on $800 billion credit-market stimulus unveiled late last month – will combine with the huge federal budget deficit to spur inflation. By that time, discounting will have become much less prevalent, as the most aggressive discounters will have gone out of business and inventory excesses will have been worked off. Costs will have increased, since many producers will be operating well below capacity.  And the excess money supply will push up inflation.

This time, there will be no surges of foreign competition restraining price increases – Chinese producers are currently suffering high inflation in both wages and prices, so their sales prices are increasing fast.

To estimate the inflation rate we might see, you can look at money supply growth over the past year. The St. Louis Fed's M2 money stock , the broadest money supply growth now reported by the U.S. Federal Reserve, has increased by 10% over the past year, while the St. Louis Fed's Money of Zero Maturity (MZM), the nearest we can get to the old M3, has increased by 7.4%.

Both those rates are far higher than the increase in nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, money supply has been increasing about 65% faster than GDP since 1995, which is when former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan began to overly relax monetary policy. In the most recent two months, MZM has risen only modestly, at a 3.1% annual rate, but M2 has risen much more rapidly, at a 20.6% annual rate. (The difference between the two figures reflects quirks produced by the various bankruptcies and bailouts – for example Washington Mutual Inc. (OTC: WAMUQ ), nominally a “thrift,” has been taken over by Bank of America Corp, ( BAC ), a bank).

In any case, it seems likely that inflation in the 7%-10% range lies in our future once output stabilizes. The deflationists here have a huge problem: Their view of falling prices is in incompatible with swiftly rising money supply, so only a sharp fallback in money supply, which we are not seeing, would make deflation plausible. The Fed has been blamed so widely for not expanding money supply fast enough during the Great Depression, that it is showing every sign of making the opposite error now.

If inflation does return with renewed force, we need to invest accordingly. One way of doing so would to use Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). TIPS yields have recently risen, as investors have focused on deflation. Indeed the 10-year TIPS currently yields 3.11%, only 0.08% lower than the 10-year conventional Treasury, so the market is saying inflation will average 0.08% over the next 10 years. That's nonsense, and such a mis-pricing makes TIPS an attractive investment, even though conventional Treasuries are vulnerable.

Another investment that benefits from inflation is gold, which has declined in price, albeit less than oil, and is currently selling around $770 per ounce. If inflation is expected to take off, gold prices will rise sharply, and a gold price of $1,500 per ounce is by no means out of the question. The most efficient way to buy gold is through the SPDR Gold Shares ETF ( GLD ).

By Martin Hutchinson
Contributing Editor

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2008 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Stephen Bayldon
17 Dec 08, 22:55
Inflation / deflation

Fascinating and lucid article thanks.

I'd appreciate your comments on these 2 aspects:

1. don't we need to net out growth/contraction in credit on top of money supply change?

2. what about japan's experience in the 90s...govt spending on a huge scale and loose monetary policy did not lead to inflation?


Post Comment

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