Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Investors Finally Fear the Inflation Precipice

Stock-Markets / Inflation Feb 10, 2011 - 10:28 AM GMT

By: Robert_Murphy

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleWell it's about time. The headline on Monday's CNBC article announces: "Investors Starting to Believe That Inflation Threat is Real."

For some time, I have been a proud member of the fuddy duddies who have been predicting the return of serious stagflation. Thus far, our prognostications have clearly been half-right — the "real economy" is indeed caught in a terrible rut, far worse than most of the Keynesian economists recognized even in late 2008.


However, on the (price) inflation front, things are not as clear-cut. Although asset prices and producer prices have surged in response to Bernanke's monetary pumping, retail consumer prices (at least as officially reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) have not been rising at alarming rates.

I am not the first economist to explain this apparent anomaly by reference to Wile E. Coyote: The serious inflation won't hit until everyone thinks it is going to hit. And although the "fundamentals" of serious price inflation have been in place since late 2008, we are seeing more and more signs that Bernanke's dam of obfuscation is starting to crack.

A Simple Picture

Simplistic as it may seem, I still cannot shake the feeling that the below chart is all we really need to know that eventually, we will experience large price hikes:

Yes, yes, there are all sorts of sophisticated arguments for why there's nothing to see here, just keep moving along, the dollar will be fine. In particular, there are arguments about the demand for holding "base" money totally offsetting Bernanke's injections, and the huge increase in excess reserves means that the new money isn't "leaking out" into the broader economy.

However, when the serious price inflation comes — as I still believe it will — I think we will all look back at the above chart and be shocked that people were worried about deflation in 2008-2010. And there is precedent for this sort of thing; remember that in 2005 and 2006 plenty of really smart people (including Ben Bernanke) denied that there was a housing bubble[1]:

In Bernanke I Don't Trust

It is true that Bernanke could reverse course before things are too late, as far as the purchasing power of the dollar is concerned. But this would entail devastating pain to the banking sector, since the Fed would have to reverse the policies that bailed out the overleveraged titans in the first place. If Bernanke has to choose between saving rich bankers or the dollar, I am confident he will choose the former.

When Bernanke made his infamous appearance on 60 Minutes, most analysts understandably focused on his absurd claim that he wasn't printing money. But the thing that most alarmed me was this exchange (starting at about 7:20 in this video):

BERNANKE: There really is no problem with raising rates, tightening monetary policy, slowing the economy, reducing inflation at the appropriate time. …

Q: You have what degree of confidence in your ability to control this?

BERNANKE: A hundred percent.

Now that should be terrifying. Realistically, Bernanke shouldn't have 100 percent confidence that he can control his toaster. I mean, he might turn the dial up too high, or someone might spill water on it. It could happen.

By the same token, there are all sorts of scenarios where the natural "unwinding" of the Fed's extraordinary policies won't work as planned. In particular, if even official CPI inflation starts creeping above 4 and 5 percent on an annual basis, while unemployment remains above (say) 8 percent, then it will become apparent that Bernanke's "exit strategy" leads into a brick wall.

"Well, If the Fed Started Monetizing the Debt, Then I'd Worry About Inflation …"

One of the more absurd stances rejecting the inflationist warnings comes from people who think Federal Reserve policy is completely divorced from the Treasury's fiscal position. Such naïve analysts think that Bernanke's decision to soak up more than one trillion in government debt had nothing to do with the massive deficits that the government has been and will continue to run.

Those pooh-poohing our current situation will concede that interwar Germany or modern Zimbabwe got into trouble all right, but those were situations where the central bank "monetized the debt." This supposedly stands in sharp contrast to the scientific monetary policies of the "independent" Federal Reserve.

To put these claims in context, note that in the 2nd quarter of 2009, the Fed's absorption of Treasury debt amounted to 48 percent of the new debt issued in that period. And ZeroHedge posted the following chart showing that the Fed is currently the world's largest single holder of Treasury securities, surpassing China:

Conclusion

No one knows the future for certain. But given the economic and political realities, I still remain confident that prices quoted in US dollars will continue to escalate, not only in commodities and certain asset classes, but eventually in most consumer goods. At some point it will be so obvious that not even Ben Bernanke will be able to deny it.

When will the breakout occur? Again, no one can know such things for sure, but there are growing signs that "the market" will soon recognize that Bernanke & Co. have painted us into a very tight corner.

Robert Murphy, an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute and a faculty member of the Mises University, runs the blog Free Advice and is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, the Study Guide to Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market, the Human Action Study Guide, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. Send him mail. See Robert P. Murphy's article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2011 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules