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I actually think this guy is a fairly sharp cookie, but I think he is getting a little clumsy on the subject of deflation.
Why the Fed fears Uber
Personally, I don’t think the Fed fears any disruptive technology or service with regard to deflation. Nor should anyone else, aside from those getting disrupted (like Taxi Drivers in this case). Automation (i.e. how I made my living in my old life) in a modern society is progress, has saved whole industries and opened up other channels for resources.
“This brings us to why the Fed is afraid of Uber. As the company (and similar entities) become part of our daily routine, a whole class of workers likely disappears if the ultimate direction is to automate driving. Don’t get me wrong. Technology and cost-saving, combined with higher efficiency, is a big positive for the economy longer term, but technology is inherently deflationary as human labor gets replaced.”
Progress is progress. It is not deflationary, and it should never be thought of as a bad thing. It could well be that technology is piling up more and more of the population like sedentary cord wood, while fewer people benefit. But the dynamic is no different than when the first guy holding a round tube with gun powder, a wick and a ball in it blew the head of another guy (holding a sword) right off. Or Henry Ford and the production line… or 3D printing – which Wall Street hyped to no end – and its ability to print complex geometries from CAD models. It ain’t stopping because it’s progress.
These savings through efficiency can be reallocated elsewhere in the economy. Talk of inflation or deflation should not blame efficiency or the lack thereof. Talk of inflation or deflation is strictly within the monetary realm. Deflation is only perceived as a bad thing because for the current system, which relies on debt creation and periodic money printing, deflation is indeed a bad thing because once taking root, it could unwind the system by bringing all those debits in line.
Imagine that? We have come to think of cost savings and efficiency as somehow being tied up with something commonly thought to be negative.
Another NFTRH 287 excerpt…
It’s a busy I chart, I grant you. But these are my favorite charts because in their busy way they try to tell stories. The story told by TIP (Inflation protected Treasury bonds) vs. TLT (regular long-term T bonds) is not one of inflationary concerns. Quite the contrary, TIP-TLT shows a break down in inflation expectations.
The gold ‘community’ does not publicize this because it is antithetical to the fundamental they most often tout for gold (inflation). In the short-term, a deflationary bout may indeed be a negative. But in the longer-term, a failing ‘inflation trade’ would be what eventually builds stronger fundamentals for the sector. Again, economic contraction (with gold rising not necessarily in nominal terms but in relation to most everything else) is what the sector needs. Moderate the inflation hysterics.
The above picture would be positive for US stocks if it results in a continued Goldilocks atmosphere, but last year Goldilocks held sway with TIP-TLT gently rising but muted. It is debatable how well she would do if this indicator of deflationary pressure keeps dropping.
One is dropping below its MA 50′s and the other is popping above, after the ECB sat on its hands with rates but made a lot of Jawboning about ‘unconventional’ stimulus in the battle against the dreaded deflation.
It is unbelievable the degree to which people still have confidence in these clowns (including the ones packed into the little clown car here in the US), but apparently they do.
The TIP-TLT ratio has been in decline from a resistance point since late last year. The ratio tends to generally rise and fall with inflationary and deflationary concerns, respectively.
That little bump up (that ended up failing at the trend line) was probably in line with the explosion in certain outlier commodities like Agriculturals. People need to eat food after all. But the Fed’s introduction to the discussion of a Fed Funds rate hike out in the 2015 distance (“you know, that sort of thing”) has wrung any inflation concerns right out of this market.
A great gig they have going; with ZIRP intact indefinitely they continue to inflate, but with a few words, the market gets right back in line and in full servitude mode.
This morning’s article at MarketWatch, How Yellen’s gamble screwed up gold has some content that is right on the money. Specifically about rising ‘real’ interest rates being bad for gold. They are, no ifs ands or buts.
But then it goes off course, just like so many people who manage gold’s price for the wrong reasons. The whole concept that Yellen did something ‘wrong’ as applies to gold is off base. The old Velocity of Money and Deflation arguments come into play as well…
It talks about reasonable and realistic targets for gold, silver and HUI and lots of other things to boot!
Folks, alas I am all written out. I can write no more today other than that this here market report, #277 is a damn fine piece of work. Key word ‘work’.
This one slims down to 31 pages of quality financial market analysis. These reports, which should be between 15-25 pages normally, are what they need to be for me to get enough data points analyzed given the current situation where 2014′s financial markets are grinding toward our expected changes.
There is no ‘set it and forget it’ right now. I am in full geek mode. Later will come the relatively fun part, like making money on new trends.
NFTRH 276 out now…
Because it is Fed day (don’t you just love Fed day?) and because I have got Prechter in my head, we’ll stay on the topic of the long bond. The FOMC ostensibly has some kind of decision to make about Treasury bond manipulation today.
Dial back with me if you will to a happier time for inflationists. It was the spring of 2011 and the ‘right’ kind of inflatables were blasting off all over the place, led by silver. The inflation bulls were geniuses then. Why, even the Bond King declared his bearishness against long term T bonds and put his high profile bond funds short against it. Ah, no dear sir, incorrect. The ‘Continuum’ was at a turning point from up to down.
What was actually in store was a deflationary environment during which the usual inflatables got hammered along with much of the world. Here in the good old US of A the effect manifested as Goldilocks, with genuine deflation forestalled at least.
Today, in keeping with the theme that has seen legendary market luminaries and long time newsletter writers alike close up shop due to confusing market signals that just don’t seem to make sense, we have the Deflation King (Prechter) declaring he is bearish on T bonds, expecting as Gross had 3 years ago, for the yield to break out… this time (in response to inflation).
Sometimes I think it is an advantage being a relative simpleton instead of a market luminary. I have no clue if the yield is going to break out this time (nor if the ultimate condition for the next year or two will prove inflationary or deflationary for that matter) but I do know that I am not smart enough to make predictions like that. I am, in the tradition of the earliest Hominids, a simple tool user.
The tool above says that nothing has happened yet that threatens a condition in T bonds that has been in place for decades.
Guest Post by Elliott Wave International
Robert Prechter: “Charts tell the truth. Let’s look at some charts.”
During QE3, the latest round of the Fed’s quantitative easing, the stock market rose. We all know that.
But did you also know that commodities fell? [ed. errr, a Captain Obvious moment guys?]
That’s right: QE3 had zero effect on commodities — or maybe even a negative effect. In fact, an unbiased observer of the trend might conclude that the Fed drove commodity prices down.
I feel that 2014 is thus far giving hints that my patience, tested so aggressively in 2013 with respect to the big picture macro plan, will be rewarded this year. I find the idea that we are closing a ‘fear gap’ from 2008/2009 to be pretty compelling.