Tag Archives: inflation

‘More Informed’ Inflation

By Alhambra Investment Partners

Agitating For A More Informed Inflation

There are numerous problems created by asset bubbles and many more as a result of a series of them. The financial system becomes highly destabilized, especially as authorities and policymaking bodies misunderstand them to the point of determined stasis rather than courting necessary evolution and reform, which in turn has the same effect on the economy. This is not a linear exchange, however, which is why the major alteration to the governing dynamics due to asset bubbles may really be how they mask and often hide what is really taking place.

A healthy economy in the modern sense is one that fosters labor specialization, period. An economy that does not create greater participation is not a healthy economy, so in that sense or under those circumstances measuring the “dollar” value of goods and services produced and traded may be misleading. If such commerce is redirected to only specific economic segments, even determined by income (as asset bubbles tend to stratify income levels), there can be dissonance between those figures and the economy as it actually exists.

Continue reading ‘More Informed’ Inflation

Post-CPI

By Michael Ashton

Below is a summary of my post-CPI tweets. You can (and should!) follow me @inflation_guy or sign up for email updates to my occasional articles here. Investors with interests in this area be sure to stop by Enduring Investments.

  • Core CPI +0.18%, y/y rises to 1.77%. Pretty much as-expected on the headline figures.
  • Was some market concern about a possible higher print following PPI, but there isn’t much correlation.
  • Note that the next two months of CPI will ‘drop off’ an 0.10% and an 0.05%, so we should get to 2% on core inflation by mid-September.
  • Of course the Fed’s target is ~2.25% on core CPI (since they tgt core PCE) so Fed can argue it’s still below tgt. Uptrend may concern.
  • Housing inflation on the other hand going to the moon
  • This is great chart and it’s the reason core never had a chance of entering deflation territory. & will go up. (retweeted Matthew B)

oer Continue reading Post-CPI

Bulletin: It’s a Credit Bubble!

By Biiwii

As posted at NFTRH.com

You may have caught the title’s little inside joke.

Sometimes you (well, I anyway) can look at a graph representing data that is a culmination of history (i.e. reality) and just let it settle in for some perspective and even some conclusions.

Whether these conclusions are right or wrong is subjective and open to debate. But what I see here when viewing the Prime Rate historical is summed up after the graph (graphs courtesy of Economagic, mark ups mine).

prime.loan

In the pre-Greenspan era, every rise in Prime rates was eventually corrected through recession. This makes sense as the Federal reserve would, through its Funds Rate, make borrowing by banks more expensive during economic up cycles and hence, this was passed on to the borrowing public by the spread between FFR and Prime.

Continue reading Bulletin: It’s a Credit Bubble!

Broken

By Doug Noland

Credit Bubble Bulletin: Broken

The Shanghai Composite rallied 10% this week, enjoying the “biggest two-day rebound since 2008.” Friday saw Germany’s DAX surge 2.9%. French, Spanish and Italian equities rallied about 3%. European periphery bond yields dropped (some). The S&P500 advanced 1.2%. It was, however, another rocky week for commodities.

Global markets this week approached the edge – then recoiled, as they tend to do. Over recent years it’s become the typical pattern. Wait long enough and market stress is met with whatever desperate policy response it takes at that moment. Officials in China moved aggressively to adopt their belligerent brand of “whatever it makes” central market control. Crazy stuff. And as market participants expected, the Game of Chicken saw the Greeks and Europeans eventually cave to market pressure. Markets win again. Long live the king.

Continue reading Broken

Austrian Economics…

By Steve Saville

Does “Austrian Economics” Predict Inflation or Deflation?

The answer to the above question is no, meaning that “Austrian Economics” makes no prediction about whether the future will be inflationary or deflationary. That’s why some adherents to “Austrian” economic theory predict inflation while others predict deflation. A good economic theory can give you insights into the likely short-term, long-term, direct and indirect effects of policy choices, but it doesn’t tell you what will happen regardless of future choices and events. I’ll try to explain using two well-known quotes from Ludwig von Mises, the most important economist of the “Austrian” school.

Here’s the first quote:

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.

Continue reading Austrian Economics…

Gold Ratios Today; Ag-Au & Au-Pd

By Biiwii

A couple of our most recently watched gold ratios..

Silver-Gold ratio bounced today, keeping the hopes of the ‘inflation trade’ alive.

sgr

Gold was down hard today, but the problem for the Palladium-Gold ratio is that the cyclical metal, Pd was down harder.

pall.gold

Here’s the weekly view, showing what looks like a shoe-in that a negative macro signal is going to come about.

pall.gold.wk

<Insert here > the usual caveats about tolerances on timing and individual indicators not being taken in a vacuum; but if this indicator is going to work as it has before, it’s message is not a pleasant one.  And no, I don’t have a clue about how this squares with the bullish things I am seeing in the Semi Equipment sector, another ‘canary’ that chirped the post-2012 up cycle.

It’s why you’ve got to love this market I guess.  It’s wonderfully dysfunctional IMO mostly thanks to the historically vigorous levels of policy input post-2008.

Post-CPI

By Michael Ashton

Summary of My Post-CPI Tweets

Below is a summary of my post-CPI tweets. ou can (and should!) follow me @inflation_guy or sign up for email updates to my occasional articles here. Investors with interests in this area be sure to stop by Enduring Investments.

  • Core CPI prints +0.145…just misses printing +0.2, which will make it seem weak. We will see the breakdown.
  • y/y core goes to 1.73% from 1.81%. A downtick there was very likely because we were dropping off +0.23%
  • This decreases odds of Sept Fed hike (I didn’t think likely anyway) but remember we have a couple more cpi prints so don’t exaggerate.
  • Core goods (-0.3% from -0.2%) and core services (2.4% from 2.5%) both declined. Again, some of that is base effects.
  • fwiw, next few months we drop off from core CPI: +0.137%, +0.098%, +0.052%, and +0.145%. So y/y core will be higher in a few months.
  • INteresting was housing declined to 1.9% from 2.2% y/y. But it was all Lodging away from home: 0.96% from 5.1% y/y!
  • Gotta tell you I am traveling now and that reminds you the difference between rate and level. Hotels are EXPENSIVE!
  • Owners’ Equiv Rent +2.79% from 2.77%. Primary Rents 3.47% unch. So the main housing action is still up. And should continue.
  • Remember the number we care about is actually Median CPI, a couple hours from now. That should stay 0.2 and around 2.2% y/y.
  • At root, this isn’t a very exciting CPI figure. It helps the doves, but that help will be short-lived. Internals didn’t move much tho.

The last remark sums it up. While the movement in Lodging Away from Home made it briefly look like there was some weakness in housing, I probably would have dismissed that anyway. There’s simply too much momentum in housing prices for there to be anything other than accelerating inflation in that sector. We have a long way to go, I think, before we have any topping in housing inflation.

But overall, this was a fairly boring figure. While the year-on-year core CPI print declined, that was due as I mentioned to base effects: dropping off a curiously strong number from last year. (That said, this month’s core CPI definitely calms things a bit after last month’s upward surprise). However, the next few base effect changes will push y/y core CPI higher. While today’s data will be welcomed by the doves, by the time of the September meeting the momentum in core inflation will be evident and median inflation is likely to be heading higher as well.

Note that I don’t think the Fed tightens in September even with a core CPI at 2% or above, but the bond market will get very scared about that between now and then. Could be some rough sledding for fixed income later in the summer. But not for now!

Gold’s Ratio Signals

By NFTRH.com

A brief snapshot of counter-cyclical gold’s macro signals vs. other metals (and broad commodities) that are more positively correlated to economies, using weekly charts…

Each week NFTRH updates many charts of nominal US and global stock markets, commodities, precious metals and currencies over multiple time frames.  But we also cover economic data and indicators, with the first macro chart below (Palladium vs. Gold) still barely holding its economic ‘UP’ signal from January, 2013.  At that time a coming economic up phase did not seem likely, but PALL-Gold and fundamental information gleaned from a personal source in the Semiconductor Equipment sector gave us a good risk vs. reward on that stance.

While it can be argued that using an indicator like Palladium (positive economic correlation) to Gold (counter cyclical) is subject to the discrete supply/demand fundamentals of the two assets, it has worked to signal up and down economic phases, with the most recent shown in Q1 2013 (green arrow).  This indicator has been whipsawing since topping out a year ago and the moving averages are near a trigger point.

pall.gold

A related indicator is Gold vs. Commodities.  Gold-CRB made an impulsive rise in late 2014 as the global deflationary phase topped out.  As policy makers (ECB, BoJ, China Central Planning and US with ongoing ZIRP) continue to promote inflation 24/7, 365 Gold-CRB has dropped as it should when inflation is starting to ‘work’ and inflation expectations start to take hold.  But a problem for hopeful inflationists is that so far at least, counter-cyclical Gold-CRB appears to be in a bullish consolidation.

gold.crb

If cyclical PALL-Gold were to break down and counter-cyclical Gold-CRB to hold support and resume its uptrend the indication for the global economy would be negative.

Another chart worth considering is Gold vs. Copper, the traditionally cyclical red industrial metal.  A series of higher highs and higher lows began in late 2013 and is still in play.

gold.copper

To put perspective on this, behold how bearish nominal Copper is and has been by viewing this monthly chart similar to those we have reviewed in NFTRH for years now to maintain a big picture bearish outlook on this metal.  We have allowed for the current bounce/rally/bear flag, but until $3/lb. is exceeded and held, this is a very bearish picture.

copper

Finally, let’s review Gold vs. its primary running mate, Silver.  Actually, flipping Gold vs. Silver over to the Silver-Gold ratio works best visually at this time.

We are allowing for a bounce in Silver vs. Gold.  This could come about if the Fed rolls over again today and plays nice with its language.  Or it could just come about simply because it is due.  This would go hand in hand with a resumption of the mini inflation bounce implied in TIPs vs. regular Treasury bonds and in nominal Treasury bond yields.  The message of Silver-Gold however, is similar to the charts above on the bigger picture because it is locked below very strong resistance.

sgr.wk

Bottom Line

I consider Gold vs. Palladium and Gold vs. Copper to be indicators on the global economy whereas Silver vs. Gold is more an early indicator on inflationary pressure.

The conclusion is that the economy is in danger of decelerating (Pd-Au, Au-CRB, Au-Cu) amidst a dis-inflationary environment (Ag-Au).  The timing could be by this fall.  First, a resumed bounce in the ‘inflation trade’ has a chance to get reanimated.  But that is not the dominant longer-term trend.

Stocks Upbeat, US Dollar Downbeat

By Biiwii

US stocks poised for upbeat day as dollar slumps

Well okay, the media has its rationalization, but stocks were obviously at a bounce point yesterday.

Stepping away from the stupid noise that the media inject each and every day, there is a tie-in between the US dollars’s resumed correction, a speculated upon ‘C’ leg up in commodities, the fact that silver vs. gold has room to bounce (but is big picture bearish) and oh yes, this chart’s all-important message…

tyx

‘Inflation expectations’ appear to still be well in play.  But at around the time the ‘Continuum’ above reaches the limiter (AKA 100 month EMA), other indicators should also be at potential termination points.  We finely detailed the plan in an NFTRH update this morning, but for our purposes here, we’ll just note that all of this is counter-trend as it stands now.  So don’t get lost along the way.  Stay on your indicators.

Inflation Risks… Ahead

By Michael Ashton

Inflation Risks Behind, Beside, and Ahead

To be sure, it looks like growth slowed over the course of the difficult winter. The cause of this malaise doesn’t appear to me to be weather-related, but rather dollar-related; while currency movements don’t have large effects on inflation, they have reasonably significant effects on top-line sales when economies are sufficiently open. It is less clear that we will have similar sequential effects and that growth will be as punk in Q2 as it was in Q1. While I do think that the economy has passed its zenith for this expansion and is at increasing risk for a recession later this year into next, I don’t have much concern that we are slipping into a recession now.

Continue reading Inflation Risks… Ahead

Risk Behind Buffett…

By Biiwii

Thanks to reader Mary, an excellent article at Forbes by John Tobey…

The Risk Behind Buffett’s Advice

I found it interesting for several reasons.  One is the use of log scale charts and their value in viewing percentage based prices over very long (a Century in this case) periods.  I use mostly linear charts because I usually deal in 1 week to 10 year time frames.  But Mr. Tobey’s assertion that long-term investors should be interested in percentage performance is a good one.

Secondly, adjustments are made to the market (in this case, the Dow) for ‘inflation’ and ‘deflation’ using the CPI as the denominator.  CPI is noisy (e.g. faulty) on shorter time frames (it is not inflation, it is inflation’s effects), but over a century it is what it is after inflation and deflation have long since shaken out into the picture.

Here is his chart of the adjusted Dow.  But read the article.  It’s quick and to the point.

dow.cpi