Why the M2 Slowdown Doesn’t Blunt My Inflation Concern

By Michael Ashton

We are now all good and focused on the fact that inflation is headed higher. As I’ve pointed out before, part of this is an illusion of motion caused by base effects: not just cell phones, but various other effects that caused measured inflation in the US to appear lower than the underlying trend because large moves in small components moved the average lower even while almost half of the consumption basket continues to inflate by around 3% (see chart, source BLS, Enduring Investments calculations).

But part of it is real – better central-tendency measures such as Median CPI are near post-crisis highs and will almost certainly reach new highs in the next few months. And as I have also pointed out recently, inflation is moving higher around the world. This should not be surprising – if central banks can create unlimited amounts of money and push securities prices arbitrarily higher without any adverse consequence, why would we ever want them to do anything else? But just as the surplus of sand relative to diamonds makes the former relatively less valuable, adding to the float of money should make money less valuable. There is a consequence to this alchemy, although we won’t know the exact toll until the system has gone back to its original state.

Continue reading Why the M2 Slowdown Doesn’t Blunt My Inflation Concern

Money Matters

By Steve Saville

[This blog post is an excerpt from a recent TSI commentary]

The year-over-year rate of growth in the US True Money Supply (TMS) was around 11.5% in October of 2016 (the month before the US Presidential election) and is now only 2.4%, which is near a 20-year low. Refer to the following monthly chart for details. In terms of effects on the financial markets and the economy, up until recently the US monetary inflation slowdown was largely offset by continuing rapid monetary inflation elsewhere, most notably in Europe. However, the tightening of US monetary conditions has started to have noticeable effects and these effects should become more pronounced as the year progresses.

The tightening of monetary conditions eventually will expose the mal-investments of the last several years, which, in turn, will result in a severe recession, but the most obvious effect to date is the increase in interest rates across the entire curve. The upward acceleration in interest rates over the past six months has more than one driver, but it probably wouldn’t have happened if money had remained as plentiful as it was two years ago.

Continue reading Money Matters