Tag Archives: Monetary inflation

Inflation Is Killing The Recovery, by Daniel Lacalle

Sooner or later people figure out that inflation keeps up with or surpasses their inflation-boosted incomes. From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

This week, Ned Davis Research published a note titled “turns out, growth looks like it was transitory – inflation is more sticky”. There are many factors that show us that consumers and salaries are being eaten away by inflation, leading to an abrupt halt in the recovery. Autos and new home sales plunged, real disposable personal income has plummeted, and real median wage growth is lower than inflation.

Policymakers have pushed inflation at any cost with the most aggressive monetary policy in decades and it took a normal recovery after the re-opening to prove why inflation is always a monetary phenomenon: In 2020 G7 central banks increased money supply well above demand and faster than ever since 2009. This led to massive inflation spikes in essential goods and services. The rhetoric of “transitory” inflation and “supply chain disruptions” has been rapidly debunked. We have seen three CPI (consumer price index) prints after the so-called base effect ended and prices continued to rise. Furthermore, the price of commodities where there is overcapacity has risen as fast as others. Inflation is always more money chasing scarce assets and that is the reason why we see shipping or aluminium rise to all-time highs when there is ample capacity in the segment, even excessive capacity.

Monetary history shows that policymakers always resort to the same excuses when it comes to printing money and monetary mismanagement: First, say there is no inflation, second, say it is transitory, third, blame businesses, fourth, blame consumers for overspending, and finally present themselves as the “solution” with price controls, which ultimately devastates the economy.

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“Not Transitory” – US CEOs Warn Inflation Is “Unprecedented” And Becoming Structural, by Tyler Durden

Business CEOs have a pretty good idea of what’s going on with prices. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Some of the biggest names in business virtually attended the annual Morgan Stanley Laguna conference last week and warned about the complex nature of soaring inflation.

Much of the discussion was centered around the soaring cost of raw materials, labor, and logistical nightmares. Corporate leaders from 3M Company to Trane Technologies to General Electric Co., among others, all warned about increasing inflationary pressures, according to Bloomberg.

3M’s Chief CFO Monish Patolawala shocked attendees by calling inflation “unprecedented.” He said the impact of higher commodity prices and soaring freight prices would impact its 2021 earnings.

Trane Technologies Plc’s CFO Chris Kuehn told a very similar story: “Unprecedented is the word we’d use around the inflation side.”

At the virtual event, Morgan Stanley analyst Josh Pokrzywinski joked that everyone could check the word “unprecedented” on their 2021 bingo cards.

But what has become an increasing concern, pointed out by General Electric’s CEO Larry Culp, is that inflationary pressures are “increasingly getting structural in nature.”

David Petratis, CEO of lock maker Allegion Plc, said inflationary pressures might stick around two to three years. He said his company is preparing for more persistent inflation, adding “it’s not a transitory situation.”

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What Inflation?

Peter Schiff: Too Much Money; Not Enough Stuff

Too much money, courtesy the Federal Reserve, chasing to little stuff, courtesy the massively overblown Covid reaction, produces rising prices, colloquially known as inflation. From Peter Schiff at schiffgold.com:

For the first time in nine months, the government CPI data came in under expectations. Prices rose by 0.3% last month, just below the 0.4% projection. Year on year, the CPI was up 5.3%. Core inflation, stripping out more volatile food and energy (for those of you who don’t eat or use energy) was up 0.1%. Core inflation is up 4% on the year.

In his podcast, Peter Schiff took a deeper dive into the numbers and explained why this doesn’t prove inflation is “transitory.” He also drilled down to the root cause of rising prices – too much money chasing not enough stuff. Given the current monetary policy, that doesn’t appear set to change anytime soon.

Focusing on the headline number of 0.3%, a lot of people were relieved because we finally got a cooler than expected inflation read. In the minds of many, it also validated the Federal Reserve’s narrative that inflation is “transitory.” But as Peter put it, “One month does not transitory make.”

First of all, 0.3% in one month, in-and-of-itself, is still a lot of pricing pressure. Because if you annualize 0.3, well, that’s almost 4% per year. So, if we got this ‘good number’ 12 months in a row, that’s a 4% gain in consumer prices, which is almost double what the Fed claims it wants, which is a rate slightly above 2%. Well, 4% isn’t slightly above 2%. It’s almost double 2%. So, this is not a great number in-and-of-itself.”

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Americans Expect their Earnings to Get Whacked by Red-Hot Inflation, Blow Off Fed’s Sermons about “Temporary”, by Wolf Richter

There are millions of Americans that are a lot smarter than the house-broken economists and media airheads who keep bloviating about “transitory” and “temporary” inflation. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

And those who experienced the 1970s & 1980s inflation as adults expect 6.0% inflation a year from now.

The Fed keeps discussing consumer inflation expectations as one of the key metrics in assessing the path of inflation in the coming years. Inflation expectations suggest to what extent consumers might be willing to accept price increases, thereby enabling inflation. Consumer price inflation is thought to be in part a psychological phenomenon, similar to market prices. When the inflationary mindset takes over, consumers accept higher prices instead of going on buyers’ strike as they infamously did with new cars in 2008 through 2013, when demand collapsed and stayed down for years.

Consumers’ median inflation expectations for one year from now jumped to 5.2% in August (red line), the highest in the survey data going back to 2013, and the 10th monthly increase in a row, according to the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations today. The survey also tracks consumers’ expectations of their earnings growth. And that combo became a hoot (more on that in a moment).

Inflation expectations for three years from now jumped to 4.0% (green line), the highest in the survey data. People are starting to blow off the Fed’s endless sermons about this inflation being “temporary” or “transitory.”

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The Everything Shortage & Price Hikes Plastered All Over Fed’s “Beige Book,” by Wolf Richter

How long does transitory inflation have to last before it becomes non-transitory inflation? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

“We need lower consumer demand to give supply chains time to catch up… recover efficiency… and break this vicious circle”: CEO of Maersk’s APM Terminals, one of the largest container port operators.

Today’s release of the Fed’s “Beige Book“ – an informal narrative of the economy as told by small and large companies in the 12 Federal Reserve districts – listed “shortage” 77 times, up from 19 times in January.

Shortages of nearly everything, with labor-related shortages being the most prominent. These shortages “restrained” growth, and companies were “unable to meet demand” because of these shortages. Here are some standouts:

  • “Extensive,” “widespread,” “intense,” “acute,” “persistent,” “broad,” and “ongoing” “labor shortages.”
  • “Worker shortages”
  • “Workforce shortages”
  • “Shortages of drivers”
  • “Truck driver shortage”
  • “Chassis” shortage
  • “Ongoing microchip shortage”
  • “Pervasive resource shortages”
  • “Material shortages”
  • “Inventory shortages” from retailers to housing.
  • “Supply chain shortages”
  • “Supply shortages”
  • “Shortages of parts”
  • “Shortages of inputs and labor”
  • “Increasingly severe shortage of auto inventories”
  • “Shortages of parts for farm equipment”
  • “Restaurants reported severe supply and staffing shortages”
  • “Nursing shortages”
  • “Raw material shortages”
  • “Shortages of labor and other raw materials” that delayed construction
  • “Persistent materials shortages”
  • “Shortages and higher costs for both labor and non-labor inputs”
  • “Retailers noted shortages of and increased lead times for merchandise, particularly on foreign-made goods”

The labor shortages came with “turnover,” and employees leaving their jobs to work somewhere else, which confirms the data in the report on job openings and quits in the most distorted labor market ever.

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Quantitative Brainwashing, by Jeff Thomas

More important even than recognizing lies is figuring what the lies accomplish and who benefits. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

We’re all familiar with the term, “quantitative easing.” It’s described as meaning, “A monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.”

Well, that sounds reasonable… even beneficial. But, unfortunately, that’s not really the whole story.

When QE was implemented, the purchasing power was weak and both government and personal debt had become so great that further borrowing would not solve the problem; it would only postpone it and, in the end, exacerbate it. Effectively, QE is not a solution to an economic problem, it’s a bonus of epic proportions, given to banks by governments, at the expense of the taxpayer.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that governments have passed off a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to their pals in the banking sector with such clever terms. Governments of today have become extremely adept at creating euphemisms for their misdeeds in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the populace.

At this point, we cannot turn on the daily news without being fed a full meal of carefully- worded mumbo jumbo, designed to further overwhelm whatever small voices of truth may be out there.

Let’s put this in perspective for a moment.

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Inflation is a monetary curse, Alasdair Macleod

This is a great explanation of what’s going on in and what’s going to happen to the world’s financial system. Own some physical gold and silver. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Remarkably, in a speech on monetary policy given at the Jackson Hole conference last Friday, Jay Powell never mentioned money, money supply, M1 or M2. With money supply expanding at a record pace to fund both QE and intractable budget deficits the omission is extraordinary.

The FOMC (the rate setting committee) appears to no longer take the consequences of monetary expansion into account. But the fact is that rising consumer prices caused by monetary expansion have driven real rates sharply negative and are leading to pressure for higher interest rates.

This article looks at the consequences of policies which combine the maintenance of a wealth effect by juicing markets with QE, and funding enormous government deficits, which are now beyond control. A flight out of foreign-owned dollars and dollar-denominated financial assets, which currently total over $32 trillion, is becoming inevitable.

Will the Fed respond by increasing its QE support for financial markets, while resisting the pressure of rising interest rates? If so, there is no surer way to destroy the dollar.

The lessons from history combined with sound economic analysis tell us that markets will reassert themselves over the Fed, and for that matter, over all other central banks which have embarked on similar monetary policies.

Gold is the ultimate hedge against these events and their consequences.

Introduction

Last week, in his Jackson Hole speech Jay Powell grudgingly admitted that prices might rise a bit more than the FOMC previously thought. But it was too early to conclude that policies should be adjusted immediately. He said:

“Over the 12 months through July, measures of headline and core personal consumption expenditures inflation have run at 4.2% and 3.6% respectively— well above our 2 per cent longer-run objective. Businesses and consumers widely report upward pressure on prices and wages. Inflation at these levels is, of course, a cause for concern. But that concern is tempered by a number of factors that suggest that these elevated readings are likely to be temporary. This assessment is a critical and ongoing one, and we are carefully monitoring incoming data.”

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Doug Casey on How Politicians Will Try to “Fix” Inflation with 3 Dangerous Policies

The one thing you can count on with a government-created problem is that the government’s solution will make the problem worse. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

International Man: The US government has printed more money recently than it has in its nearly 250-year existence.

It’s the biggest monetary explosion that has ever occurred in the US, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Retail prices are already starting to soar.

Where is this all headed? Is inflation out of control?

Doug Casey: It doesn’t look terribly out of control yet on a retail level. A Big Mac is generally under $5, and gas is around $3. The tens of millions of Americans earning $10–15 an hour can still scrape by after taking in a roommate to cover rent at say $1000 a month—especially since millions of them are still stiffing their landlords with rent and mortgage “forbearance.” But as that goes away and a radical wave of inflation washes over the country, a lot of them will wind up on the street.

The US monetary and economic situation is going to get insane, with the Fed monetizing $120 billion of debt every month. And the worse it gets, the more dollars the Fed is going to print in a vain attempt to hold the system together. It’s going to throw people who are just holding on off-balance.

So far, the vast majority of the trillions of dollars that the US government/Fed has created have gone into the financial markets. It’s boomed stock, bond, and property prices, making rich people even richer. The situation is still under control.

But it’s going to start filtering down to a retail level.

Here’s an example I encountered just today: As a lifelong car guy, I follow the prices of exotic cars. I saw a 1968 Porsche 911R soon to be auctioned—a low mintage car, but nothing exceptional in my opinion. Just a lightweight 911 with only a 220-horsepower engine. It’s estimated to trade hands for $5.5 million. That’s insane.

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The Most Monstrously Overstimulated Economy & Markets Ever, by Wolf Richter

One of these days this whole thing blows up. You may want to make sure you’re not on planet Earth at that time. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

The Fed will trim back its stimulus, but it’s already too late, and it’ll be too little and too slow.

It’s mind-boggling just how many layers of stimulus were thrown out there, one layer on top of the other, $5 trillion by the federal government and $4 trillion by the Federal Reserve, all of it with follow-on effect as the trillions of dollars ricochet through the economy and the financial markets. And some of it hasn’t circulated yet and is just sitting there for now, such as some of the money sent to states and municipalities that are now floating in cash and that have redone their budgets, and they’re going to spend it eventually.

There were the many billions of dollars that big companies received. The airlines alone got around $50 billion, much of it in grants. They were supposed to use this money to keep their employees on the payroll, and they couldn’t do layoffs if they wanted to keep this money. So they offered big buyout packages to their employees, and lots of employees took that money and ran. Those were counted as voluntary departures and not as layoffs, and those folks went out and spent some of this money, and it flooded into the economy, and now the airlines are struggling to hire back employees, and they have lots of open positions.

Then there were the PPP loans. They’re forgivable, if you follow the rules, and so these loans would turn into grants, and this money was supposed to be for small companies, but even large chain restaurants and other large companies with good bank connections got their hands on it, and then smaller companies got their hands on it, and then everyone got their hands on it. Politicians and their families got it, the self-employed working from home got it, foreign fraudsters got it, everyone got it.

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