A week ago exactly, we first brought up the possibility that the ongoing monetary expansion may disconnect commodity prices from aggregate demand. This thesis seems to be developing into a trend by the day.
Please, click here to read this article in pdf format: may-20-2009
Things are starting to get really interesting. Let’s take a quick look at the latest developments so far:
-Yesterday, we put all the cards on the table. We discussed the two main polarized views on the markets. We even discussed each view’s assumptions, formal models, and history: For mainstream economists, the assumption is the neutrality of money (ignores transmission mechanism of money expansion); the formal model can be found at Krugman’s: www.pkarchive.org/economy/spiral.html; and the history can be traced back to the so-called exchange equation (Money supply * Velocity of circulation = Price level * Real Output), implicit in David Hume’s economic thought.
For Austrian economists, the assumption is the non-neutrality of money (=you cannot have long-term inflation without first having stock market valuations increased = stocks cannot see lower lows), the formal explanation can be found at Mises’ 1949 “Human Action”: http://mises.org/humanaction/chap17sec2.asp; and the history can be traced back to Carl Menger’s ideas. I hope I have been fair, exposed and sliced both views. The reader can now make an informed decision.
-A week ago exactly, we first brought up the possibility that the ongoing monetary expansion may disconnect commodity prices from aggregate demand. This thesis seems to be developing into a trend by the day. Below, I show the S&P500 (left) and the price of Crude oil (right), since May 1st:
The point we made seems to be clear from the charts. However, volume in Crude oil is not increasing. Why is this happening? Why can this continue to happen? I think it is all related to US political risk, which affects the value of the USD and forces investors to shift their moneys into assets that cannot be manipulated by either Mr. Bernanke or Mr. Geithner. Yes, it’s true; some folks say that there is an incipient recovery that is pushing oil inventories down. If this is the case, why would the Dow and S&P500 finish down today (8,474.75pts or -0.34% and 908.13pts or -0.17%, respectively), while the TSX closed at 10,100.95 (+3.46%)? Would a recovery in the US not be bullish of the USD? Yet, the USD kept losing ground against the other dollars…
I would like to comment on so many things here (Libor compression, to now 0.7525% for the 3-month; the 5 billion interest-free loan to capitalize a new municipal bond insurer (requested by the National League of Cities); the inclusion of legacy CMBS in the TALF program; the lower than expected Housing starts reported yesterday (458k actual vs. 520 expected); the state of the Derivatives market, which is reported to have shrank significantly (it surprised nobody, really)…But I will focus on the news of the application to repay TARP funds, by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley representing $45 billion of aggregate government funds (source: Bloomberg). From a macro perspective, the TARP funds repayment works as a sort of sterilization, taking liquidity out of the market. Will it be relent? Why would the banks compete with other issuers to NOT have government aid? This all speaks of the political risk that is putting a premium to prices. As well, it forces the Fed to rethink its monetary policy: The speed at which money is supplied. In the past weeks, we have seen an increasing disconnect between the Fed and other central banks in this regard, which allowed gold to rise from the mid 880s at the beginning of the month to above 920 (refer our Thesis No. 2).