04 January 2013
This is what I said in November 2011: "I shall therefore go out on a limb and predict that in December 2012 the S&P 500 will touch 800."
On 31 December 2012 the S&P 500 closed at 1407.
Famous last words!
29 October 2012
In my previous blog on 9 August 2012 I had said that monetary indicators were showing a slowdown. It seems I spoke too early.
The graph of M1 plus sweeps minus business loans below shows a continued rise.
The graph of Corrected Money Supply shows an ongoing rise. See the graph below.
09 August 2012
Equity indices across the world are at a several-month-high. Investors seem to be hoping against hope that the bad news of the past year is past. Alas, two monetary measures that we have been tracking indicate otherwise.
The graph of Corrected Money Supply below seems to be faltering after rising continuously since 2009.
The graph of M1 plus sweeps minus business loans shows that the recent contraction is continuing.
The rationale behind Corrected Money Supply is explained in my ebook The General Theory of Money.
The rationale behind the second graph is more complex. But anyone who reads my book should be able to guess why it mirrors the economy so well.
12 July 2012
The Fed has held interest rates at near-zero levels in the hope that it would spur lending. The graph below shows that the effect has been just the opposite.
A word about the graph. M1 consists of currency and the kind of deposits that can be used to write checks. M2 consists of M1 plus other deposits like savings deposits and time deposits. So subtracting M1 from M2 gives us roughly the amount of money available for lending. Sweeps are added to this because it represents money that is swept under the carpet, that is, out of both M1 and M2. The graph shows that the gap between this and total loans and leases made by commercial banks has actually increased after the lowering of interest rates.
The graph below shows the gap between loans and money available for lending as a percentage of money available for lending. The high figures for the period before 1980 are just an indication that the monetary data for the two periods are not comparable.
30 June 2012The Threat of Hyper-Depression. The inflation that Murphy predicted hasn't come about. One result has been a crack in the Austrian theory. A paper by Vijay Boyapati titled Inflation: An Austrian overview of the inflation versus deflation debate argues that the Austrians were wrong to predict high inflation. Boyapati is a former Google engineer turned Austrian economist who devoted a lot of time to Ron Paul's presidential campaign. In the paper he abandons the idea of the money multiplier, an idea that he notes "is common to both Austrian economics and neoclassical economics". This paper was written in 2010. In recent months I cannot recall any Austrians writing about the threat of high prices. So Round One, it would seem, has gone to Paul Krugman and the Keynesians. But the Fed should soon help us resolve whether the match will be won by them. For several years they have been calling for more expansion. In their opinion the low inflation is a sign that the Fed can loosen up much more. If the Fed does decide to heed their call and loosen up even further we should see a smart recovery. On the other hand, if the Fed decides not to loosen up then the US economy should move back into a recession in a gradual, slow spiral. In either case there can be no doubt that the redoubtable Dr Krugman was right after all. The third prediction is one that I am making. This says that monetary expansion is at an all-time high right now and if it is not showing much of a positive effect on the real economy it is because the increased money has gone to inflate the prices of one or more financial assets. When those financial asset markets collapse, banks will find themselves in trouble and cut back lending, and the final effect will be a severe recession. May the best theory win. Too bad about the patient!