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Michael Pento: First Disinflation, Then Deflation, Then Big-Time Inflation

Michael Pento: First Disinflation, Then Deflation, Then Big-Time Inflation

Suddenly investors are panicked that (hyper)inflation is taking over.

But what if they’re mistaken? That could be a costly mistake if they’re betting their portfolio’s future on it. Because there’s a strong case to be made that we’re now actually entering a period of dis-inflation, one that has a high risk of tipping into outright deflation by next year.

To argue this, investment manager Michael Pento, who pulls no punches, joins Wealthion for this video explaining why the Fed and Congress don’t currently have sufficient air cover to continue the same magnitude of stimulus the market is now addicted to — and thus won’t be able to resume it until after the next painful market correction arrives.

Michael then proceeds to explain why the bond market is such a ticking time bomb right now for investors.

And, of course, he shares his views on his favored asset classes for each stage of the upcoming progression he sees:

1. first disinflation, then…

2. outright deflation, and then…

3. a hugely inflationary response from our central planners

Watch the full interview below:

When Inflation is really Deflation

QUESTION: Why is the Fed doing so much Reverse Repo? Do you think it will hit $2 trillion?

JE

ANSWER: I understand that people seem to be talking up the reverse repo activity as doom and gloom. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates and boosted the return to fight inflation. The reverse repo facility takes in cash primarily from money-market funds, as well as government-sponsored companies and banks. This facility offered a return of zero percent to eligible users previously, and then the Fed moved it up to 0.05%, while at the same time lifting another rate, called the interest on excess reserves rate to 0.15% from 0.10%. The Fed is actually competing against the US Treasury in taking in cash, which is diverting it from government debt.

What the Fed does not understand because it is beyond their control are the international capital flows. Raising rates to fight domestic inflation is attracting capital from Europe, where banks are charged negative interest rates if they have excess cash. They open a branch in the USA and then send the excess cash to the state, and then they put it at the Fed. In this manner, the Fed has no idea how much money they are actually attracting globally.

I helped the Japanese lower their trade surplus by simply buying gold in New York, taking delivery, shipping it to London, and then selling it and starting all over again constantly. The trade statistics only measure dollars — not goods. You can buy a hot dog and have it delivered in London, and that too would reduce the trade surplus. It’s all a numbers game, and those in government have no ability to figure out the real world.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where Will The Next Deflationary Shock Come From?

“Whenever I hear numbers like this, I look back to my childhood growing up in Hungary, where…[the] value of money meant nothing. I’m very worried this is an unstoppable situation because the longer the Fed waits, the more they will have to raise rates. So, we’re basically painting ourselves into a box, and I don’t see how we’re going to get out of it.
– Thomas Peterffy, chairman and founder of Interactive

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

It seems as though wherever one looks, soaring prices are in the news. Everything from the rising price of lumber to oil, to housing, to food is dominating headlines. This week, key inflation data was released, and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures a basket of goods as well as energy and housing costs, rose 4.2% year-over-year, surpassing expectations from a Dow Jones survey that anticipated a 3.6% increase. The month-to-month gain was also much higher than expected – at 0.8% versus 0.2%. Additionally, the Producer Price Index (PPI) – another key inflation indicator – spiked 6.2% for the 12 months ended in April, which marked the largest increase since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the data in 2010. The PPI rose 0.6% month-over-month, which was twice the rate expected in a FactSet survey.

Markets were rattled by the data – as nearly everything sold off on Wednesday after CPI data was published. Markets gained back some of the losses on Thursday morning, before selling off slightly mid-day when PPI data was released. Despite these key inflation indicators signaling trouble ahead, economists and policy makers have attempted to quench fears by signaling that the rising prices are “transitory.” Federal Reserve Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said Wednesday that he expects bouts of inflation volatility through September…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Relation Between Inflation and Deflation

For most commentators inflation is about persistent increases in the prices of goods and services. However, is this the case?  For example, the definition of human action is not that people are engaged in all sorts of activities as such, but that they are engaged in purposeful activities–purpose gives rise to an action.

Similarly, the essence of inflation is not a general rise in prices as such but an increase in the supply of money, which in turn sets in motion a general increase in the prices of goods and services in terms of money.

Consider the case of a fixed stock of money. Whenever people increase their demand for some goods and services, money is going to be allocated towards these goods and services. In response, the prices of these goods and services are likely to increase– more money will be spent on them.

Since we have here an unchanged stock of money, less of it can be now allocated towards other goods and services. Given that the price of a good is the amount of money spent on the good this means that the prices of other goods will decline i.e., less money will be spent on them.

In order for there to be a general rise in prices, there must be an increase in the money stock. With more money and no change in the money demand, people can now allocate a greater amount of money for all goods and services.

According to Mises,

Inflation, as this term was always used everywhere and especially in this country, means increasing the quantity of money and bank notes in circulation and the quantity of bank deposits subject to check…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Too Busy Frontrunning Inflation, Nobody Sees the Deflationary Tsunami

Too Busy Frontrunning Inflation, Nobody Sees the Deflationary Tsunami

Those looking up from their “free fish!” frolicking will see the tsunami too late to save themselves.

It’s an amazing sight to see the water recede from the bay, and watch the crowd frolic in the shallows, scooping up the flopping fish. In this case, the crowd doing the “so easy to catch, why not grab as much as we can?” scooping is frontrunning inflation, the universally expected result of the Great Reflation Trade.

You know the Great Reflation Trade: the world has saved up trillions, governments are spending trillions, it’s going to be the greatest boom since the stone masons partied at the Great Pyramid in Giza. It’s so obvious that everyone has jumped in the water to scoop up all the free fish (i.e. stock market gains). Only an idiot would hesitate to frontrun the Great Reflation’s guaranteed inflation.

Unless, of course, what we really have is a tale of reflation, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Everyone frolicking in the shallows scooping up the obvious, easy, guaranteed gains is so busy frontrunning inflation that nobody sees the tsunami rushing in to extinguish the short-sighted frolickers. ( When Does This Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham Finally Implode? 3/3/21)

Gordon Long and I discuss The Deflationary Tsunami racing toward the frolickers in a new video program. It’s not that there aren’t inflationary dynamics in play; there are. The issue is that not all the dynamics in play are inflationary, and the deflationary dynamics have been building for the past two decades.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Deflation: Friend or Foe?

Deflation is the most feared economic phenomenon of our time. The reason behind this a priori irrational fear (why should we be afraid of prices going down?) is the Great Depression. The most severe economic crisis of the 20th century was accompanied by a massive deflationary spiral that pushed prices down by 25% between 1929 and 1932 (this is equivalent to an annualized inflation rate of minus 7% over that period). Given the impact that the Great Depression had on the social imaginary of the American and European societies, it isn’t surprising that people tend to associate deflation with crises and economic hardship.

Fears of deflation have even led monetary authorities all over the world to set positive inflation targets. The ECB, for instance, defines price stability as an annual inflation rate of “below, but close to, 2%” even though, strictly speaking, price stability should imply that an annual increase in the price level of 0%.  Similarly, the Federal Reserve aims at an inflation rate of 2% over the long run, whereas the Reserve Bank of Australia has an inflation target of between 2 and 3%.

Despite the bad press deflations gets, the historical evidence suggests that deflation isn’t as bad as people may think. Using a sample of 38 countries over the period 1870-2013, four economists from the Bank for International Settlements find that, on average, countries experienced economic growth during deflation years. In fact, if we look only at the postwar era, data reveals that per capita growth has been higher during deflation years as opposed to inflation years.

This isn’t the only piece of evidence that supports the idea that deflation isn’t necessarily detrimental to economic growth. A 2004 paper covering 17 countries show that the Great Depression is the only period in the 19th and 20th centuries in which there is a strong link between deflation and depression…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End Game

The End Game

Dear Investors:

Markets are cyclical. Today, stocks trade at record high valuations while commodities are historically undervalued in relation. The setup is in place for a macro pivot in the relative performance of these two asset classes. Comparable conditions were present with the 1972 Nifty Fifty and 2000 Dotcom bubbles as we show in the chart below.

As capital seeks to redeploy towards the highest growth and lowest valuation opportunities, we expect analytically minded investors will soon be rotating, if not stampeding, out of expensive deflation-era growth equities and fixed income securities and into cheap hard assets, creating a reversal in the 30-year declining trend of money velocity.

Today’s Modern Monetary Theory world with its double barreled fiscal and monetary stimulus is crashing head on with an accumulation of years of declining investment in the basic industries such as materials, energy, and agriculture. In our analysis, the “end game” for the Fed’s twin asset bubbles in stocks and bonds is inflation. We can already see it developing on the commodity front.

The scarcity of jobs and abundance of debt were factors preventing the economy from reaching its full growth potential even before Covid-19. Such have been the concepts underlying the output gap, the theoretical paradox that is thought to have held inflation in check over the course of the last business cycle. But based on comparable historic periods, the macro setup for inflation is more likely to be kicked off by an input gap, i.e., shortages in the primary resources needed for both a strong reserve currency and economic growth at the same time as policy makers pull out their biggest bazookas yet to boost aggregate demand. We expect a new wave of rising commodity prices, set up by past underinvestment in basic resources, to soon ripple through the global supply chain creating a headwind for real living standards. Welcome to the Great Reset.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ben Hunt: Inflation Ahead!

Ben Hunt — highly respected fund manager, author, and former professor/entrepreneur/venture capitalist — says that to be successful in managing your wealth, there’s only one question that matters:

Are we entering a deflationary future, or an inflationary one?

The strategies and appropriate investment targets for each are extremely different, so you’d better answer correctly.

Though Hunt says as long as you identify the trend “roughly” right, you should do fine. You don’t have to be brilliant with the exact investments you put your capital into. As long as they benefit from the secular trend, its massive scale and momentum will do the heavy lifting.

So which kind of future are we entering?

Hunt thinks we’re at a very important inflection point. That after decades of deflation (e.g., chronically declining interest rates), we’re now transitioning into an era of secular inflation.

The $trillions in monetary and fiscal stimulus so far, and the near-certainty of much more to come, are certainly a big step in that direction.

And with asset prices completely distorted from reality, a struggling global economy, and an inflationary outlook, Hunt thinks the coming years will be extremely rocky for investors. Lots of cross-currents, with the only guarantee being that the majority of investment predicts will be foiled — as there remain very few active investors alive who have any experience managing capital in an inflationary environment.

Which is why Hunt is emphatic that now, more than ever, is the time to partner with a financial advisor who understands the risks in play, can craft an appropriate portfolio strategy for you given your needs, and apply sound risk management protection where appropriate:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Financial Crisis of 2021

Economist Steve Keen predicts that even if the covid-19 health crisis subsides next year, a brewing financial crisis on par with the 2008 Great Recession is in the making.

He sees the pandemic as having delivered an “unprecedented shock” to the global economy, and the response from authorities as nothing less than a “catastrophe”.

With tens of millions of households having lost their income this year, personal savings becoming exhausted, government support programs on their way to drying up, and lots more company layoffs/bankruptcies/closures ahead — Steve expects a punishing recession to arrive in full force in 2021.

And on a larger scale, he sees modern neoclassical economics — which ignores the importance of natural resources and the health of our ecosystems — as completely unsuited for the reality in which we live today. He warns that if we don’t adapt a more informed approach to managing the global economy, we will only continue to make the mess we’re in worse:

Inflation, deflation and other fallacies

Inflation, deflation and other fallacies

There can be little doubt that macroeconomic policies are failing around the world. The fallacies being exposed are so entrenched that there are bound to be twists and turns yet to come.

This article explains the fallacies behind inflation, deflation, economic performance and interest rates. They arise from the modern states’ overriding determination to access the wealth of its electorate instead of being driven by a genuine and considered concern for its welfare. Monetary inflation, which has become runaway, transfers wealth to the state from producers and consumers, and is about to accelerate. Everything about macroeconomics is now with that single economically destructive objective in mind.

Falling prices, the outcome of commercial competition and sound money are more aligned with the interests of ordinary people, but that is so derided by neo-Keynesians that today almost without exception everyone believes in inflationism.

And finally, we conclude that the escape from failing fiat will lead to rising nominal interest rates, with all the consequences which that entails. The inevitable outcome is a flight to commodities, including gold and silver, despite rising interest rates for fiat money.

Demand-siders and supply-siders

In a macroeconomics-driven world, economic fallacies abound. They are periodically trashed when disproved, only to arise again as received wisdom for a new generation of macroeconomists determined to justify their statist beliefs. The most egregious of these is that inflation can only occur as the handmaiden of economic growth, while deflation is similarly linked to a recession spinning out of control into the maelstrom of a slump.

This error is the opposite of the facts.

Conventionally, macroeconomists split into two groups. There are the Keynesians who believe in stimulating demand to ensure there will always be markets for goods and services, which they attempt to achieve through additional spending by governments and by discouraging saving, because it is consumption deferred.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is High Inflation Now A Bigger Danger Than A Deflationary Crash?

Is High Inflation Now A Bigger Danger Than A Deflationary Crash?

What’s the more likely event at this point: a deflationary crash or runaway inflation?

For a long time, Peak Prosperity co-founder Adam Taggart and I have hewed to the “Ka-POOM!” theory, which states that a major deflation will scare the central banks so badly that they overreact and pour too much liquidity into the system, thereby destroying it.

To visualize how this will play out, think of what happened in Beirut this week. Customs officials there stored thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at their seaport, for years.  The pile just sat there doing absolutely nothing.

After years of inaction, the port authorities became lulled into the erroneous conclusion that nothing would ever happen.

But then one day a spark came to life, starting a fire, and then all at once — POOM! — the entire thing blew up with devastating effect.

This analogy works pretty well here as we approach the Keynesian endgame facing the global economy.  The pile of $trillions in bad debts issued over the past decades has been the fertilizer.  Covid-19 was the spark. And now we’re simply waiting for the entire economic and financial system to explode.

The same process began in the US and has been unfolding across the world ever since after the gold standard was abandoned in 1971.  Untethered from any restraint, all that was left to staunch the flow of red ink was self-restraint and a concern for the future, both of which were in short supply.

Not only has debt been growing far faster than income (GDP) at the national level, but debts have been growing exponentially (i.e., ‘compounding’) ever since 1971:

That debt growth is a nearly perfect exponential curve upon which the entire systems of politics, banking and the economy have come to rely.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Word About the Current Chaos in Prices and Inflation

A Word About the Current Chaos in Prices and Inflation

Some prices collapsed, others skyrocketed, and the Consumer Price Index went haywire. Here’s what I’m seeing beyond the near term — and it’s not “deflation.”

Amid soaring prices of meat, beverages, fruit, veggies, and other food at home, and surging costs of personal goods, medical care services, and household furnishings, and amid a collapse in prices of gasoline, car rentals, public transportation, car insurance, lodging away from home, and other things – amid these diametrically opposed price movements, the Consumer Price Index went, as expected, haywire today. And we’re going to look at some of those gyrations beyond it.

First, here’s what got buffeted around:

The overall Consumer Price Index fell 0.8% in April from March, the steepest one-month drop since December 2008, when the economy was going through peak-Financial-Crisis 1. This brought the increase over the past 12 months down to 0.3%, the lowest since October 2015 during the oil bust at the time.

The “core” CPI – CPI without the volatile food components and the extremely volatile energy components – dropped 0.5% from March to April but was still up 1.4% from a year ago.

But wait…

What if we take out the most chaotic and largely temporary price movements at both ends to get to what the undying loss of the purchasing power of the dollar might be? Because that’s what consumer price inflation is.

There is a consumer price index that is not buffeted around by the month-to-month collapse of some prices and surge in other prices; The Cleveland Fed’s “Median CPI,” which is based on the data from the CPI, removes the extremes at both ends since these extremes are often temporary and distort long-term inflation trends.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Core CPI Crashes By Most On Record; Food Costs Soar As Energy & Apparel Collapse

Core CPI Crashes By Most On Record; Food Costs Soar As Energy & Apparel Collapse

Headline Consumer Prices fell 0.8% MoM – the biggest drop since 2008 – as soaring food inflation was dominated by plunging energy, apparel, and lodging costs…

But it was Core CPI, printing 0.4% MoM that made the headlines. That is the biggest monthly decline since records began in 1961…

Under the hood, the changes were dramatic to say the least…

A 20.6-percent decline in the gasoline index was the largest contributor to the monthly decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index, but the indexes for apparel, motor vehicle insurance, airline fares, and lodging away from home all fell sharply as well.

Goods deflation is accelerating as Services inflation is slumping…

In contrast, food indexes rose in April, with the index for food at home posting its largest monthly increase since February 1974.

Shelter Inflation up only 2.61%, down from 3.01% in March, and the lowest since Feb 2014. Rent inflation up 3.49%, down from 3.67% in March but lowest only since Jan 2019.

Given the near total lockdown of the US, we do question just how “real” this data is (and the fact that rent strikes, mortgage forbearance, food banks, UBI, PPP, and you name the acronym have distorted all the inputs).

The Problem is Not Deflation, It’s Attempts to Prevent It

The Problem is Not Deflation, It’s Attempts to Prevent It

Let’s investigate the Fed’s effort to prevent price deflation.

Here’s a Tweet that caught my eye. 


Real Vision✔@RealVision · 

“We’re about to have deflation and the market hasn’t figure it out yet… when it does, the Fed is going to shit itself.” @hendry_hugh @raoulGMI
https://rvtv.io/3aWzxf4 

Embedded video

david moravec@davidmooravec

Problem with deflation is- Why buy anything if you know it will be cheaper in the future.


Problem with deflation is- Why buy anything if you know it will be cheaper in the future.,” responded one person. 

Let’s investigate that question starting with a look at the CPI basket.

CPI Percentage Weights

CPI percentage weights

Why Buy Anything Questionnaire

Q: If consumers think the price of food will drop, will they stop eating?
Q: If consumers think the price of natural gas will drop, will they stop heating their homes? 
Q: If consumers think the price of gasoline will drop, will they stop driving?
Q: If consumers think the price of rent will drop, will they hold off renting until that happens?
Q: If consumers think the price of rent will rise, will they rent two apartments to take advantage?
Q: If consumers think the price of taxis will rise, will they take multiple taxi rides on advance?
Q: If people need an operation, will they hold off if they think prices might drop next month?
Q: If people need an operation, will they have two operations if they expect the price will go up?

All of the above questions represent inelastic items. Those constitute over 80% of the CPI.  Let’s hone in on the elastic portion with additional Q&A.

Questions for the Fed – Elastic Items

Q: If people think the price of coats will rise will they buy a second coat they do not need?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Eurozone Collapse: V-Shaped Recovery Mirage Is Gone

Eurozone Collapse: V-Shaped Recovery Mirage Is Gone

Eurozone Economy Collapses 3.8% in the first quarter, the worst on record.  Spain (-5.2%) and France (-5.6%) GDP were much worse than Italy (-4.7%).

Economist Daniel Lacalle offers his thoughts on the European economy in a YouTube video. 


Daniel Lacalle✔@dlacalle_IA

EUROZONE COLLAPSE

The V-Shaped Recovery Mirage Is Gone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO_RxjESCk4 … YouTube at 🏠 ‎@YouTube


What LaCalle says about the Eurozone also applies to the US. 

What’s Next for America?

For a 20-point discussion of what to expect, please see Nothing is Working Now: What’s Next for America?

No V-Shaped Recovery

Here’s the correct viewpoint: The Covid-19 Recession Will Be Deeper Than the Great Financial Crisis.

Simply put, a quick return to business as usual is not in the cards.

Inflation or Deflation?

Meanwhile, the debate over inflation or deflation continues.

Will it be Inflation or Deflation?

If you believe the answer is inflation, then you do not understand the importance of credit and demand shocks. Click on the link for discussion.

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