The Fed Must End QE2 on April 27th
This post is a guest contribution by Dian Chu, market analyst, trader and author of the, EconMatters.
The Federal Reserve has lost all credibility on Wall Street, and most of the American public with the absolute refusal to recognize the dire effects on asset prices that QE2 has created. But the refusal is part of the problem. It reinforces the wide spread belief of investors that the Fed is out of touch with reality, and that they sit in their Ivory Tower implementing an exceedingly loose monetary policy, with the stated goal of inflating asset prices.
The Fed has refused to even acknowledge the possibility (rather than the indisputable facts) that not only have they inflated selected asset prices like S&P 500, the Dow indexes, but they also have inflated asset prices like food, energy, and clothing which would actually hurt the economy and consumers (See Chart).
Needed – Housing and Wage Inflation
Inflation Exported Would Come Back To Haunt
It is the proverbial throwing of jet fuel on a barbeque for most of the economies. Yes, Bernanke is right that these countries had inflationary problems before based upon their undervaluing currencies. Nevertheless, this is how their economies have been set up in the global trade role that has been 30 years in the making.
These countries just couldn`t revalue their currencies near enough to still keep their role as exporting, cheap labor manufacturers, without sending the entire region into a 10-year depression which would bring the entire world into a depression not seen since the Great Depression.
Unmanageable Inflation Elsewhere
This results in making what would be a manageable level of inflation in China of around 3.5 to 4% an unmanageable level of inflation at 5.5 to 6%, and maybe even higher as the full effects of the inflation of commodity asset prices have not yet fully been incorporated and manifested in the Chinese manufacturing economy.
Long Live the Inflation Trade
This is the famous inflation trade is has been going on and off for the past 10 years by fund managers around the world. This trade has been in the investing 101 handbook for 50 plus years. And the fact that Ben Bernanke never admits to knowing about these trade dynamics in the marketplace, and how his policy initiate of QE2 actually encourages, facilitates and even mandates that fund managers around the world put on this very trade is beyond a rational explanation.
Inflationary Effects Are Transitory?
Fed Out of Touch with Reality
This “fed out of touch with reality” notion only goes to reinforce the very “Inflation /Currency Devaluation Trade” causing traders to pile even more capital into shorting the US Dollar and going long Commodities because it is only going to get worse down the line. This is what is referred to as inflation expectations.
Another interesting question for Bernanke and his Dovish colleagues, and it appears that even the more hawkish members of the Fed are still to dovish in their market comments regarding inflation. Probably because they all are in the upper income bracket on a percentage basis compared with the average US consumer, and are largely immune to the ridiculous six month rise in food and energy prices felt by the average American citizen.
The Fed can change all that on the 27th of April with either a cutting short of QE2, or an equally hawkish wording of the fed statement with a nod towards tightening sooner than previously indicated in past policy statement wording.
Everyone Worries Except the Fed
Another question for Bernanke is how come every other country is worried about inflation, including developed economy neighbor Europe, while the US doesn`t have an inflation problem? It seems the US is the only country in the entire world where inflation isn`t a problem? Does this seem logical? And if it is in fact the case, how long do you think it will stay this way, where the entire globe is experiencing inflation pressures but the US has a “transitory” inflation problem?
When Transitory Turns Self-Fulfilling
Absent of some similarly extreme deflationary event, inflation and expectations of inflation are only going to feed on themselves and become even more firmly entrenched in the economy, negatively reinforcing investors and consumer’s asset allocation and spending habits.
This all becomes self fulfilling in nature, and the real nasty part about inflation is if you don`t head it off early, once it gets even a little momentum, it becomes much more difficult to control and manage. This is where the fed is right now; they are at the cusp of losing control of their handle on inflation with their incredibly dovish stance towards inflation.
End the Denial or Lose on Inflation
Then, the inflation battle is essentially lost without equally devastating policy responses that are almost similarly as bad as the inflation effects, i.e., you have to send the economy into a recession with an abundance of tightening measures that completely destroys growth to get a handle on prices.
Needed – Hawkish & Cut Short of QE2
During his first six months on the job as Fed chairman, he did everything possible to dispel such a label, but he has more than made up for that period during the last six months regarding his outright refusal to acknowledge the exceedingly negative side effects revolving around out of control food and energy prices related to his QE2 Initiative.
The average American citizen cannot withstand another two months of “Asset Inflating” on behalf of the Fed, enough is enough, time to cut the QE2 policy initiative short.
Source: Dian Chu, EconMatters, April 24, 2011.
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