Tuesday, August 17, 2010
There's not even a hint of deflation in the producer price indices. The core index, in fact, is up at a 2% annual rate over the past six months, and at a 2.6% rate in the past four months.
Important reminder: given the still huge amount of "idle capacity" in the economy (e.g., the economy as a whole is operating at about 10% less than it could be if we were at "full employment), the conventional theory of inflation is being sharply repudiated by these numbers. We should be seeing clear signs of deflation if the conventional view were correct, but we're not. That's because inflation is a monetary phenomenon, and it only occurs when money is in excess supply. We know that money is in excess supply these days because: the dollar is very weak relative to other currencies, gold and commodity prices are rising, the yield curve is still quite steep, inflation expectations are positive, and real interest rates are low or negative. And don't forget that the Fed has pledged with its heart and soul to avoid a deflationary outcome, and they have backed up their words with over a trillion dollars of money creation. In my experience, one should never doubt that the Fed will achieve its stated goals.
I'm nothing short of flabbergasted at the persistence of the belief that we are at risk of falling into a deflation, when all the important monetary indicators are all pointing in the opposite direction.
Posted by Scott Grannis at 9:35 AM