I normally don’t repost zero hedge’s stuff unless it is exceptional – but this weekend we have three such, so here they are, for the record if nothing else:
I’ve noted before that the powerful disinflationary trend, a symptom of underlying economic weakness, was being largely treated as insignificant. This will not continue.
Inflation has fallen to 1.1% in the USA and 0.7% in the Eurozone and we are now perilously close to deflation. Reflation is needed to relieve debt burdens throughout society and in doing so to bolster corporate equity. Investors are cheering the direct impact of QE on their equity valuations, but ignoring its failure to produce sufficient nominal-GDP growth to reduce debt. In a market where such bad news has been seen as good news (as it leads to more QE.), the reality of QE’s failure will become bad news as we head towards deflation.
When US inflation fell below 1% in 1998, 2001-02 and 2008-09, equity investors saw major losses. If a similar deflation shock hits us now, those losses will be exacerbated, since the available monetary responses are much more limited than they were in the past.
“Be Brave – Take your money out of the markets and go to cash.”
“Once the impurities of QE are flushed from the system, we can go back to investing in a world that is understandable”
I sure hope so.
Thus far there has been no collapse. However, that is equivalent to the man who jumps off the Empire State building and is heard to say as he flashes by the fortieth floor: “So far, so good.” His fate was sealed when he jumped. Similarly, so is our economy’s. Economics has its own gravity. It is as powerful and immutable as that of physics.
“So far so good” is not acceptable for an economy. There has been no economic recovery since one was falsely declared in June of 2009. The distortions and mis-allocations imposed on the economy for the last several decades are cumulative and have finally reached that stage where they can no longer be covered up. The myth of a recovery is getting harder to maintain.
A complete cleansing of the mal-investments, distorted incentives and regulatory burdens must occur before a true recovery can take place.