Category Archives: US monetary policy

13/6/2020: What Do Money Supply Numbers Tell Us About Social Economics?


What do money supply changes tell us about social economics? A lot. Take two key measures of U.S. money supply:

  • M1, which includes funds that are readily accessible for spending, primarily by households and non-financial companies, such as currency outside the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve Banks, and the vaults of depository institutions; traveler's checks; demand deposits; and other checkable deposits. 

  • MZM, which is M2 less small-denomination time deposits plus institutional money funds, or in more simple terms, institutional money and funds available for investment and financial trading.
Here we go, folks:



Does this help explain why Trumpism is not an idiosyncratic phenomena? It does. But it also helps explain why the waves of social unrest and protests are also not idiosyncratic phenomena. More interesting is that this helps to explain why both of these phenomena are tightly linked to each other: one and the other are both co-caused by the same drivers. If you spend a good part of 20 years pumping money into the Wall Street while largely ignoring the Main Street, pitchforks will come out. 

The *will* bit in the sentence above is now here.

7/9/16: Don’t Tell the Cheerleaders: U.S. Corporates Are Getting Sicker


Some at the U.S. Fed think the U.S. economy is in a rude health (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/06/federal-reserve-interest-rate-outllok-williams-wants-hike-as-us-economy-in-good-shape.html), and others in the financial world think the U.S. corporates are doing just fine (http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-corporate-profits-rise-as-gdp-ticks-down-to-1-1-1472214856). But the reality is different.

In fact, U.S. companies are bleeding cash like there is no tomorrow (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-06/buyback-addiction-getting-costly-for-s-p-500-ceos-burning-cash) and they are doing so not to support capex or investment, but to support share prices.
Source: Bloomberg

And earnings are down:

Meanwhile, earnings per share are falling (and not only in the U.S.), as noted here: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2016/09/4916-earnings-per-share.html


And here is 12 ko Forward P/E ratio for the U.S. on 12mo MA basis:
iSource: FactSet https://www.factset.com/websitefiles/PDFs/earningsinsight/earningsinsight_9.2.16

And it gets worse on a trailing basis

So, quite obviously, things are really going swimmingly in the U.S. economy... as long as you don't  look at the production / supply side of it and focus on 'real' indicators like jobs creation (unadjusted for productivity and quality) or student loans (unadjusted for risk of default) or home sales (pending or new, of course, but not existing). Which should be helped marvelously by a Fed hike, because in a credit-based economy, sucking out fuel vapours from an empty tank is undoubtedly a great prescription for sustaining forward growth.

3/3/16: Hitting Record Deflationary Expectations & Waves of Monetary Activism


In a fully-repaired world of the global economy...

Source: Bloomberg

Per SocGen, thus, all the QE and monetary activism have gone pretty much nowhere, as deflationary expectations are hitting all-time record levels. And that with the U.S. inflationary readings coming in relatively strong (see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-03/socgen-global-deflationary-fears-just-hit-an-all-time-high).

Which might be a positive thing today, but can turn into a pesky problem tomorrow. Why? Because U.S. inflationary firming up may be a result of the past monetary policy mismatches between the Fed and the rest of the world. If so, we are witnessing not a structural return to 'normalcy' but a simple iteration of a vicious cycle, whereby competitive devaluations, financial repressions and monetary easing waves simply transfer liquidity surpluses around the world, cancelling each other out when it comes to global growth.

Give that possibility a thought...

28/2/16: Every Little Hurts: U.S. Consumers and Inflation Perceptions


I have written quite a bit about the wobbles of time-space continuum in the U.S. economic growth universe in recent months. But throughout the entire process, the bedrock of U.S. growth - consumer sentiment - appeared to be relatively stable as if immune to the volatility in the fortunes of the broader economy.

This stability is deceptive. Here is a chart plotting sub-series in the University of Michigan surveys of consumer confidence:


The above shows several things, some historical, others more current.

Firstly, the impact of the crisis of 2008 and subsequent second dip in the economic crisis fortunes in 2011. These were sizeable and comparable in terms of the magnitude to the abysmal late 1970s-early 1980s period.

Secondly, a steady decline in inflationary pressures on households since the early 2012. A trend bending solidly the Fed narrative of well-anchored inflationary expectations post-QE. A trend that accelerated since mid-2014 to flatten out (without a solid confirmation) toward the end of 2015.

Thirdly, a longer view of the things: despite low by historical standards inflation, the share of U.S. households still concerned with its impact on their well being is... err... high and sits well above the average for 1993-2004 golden years of the first 'Great Moderation'.

All of which, in my view, continues to highlight the utter and complete failure of traditional fiscal-monetary policies mix deployed since 2008 by the U.S. Fed and richly copied by the likes of the ECB. It also reflects a simple fact that inflation (even at near-zero bound) remains a concern for households who experience decades of weak income growth.

If, per Tesco adds, every little helps, then, when it comes to the household wealth destroying economic policies, every little also hurts...