Low Inflation with Low Unemployment?


COMMENT: Good day Martin;
Regarding: Market Talk- April 11, 2018
On the Fed minutes, you stated: “Interesting as they admit they are confused as to why unemployment is so low yet there is still no inflation.
I will accept the challenge and take a stab at it.

As you have stated many times trade is summed in dollars, not amount of goods. The USD has lost 7.0% in 2017 while imports have increased roughly 9.0% y/y in dollars. China, Mexico, and Canada make up 45% of U.S. imports, but all three countries’ currencies have been in lockstep weakening while other EM currencies have strengthened. Retail Sales increases y/y are up 4% since 2011 which may be due to a strengthening labor market but not enough to raise margins on the products sold.
Did I pass the test? Please grade.
RH

REPLY: I give you an A.  Everything is interlinked and we have to look at the full-spectrum. Typically, inflation unfolds when there is CONFIDENCE in the future. Hyperinflation takes place when CONFIDENCE in government collapses. We are dead center. There is no real CONFIDENCE in the future so people are spending less and saving more (hoarding) so there is no mad rush to go buy something today for fear it will rise in price tomorrow. As long as people remain unsure about the future, they will also be in the saving mode.

Add to this human tendency concerning the impact of taxes. What government refuses to look at is the bottom line. The more they raise taxes, the less disposable income the individual has in every class. Even those who are in the lower class where they do not see a tax increase are still impacted because wages will not rise when employers have to pay more in taxes and products will rise in price and tax increases are passed along. Therefore, if you earn $100 and take home $80 before a tax hike and now you take home $70, your disposable income is reduced and inflation is suppressed

Can Governments Dictate to the Free Markets?


QUESTION: Martin,
Thank you for your work and I really enjoy reading your blog. I had a conversation with someone in the hedge fund world and thought he had a very good thought/point on government bonds. He suggested that to prevent a collapse, the government would mandate that retirement accounts hold a certain percentage in government bonds. It will be a way to tax or force a purchase of debt. Maybe you have commented on this before and I missed it, but what do you think of that possibility? Pensions, 401k, and IRAs will have requirements to get the preferential tax treatment.

Thanks again for your insights.

B

ANSWER: The USA is the least of the problem. The huge crisis is in Europe. Many nations already mandate the majority of pensions must invest in government bonds. Even the US Social Security system is 100% in government bonds. The problem is that interest rates are at historic lows. Pensions need 7% to 8% on to remain solvent. Forcing 100% of all pensions into government bonds will not prevent the crisis coming. The pensions will still collapse.

This is why Europe is trying to take the Euro market away from London. They know it will crash so they want it within their control so they can outlaw shorting the Euro as they have done with Eurozone debt.  What they are doing is reverse the free market and politicians desire to isolate the Euro as if it were the Russian ruble during the Soviet era.

Instead of facing our problems and dealing with it, they are really moving to control and regulate the free market to remove its freedom. Despite the fact that the currencies of China and Russia during the communist period were not free markets, communism still collapsed. You cannot prevent the economy from ignoring the economics of reality. Regulation will always fail.

The Theory of Inflation is Completely Wrong


QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Armstrong

Firstly, thank you for your insights and forecasting. I am not really in a position to properly capitalize on them, but all information is useful.

The Labour government of New Zealand is conducting a taxation review. They have called for submissions and although I realize mine won’t make a jot of difference to the outcome I will try.

In a recent blog, and more as a footnote than content, you alluded to a system whereby income taxation was abolished, and the government printed the money for it’s expenses. Would you please flesh the concept out a little with regard to the checks and balances and effect on foreign exchange?

I have spent some time thinking about an all-encompassing transaction tax to replace all taxes that are not punitive (eg. tobacco and alcohol). I assume you would think this terrible, but I have not read any arguments as to why this would be so, only “it would be terrible”.

Your thoughts on this would be most helpful and appreciated.

Kind Regards

R

ANSWER: The assumption that an increase in the money supply is the root of all inflation is simply a theory that does not stack up to history. If we look at the Roman Empire, between 241BC and 68AD, the death of Nero, the Roman monetary system for that segment of 309.6 years was incredibly stable. The government minted the coinage and used it to pay its expenses. In today’s terms, we would say the government just printed money rather than borrowing it. Indeed, the Roman government had no central bank nor did it have a national debt.

Because the coins were struck from dies that were made by hand, there are subtle differences that allow us to determine how many dies were in use at a given time. We know from testing how many coins can be struck from one die before it breaks on average. By multiplying that number by the known dies, we can them determine the introduction of new money into the economy took place on an annual basis. During the Republican period, there was a moneyer who was in charge of minting the coins. We still have this tradition today.  Here is a new $1 bill with Steven Mnuchin’s signature as Secretary of the Treasury the same as the Roman coins were signed by their moneyer for that year. (see above denarius). Traditions from Rome remain in place still today with the signature of the treasurer being the moneyer.

 

The Roman denarius was the most secure currency in the world at that time for 309.6 years before any debasement begins under Nero in 64AD. The reason for that debasement appears to be linked to the Great Fire which destroyed much of Rome and the rebuilding costs were tremendous. Since there was no state borrowing, Nero began the debasement of the coinage reducing the weight of the gold Aureus and the silver was reduced from 97.5% purity to 93.5%. He was increasing the money supply by issuing more coins with the same amount of silver.

 

Therefore, all the research that I have conducted demonstrates that inflation is by no means tied to the increase in the money supply, which is the entire reason nations borrow today. They think borrowing rather than printing is less inflationary. That is not true if the debt can be used as money.

The debt they create is simply now used as collateral for loans and it is, therefore, increasing the money supply with a two-tier system whereby the debt is simply money that pays interest. That is actually how the United States reintroduced paper money to fund the Civil War. The entire term “Greenback” referred to paper money issued that no longer paid interest so all that was on the reverse was green ink and no table of interest payable on the currency depending on how long you held it. In other words, paper money was reintroduced in the USA as a form of circulating bond.

At times, the national debt of just about every major nation today has reached 70% of which is attributed to accumulative interest expenditures. As interest rates rise, the national debts will explode and because of this bogus theory of inflation tied to an increase in money supply, they will then raise taxes to try to reduce deficits. This will further create a Great Depression as deflation surges. The more people do not trust the government, the more they will hoard their wealth and fear to invest.

The ECB has engaged in quantitative easing for nearly 10 years without producing corresponding inflation. People will HOARD money if they have no faith in the future defeating the theory that an increasing in the money supply will produce inflation. Only when people no longer trust the government and flip believing that prices will rise, then they will spend the currency now for it will buy less tomorrow. It boils down to what people simply believe will happen tomorrow.

This entire crisis we face is very predictable yet there is nothing we can do to prevent it from crashing our economies. All hyperinflations take place when the confidence in government collapses.

SPD to Impose Marxism on Germany


The SPD in Germany is a left-wing socialist party that still believes in exploiting the rich in true Marxist fashion. Now that the SPD gained power in a coalition with Merkel, the German economy is in perfect alignment with our Economic Confidence Model pointjng down into 2020. The SPD leadership has made it very clear that they will raise taxes on the rich out of fairness as they see it for everyone should have the same net income at the end of the day. They call this “fairer financing of state tasks and a correction of social inequalities.”

The SPD will now push its tax policy ahead to the detriment of Germany and Europe as a whole. Despite all the historical evidence that raising taxes reduces jobs and economic benefits for the people, they just cannot escape the idea that someone has more than they do and to hell with the studies. They will also go after not just high incomes, but are looking at asset taxes and of course their most hated practice of all – leaving something for your children. They intend to raise inheritance taxes to fund state tasks which is really a code word for state pensions.

So far, the SPD has not publicly stated which citizens are the rich. This has always been a huge problem. Even in the USA, the definition of the rich started at $5 million and has moved down to $250,000, and then it has moved down to a household income of $250,000. The easy way to raise taxes is to constantly redefine who are the rich by lowering that definition and then apply it to household income. The day most likely will come when it is applied to children earning income while still living at home. The hard internal struggle to create a new the grand coalition with the CDU will have a devastating impact economically upon Germany. The SPD now finally gets control to impose their socialist agenda.

House of Lords Tries to Overturn BREXIT


The upper house in Britain has overruled the people trying to keep the UK in the EU which would destroy the British economy. The upper House of Parliament backed calls to remain in the EU customs union after Brexit. The House of Lords voted 348 to 225 to amend the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill in a real insane move. This will now return to the House of Commons where the defeat is likely to spur renewed opposition to the whole BREXIT issue.

The amendment would now require the government to report to Parliament by October 31st on exactly what steps it has taken to remain in the customs union.  This vote clearly shows that the House of Lords is seriously out of touch with economic reality. London is the financial center and it is THE market that dwarfs all of Europe combined. The entire posturing of Brussels to try to take trading the Euro away from Britain is based upon the fear that they can not control the Euro. They have outlawed shorting government bonds and they would like that power over the currency as well.

 

By tinkering with the Free Trade portion, they are disrupting the entire process and laying the seeds to overturn BREXIT entirely. Thank God Maggie is not here to witness these machinations. She was devastated when her cabinet stabbed her in the back to try to take the pound into the Euro. Had it not been for the attack on the pound which forced it to leave the ERM, Britain would have been completely destroyed by  John Major’s government. They just do not comprehend what Europe is all about – Maggie did!

The Bubble of 1825 was Also a Contagion


The Most Profitable Canal of the 19th Century Today is a Tourist Cruise

Besides the speculative bubble that resulted in the Panic of 1825 involving the imaginary country of Poyais, when such a bubble unfolds, there is often a contagion. The events that led to the Panic of 1825 also resulted in the Canal Bubble, but this was rather different and quite distinct. Here there was the Loughborough Canal Navigation Co. which consistently paid the highest dividend of any canal company in England and it was the leading share at that time domestically. In 1824 its share price actually hit £5000, which was an incredible amount of money. Their share price never split and the annual dividend reached £200. Shareholders were getting paid a dividend that was MORE than what the had paid for the share, to begin with. It was not a huge float. There were only 70 shares even available. Nevertheless, there was trading in these shares that left behind price data.

Panic-1792Since the Loughborough Canal was so profitable, interestingly enough there was active trading so the shares were rather liquid well into the latter 1800s. They began paying a £5 dividend in 1780, which by 1793 reached £30. It was 1793 which was the first high in the Canal Bubble, which was not alone. The early warning signed appeared even in the United States with wild speculation in the shares of the Bank of the United States create at first a Panic of 1791. The price swings from its original Loughborough Canal Navigation Co price of par 100, rose dramatically in a bidding war reaching 195 followed by a When When the Bubble burst in the Poyaisthe Panic of 1825 took place collapse back to 110 with a reaction rally to 145.

The Panic of 1792 in the United States was the first financial bubble and crisis to take place involving real estate. It was a combination of land speculation and stock speculation that resulted in William Duer (1743-1799), a lawyer from New York City who helped to draft the New York State Constitution and served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1778 and 1779, sentenced to debtor’s prison where he died. Alexander Macomb (1782-1841) was an American merchant who was one of the richest men in New York City whose home was rented to George Washington for his Presidency. He would write to a friend, William Constable (1752-1803) an international merchant trading between England and American ports. In his letter of April 1792, he lamented that he lost everything in “less than three months” and would be sent to debtor’s prison and never regain his fortune.

The real estate speculation dominated the United States whereas in England it was speculation involving land for digging canals. However, after this initial flurry into shares of canal companies which never really panned out, the Loughborough Canal Navigation Co in England was the leader, but it was very real. The shares saw wild price swings that would also result in numerous people suffering a complete loss of their wealth on speculation. The dividend reached £110 by 1818 and then soared to £200 in 1824.  The dividend was now far more than the shares originally sold for. Shares in Loughborough Canal stock, which were £100 back in 1776, had soared in value to over £300 during the Canal Bubble in 1792. However, as the dividends skyrocketed, so did the price. The share price reached £2400 in 1819 and then exploded to £5000 going into 1824.  Unlike BitCoin, this was real and not anticipation of the distant future.

When the Bubble burst in 1825 by the speculation in the imaginary country of Poyais, like the Long-Term Capital Management Panic of 1998 when Russian bonds collapsed, people needed cash. Profitable ventures such as the Loughborough Canal Navigation Co were liquidated to raise money to cover losses elsewhere. The CONTAGION was born – selling good assets to cover the losses in others. Thereafter, the price of Loughborough Canal shares continued a steady decline as the speculative atmosphere collapsed. Today, the most profitable canal probably in history is a lovely cruise for tourists.

Using the Global Market Watch


The Global Market Watch (GMW) is PURELY an alert system. It is not intended to be a trading tool. It is simply an alert to allow you to see the entire world collectively and is only a pattern recognition model EXCLUSIVELY The last entry is dynamic and it will change during the course of that period (weekly to yearly) until it is final with the close of that period. It merely reflects what the pattern would be if the week to year had closed that day. We never buy or sell on this model since it is ONLY an alert and thus a confirming tool. Reversals and Arrays are the only forecasting methods that provide price and time. Th GMW is just an alert which is better on some more developed markets than less traded instruments. It is also more reliable on the higher monthly time levels up to yearly for there the patterns are less complicated. One the daily level, what is astonishing has been that this is an AI system which is constantly learning and has therefore identified more than 50,000 patterns so far. The mere fact that there are so many patterns that it has identified demonstrates the complexity of markets and how impossible it is for a human to actually forecast a market consistently. I have always found the long-term term easier to see than the short-term.