The Game Of Chicken: Collision, Blood and Bones

April 8, 2011

Throughout the history of nations, monetizing the budgetary excesses of governments has proven to be a direct path to economic perdition. Having already peeked inside that door, I feel strongly that we must now shut it, lock it and throw away the key. -Richard Fisher-Fed Governor

The following chart says it all. The Fed’s aggressive Treasury monetization has been the causa proxima (90-percent correlation) to the peddle-to-the-metal Minsky Meltup in commodities. I suspected this would be the effect but confess I did not believe the Fed and government could be so irrational and stupid as to attempt it, especially with the blowback evident by year end. Though I am one of the most persistent critics of Fed rabble, this exceeded even my worst fears and nightmares. This is what Bernanke refers to as “temporary” inflation. Nor did I anticipate the markets ignoring such clear and present danger either. The transmission of this inflation disease appears to take about six months, which corresponds to the MIT price survey I have been using. It, too, now shows that inflation is in full swing.



The question now: When does the meltup switch into a full-fledged meltdown of the global economy? In spite of all warning signs that the Fed has ignored over the past few months, the switchover is now transmitting at such a rapid pace that it could happen in either one great shock or in a series of tsunamis. In my view, the 320 level on the CRB was more than enough to trigger the switch, and it corresponds with the first riots in Tunisia and then Egypt. If the Fed continues its purchases, we can calculate that each new $100 billion of Treasury purchased will add about 5 percent to the commodity index and $7 to oil. It takes four weeks for the Fed to purchase $100 billion in Treasuries. What a game of chicken being played out and right before our eyes! You can sense the collision, flying glass, blood and bones at almost any moment. If the Fed desists or scales down its Treasury buying, the stark trillion dollar question becomes who will buy them?

Chart- Click to enlarge


One Response to The Game Of Chicken: Collision, Blood and Bones

  1. Lloydie on April 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Really good analysis.

    I believe after the end of QE2, there will be demand for bonds (albeit at lesser levels) as people move from risk assets to defensive assets. IMHO.

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