inflation monitor

Inflation Monitor – June 2017

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Inflation Monitor – June 2017 – Introduction

“The equity market continue to float on a cloud of who knows what”. | “This is not like any market anyone alive has seen before.” | “There is no euphoria, which is usually not a sign of a market peak.” | “There is enough pessimism for the market to continue climbing higher.” | “The engine seems to be running, but no one has bothered to look under the hood.” — These are just some of the comments I have heard from portfolio managers in the past month.

This month I want to discuss the topic of value. Value is a term that means different things to different people. Frequently. people use the term to describe investments that are “cheap”. Of course, “cheap” also means different things to different people.

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Inflation Monitor – October 2015

 

Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor - Summary Oct 2015

 

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – October 2015 – Introduction

The last month has been really interesting. My prediction seems to be coming true. I have stated for most of this year that the second half (3rd or 4th quarter) of this year would show the US entering into a recession. While I still believe that the US has a strong economy relative to the rest of the world. There are just too many factors bringing it down.

The powerful people in this country as well as many academic economists have been pushing for a more global economy for a few decades. Now that we have a more global economy, it is more interconnected than ever. With the benefits of this type of system, come drawbacks. Having global booms and busts is one of those symptoms.

Despite what the media personalities say on TV, the US is not an island. The US cannot decouple their economy from the rest of the world. I am not aware of this happening in any meaningful way for the past few decades. Prior to that, the global economy was not as interconnected, so any data would be less relevant. I have not looked at prior data, but I assume it has a similar theme to what we have now.

What is important to remember is that the global economy is interconnected by money flows, relative currency valuations, asset valuations, inflation, jobs and many other factors. Most countries are dependent on one or more other countries for their economic prosperity. Unless the worlds nations decide to get into a economic battle as they did going into the great depression, this dependency will not change.

While this service is called the inflation monitor, it is important to discuss the economy as well since it has such an important bearing on inflation and deflation. But as you know if you have been reading this for any amount of time, most of what is driving inflation or deflation at the moment is debt.

I do not want to be hyperbolic, but the debt bubble that exists today is extremely dangerous and when it pops, a huge amount of wealth will be destroyed. While this bubble can be managed, as it has been up to this point, the Fed is not strong enough to control the global economy’s debt.

There is one point I want to leave you with. Bear markets are dangerous, they are not a time to “make money”. The most important thing you can do in a bear market is to “not lose money”. Depending on the nature of it, this might be harder than you imagine.  Logic does not always prevail in a bear market. 2008-2009 should have taught you that lesson, please go back and refresh you memory.

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Inflation Monitor – September 2015


Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor Summary 09.15

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – September 2015 – Introduction

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output”   – Milton Friedman

This is the 12th issue of the Inflation Monitor. During the entire year that we have published this report, the trend has been deflationary. This is contrary to what many economists and fear mongers are claiming. the US has created an enormous amount of money and this should have caused inflation, yet other than the stock market, this is not the case. There are a number of reasons for this, but one thing is clear, the deflationary forces are strong and persistent.

This past month, The stock market swooned and dropped a bit more than 10% during the month…

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Inflation Monitor – August 2015

Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

inflation monitor summary

 

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – August 2015 – Introduction

The lazy days of summer are almost over. As the summer ends, the Wall Street traders and money mangers will also be going back to work. If you looked at a chart of the S&P 500 without the dates, you would not be able to tell which days were summer days and which were not. It looks like the traders have been in vacation for the entire year.

The S&P 500 has been fluctuating around 0% all year long. It is kind of refreshing to know that there is another direction other than straight up. The end of the year has a chance to be very interesting considering the speculation that the Federal Reserve will be raising rates. While I have said many times I think the Fed will lock the floating rate of 0%-.25% at .25% as a starting point, this will amount to nothing. This might even be a catalyst for the market to resume its march higher, if the Fed says that they will stop and assess the markets reaction before raising again.

The US stock market is already very overpriced according to a number of metrics, but until there is a better place for investors to put their money, it may remain expensive. The Chinese stock market has been unraveling in the past few months and this may be a catalyst to move global markets. It is too soon to tell. Keep watching Chinese markets as a sign of trouble ahead.

The rise in interest rates has cast some interesting speculation on the future movements of the stock market. I want to dispel some of the myths about the rise in interest rates. In short, historical data suggests that the stock market rises with the rising rates, but what is not explained is that the rates start rising to stop the excessive rise in the stock markets. In fact in recent history, the Fed has raised interest rates until the stock market slows. Inevitably the Fed overshoots the mark and causes the market to decline. The US has had 0% interest rates since 2009. This is a long time with low rates. I am surprised the market is not higher.

This month’s inflation monitor data once again show the US market is experiencing deflation. I have not heard more than a handful of people discussing this deflationary data. I am wondering when more people are going to recognize this fact. I suppose that will be when the markets turn, then everyone will have seen it.

I hope you enjoy this month’s Inflation Monitor – August 2015.

Kirk Chisholm

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Inflation Monitor – June 2015

Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor Summary

 

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – June 2015 – Introduction

It is officially summer and most markets are becoming more quiet. This is of course excluding the ongoing crisis in Greece. They must love the attention because they have been dragging out this “crisis” since 2011. Everyone involved in this mess (on both sides) has a reason to kick the can down the road forever, but forever will not last that long. Greece has call for a referendum vote from the people. We will find out what the people want next week.

While the US markets have been quite, there have been some disturbing signs cropping up in some of the economic indicators that we follow. These are: the velocity of money, PPI, and market cap to GDP. While many of the numbers listed above show deflation, these three are especially concerning. One interesting and potentially inflationary sign is a sharp pickup of the Baltic dry Index.

Enjoy this month’s Inflation Monitor – June 2015.

Kirk Chisholm

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Inflation Monitor – May 2015

Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor Summary

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – May 2015 – Introduction

 

This month we were a bit slow getting this out due to some website upgrades. We expect that this June version of the Inflation Monitor will be out in 2 weeks so you will get a double dose of information.

May was a month of mixed results. Some data is showing some signs of life with inflation, but others show the decline of inflation continues… albeit slowly. Based on my estimates,2 Q3 and Q4 of this year should start to show some signs of economic slowdown. While we have started to see this in the earnings numbers, due to a lot of the hedging done by large public companies, the earnings may be less impressive when those hedges expire.

The quick rise in the US Dollar and lack of QE in the US may be too much for the US economy to handle. It typically takes a few months before these effects filter down into the economy. But I xpect later this year to see the results of those changes. There are many interesting data points to consider, but the PPI is one of the most interesting this month.

Other issues which are concerning…

The effects of debt have been slowly accumulating in the US over time and have put an increasing amount of weight on the growth of the US economy. It is hard to grow out of a recession when a large amount of your revenues go to paying off interest on your debt. Maybe this can put some perspective on the balance sheet of the US.

According to the GAO, the US has net worth of -17.7T, which is higher than the -16.9T last year. If you include the 42T in unfunded liabilities, this brings the total net worth of the US to -60T. That is not small amount of money to pay back. This is a little over $188,000 per person in liabilities. I think it is unlikely that this will get paid back in anything but inflation. What if the US cannot inflate away their debts like other countries have in the past? That will put the US in an interesting position. The available options are not pretty.

While there is constant discussion about how big of a problem this it… and it is, the reality is that this won’t be a problem until it is. By this I mean that the US, as the world’s reserve currency, has a special position in that they cannot default on their debt unless they choose to. Other countries do not have that luxury.

As long as the US Dollar is desirable to the rest of the world, we can continue to play this charade as long as we want. Then one day that will change and we will be in trouble. Until then, party like its 1999.

Enjoy this month’s Inflation Monitor – May 2015.

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Inflation Monitor – April 2015

Inflation Monitor Summary – Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor Summary - April 2015

 

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – April 2015 – Introduction

Spring is finally here and with it comes the warm weather. Unfortunately the warm weather has not been able to thaw out deflation or the wintery economic chill that has gripped certain parts of the US economy and many European nations.

The CPI continues to hit negative territory on an annual basis for the second month in a row. The PPI is well into negative territory as well. This does not bode well for the US economy.

Commodity prices have also continued to show weakness. The bright spot in the US economy is housing which has been climbing for the past few months and started to pick up its pace.

There are many excuses that have been proposed for these numbers: the heavy snowfall in the North East this past winter, the significant drop in oil prices, the rising US Dollar, and more. These are all valid reasons for the drop in the CPI, PPI, and other economic data. However what I find amusing is the commentators who claim the high oil prices were a good thing for the economy, now say that low oil prices are good for the economy… Well which is it?

The stock market is not the economy”  – Author Unknown

This axiom is more important than any you will learn about the stock market. What it means is that the economy does not always lead or follow the actions of the stock market. While they are obviously related, they are not the same.

The US stock market is currently holding up well considering the negative economic data. While the two are highly correlated, they do not always act in unison. However I do expect the stock market to follow the economic trends in the second half of this year unless we see a sharp reversal in trend of the US Dollar and Oil.

In this months Inflation Monitor I have some very interested charts to share with you. Enjoy.

As always, please contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation Monitor a better tool and resource for you. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue – Inflation Monitor – April 2015.

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Inflation Monitor Monthly

 

Kirk Chisholm

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Inflation Monitor – March 2015

Inflation Deflation Composite Ranking

Inflation Monitor Summary March 2015

 

* The Inflation Equilibrium is a quick summary for the whole data series of the inflation monitor. If you don’t like statistics, this is the chart for you.


 

Inflation Monitor – March 2015 – Introduction

It is March and as of today spring is finally here. It doesn’t feel like spring. I only hope that the weather warms up so I don;t have to wear a winter parka in April.

Boston finally broke the record for snowfall this year with 108.6 Inches. The prior record was 107.9 inches in 1872. This broken record was no reason to celebrate since the Governor had to call in the National Guard to help with the snow. Having experienced prior large snow storms in the City of Boston, I can tell you that the situation this year was mismanaged. There was no reason to call in the national guard.

Boston’s lack of preparedness is much like the financial markets with deflation. Deflation has caught a lot of people off guard. A number of European countries currently have negative interest rates, Germany and Switzerland rates are negative out to 6 and 10 years. What the future holds with negative interest rates is anyone’s guess, but the idea of negative interest rates is a dangerous one if the trend continues lower.

Is the US stock market safe from global deflation?

The S&P 500 and US Treasuries are an anomaly in the global equity and bond markets. The US Treasury has the highest interest rate compared to any other developed country. The S&P 500 continues to rise despite the global deflation effecting countries and equity prices around the world.

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Inflation Monitor – February 2015

 

inflation monitor


 

Inflation Monitor – February 2015 – Introduction

It is now February and it is off to a good start with the New England Patriot winning the Super Bowl… Sorry the big game. Even if you were not a fan, it was a great game to watch up until the last play. The win helped warm the city from the cold chill of deflation setting in around the US. It has been a few months since I have started the Inflation Monitor and each of those months has been marked with deflation. I have been saying for the past few years that deflation is in our future despite all the money printing by the Federal Reserve. It appears as if this is now become apparent to everyone else. Although there are many deflation deniers out there who think it cannot happen and wont happen.

I just got back from the TD Ameritrade conference in San Diego. One of the keynote speakers was Craig Alexander, the Chief Economist at TD Bank. Normally this is one of my favorite speakers at the conference each year, however this time I noticed something different…

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Why Does Deflation Scare the Federal Reserve and Economists Alike?

why does deflation scare the federal reserve

Nothing to see here.

I just got back from the TD Ameritrade 2015 annual conference in San Diego. They always put on a high qualify event. At this event was a luncheon hosted by TD, where keynote speaker, Craig Alexander, Chief Economist at TD Bank spoke about his view of the world. I make a point to listen to him each year at the conference and I am always impressed. He is a very smart and accomplished economist. However this year was a bit different. I am still trying to make sense of it. The majority of Craig’s speech was about how the US does not have deflation and will not have it in the foreseeable future.

The first thing that popped into my mind was this clip from the movie Naked Gun. There is nothing to see here. Move along.

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Inflation Monitor – January 2015

 

inflation monitor
 

Inflation Monitor January 2015 – Introduction

I hope you had a pleasant holiday season. Now that the eggnog has run out (although probably more likely the rum), your trees and menorahs have been put away until next year, and you are getting back to work in this cold weather (what else is there to do when it is this cold except work). Lets see what the new year has brought for us as a present. In this month’s issue I will mainly be discussing oil prices and the US Dollar. The two areas which are generating the most interest.

To start the year I am going to play around with the format a bit to see what works best for people. In this months issue I am planning on breaking the bottom section of the Inflation Monitor into separate excerpts through out the month based on thoughts or ideas that I have had rather than wait until the end of the month. I will try to spread this out a bit more a see if this is a more desirable setup. While this might be a bit scatterbrained, it might get back to what this section was supposed to be: inflation monitor data, then some ideas, not a lengthy dissertation. This month was difficult to focus on much else since oil has played such a large part of the public’s interest. So we will focus more on oil and the US Dollar.

This is the first issue of the Innovative Advisory Group Inflation Monitor in 2015. We continue to receive a lot of positive feedback on our first few issues of the Inflation Monitor. As you will notice, we have taken some of this feedback and make some minor adjustments to our issues each month. As always, please contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation Monitor a better tool or resource for you.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue – Inflation Monitor January 2015.

Kirk Chisholm

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Inflation Monitor December 2014

inflation monitor
 

Inflation Monitor December 2014 – Introduction

This is the third issue of the Innovative Advisory Group Inflation Monitor. As you will notice, we have made some additional changes to the inflation monitor based on your feedback. Keep the feedback coming, since this will ultimately benefit you.  As always, please  contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation monitor a better tool or resource for you.

This month I have added the following indicators:

  • US Population

In this month’s issue I will be discussing interest rates, gas prices, Gold and Silver, and more. Given the recent sell off in the price of oil and drop in interest rates, I think it would be a good time to discuss the effects on the US economy.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of the  Inflation Monitor.

Kirk Chisholm

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The Inflation and Deflation Balancing Act

inflation and deflation

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F Scott Fitzgerald

The US has become a two choice society. We are consistently bombarded with the idea that our choices are binary. You have to vote republican or democrat, pro-life or pro-choice, for this idea or against it. Why is it that our choices in life are being limited to only two choices? Neither of which is chosen by us. Two positions in a debate are chosen and we have to choose from which one we like the best, or more commonly which one we dislike the least.

If you watch most news stations, they bring up two people to discuss an issue and usually both are extreme views, and you are supposed to pick a side. When did we become a binary choice society? During the next presidential election, we will have to choose between two people. I cannot remember the last time that I spoke to anyone who “liked” either choice. The conversation always ends up with the phrase, “yes I know he isn’t great… but he is certainly better than the other guy.” I’m willing to bet that the majority of people in the US (whether they know it or not) vote for the lesser of two evils. This means they are not voting for a candidate, they are voting against the other candidate. Really??? Our voting choices really come down to a dilemma? Our choices for the future of this country are based on who we can tolerate the most? It astounds me that more people don’t realize that they do this. But I digress,

The Inflation and Deflation Balance

The balance between inflation and deflation is much the same idea as many of our choices between two opposing ideas. It is a false dilemma. It is not a binary choice. Technically if you subscribe to the theory that inflation or deflation are measured by the CPI, then actually inflation and deflation would be measured by degrees rather than a binary choice. However, this assumes that the CPI method of measurement is an accurate measurement. What if inflation and deflation are not your only choices?

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Inflation Monitor November 2014

inflation monitor

Inflation Monitor November 2014 – Introduction

This is the second issue of the Innovative Advisory Group Inflation Monitor. We have received a lot of positive feedback on our first issue of that Inflation Monitor. As you will notice, we have taken some of this feedback and made some minor adjustments to our issue this month. As always, please contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation monitor a better tool or resource for you.

This month I have added the following indicators:

  • The Rogers International Commodity Index®,
  • US 10 year TIPS,
  • Personal Expenditure Consumption Index,
  • Real median income to the list for reference.
  • US Debt as a percentage of GDP

In this month’s issue I will be discussing Japan, Deflation, US Oil production, Gold and Silver. Given the most recent US market sell off, I think it would be a good time to discuss the other side of inflation… Deflation.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue – Inflation Monitor November 2014.

Kirk Chisholm

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