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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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