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Thread: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

  1. #61
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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by metalman View Post
    grantham's overrated.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/def...lly-2010-07-20

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulbert
    ANNANDALE, Va. (MarketWatch) -- The gold bugs acquired a formidable opponent earlier this week.
    He is Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist at Boston-based GMO, a money management firm. His quarterly letters to clients are "must reads" on Wall Street, in much the same way that Warren Buffett's annual letters to shareholders are endlessly dissected and analyzed.



    In his just-released letter, Grantham wrote: "Well, I, for one, am more or less willing to throw in the towel on behalf of Inflation. For the near future at least, his adversary in the blue trunks, Deflation, has won on points. Even if we get intermittently rising commodity prices, which seems quite likely, the downward pressure on prices from weak wages and weak demand seems to me now to be much the larger factor."



    To be sure, Grantham up until now hasn't been a die-hard inflationist. But, by his own admission, he previously had been "mesmerized by the potential for money supply to increase dramatically, given the floods of government debt used in the bailout."
    If you say so, metalman.
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Breakfast with Dave 7/21/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by ROSENBERG
    FED’S ‘ALTERNATIVE’ INFLATION MEASURES SLOW
    A couple of the ‘alternative’ inflation measures produced by regional Fed banks show that deflation, not inflation remains the primary threat. The Cleveland Fed’s Trimmed-Mean CPI measure slowed to 0.8% YoY in June from 0.9%, the slowest rate ever since they began producing these data. Another measure from the Dallas Fed, the trimmed-mean PCE inflation rate remained at 0.9% in June (again at the lowest levels ever).
    JN emphasis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenberg
    Japanese Investors Snap Up U.S. Bonds (page 20 of the FT). For all that talk about a foreign buyers’ strike... fuggetaboutit!! In the nine weeks to July 8, Japanese investors have bought a net $88.3 billion in foreign bonds, mostly U.S. bonds. This is a great article (if you’re a bond bull in particular). The article quotes one portfolio manager saying, “no one in Japan is afraid of low rates ... The reasons to buy bonds — economic risks, regulation, deleveraging, risk of policy mistakes — all these themes are very common ones for Japanese bank portfolio and asset liability managers.”
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    • AUGUST 2, 2010

    Big Investors Fear Deflation

    Bill Gross Among Those Bracing for Possible Decline in Prices: 'It's Happening'


    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000..._LEFTWhatsNews
    Quote Originally Posted by G Zuckerman
    Some of the world's leading investors are becoming more worried about deflation and are re-shaping their portfolios to prepare for a possible period of falling prices.

    Bond-fund heavyweight Bill Gross, investment manager Jeremy Grantham and hedge-fund managers David Tepper and Alan Fournier are among the best-known investors who are bracing for a possible bout of deflation, a development that could cripple global economies and world stock markets.
    .
    .
    At Pimco, Mohamed El-Erian, the firm's chief executive and co-chief investment officer, says "the risk of a deflationary spiral has increased, but it is still not the most likely scenario."

    He says investors need to prepare for an unusually wide range of possibilities. The risk of so-called fat tails—or extreme outcomes—including a bout of prolonged deflation, are "not insignificant."
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    All this talk of deflation is simply a platform to get us all ready for QE II etc, IMO.

    Say the FED monetizes Treasury debt by creating FRNs (or their electronic equivalent) our of thin air and buys debt from the treasury.

    Now the fed gov spends this money on direct income transfer payment to individuals, procurment contracts to SME and large corporates, and interest on existing obligations. Will their be inflation b/c of this monetization? I don't see how unless and until the foreign holders of dollars and treasuries repatriate/sell en masse. And given the large involvment of foreign sovereigns in the hold of US debt, and control of their own currencies, I begin to understand finally, what iTulip has said in one way or another, that inflation is a political decision (and it looks like it may not be mostly up to us anymore).

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by vinoveri View Post
    All this talk of deflation is simply a platform to get us all ready for QE II etc, IMO.

    Say the FED monetizes Treasury debt by creating FRNs (or their electronic equivalent) our of thin air and buys debt from the treasury.

    Now the fed gov spends this money on direct income transfer payment to individuals, procurment contracts to SME and large corporates, and interest on existing obligations. Will their be inflation b/c of this monetization? I don't see how unless and until the foreign holders of dollars and treasuries repatriate/sell en masse. And given the large involvment of foreign sovereigns in the hold of US debt, and control of their own currencies, I begin to understand finally, what iTulip has said in one way or another, that inflation is a political decision (and it looks like it may not be mostly up to us anymore).
    latest ej tells how they did it in 2009...

    But as we’re explained, the most effective way to increase inflation expectations is by depreciating the currency. No such official policy will ever be stated, but an influential economist, a Princeton pal of Bernanke and Krugman, recommended it in a paper that greatly influenced my thinking about deflation since it was published in January 2003: Escaping from a Liquidity Trap and Deflation: The Foolproof Way and Others, Lars E.O. Svensson:
    Currency Depreciation

    Even if the nominal interest rate is zero, a depreciation of the currency provides a powerful way to stimulate the economy out of the liquidity trap (for instance, Bernanke (2000); McCallum (2000); Meltzer (2001); Orphanides and Wieland (2000)). A currency depreciation will stimulate an economy directly by giving a boost to export and import-competing sectors. More importantly, as noted in Svensson (2001), a currency depreciation and a peg of the currency rate at a depreciated rate serves as a conspicuous commitment to a higher price level in the future, in line with the optimal way to escape from a liquidity trap discussed above. An exchange-rate peg can induce private-sector expectations of a higher future price level and create the desirable long-term inflation expectations that are a crucial element of the optimal way to escape from the liquidity trap.

    A currency depreciation has proven to be an effective tool for fighting deflation in the past. As Bernanke (2002) notes: “A striking example from U.S. history is Franklin Roosevelt’s 40 percent devaluation of the dollar against gold in 1933–34, enforced by a program of gold purchases and domestic money creation. The devaluation and the rapid increase in money supply it permitted ended the U.S. deflation remarkably quickly. Indeed, consumer price inflation in the United States, year on year, went from −10.3 percent in 1932 to −5.1 percent in 1933 to 3.4 percent in 1934.”

    Several papers have suggested that the central bank depreciate the currency by general foreign exchange intervention; that is, by buying foreign-currency assets (foreign Treasury bills) and selling (paying with) domestic currency. This process increases the supply of assets denominated in domestic currency and reduces the supply of assets denominated in foreign currency. If domestic- and foreign-currency-denominated assets are imperfect substitutes, this process induces a depreciation of the domestic currency.
    When the U.S. faced a deflation spiral in 2009 did the Fed follow Svensson's "foolproof way" to stop a liquidity trap in its tracks?


    A large scale increase in U.S. official holdings of foreign bonds has never occurred until 2009


    Quick results: dollar appreciation stopped and reversed

    Inflation versus Deflation Tournament...

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Thanks.
    I'm still confused as it looks like their holdings return to "nominal" soon thereafter, i.e., it looks almost zero sum with respect to foreign asset holdings?

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by vinoveri View Post
    Thanks.
    I'm still confused as it looks like their holdings return to "nominal" soon thereafter, i.e., it looks almost zero sum with respect to foreign asset holdings?
    the trick is make the markets think the usa gov't is selling $$$ billions in foreign currency for dollars... then buy like nuts ... big surge then take it back . hey... better than waiting 3 yrs then depreciating the currency 40% for real.

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by vinoveri View Post
    Thanks.
    I'm still confused as it looks like their holdings return to "nominal" soon thereafter, i.e., it looks almost zero sum with respect to foreign asset holdings?
    The story I heard (no clue if it's correct, or if I even remember correctly) was these swaps of Dollars for other nations Treasuries were short term assists to some other central banks who were short of Dollars at the peak of some crash back then. Too many investors were selling Dollar denominated assets to raise cash. The U.S. Fed was just playing your friendly local spawn shop to their fellow central banks, providing short term cash and holding some collateral in the interim. I didn't figure this was done to depreciate the Dollar.
    Most folks are good; a few aren't.

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    The single pundit I read most is David Rosenberg, and were it possible to determine who has most used the words "deflation" or "deflationary in the past six months or so, I would wager it is Rosenberg.

    In his today's note he discusses a lot about what he thinks bond yields will do in response to Bernanke's current stance and based on Bernanke's previous statements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenberg
    So, Bernanke et al are now going to be increasingly targeting longer-term interest rates as a means to revive growth, mitigate double-dip risks and avoid a potentially destabilizing deflationary experience – a “thin tail” event, perhaps, but one that carries with it a higher economic cost than the Fed Chairman is willing to bear.


    If you think that it is completely nutty to think that yields cannot go to microscopic levels, even with large-scale government debts, then consider that in the past, at the peak of bull markets in bonds (the ultimate lows in yields), the curve gets so flat that the average spread between the long bond and Fed funds is 100 bps (and 25bps between long bonds and 10-year notes). It would seem that just as the BB sliver in the corporate bond universe was the laggard with the greatest return potential, within the Treasury curve (Canada curve too since the long end trades more off the U.S. rate structure than what the Bank of Canada does ... or doesn’t do) it would seem that the long end (again, the laggard) carries with it the most compelling total return opportunity (inflation expectations are still far too high).
    The crux of Rosenberg's discussion is that he believes there is a lot of potential gain via cap gains and interest payments from the 30-year Treasury bond. He suggests it could gain 30% were it to reach the yield of 2.5%.
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
    The single pundit I read most is David Rosenberg, and were it possible to determine who has most used the words "deflation" or "deflationary in the past six months or so, I would wager it is Rosenberg.

    In his today's note he discusses a lot about what he thinks bond yields will do in response to Bernanke's current stance and based on Bernanke's previous statements.



    The crux of Rosenberg's discussion is that he believes there is a lot of potential gain via cap gains and interest payments from the 30-year Treasury bond. He suggests it could gain 30% were it to reach the yield of 2.5%.
    jim, 2 questions. 1. how will you know when to sell? 2. what about the scenario espoused by ej et al that there will be a sudden currency crisis or inflationary blowoff, which might leave you with nominal bond gains measured in itty bitty dollars?

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    I am not positive that I have ever bought anything that I knew absolutely when I would sell it with regard to locking in profits. I suppose many of us have some ideas that we get from somewhere as to how things will play out with various investments, and for me sometimes I am correct and sometimes not. My impression is that the resolution of the over-indebtedness of the US and world will take some years to play out, and that inflation is further away that most readers at this site probably think (not that I could possibly know what most readers here actually think about anything).

    With regard to EJ, I stopped reading EJ, even his freebie comments, some while ago. Whatever I have known about what EJ thinks now or in the past has not been of particular importance to my making gains with my investments over the four years I have read here. Perhaps contrary to many who read and post here, I do not think EJ offers anything of particular importance to the health of my investments.
    Last edited by Jim Nickerson; 08-12-10 at 01:59 PM.
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
    My impression is that the resolution of the over-indebtedness of the US and world will take some years to play out, and that inflation is further away that most readers at this site probably think
    It makes sense to me that bonds are in a bubble. Financial instruments in order of market size: first stocks, second housing, third bonds; the bond market is last because it's the largest. Financial bubbles require government participation and Helicopter Ben will keep inflating the bubble until it pops. Sure, money can be made chasing bubbles, but (as JK said)
    how will you know when to sell?

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    My impression is that the resolution of the over-indebtedness of the US and world will take some years to play out
    My take is that the powers that be, starting from the IMF on down, are playing up the problem of the U.S. debt in order to justify "austerity" a bit down the road. Austerity is when we're all even poorer than we are now, except for the Banksters, because our first duty is to pay them more money, whether we can afford it or not.

    The powers that be have played this game many times with other nations these last few decades. When a nation depends on someone else's currency (such as on the Dollar or Euro) to make debt payments and to purchase imports (esp. food and oil) then that country can get in a dreadful squeeze if it gets overly indebted.

    The U.S. does not have this essential problem. So long as the supply of Dollars in actual active circulation remains semi-stable and so long as the Saudi's accept Dollars for Oil, then the Dollar's dominance is not seriously threatened. The Fed can exchange a trillion Dollar credits for someone else's trillion Dollars worth of Treasuries and it really makes no difference, so long as that someone else sits on the money, just as they had been sitting on the Treasuries. Treasuries and Dollars even pay about the same interest!

    When we are in the process of the grandest debt deleveraging in human history, and no one wants to lend to anyone except to those who don't need it and don't want it, then that money sitting on Banksters balance sheets might as well be put in a Time Capsule.

    Austerity it shall be, though the powers that be will have to demoralize the American public quite a bit more to get there. Ugly.
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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePythonicCow View Post
    My take is that the powers that be, starting from the IMF on down, are playing up the problem of the U.S. debt in order to justify "austerity" a bit down the road. Austerity is when we're all even poorer than we are now, except for the Banksters, because our first duty is to pay them more money, whether we can afford it or not.

    The powers that be have played this game many times with other nations these last few decades. When a nation depends on someone else's currency (such as on the Dollar or Euro) to make debt payments and to purchase imports (esp. food and oil) then that country can get in a dreadful squeeze if it gets overly indebted.

    The U.S. does not have this essential problem. So long as the supply of Dollars in actual active circulation remains semi-stable and so long as the Saudi's accept Dollars for Oil, then the Dollar's dominance is not seriously threatened. The Fed can exchange a trillion Dollar credits for someone else's trillion Dollars worth of Treasuries and it really makes no difference, so long as that someone else sits on the money, just as they had been sitting on the Treasuries. Treasuries and Dollars even pay about the same interest!

    When we are in the process of the grandest debt deleveraging in human history, and no one wants to lend to anyone except to those who don't need it and don't want it, then that money sitting on Banksters balance sheets might as well be put in a Time Capsule.

    Austerity it shall be, though the powers that be will have to demoralize the American public quite a bit more to get there. Ugly.
    Hey, Cow, is there any actionable strategy in all that comment? If so, I failed to catch it.


    There should be a "quote of the day" thread on iTulip.

    Here is the quote of the day as far as I am concerned: The problem with guys like me (and hundreds of others) who write/talk about markets is that if any of us really had a lock on the future the last thing we would be doing was writing about it. We would be trading it and getting rich.

    Bruce Krasting wrote that.

    http://brucekrasting.blogspot.com/20...ion.html#links

    The piece linked above is worth reading in its brief entirety, the caveat being is that one does not know who is the friend of Krasting and whose remarks Krasting shares with any would be reader. The unknown guy speculates that the DJI could hit 7000 by 12/31 and that :we see 1%-handle 10yr and 2%-handle 30yr at some point" in 2011.
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    deleted, got posted twice, sorry.
    Jim 69 y/o

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    Hey, Cow, is there any actionable strategy in all that comment? If so, I failed to catch it.
    Aw heck, man, all that brilliant analysis and you want an "actionable strategy" as well ?

    My current plan is two fold:

    1. Hunker down for a long lasting economically depressing time,
    2. while working with others to gain as much insight as we can, the better both to oppose the fraudulent oligarchy and to create a healthier society and economy instead.

    I have no particular advice on how to invest large globs of money, nor do I have the large globs that would motivate me to think too hard about that problem.

    The purpose of my previous post:
    My take is that the powers that be, starting from the IMF on down, are playing up the problem of the U.S. debt in order to justify "austerity" a bit down the road.
    was not to provide a plan, but to provide a warning. The ruckus over the exploding U.S. debt is part of a pitch to sell us down the river into austerity. Don't fall for it.
    Most folks are good; a few aren't.

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    Default Re: "The risk, if not the probability, is that deflation lies ahead." 7/10/2010

    Quote Originally Posted by jk View Post
    The fed is already making noises about ceasing to pay interest on excess reserves. This action, in combination with a forthcoming q.e. ii, will move liquidity out of fed deposits and into the real economy, likely into financial assets first as the banks prefer to game the financial markets rather than make loans. The money will then slosh elsewhere.
    The Fed is currently paying interest on both required and excess reserves:
    http://www.federalreserve.gov/moneta.../20081006a.htm

    I believe the unstated goal of that program was to help replenish bank capital. When loans go into default, they destroy bank capital. If capital levels drop below the required minimums, a bank must be closed. Through programs such as the Term Auction Facility (TAF), the Fed was able to temporarily exchange certain bank assets for cash. That cash became bank reserves, which now earn interest; and interest income (less expenses) becomes bank capital. Before such a program (or one of its successors, such as TARP), there was no mechanism for the Fed to inject capital into a bank. The bank is actually just using certain assets as collateral for loans from the Fed, and those loans have to (in theory) be paid back at some stage. In fact, loans through TAF were originally intended to be short-term only.

    That's the basis of my hypotheses as to why banks "aren't lending": because they are obligated to buy back those assets from the Fed. If they were to make loans, that would reduce the amount of excess reserves they have available for that purpose, and of course any losses against those loans would aggravate the problem even further.

    In addition, are you sure that excess bank reserves can be invested in the stock market? I know that required reserves can't be (they have to be held in the bank's account at the Fed, or as vault cash), but I'm uncertain about excess reserves (though excess reserves can of course be loaned to other banks through the Fed Funds program). Even if they can be, once again, I would expect banks to be very conservative with those funds, since they are still obligated to pay back loans from the Fed.

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