In Japan it was reported that "
."..wholesale prices fell a record 6.6 percent in the year to June, as the world's No.2 economy slides deeper into deflation",In Ireland, the TimesOnline reports that
"Ireland sunk further into deflation in June as the cost of living fell at the fastest rate since the Great Depression, raising the prospect of a prolonged recession"it is deflation that is the problem.The prospect of deflation has even hit the pages of the US's WSJ Wall Street Journal:"
... falling commodity prices swept away lingering fears of inflation and fueled fresh economic concerns....Contracts on the 30-year bond saw bigger price gains, closing nearly two full points higher with yields seen below 4.25% at contract expiration. "The participants looked around and saw deflation everywhere," said James Barrett, a market strategist ...who cited falling prices in grains and metals alongside energy Wednesday
Most of us know the traditional (and well documented) truth that higher money supply growth leads to inflation rule. How can their be deflation with such a growth in the money supply?
There is no simple answer but when you couple the fact that banks are not making as many loans as they did previously and consumers are not buying as much as they did previously, you have at least the right conditions for deflation.
To make matters worse, the money being spend under the Fed stimulus packages may not be having as large of impact as had been hoped/expected. For instance consider the following article that Charlie a former student of mine sent:
Debt and Deflation - John Mauldin's Outside the Box - InvestorsInsight.com | Financial Intelligence, Advice & Research / Investment Strategies & Planning for Individual Investors.:
"...week, the most important question that an investor can ask is whether we are in for deflation or inflation. And this week we read a well reasoned piece on deflation. ...Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt give us a few thoughts on why they think it is deflation that will ultimately be the problem and not inflation we are dealing with today....
...Barro and Perotti are saying that each $1 increase in government spending reduces private spending by about $1, with no net benefit to GDP. All that is left is a higher level of government
debtcreating slower economic growth."
"....a paper written at the University of California Berkeley entitled The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a new Measure of Fiscal Shocks, by Christina D. and David H. Romer (March 2007). (Christina Romer now chairs the president's Council of Economic Advisors). This study found that the tax multiplier is 3, meaning that each dollar rise in taxes will reduce private spending by $3."
So what do you think? Inflation? Or Deflation.
This is the new poll question I included on the blog: which is more likely Inflation or Deflation?" It's off on the left. Right now Inflation is ahead 58% to 42%.
And if you are not confused enough, one scenario worth considering is short term deflation (due to lower demand), and then longer term inflation (due to higher money supply growth) when the Fed has a difficult time withdrawing money from the system.