It's amazing to me how many pundits out there still think that inflation is coming back. That money printing can solve the world's massive debt problems.
Why can't they see reality? Why can't they see the facts?
Combined, the world's major central banks have printed some $10 trillion of new money since 2008. Yet ...
Fact #1: There's no inflation in sight. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the annual rate of inflation in its 36 members is a meager 0.56 percent.
In the European Union, overall inflation is running at half the OECD rate at just 0.28 percent.
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But that disguises the problem. Why?
Because in many European countries, like Greece, Italy, Poland, Ireland and even Finland — there's no inflation at all — and instead, there's outright deflation, with Greece leading the pack of course, with prices now falling at a -2.14 percent annual rate.
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Heck, even prices in Switzerland, known historically for price stability, are falling at a -1.03 percent annual rate.
Fact #2: There's no wage inflation. To have consistent across the board inflation, one must also have wage inflation. Indeed, historically, some of the highest inflation rates are caused largely by wage inflation. Yet today, there is none.
According to the International Labor Organization, based on latest data wage inflation (globally but excluding China) is running at a mere 1.1 percent. Hardly the stuff that can stoke inflation.
Fact #3: There's no commodity inflation. As I've been documenting for you all along, there's no commodity inflation. We're in the opposite: Commodity DEFLATIION. Just consider this chart of the Global Commodity ETF (CRBQ) — a basket of equity securities that mimic the performance of the world's biggest, global commodity producers. Companies like Monsanto, ExxonMobil, Archer Daniels Midland, Chevron and more.
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Despite all the money printing, commodity prices — and the shares of companies that produce them — have been sliding for four years now.
Worse, the plunge is now accelerating!
Fact #4: The supposed leading indicator for inflation, gold, is in a bear market. If gold is such a great leading indicator of inflation, then why is it still in a bear market?
Why has it lost 40 percent of its value since its high in September 2011? Since all that money printing occurred?
It's simple ...
A. There is no inflation. And ...
B. Gold is NOT the inflation hedge that you think it is!
Indeed, as I have said all along, gold's best role is as a hedge against collapsing governments. That time is coming — in the not-too-distant future — and then gold will finally shine again. But that time is not yet here.
Fact #5: Despite all the money printing, the U.S. dollar is soaring. The Fed has printed roughly $4 trillion since 2008 and yet the dollar is 34.4 percent stronger than it was when the printing began!
If you're like most investors, or you listened to most pundits, this one really has your head spinning. After all, almost everyone told you that when the Fed prints money, the dollar loses purchasing power and goes down in value in international markets. Right?
Wrong. The fact of the matter is this. The value of the U.S. dollar isn't solely dependent upon how many dollars are circulating or how many new ones are being printed.
The dollar's value also isn't dependent upon interest rates, per se. Instead, the dollar's value is more a reflection of ...
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A. What's happening in the rest of the world.
In a nutshell, if a major portion of the world, like Europe, is in worse shape than the U.S. — then the dollar will get a boost.
B. Capital flows. Part and parcel of the above, but also geo-political in nature.
When there's rising troubles in other parts of the world — as we have been seeing ever since I warned you that the war cycles were turning up — that benefits the dollar. Period.
C. Inflation and/or deflation. Inflation erodes the purchasing power of the dollar. But there is no widespread inflation in the U.S. There isn't even wage inflation. So forces A and B above are bolstering the dollar, dramatically — and in spite of the money the Fed printed!
So what then, you ask, is the
driving force behind all this today?
It's this: There's simply too much debt in the world!
All told — counting both official and unofficial government debts (contingent IOUs that governments around the world don't like to talk about) —
Global government debt reaches as high as $500 trillion ...
While global gross domestic product (GDP) is merely $75 trillion.
That's a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 600 percent.
And that debt mountain, the biggest the world has ever seen, is starting to crumble.
Europe is ground zero for the collapse. Soon, it will leapfrog to other super-indebted Western governments, namely Japan and then the USA ...
In a debt and deflation spiral that will knock your socks off and change everything you thought you knew about economics and markets.
Best wishes, stay safe and stay tuned ...
The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.