This post is gonna be short and sweetâ€”and scary:
Back in late August, I argued that hyperinflation would be triggered by a run on Treasury bonds. I described how such a run might happen, and argued that if Treasuries were no longer considered safe, then commodities would become the store of value.
Such a run on commodities, I further argued, would inevitably lead to price increases and a rise in the Consumer Price Index, which would initially be interpreted by the Federal Reserve, the Federal government, as well as the commentariat, as a good thing: A sign that â€œthe economy is recoveringâ€, a sign that â€œnormalcyâ€ was returning.
I argued thatâ€”far from being â€œa sign of recoveryâ€â€”rising CPI would be the sign that things were about to get ugly.
I concluded that, like the stagflation of â€˜79, inflation would rise to the double digits relatively quickly. However, unlike in 1980, when Paul Volcker raised interest rates severely in order to halt inflation, in todayâ€™s weakened macro-economic environment, that remedy is simply not available to Ben Bernanke.
Therefore, I predicted that inflation would spiral out of control, and turn into hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar.
A lot of people claimed I was on drugs when I wrote this.
Now? Not so much.
In my initial argument, I was sure that there would come a moment when Treasury bond holders would realize that they are the New & Improved Toxic Assetâ€”as everyone knows, there is no way the U.S. Federal government can pay the outstanding debt it has: Itâ€™s simply too big.
So I assumed that, when the market collectively realized this, there would be a panic in Treasuries. This panic, of course, would lead to the spike in commodities.
However, I am no longer certain if there will ever be such a panic in Treasuries. Backstop Benny has been so adroit at propping up Treasuries and keeping their yields low, the Stealth Monetization has been so effective, the TBTF banksâ€™ arbitrage trade between the Fedâ€™s liquidity windows and Treasury bond yields has been so lucrative, and the bond market itself is so aware that Bernanke will do anything to protect and backstop Treasuries, that I no longer think that there will necessarily be such a panic.
But that doesnâ€™t mean that the second part of my thesisâ€”commodities rising, which will trigger inflation, which will devolve into hyperinflationâ€”will not occur.
In fact, it is occurring.
The two key commodities that have been rising as of late are oil and grains, specifically wheat, corn and livestock feed. The BLS report on Producer Price Index of commodities is here.
Grains as a class have risen over 33% year-over-year. Refined oil products have risen just shy of 13%, with home heating oil rising 18% year-over-year. In other words: Food, gasoline and heating oil have risen by double digits since 2009. And the 2010-â€˜11 winter in the northern hemisphere is approaching.
A friend of mine, SB, a commodities trader, pointed out to me that big producers are hedged against rising commodities prices. As he put it to me in a private e-mail, â€œWe sometimes forget that the commodity markets arenâ€™t solely speculative. Most futures contracts are bought by companies who use those commodities in their products, and are thus hedging their costs to produce those products.â€
Very true: But SB also pointed out that, hedged or not, the lag time between agricultural commodities and the markets is about six-to-nine months, on average. So he thought that the rise in grains, which really took off in Juneâ€“July, would hit the supermarket shelves in Januaryâ€“March.
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Contributed by Mac Slavo of The Daily Sheeple.
Mac Slavo is co-creator of The Daily Sheeple, an alternative media venue for breaking news, opinion, commentary and information. Mac is also the founder of the popular SHTFplan.com community oriented website which aims to help individuals understand and prepare for troubling times. Wake the Flock Up!