Doug Noland: Pondering the Summers of 2012 and 2014

The gulf between inflating global securities prices and deteriorating fundamental prospects widens by the week.
I’d been awaiting a German response to all the Draghi Q.E. jubilation. It is notable that it came from Finance Minister Schaeuble and not Bundesbank President Weidmann. Expectations for aggressive ECB monetary inflation do come at the same time as the anti-German “austerity” movement becomes increasingly clamorous. At the end of the day, I still don’t see how the French, Italians and Germans (among others) share a common currency. The cultures – the views on so many things, including how wealth is created (and shared), how economies should function, and how monetary and fiscal affairs must be managed – are inconsistent and often conflicting. At some point, somebody – the “periphery” countries, the French and Italians, or perhaps the German people – will say “enough is enough – this is not sustainable.”
In this age of monetary inflationism, the Germans provide a veritable oasis of sanity. At its best, “monetary policy can only buy time.” At its worst – the current reality – over time it buys problematic out-of-control Bubbles. Why would European banks partake in higher risk lending for business investment when they can make seemingly risk-free profits buying sovereign bonds? For that matter, why would American CEOs invest in plant and equipment at home when so much “wealth” is created buying back their stock? Meanwhile, two years of massive global monetary stimulus has prolonged historic investment booms in China and throughout much of Asia. This has exacerbated Bubbles, while only worsening the global pricing backdrop and capital investment environments elsewhere. Global imbalances have worsened.
Monetary policy promised way too much back in 2012. As I’ve written repeatedly, at this stage of a most spectacular and protracted Credit cycle, monetary inflation can only make things worse. Where does it end? And not for a minute do I believe the alarming rise in geopolitical risk and instability is unrelated to years of prolonged global monetary disorder. Mismanagement of the world’s reserve currency is replete with huge consequences. Mismanagement of all the world’s major currencies is a complete fiasco.

This post was published at Prudent Bear

 

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