Friday, August 29, 2008

Crashing Money Supply Numbers Signal Depression

It is now clear that Ben Bernanke has no clue as to how to control the money supply.

We have been commenting in recent weeks regarding the slowdown in money supply. It has been growing at approximately 2.5% (M2SA) over the last three months on an annualized basis, earlier this year it was growing at double digit rates. This is a dramatic downturn. The numbers out yesterday show no end to the money growth slowdown, in fact, three month annualized growth (M2SA) has dipped further to 2.2.%.

While there is a lot to be said for a no growth money supply that results in a recession to clear the system, the Fed doesn't believe this and neither does Bernanke. They are eternal money pumpers, who consistently want to prop up the economy and never have a recession. Thus, it is truly bizarre that they would allow money growth to collapse. They simply have their eye on the wrong ball. They are watching the Fed Funds rate and believe they are providing huge amounts of liquidity to the system because of the 2.0% Fed Funds target. But the fact that money supply at this target rate is not climbing suggests that the real interest rates must be lower.

Indeed, the actions of M1 suggest this is exactly the case. Since what is climbing is M1. Three month annualized M1SA is growing at 5.8%. And what is exploding is demand deposit money (a part of M1). Three month annualized demand deposits are growing at 9.5%. This suggests there is huge fear in the system, and depositors prefer keeping their money in demand deposits as opposed to M2 components such as saving accounts and retail money market funds, which are displaying no growth. Clearly, this situation tells you that depositors prefer what they perceive is safety over yield.

Only a much lower interest rate would reverse the current situation, or perhaps non-sterilized loans and purchases of bank collateral provided by those using the Term Auction Facility. If this isn't done soon then the economy and stock market will worsen by leaps and bounds, including a major eye opening stock market crash.

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