Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FOMC Minutes Indicate Huge Additional Monetary Inflation Ahead

FOMC minutes for the March 17-18 meeting are out. The Fed painted a doom and gloom scenario, failed to see the stock market run right in front of their eyes and have no fear of inflation occurring as a result of their massive money printing. From the minutes:

In the forecast prepared for the meeting, the staff revised down its outlook for economic activity. The deterioration in labor market conditions was rapid in recent months, with steep job losses across nearly all sectors. Industrial production continued to contract rapidly as firms responded to the falloff in demand and the buildup of some inventory overhangs. The incoming data on business spending suggested that business investment in equipment and structures continued to decline. Single-family housing starts had fallen to a post-World War II low in January, and demand for new homes remained weak. Both exports and imports retreated significantly in the fourth quarter of last year and appeared headed for comparable declines this quarter. Consumer outlays showed some signs of stabilizing at a low level, with real outlays for goods outside of motor vehicles recording gains in January and February. Financial conditions overall were even less supportive of economic activity, with broad equity indexes down significantly amid continued concerns about the health of the financial sector, the dollar stronger, and long-term interest rates higher. The staff's projections for real GDP in the second half of 2009 and in 2010 were revised down, with real GDP expected to flatten out gradually over the second half of this year and then to expand slowly next year as the stresses in financial markets ease, the effects of fiscal stimulus take hold, inventory adjustments are worked through, and the correction in housing activity comes to an end. The weaker trajectory of real output resulted in the projected path of the unemployment rate rising more steeply into early next year before flattening out at a high level over the rest of the year. The staff forecast for overall and core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation over the next two years was revised down slightly. Both core and overall PCE price inflation were expected to be damped by low rates of resource utilization, falling import prices, and easing cost pressures as a result of the sharp net declines in oil and other raw materials prices since last summer...

In the discussion of the economic situation and outlook, nearly all meeting participants said that conditions had deteriorated relative to their expectations at the time of the January meeting. The slowdown was widespread across sectors. Large declines in equity prices, a further drop in house prices, and mounting job losses threatened to further depress consumer spending, despite some firming in the recent retail sales data and forthcoming tax reductions...Overall, participants expressed concern about downside risks to an outlook for activity that was already weak. With regard to the outlook for inflation, all participants agreed that inflation pressures were likely to remain subdued, and several expressed the view that inflation was likely to persist below desirable levels.
Bottom line: The Fed has no clue as to how powerful monetary policy can be. They don't understand how quickly it can turn things around, and they further fail to understand the tremendous number of seeds they are planting for price inflation.

With this attitude the Fed is likely to continue aggressive money printing into the early stages and middle stages of a money induced inflation. Short-term the stock market will boom.

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