Pro Perspectives 4/14/20

April 14, 2020

With trillions of dollars of relief/aid/stimulus money beginning to work it's way into the economy, the early stages of the global “asset price reset” is under way.

When global policymakers print money and drop it on your doorstep, the purchasing power of the cash in your pocket goes down. Inflation. 

This inflation scenario is what many were expecting to play out from the Global Financial Crisis response.  But it didn't.  Why?  

Because of this chart …

This is the velocity of money. This is the rate at which money circulates through the economy.  And you can see to the far right of the chart, it hasn’t been fast over the past decade (therefore, no inflation). 

We get inflation, only if the recipients of the money, spend it (if it circulates).  That didn't happen coming out of the global financial crisis.  Banks used cheap/free money from the Fed to recapitalize, not to lend

Moreover, borrows had no appetite to borrow, because they were scarred by unemployment and overindebtedness.  

In the current case, by design, money is being dropped directly into the hands of consumers.  And if they can keep people confident about their financial future, job security and earning potential they should spend it. That will promote economic activity.  That will also promote (maybe massive) inflation — a global reset of asset prices.  This assumes an economic recovery comes sooner rather than later.  Billionaire Ray Dalio said earlier this year “cash is trash.”  He was early.  Now he’s right.  Be long hard assets … stocks … Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS), at the very least.