Friday, May 16, 2014

Total Private and Public Debt Worldwide - Debt Deflation, not Inflation, is the Near Term Risk (Lacy Hunt, Van Hoisington)

"...debt deflation – not inflation – is the biggest near-term risk...the famous characterization of inflation ultimately depends on stable or rising monetary velocity… sans sufficient monetary velocity [see below], inflation does not materialize." Dr. Lacy Hunt (via Mauldin conference)

*Money Velocity*: "...the even more important velocity of money (V) rejects the argument that monetary policies are gaining traction. Velocity, or the speed at which money turns over, links M2 to the level of nominal economic activity. With the money supply expanding at 5.6% in the latest year, it would be reasonable to expect the same growth rate in nominal GDP if V were stable. Unfortunately, since 1997 velocity has been falling, and in the last twelve months it has dropped by 3% to 1.57, the lowest level in six decades (Chart 4). While velocity is influenced by a myriad of factors, the rate of change of financial innovation and lending for productive purposes affect its direction. If debt generates an income stream that repays principal and interest and creates other activities, it will tend to expand economic activity and cause V to rise. Student, auto and other loans for consumption (which represent the bulk of the increase in consumer credit in 2013) do not meet the necessary criteria, so debt is merely an acceleration of future consumption. This will tend to inhibit the borrower’s ability to increase consumption in the future. Further,  new regulations on our financial industries are discouraging financial innovation, and this will bring further downward pressure on velocity."


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