Inflation, Hyperinflation, Stagflation and the Investment Strategy to Benefit, Richard Russell, Fed’s Lacker, Credit Tightens, Banks Sift Reserves

Welcome back, today we will continue our discussion about the inflation/hyperinflation/ stagflation trade. In my last post I illustrated how the important news stories of last week clearly unveiled the footprint of the inflation trade. You may recall that I ended with the familiar refrain: “Inflation (particularly hyperinflation) is a currency event, not an economic event.”

Therefore, the investment strategy required to profit in this environment is one that begins with the close monitoring of the U.S.$ and ends with the investment in assets that appreciate in value when the U.S.$ suffers.

What is the number one asset we expect to benefit from this developing trend? I will pause here and allow long time readers, clients of RCM, and partners of the Fortune’s Favor Family of Funds the chance to shout in unison…GOLD! And as Ed McMahon used to say, “Yes, you are correct!”

With the above investment strategy in mind, I would like to continue our journey following the footprints with a recent word from a respected investment professional. One who has vast experience and in a succinct manner uses his success through the years to impart some valuable wisdom…

The Sage, Richard Russell: “…What happens next is that the cheap dollar is dumped on the market in huge quantities. When any currency or any item is created in massive quantities, that item must fall in value. And the dollar is falling. Ah, Professor Bernanke, what do you do now? To make a currency more attractive, you raise the rates that it pays. But raise the Fed Funds and you squeeze that already gasping US economy. Also, when you raise rates you raise the cost of carrying the gigantic US debt. Total public and private debt in the US is around $57 trillion. A one percent rise in interest rates would drain $500 billion each year out of the US economy….”

Well said! So what are the Fed members saying this week? Is there a will to raise rates…?

Fed’s Lacker says he doesn’t: “think we should tighten policy today”; willing to go along with purchasing full amount of long-term securities purchases for now…Seeing rise in losses from commercial real estate lending, likely to continue for a while…

No, there is no will to raise rates and to make matters worse the bulk of the commercial real estate tragedy has yet to unfold. In fact, the tentacles of the commercial real estate problem are winding around the neck of small businesses. Without small and midsize businesses recovering, unemployment will continue to get worse further impeding the Fed’s ability to raise rates…

Credit tightens for small businesses – NY Times reports many small and midsize American businesses are still struggling to secure bank loans, impeding their expansion plans and constraining overall economic growth, even as the country tentatively rises from its recessionary depths.

Most banks expect their lending standards to remain tighter than the levels of the last decade until at least the middle of 2010, according to a survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve Board. The enduring credit squeeze appears to reflect an aversion to risk among lenders confronting great uncertainty about the economy rather than any lingering effects of the panic that gripped financial markets last fall, after the collapse of the investment banking giant Lehman Brothers. Bankers worry about the extent of losses on credit card businesses as high unemployment sends cardholders into trouble.

They are also reckoning with anticipated failures in commercial real estate. Until the scope of these losses is known, many lenders are inclined to hang on to their dollars rather than risk them on loans to businesses in a weak economy, say economists and financial industry executives.

These developments are all U.S.$ bearish. Central bankers around the world see the writing on the wall and are moving towards the exits…

Dollar reaches breaking point as banks shift reserves – reports central banks flush with record reserves are increasingly snubbing dollars in favor of euros and yen, further pressuring the greenback after its biggest two- quarter rout in almost two decades.

Policy makers boosted foreign currency holdings by $413 billion last quarter, the most since at least 2003, to $7.3 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nations reporting currency breakdowns put 63% of the new cash into euros and yen in April, May and June, the latest Barclays Capital data show. That’s the highest percentage in any quarter with more than an $80 billion increase… The diversification signals that the currency won’t rebound anytime soon after losing 10.3% on a trade-weighted basis the past six months, the biggest drop since 1991.

Meanwhile, the price of Gold has advanced roughly 22% since the beginning of the year. Our hedge fund, Fortune’s Favor Precious Metals, has exceeded the performance of gold year to date. You can review our investment philosophy as well as the quarterly and annual returns on our website:

I have received many questions recently about the sustainability of the precious metals move higher. As Gold took out the $1,000 level a menagerie of analysts and letter writers wrote of the impending doom of the Gold rally. As Gold moves above $1,050, I hear countless tales of certain failure, of commercial shorts winning the day. I LOVE THIS TALK! This type of bearishness is typical of continued momentum higher.

To sum up, I will simply reprint the headline from a recent Barron’s story: Gold Is Still a Lousy Investment By Dave Kansas. Need I say more?

Until next time, chew on this:

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” Seneca, philosopher

About Bret Rosenthal

Interpreting the news that moves markets. Principal of RCM, LLC, and founding partner of the Fortune's Favor Family of Funds
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