The peaceful co-existence between
commodity-related investments and most sectors which comprise the broader US
Stock indices, is drawing to a close. As inflation tightens its grip over the
world economy, US treasuries and stocks (consumer-related, tech, and
financials) will suffer while investments in tangible assets will see their
gains accelerate higher. I consider the terms "inflation" and
"currency debasement" to be largely synonymous. The bottom line is
that purchasing power is going to drastically decline. Income and wealth is not
going to keep up with rising prices for goods and services for the US consumer.
Hard asset investments will emerge as the sole safe haven against the deleterious
effects of inflation.
I find it amazing that the majority of
pundits and advisors in the financial media are still peddling tech and
financial investments. Most of these guys who proclaim commodities are in a
bubble are merely trying to persuade their audience to invest in US stocks.
"A bet against the American consumer has been a bad bet for 25 years"
is a popular refrain. Well, 25 years of living beyond our means to consume is
going to have ugly consequences. The government's highly inflationary and currency-devaluing
policies heretofore created asset bubbles, the over-flow of which created a
wealth effect that positively impacted consumption and GDP. The problem was
that the numbers masked the rot which was occurring in the real economy.
Incentives created asset growth and dependency at the expense of investment in
this country's productive capacity in tangible goods. Austrian economists refer
to this as mal-investment. Inflation is the inevitable outcome, even in a
US-centric world. But things have changed. We are on the brink of massive
global inflation, the likes of which the world has never seen. In the recent
edition of The Economist magazine an article titled "Inflation's
Back" observes, "Loose money in American and rigid exchange rates in
emerging markets are a perilous mix."
In today's globally-synchronizes world, the
same Economist article insightfully informs:
Now that this
bubble has burst, the cross-border monetary stimulus has changed direction. As
the Fed has cut interest rates, emerging economies that link their currencies
to the dollar have been forced to run a looser monetary policy, even though
their economies are overheating. Emerging economies with currencies most
closely aligned to the dollar, notably in Asia
and the Gulf, have seen the biggest price rises.
While the majority of Americans are waking up
to inflation they do not fully comprehend its global nature and effect on
commodity prices. They have yet to be converted to the bullish case for
commodities. On the other hand, pension funds, endowments, sovereign wealth
funds, and other institutional funds are converting and Congress is not
pleased. We are not a bubble. We are in the second phase of a multi-year
commodity rally that began six or seven years ago. The first phase was marked
by the early smart money trickling in. The second phase began in earnest last
year when institutional money started to pour into passive index funds. The
third phase is yet to occur and will be made obvious when thousands of mutual
funds and other investment vehicles are created, and the individual investor,
after finally losing faith in his tech and consumer stocks, capitulates and
converts over to the commodity world. Or will it?
If Congress has its way, investments in
commodities might be limited. Failures to scapegoat President Bush, OPEC, and
the energy companies (though they still valiantly try) have forced them to
point their cross-hairs on a new group of investors. They use the pejorative
term "speculator" when describing this evil cohort. This is
ridiculous and confirms that they either have no idea or interest in exploring
the real causes of our current predicament. Any attempt to devise solutions
without understanding the cause of problem is the height of ignorance and could
have devastating consequences. Investors/speculators are moving into hard asset
investments to protect themselves from the effects of the government's harmful
inflationary policies. The policies of our government have left us up a creek
and not having the means to preserve our wealth by investing in non-paper
assets would indeed take away our only paddle.
Are they trying to force us to continue to
throw good money after bad by investing in financial stocks, US treasury paper, and other US stocks?
Inflation visibly rearing its ugly head in plain view for even the most
near-sighted Keynesian economist to see, despite the laughable
government statistics, is quickly morphing into runaway freight train,
threatening to destroy your purchasing power and value of your paper assets.