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Central Bank Monitor as of 10/18/2017

Each month, we track the monetary base for the world’s major central banks. Changes in the monetary base may have an effect on the prices of financial assets such as stocks and bonds.

Notwithstanding a modest retrenchment in October and November (2016), the central banks we cover continue to create money at an astonishing rate. We think the most profligate money printers are Europe and China.

Here is the data through the end of the last month:

What we are reading on 10/17/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
Stock Returns And Tips Yields
Focus What Distinguishes Trading
Strategy Is Not A To Do List
Positive Signs For US Retirements
The Pessimists View Of US Retirements
Cities And Suburbs Are Becoming Pretty Similar
Trump And Stocks: What Gives?
Rallys Relentless Bid Registering Records
How The US College Went From Pitiful To Powerful
Want To Ditch Social Security Numbers Try Blockchain
First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing The Nature Of Society
The 10-10-10 Method Make Decisions Like Warren Buffett And Ray Dalio
Ben Bernanke Is Worried, Maybe We Should Be
The Most Important Thing That Counts in Investing is Character
Why The Cost Of College And Student Loan Debt Won’t Go Down
Globalization Is Poverty: “The Endgame Is Painfully Obvious”
Proposed Tax Changes Could Make 529s More Flexible
Why current market valuations are not justified by interest rates
The price to book magic formula investment strategy

What we are reading on 10/10/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
The Many Virtues of Simplicity
New Neuroscience Reveals 2 Rituals That Will Make You More Mindful
Death, Taxes, and Mean-Reversion?
Tactical, But When?
Suggestion of a New Currency Factor Model
High Yield Investing: Corporate Bonds versus Equities
Why Does Larry Swedroe Hate Dividends?
Here’s how your investments can survive a world of trouble
Real M0 Money Supply’s Trend Is Positive For First Time Since 2016
A Tiny Country proves why Bitcoin can never be banned
Kyle Bass on Greece, Puerto Rico and Cryptocurrencies
There’s more to Sonoma County’s illegally granted pension increases
The Hated Dollar Resurges. But Why?
California’s Housing is Bleeding Out and We Apply Band-Aids
Value About To Outperform Growth
Why market valuations are not justified by low interest rates.
The Logic of Risk Taking
How to be Rational about Rationality

What we are reading on 10/3/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
Value investing theory v. practice
Compound Your Face Off
What will happen to value investing?
Driving Down Costs
Investors expect the stock market to decline. Most are not doing anything about it.
Riding The Wave Of Managed Futures
A more efficient running sneaker?
When Should You Stop Putting Food In Your Mouth Each Night?
The college degree is being replaced by something better.
Venture capital for value investors
Factor Olympics: Q3 2017
TAA vs buy and hold in overvalued markets
Are cost pressures increasing?
Mesmerizing 30 Day Timelapse At Sea
Should You Graduate College in Three Years?
Prices Paid Signal an Inflationary Spike is Coming
6 Fast Facts About 529s
Equifax fallout
Blissful delusion

What we are reading on 9/26/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
Are Asian Hedge funds popular?
Why Workers Are Losing To Capitalists
Political Forecasting Is For Losers
Disruption coming to the lending business?
Can self-driving cars succeed in India?
Solar power is getting cheap.
Retail stock investors are bullish
Little Things Mean A Lot
Two million investment strategies
Surviving the behavioural arms race
Will The Fed’s Rate-Hike Plans Eventually Trigger A Recession?
McMaster Says US Has “Four or Five” North Korea Scenarios, “Some Are Uglier Than Others”
Bill Blain: “Oil Could Change Everything”
California pension reform – the San Jose model
“There is nothing riskier than the widespread perception that there is no risk.” –Howard Marks
How to Forecast the Future Like a Master Value Investor
It Gets Ugly in Catalonia

Central Bank monitor as of 9/11/2017

Each month, we track the monetary base for the world’s major central banks.  Changes in the monetary base may have an effect on the prices of financial assets such as stocks and bonds.

Notwithstanding a modest retrenchment in October and November (2016), the central banks we cover continue to create money at an astonishing rate. We think the most profligate money printers are Europe and China.

Here is the data through the end of the last month:

 

 

What we are reading on 9/12/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
Book Review: Big Money Thinks Small
The Implications Of Low Implied Correlations
How To Start A Blog In The Most Cluttered Marketplace In History
Med School Grads Go To Work For Hedge Funds
What is Escheatment?
The College That Produces Founders At 3 Times The Rate Of Stanford
This Is Why Wework Thinks Its Worth 20 Billion
Gridiron Grit
Hedge funds trading Irma
John Boyd
Yet Again by Howard Marks
Americans Are Losing Faith In College Degrees
Klarman Returns Money?
The world is becoming desperate about deflation
Catalonia’s Independence Showdown Nears, Investors Fret
Finally the Contrarian Warning from Small Investors
‘Contango Killer’ ETFs Planned
Research Affiliates: Time Diversification Redux
Behind the Potemkin Village
Are You Sabotaging Your Portfolio?

What we are reading on 9/5/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
Where Money Goes to Die
Competition and Cooperation in Mutual Fund Families
Global Equities Profit Margin Trends
Why Don’t Fund Investors Sell Winners And Hold Losers
Reasons Not To Own The Market Portfolio
The Most Dangerous Trap For Stock Pickers
The Purpose Imperative
Sell disciplines for value investors
The coding bootcamp shakeout…
The Great Equity For Debt Swap
Valuations and mean reversion
Why We Should Really Stop Trying To Contact Aliens
Why Fake News Spreads So Fast On Facebook
A Simple Way To Be More Assertive Without Being Pushy
Be Different
Winner Takes All
How Solar Panels Got So Cheap
Winning The Battle Against Smartphone Addiction
How You Walk Could Flag Mental Decline
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs May Lower Heart Attack Risk Study Finds
Why You Need Be Doing Burpees
Work Out Early
New Neuroscience Reveals 3 Secrets That Will Make You Emotionally Intelligent
The Correlation Structure of Anomaly Strategies
The August jobs report smacked of late cycle deceleration
What Will Markets Do if Congress Pushes US into Default?
Now Capex?
Let’s Talk About Shrinkage (Again)

Inflation monitor as of 8/30/2017

Inflation has been trending downwards for decades.  We think the following factors have created this long-term trend:

  • an aging population that buys less
  • wage competition from third-world countries, due to globalization.

With talk of border taxes and rolling back globalization (at least partially), can we assume that the downward inflation trend will continue from here?  We don’t know, but we intend to track the numbers.  This post reviews a wide range of market-based and statistically derived measures of inflation.

Recent indicators suggest some softening of inflation.

Our takeaway:  the annual rate of inflation is probably 1.5%-2.5%.

Backward-Looking Measures

Consumer Price Index (CPI) – changes

The CPI is calculated by the government.  More than a few investors view the index with a degree of skepticism.

CPI:  +1.77%

Median CPI:  +2.08%

Core CPI:  +1.71%

PCE deflator:  +1.46%

GDP deflator: +1.25%

Sticky CPI:  +2.14%

Trimmed Mean PCE:  +1.25%

Producer Price Index (PPI) – changes

The PPI is calculated by the government.  Some investors regard it with suspicion:

Finished Goods:  +2.34%

Wages

Wages are very important because they account for such a large portion of the cost of goods and services.

Average hourly earnings:  +2.46%

An increase in average hourly earnings does not translate into an equal amount of inflation.  Increases in productivity can offset (entirely or partially) the inflationary effect of higher wages.

Billion Prices Project

The billion prices project estimates the annual rate of inflation by using prices posted by online merchants.

As of the last publicly available data point, BPP estimates the U.S. inflation rate at annualized rate of about +0%.

Purchasing Manager’s Index

The Institute for Supply Management publishes the results of a monthly survey of their members, including a price diffusion index.  A diffusion index doesn’t tell us the rate of inflation, but rather what percentage of the survey respondents are seeing prices go up or down.

The survey results suggest no significant inflationary pressures.

Manufacturing Prices:  62.0

Services Prices:  55.7

Forward-Looking Measures

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities

In addition to ordinary bonds, the U.S. Treasury issues inflation-protected securities (TIPS).  By comparing the yields, one can infer the inflation forecast of the capital markets.

Ordinarily one should assign high credibility to this type of information. However, caution may be appropriate given extensive central bank manipulation of the credit markets.

Five Year Forecast:  +1.56% per annum (5Y Treasury Yield5Y TIPS Yield)

Ten Year Forecast:  +1.75% per annum (10Y Treasury Yield10Y TIPS Yield)

5-Year, 5-Year Forward Inflation Expectation Rate

Inflation expected from 5 years from now to 10 years from now:  +1.94%

Michigan Consumer Sentiment

1-Year Expected Rate of Inflation:  +2.6

5-Year Expected Rate of Inflation:  +2.6

ECRI U.S. Future Inflation Gauge

ECRI -0.1

Trend-based indicators

Crude Oil:  Downtrend = deflationary pressure

Copper:  Uptrend = inflationary pressure

U.S. Dollar:  Downtrend = inflationary pressure

What we are reading on 8/29/2017

Here’s what we are reading today. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed therein and we disavow any actual or implied investment advice therein. In no particular order:
When There Is Blood In The Streets
EBITDA, EBITA or EBIT?
Asset Allocation In A Low Yield Environment
A Half Century Of Macro Momentum
Why Housing Has Outperformed Equities Over The Long Run
Time to take a social media vacation?
High equity valuations and retirement finance.
Who Really Owns American Farmland
Why The Secret To Your Success Is Who You Marry
Using Goals to Motivate College Students: Theory and Evidence from Field Experiments
Exercise Has A Cascade Of Positive Effects Study Finds
Colleges cut the luxuries
A Happy Spouse Can Make You Healthier
How Rich Roll Overcame Addiction To Become A World Class Endurance Athlete
Building Expertise Beyond The 10,000 Hours
7 Secrets That Will Make You Build Good Habits
How To Increase Motivation: 4 Secrets From Research
The Definitive Guide To Momentum Investing and Trading
Academic Research Insight: Global Equities and Overreaction
Bottom-Up Economics
Effective Networking
It Can All Change In A Day
Business-Loan Growth Continues To Slide
The Conceit of Central Bankers and the Brief Illusion of Wealth
A magic bullet to restore our brain’s plasticity?