The markets were looking for signs that the transitory inflation period was coming to an end. They didn’t get it when the June CPI number came in much hotter than expected. In his podcast, Peter Schiff talked about the latest price data and said it reveals the dirty little secret – all of this talk about transitory inflation is a ruse. Even worse, despite what the markets seem to think, there’s nothing the Federal Reserve can do about it.
The mainstream narrative is that the Fed will soon admit that inflation isn’t transitory. At that point, it will raise interest rates and taper its bond-buying program to fight rising prices. But this narrative ignores the elephant in the room – the ever-increasing national debt.
In June, the US government ran another big deficit of $174.16 billion, continuing the trend of overspending and massive budget shortfalls.
The US Budget Analysis shows the deficit or surplus of the US Federal Government. A deficit occurs when spending (outlays) is greater than income (receipts). When the US Budget is in deficit (which it has been for over 2 decades), it accounts for one of the two components of the Twin Deficits. The trade deficit accounts for the other component which was previously analyzed for May 2021. To cover the deficit, the government borrows money from the public (or from the Fed). The latest borrowing report was reviewed in the June debt analysis.
For the sixth month in a row, Consumer Price Index (CPI) data came in much higher than expected. But the question remains: how long will the Fed keep up the “transitory” inflation narrative? And when they do abandon this storyline and acknowledge inflation, what can the central bankers really do about it?
The CPI surged 0.9% month-on-month in June. It was the biggest monthly price increase of the year, blowing away expectations of a 0.5% increase. Stop and think about that number. Prices rose nearly 1% in a single month.
Many variables can drive the price of gold and silver. These include Fed meetings/speeches, inflation data, jobs numbers, risk appetite, etc. Some people speculate that the price is suppressed and manipulated by the banks and Fed. While coordinated suppression is not impossible, there are other more probable explanations for gold and silver price action. This price action manifests with changes in Open Interest in futures contracts traded on the Comex.
Gold has served as a lifeline for Indians pummeled by the economic storm caused by the government response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indian government’s response to the first wave of COVID-19 ravaged the economy. As a result, many banks were reluctant to extend credit due to fear of defaults. In this tight lending environment, many Indians used their stashes of gold to secure loans. As Indians battle the second wave of COVID-19, many Indians have now turned to selling their gold outright in order to make ends meet.
Consumer prices have been rising precipitously this year. If you annualize the Consumer Price Index through the first five months of 2021, you get a CPI increase of over 6%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continues to push the narrative that inflation is transitory, but not everybody buys into this storyline. On the Wolf Street Report, Financial Analyst Wolf Richter said Powell’s temporary inflation is turning into an “inflation spiral.”
What do you do when that stimulus money runs out? You whip out the credit card.
Consumer debt was up 10% in May, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, and we saw a big jump in credit card balances for the first time since February 2020.
There has been a growing sentiment in the markets that inflation isn’t transitory and the Fed is going to eventually have to tighten monetary policy to deal with it. The International Monetary Fund fed the narrative last week when Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned of a “sustained” inflation rise in the United States. This comes after a June Federal Reserve meeting that many perceived as a turn toward hawkishness. But in his podcast, Peter Schiff said the Fed is like the boy who cried wolf when it comes to fighting inflation and the markets are bracing for the wrong impact.
The US Government is on an unsustainable debt trajectory. Even though the Federal Reserve has acknowledged this fact, most mainstream figures consider it a distant problem or even not an issue at all. The argument highlights that debt fears have raged since the debt crossed $1T decades ago and no negative consequences have materialized. This analysis digs into the detail of the debt to show why the US Government is at much greater risk than even a few years ago.