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Watch for Interest Rates to Rise Soon

The Fed’s attempt to rescue the economy using monetary policy alone has been a fool’s errand. Now they face a Sophie’s choice: (1) Do nothing and watch inflation increase, or (2) drain the excess reserves from the system and watch interest rates rise. Actually, interest rates will rise either way. Continue Reading →

Marketplace MegaFail Inflation Edition

Frankly, these statements are incredibly stupid. Inflation means prices and incomes are rising at about the same rate. Any increase in salaries will just keep pace with inflation, leaving the consumer with unchanged purchasing power. The only way people who borrow can pay back with cheaper dollars is if the inflation is a complete surprise. If the inflation is expected, it will be part of the interest rate on the loan. Finally, higher housing prices? Give me a break. Even if housing prices rose, the real net wealth in your house wouldn’t change much because the higher price level would eat up the price increase. Continue Reading →

Brazilian Interest Rates: Will They Ever Learn?

So, once again, it’s time to remind the world that the interest rate that counts is the real interest rate (corrected for inflation) in your local currency. People who don’t live in Brazil are automatically exposed to exchange rate risk when they send part of their wealth off to Rio. Continue Reading →

U.S. Retail Sales: Moving Markets by Ignoring Error Margins

“Retail sales up 0.3% in February” is what you read in the headlines. In response, U.S. stock markets moved higher. … The press release clearly states the margin of error is ±0.5%. In other words, the 0.3% estimate is meaningless. All we know with any confidence is that the actual growth rate is likely between –0.2% and +0.8%. Don’t bet the ranch on this estimate. Continue Reading →