M1+M2 Update, Or Does The Deflation/Hyperinflation Debate Hinge On The Propping Of Shadow Monetary Aggregates?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/16/2010 20:39 -0500
Together with the Fed's balance sheet, we are now convinced that the second most important developing metric for the economy is a granular analysis of the key public monetary aggregates: M1+M2. Within a month we also hope to develop our own definition of M3, to supplement such work elsewhere, in order to provide an independent opinion on what the true monetary growth is, now that increasingly more people are discussing the threat of outright hyperinflation. But before we get there, here is our first breakdown of M1 and M2 data. As a reminder, M1, or the monetary base, consists of the i) Currency in Circulation, ii) Demand Deposits, and iii) Other Checkable Deposits (technically it also includes roughly $5 billion worth of Travellers Checks each week, but this is merely a remnant of a bygone era and it rarely if ever changes). In the most recent week, total M1 was $1,700.7 billion, a modest decline from the prior week mostly due to a $12 billion drop in Other Checkable Deposits. Beyond pure M1, there are also i) Savings Deposits at Commercial Banks, ii) Savings Deposits at Thrifts, iii) Total Small Denomination Time Deposits and iv) Retail Money Funds. All these, in addition to the items listed under M1, make up M2, which closed the week ended September 8 at just over $8.7 trillion for the first time in history. For those who look at M2 as an indication of just how much liquidity is sloshing in the system, and use it as a proxy for inflation, the attached chart must be rather troubling.
Another week in which the M2 jumped to a fresh all time high, increasing by $30 billion W/W to just under $8.7 trillion. This was only the fourth largest weekly jump in this broad money aggregate in 2010, with the prior biggest ones clustered just around the time of the Greek "out of court" reorganization and the flash crash in May. This was also the 8th sequential increase in the M2 in a row. Oddly enough this occurred even as the Monetary Base (NSA) declined by $11 billion to $1.983 trillion. Currently, the M2-MB ratio stands at 4.4x, close to its all time lows, with the recent decline purely a function of the modest contraction in the Fed's balance sheet as MBS had been rolling off for the past 4 months. With QE Lite in play, expect the Fed's Balance sheet to remain flat, which will likely mean that the ratio of the Fed's asset to the Monetary Base will remain more or less unchanged at its elevated ratio of 1.15x (with a tendency toward declining), compared to the historical average of around 1.00. Note the (as expected) inverse relationship between the M2-MB ratio and the total size of the Fed balance sheet, as the monetary base has exploded courtesy of excess reserves, without this number actually hitting M2. Is the recent leakage in M2 higher, coupled with a contraction in MB the critical step that all the inflationists have been dreading (yet at the same time expecting)?
Once again, presented without comment.
The "M" is there. Now all the Fed needs to get is to find the velocity that goes with it. However, with GDP now realistically declining, the latter is proving to be quite problematic for the Chairman.