Where Did All The Money Go? Here!
In part driven by the 'regime uncertainty' of "authorities having dispensed with the rulebook in trying to shore up the tottering edifice of Western finance" and in part "a defensive response" to the crushing liquidity suck out of the credit crisis, as Sean Corrigan notes this week, money is distinct by virtue of the fact that 'it flows' and this transmission mechanism is clearly broken. US non-financial corporates hoarding of a $630bn mountain of money in 2.5 years (or 85% of retained earnings) have retarded the most incendiary effects of the Fed's extraordinary actions. The key issues will be whether these same corporates will begin to spend this cash, or whether they will simply rediscover an appetite for alternative, non-money assets (and the Fed should certainly take the opportunity to trim its swollen security portfolio by helping satisfy this reawakened urge, should it arise) and then, if they do, what those to whom they redirect the funds will do with them in their place. If the upshot is that there is a sizable remobilization of this money, things could quickly get very hot on the inflationary front if the transition is not managed well.