We have long shown that "investors" whatever that term means in the New Normal - those gullible enough to put their money in Bennie Madoff, pardon Bennie Bernanke Asset Management? - have been not only reluctant to put their money into stocks, but despite week after week of artificial, low volume highs, driven entirely by Primary Dealers (and now European banks post the $1.3 trillion in LTROs, not to mention even foreign Central Banks recently buying high beta stocks) spiking the market ever higher courtesy of record reserves, but in fact continue to pull their cash out of the stock market with every thrust higher. Why, just last week another $1.4 billion in cash was pulled from domestic equity funds, nominal Dow 13,000 be damned. The truth is that the banks are desperate to start offloading their risk exposure to retail investors, and instead of selling, are furiously trying to send the market ever higher just to get that ever elusive "investor" back: just look at how much the market rose by last week, CNBC will say: do you really want to be out of this huge rally? Alas, the damage has been done: between the Great Financial Crisis, the Flash Crash, a massively corrupt regulator, rehypothecating assets that tend to vaporize with no consequences, and a central bank which effectively has admitted to running a Russell 2000 targeting ponzi scheme, the investor is gone. But what if? What if the retail herd does, despite everything, come back into stocks? After all the money is in bonds, or so the conventional wisdom states. What harm could happen if the 10 Year yield goes back from 2% to 3%, if the offset is another 100 S&P points. After all it is good for the velocity of money and all that - so says classical economic theory. Well, this may be one of those "be careful what you wish for." Because while investors have indeed park hundreds of billions out of stocks and into bonds, the real story is elsewhere. And the real story is the real elephant nobody wants to talk about. Presenting: America's combined cash hoard, which between total demand deposits, checkable deposits, savings deposits, and time deposits (source H.6), is at an all time high of $8.1 trillion.
Indicatively, this consolidated number was a modest $5.9 trillion the week when Lehman failed. In other words, in the period in which the Fed dumped $1.6 trillion in cash on Primary Dealers' balance sheets, and gave them a carte blanche to buy NFLX, AAPL, and Crude of course, which they did in keeping with the Fed's Global Put mandate, i.e., no bank will ever fail again, American consumers added $500 billion more than even the Fed parked with the banks, or $2.2 trillion.
And therein lies the rub. As a reference, America currently has about $1 trillion of currency in circulation. If, and this is a big if, the gullible US consumer-cum-New Normal investor, does fall for the oldest herding trick in the book, and not only converts their bond holdings but their cash holdings into stocks, which in turn goes right into money velocity, into currency, and thus, into inflation, America may promptly find itself with the most unprecedented inflationary outcome it has ever experienced. Because while the Fed may have control over Excess Reserves, or so it believes, via the interest charged on overnight reserves, it will have absolutely no control over the herd mentality and the avalanche of money, should it proceed to rotate not so much out of bonds into stocks, but far more importantly, out of electronic cash (which for all intents and purposes is the US M2 these days), into the stock market.
Crude at $200 will then be the least of everyone's concerns.