The US and other western countries including Canada, have devalued and are intentionally devaluing their currencies in a vain attempt to remain competitive in the world market.
China is now buying up pecans, about a quarter the North American production, causing the price to shoot up by about 50%. The Globe and Mail reports:
China bought about 100 million pounds (45 million kg) of pecans in 2009. That was about one quarter of the total pecan crop in the U.S. and Mexico, the world’s largest producers. And it compares with less than 5 million pounds roughly five years ago. The strong demand has sent prices for some pecan varieties soaring to $6.50 (U.S.) a pound, from $4.25 in January, according to Mr. Zedan.
Imagine when China raises the value of yuan against the dollar. When that happens all commodities will shoot up in price as there will be suddenly a billion consumers with significantly increased buying power. Meanwhile, forget about those pecan and chocolate cookies we used to eat as kids. That will become a luxury item. Food is skyrocketing in price and the Federal Reserve calls this “deflation”.
What if we made nuts the bellweather of inflation? They are certainly a better indicator than the CPI.
Monty Pelerin produced the following list on his blog today:
COMMODITY PRICE % INCREASES YEAR OVER YEAR
|Agricultural Raw Materials
|Industrial Inputs Index
|Metals Price Index
Commentators are often speaking about Gold as the mother of all bubbles. Gold is up 30% over the same one-year period. Why do people talk about a gold bubble? It would make more sense to talk about an iron ore bubble, a rubber bubble or a cotton bubble. What about the oranges bubble? The gold bubble? What gold bubble?
A debate is waging between the deflationists and inflationists. It will come as no surprise to those who’ve read my previous posts on the subject that I fall into the latter camp. I have indicated numerous times that I’ve put my money where my mouth is. In January, I was so convinced that there would be inflation, that I eventually decided to implement a strategy of holding little cash but rather oil and gas and gold mining stocks. I’ve also shorted the US dollar. This strategy is paying off handsomely so far. Besides the inflationists have many decades of contemporary monetary history to back their point of view, and the knowledge that government deficits generally feed inflation. The current Obama deficit is profligate and never seen in the US before Obama. In Bloomberg, David Reilly asks whose face should go on the $1,000,000 bill, but never suggests Obama, apparently because he is afraid to be put on the President’s enemy list.
It is true that the credit bubble was popped last Autumn, and this caused deflation. But this has been reversed. Consumers don’t see it yet because consumer goods haven’t increased in price yet. But rising prices is not the definition of inflation. One mustn’t confuse the symptom with the cause. Inflation is caused by an expansion of the money supply without a corresponding growth in real wealth (i.e., goods and services). When the supply of money is inflated, prices will rise to accommodate it. This is what is already happening to gold, oil, and the stock market. In Canada, there is an increase in real estate prices. Next, consumer prices will catch up and everyone will feel the pain when their pay cheque won’t go as far. Witness that oil is already back above $80 per barrel, gold is above 1050, and the Canadian dollar is almost en par with the dollar. These are all symptomatic of the re-inflation of the US money supply. Meanwhile, the Koreans are buying Harvest Energy Trust, a sign that the Asian, creditor nations are abandoning the dollar for hard assets in commodity interests around the world, including Africa.
Irwin Seltzer writes in a his column, “The Dethroning of King Dollar?“:
Which puts the ball right back in the Fed’s court. Unless Bernanke drains liquidity from the financial system, and shrinks the Fed’s balance sheet by winding down $2 trillion in support programs — and does so precisely when the recovery takes hold so as not to cause a relapse by moving too early — the dollar’s decline will accelerate, shattering confidence in its long-term value. One well-respected expert tells me that in two-to-five years the dollar will no longer be considered safe enough to be the currency in which the world does business. Its replacement: separate deals in local currencies — the Chinese paying for Brazil’s oil in renminbi, which the Brazilians use to purchase stuff made in China — and the International Monetary Fund’s drawing rights, bits of paper backed by a basket of currencies, including but not limited to the dollar. That would mark the end of an era that has seen world trade flourish and millions emerge from poverty. Sad.