The Case against Commodities and Emerging Markets

From Behavioral Macro
February 20, 2013 - 10:50pm

Commodities as a group have been underperforming equities for about six months now. The correlation between the two groups has been grinding lower. Even more important, I think the underperformance of commodities—and by extension emerging markets—will persist for some time. Hang on. If the backdrop is improving growth expectations and continued, if not increased, global central bank base money expansion, why have they underperformed and why should it continue? Here’s my answer. Misunderstanding Monetary Policy This is going to sound bad so I’m just going to say it: Most investors and commentators have a deeply flawed understanding of monetary policy. Very few have any direct experience in this complex issue area. Many equate printing money with the money supply. They think changes in base money drive currencies. Most haven’t internalized that the money supply in a modern monetary system is endogenous (i.e. created by banks and risk appetite, not the central bank). It is for these reasons people feared inflation, higher Treasury yields and a collapse in the dollar in response to the Fed’s exceptional measures. Remember stagflation? Me neither. None of these things happe...

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