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Tags: economy | president | stagflation | worrisome scenario

The Most Worrisome Scenario Is Still Very Unlikely

The Most Worrisome Scenario Is Still Very Unlikely

(Dollar Photo Club)

Dr. Edward Yardeni By Wednesday, 02 November 2016 11:47 AM Current | Bio | Archive


When I visited with our accounts in Boston late last week, I was asked a couple of times to describe the economic scenario that worries me the most.

I answered that while I believe it is very unlikely, a surge in inflation would be very bad news for all of us. It would force the Fed to normalize monetary policy in a more normal (i.e., aggressive) fashion.

It would force the other major central banks to reverse course and tighten their monetary policies. It would kill the bond market, which would seriously wound the bull market in stocks. In this scenario, the next recession would happen sooner rather than later.

While it may be unlikely, it is a conceivable scenario for next year if the next president can work with the next Congress to pass a massive infrastructure spending bill. I doubt that will be the result of the November 8 election, but we will soon find out. I also doubt whether the country is shovel ready.

If a huge spending program happens and succeeds in boosting the economy and inflation, then watch it all come unglued as the scenario above unfolds. In other words, the Fed may have trapped us into a slow-growth path. As Melissa and I discuss below, that path may be preordained by the forces of demography in any case.

In compiling our daily “What I Am Reading” (WIAR) list, we are seeing more articles suggesting that inflation may already be making a comeback. On our website, you can search the WIAR archive for the word “inflation.”

You’ll find lots of recent alarming headlines such as “Inflation, Long Quiescent, Begins to Stir,” “Investors Pile Into TIPS as Inflation Looms,” and “Inflation Outlook Rises Everywhere But Japan.”

Debbie and I continue to closely monitor the global inflation situation and don’t see that much has changed so far this year, other than that oil prices have rebounded somewhat. Wage inflation remains subdued, and so do overall core inflation rates.

The US core CPI and core PCED rose 2.2% y/y and 1.7% through September (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). They’ve both been around these respective readings for some time. While the Eurozone’s CPI flash estimate rose 0.5% y/y in October, the highest since June 2014, the core rate remained at 0.8% (Fig. 3). Japan’s core CPI was down 0.5% y/y through September, while the so-called core-core rate was up just 0.1% (Fig. 4).

We conclude that there isn’t enough inflation to describe the current situation as “stagflation.” However, there seems to be plenty of secular stagnation, and mounting evidence that it is preordained by the laws of demography.


Dr. Ed Yardeni is the President of Yardeni Research, Inc., a provider of independent global investment strategy research.  

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We conclude that there isn’t enough inflation to describe the current situation as “stagflation.”
economy, president, stagflation, worrisome scenario
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 11:47 AM
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