I wish I could say that I am surprised that Ben Bernanke’s policies are failing, but quite frankly nothing this Fed does ceases to amaze me any longer. His latest folly of QE2 is having profound effects already and it hasn’t even started yet! Unfortunately, it is having its impacts in all the wrong places. The other day, Richard Fisher remarked:
“In my darkest moments, I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places.”
Welcome to your darkest moments Mr. Fisher. The one thing we can positively confirm about QE2 is that it has not created one single job. But what has it done? It has caused commodities and input prices to skyrocket in recent months. Reference these 10 week moves that have resulted in the Fed already causing “mini bubbles” in various markets:
- Cotton +48%
- Sugar +48%
- Soybeans +20%
- Rice +27%
- Coffee +18%
- Oats +22%
- Copper +17%
Of course, these are all inputs costs for the corporations that have desperately cut costs to try to maintain their margins. With very weak end demand the likelihood that these costs will be passed along to the consumer is extremely low. What does this mean? It means the Fed is unintentionally hurting corporate margins. And that means the Fed is unintentionally hurting the likelihood of a recovery in the labor market.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.