by Jim Rickards, DailyReckoning:
Double-digit inflation is a non-linear development. What I mean by that is, inflation doesn’t go simply from two percent, three percent, four, five, six. What happens is it’s really hard to get it from two to three, which is ultimately what the fed wants.
It’s proving extremely difficult just to get up to two. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) is the core price deflator, which is what the fed looks at. Currently, it is at about 1.6, 1.7 percent, but it’s stuck there. It’s not going anywhere. The fed continues to try everything possible to get it to two with hopes to hit three. Where the problem arises is once you get to three, the next stop isn’t four, it’s eight, and then it goes to ten. In other words, there is a big jump.
The reason is that it’s not purely a function of monetary policy, it’s a partial function of monetary policy.
It’s also a partial function of behavioral psychology. It’s very difficult to get people to change their expectations, but if you do, it’s hard to get them to change back again.
Inflation can really spin out of control very quickly. So is double-digit inflation rate within the next five years in the future? It’s possible. Though I am not forecasting it. If it happens, it would happen very quickly. We would see a struggle from two to three, and then jump to six, and then jump to nine or ten. This is another reason why having a gold allocation now is of value. Because if and when these types of development begin happening, gold will be inaccessible.
To this point, I am often approached on, “How can you say gold prices will rise to $10,000 without knowing developments in the world economy, or even what actions will be taken by the federal reserve?”
Here Is Where The $10,000 Per Ounce Number Comes From.
It’s not made up. I don’t throw it out there to get headlines, et cetera. It’s the implied non-deflationary price of gold. Everyone says you can’t have a gold standard, because there’s not enough gold. There’s always enough gold, you just have to get the price right.
That was the mistake made by Churchill in 1925. The world is not going to repeat that mistake. I’m not saying that we will have a gold standard. I’m saying if you have anything like a gold standard, it will be critical to get the price right. To this regard, Paul Volcker said the same thing.
The analytical question is, you can have a gold standard if you get the price right; what is the non-deflationary price? What price would gold have to be in order to support global trade and commerce, and bank balance sheets, without reducing the money supply? The answer is, $10,000 an ounce.
The math is where I use M1, based on my judgment. You can pick another measure if you choose (there are different measures of money supply). I use 40 percent backing. A lot of people don’t agree with that. The Austrians say it’s got to be 100 percent.
Historically, it’s been as low as 20 percent, so 40 percent is my number. If you take the global M1 of the major economies, times 40 percent, and divide that by the amount of official gold in the world, the answer is approximately $10,000 an ounce.
Now, if you go to 100 percent, you’re going to get, using M1, you’re going to get $25,000 an ounce. If you use M2 at 100 percent, you’re going to get $50,000 an ounce. If you use 20 percent backing with M1, you’re going to get $5,000 an ounce. All those numbers are going to be different based on the inputs, but just to state my inputs, I’m using global major economy M1, 40 percent backing, and official gold supply of about 35,000 tons.
Change the input, you’ll change the output, but there’s no mystery. It’s not a made-up number. The math is eighth grade math, it’s not calculus.
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