CFS Monetary Measures for July 2021

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for July 2021. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 3.9% in July 2021 on a year-over-year basis versus 4.4% in June.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Jul21.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) ALLX DIVM
2) ECST T DIVMM4IY
3) ECST –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

Bair on Finance for Kids

CFS Advisory Board Member Sheila Bair is now the author of a new series of entertaining children’s books about money called “Money Tales.”

She notes that “kids ‘get money’ at an early age, and we need to feed that inquisitiveness. Over 70% of student borrowers say they wish they had better information about debt and its burdens when they decided to borrow, and over half wish they had not borrowed at all.” She wants to make sure future generations of borrowers are better prepared.

Sheila has a hidden past as a children’s book writer. She was recognized by the Council on Economic Education, Association of Educational Publishers, JumpStart Coalition, and the Institute for Financial Literacy for her efforts to teach kids and their parents about money basics.

On September 15, the new Money Tales series will include:

Billy the Borrowing Blue-Footed Booby
https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Borrowing-Blue-Footed-Booby-Money/dp/0807508128
Princess Persephone Loses the Castle
https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Persephone-Loses-Castle-Money/dp/0807566470

Her first two books, Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock and Isabel’s Car Wash, published 15 years ago, continue to sell well.

They are available for pre-order now on Amazon, for yourselves, your friends, or anyone you know with children or as donations to schools or libraries.

Barnett Keynote on BREXIT at UK Conference on Uncertainty, Risk Measurement and COVID-19 Challenges

CFS Director of Advances in Monetary and Financial Measurement (AMFM) Professor William A. Barnett delivered the keynote lecture “Is the BREXIT Bifurcation Causing Chaos in the United Kingdom?”

Bill’s remarks explore:

  • Why is Brexit changing economic risk without a source of external shocks?
  • Mathematical properties of chaos with relevance to BREXIT and U.S. monetary policy.
  • Why chaos is not necessarily bad. It is normal in nature (weather, climate, etc.) and is relevant to science and economics. Chaos contains useful information.
  • The United Kingdom and United States economies have undergone significant structural and policy changes in the past decades rendering chaotic dynamics more relevant.
  • Meaningful policy implications stem from the existence of Shilnikov Chaos.
  • Shilnikov chaos, produced by interest rate feedback policy with sticky prices, explains the downward drift of interest rates over the past 20 years.
  • Interest rate feedback policy rules need to be augmented by simultaneous use of a second policy instrument focused on the long run to avoid unintentional downward drift of interest rates to their lower bound.

For the slide deck…
http://www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/speeches/UK_bifurcation_Barnett.pdf
For the lecture…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2URCxL5owU&ab_channel=KUDepartmentofEconomics%20

FT Letter: Investors shouldn’t bet too much on macro forecasts

Today my letter in the Financial Times (FT) responds to Howard Marks’ “Investors must not bet too much on macro forecasts.”  Marks offers a superb road map for navigating future inflation twists and turns.

However, he misses how macro rules of nature can often be measured – helping investors and public officials better achieve their respective goals.

Monetary measurements represent simply one meaningful mapping.

To view “Inflation was inevitable after the Fed fuelled monetary growth”:
https://www.ft.com/content/2f7f1bad-ed6b-4a6a-9123-0eb024541c8a

We look forward to any comments you might have.

CFS Monetary Measures for June 2021

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for June 2021. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 4.5% in June 2021 on a year-over-year basis versus 7.0% in May.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_Jun21.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) ALLX DIVM
2) ECST T DIVMM4IY
3) ECST –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

UK Invitation: Uncertainty, Risk Measurement and COVID-19 Challenges Conference

An important United Kingdom economics conference “Post BREXIT: Uncertainty, Risk Measurement and COVID-19 Challenges” is being held online on July 20-21.

CFS Director of Advances in Monetary and Financial Measurement (AMFM) Professor William A. Barnett will be delivering a keynote lecture “Is the BREXIT Bifurcation Causing Chaos in the United Kingdom?”

Other keynotes include:

  • David Aikman: Professor of Finance and Director of the Qatar Centre for Global Banking and Finance, King’s Business School, King’s College.
  • Jagjit Chadha: Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).
  • Marcelle Chauvet, Professor of Economics, University of California Riverside.
  • Costas Milas: Professor of Finance at the Management School, University of Liverpool.
  • Patrick Minford: Professor of Applied Macroeconomics at Cardiff University.
  • Federica Romei, Associate Professor in Economics, University of Oxford

The full agenda is available at
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/events/Post_Brexit_Conference_Programme.pdf

Attendance and registration are free of charge and available at
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/business/events/2021/post-brexit-conference.aspx

Congratulations to Professor Jane Binner, Chair of Finance at the University of Birmingham, and her colleagues for organizing a timely and impactful conference.

Rhodes on France / Promotion to the Rank of Commander, Legion of Honor

Congratulations to William R. Rhodes – CFS Advisory Board Chairman – for his promotion to the rank of Commander in the Legion of Honor by France.

As Bill notes, “France is our oldest ally, and the friendship between France and the United States has allowed our countries to achieve great things together and to affect the course of history and international relations.”

I was privileged to attend the ceremony and was moved by Bill’s perspective on French and American history as well as his personal engagement with France over the years.

Hence, I thought that you too might enjoy his remarks on receiving this prestigious award…
www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/speeches/William_Rhodes_Legion_of_Honor_Remarks.pdf

Now, Inflation is Clear and Global

Across the board higher consumer price inflation in the United States removes any ambiguity or doubt regarding the existence of price pressures beyond transitory or base effects.

Overall consumer prices increased by 5.4% on the year ending in June. Core inflation increased by 4.5% over the same period.  In fact, in the last 4 months, both overall and core inflation exceeded market expectations and increased relative to the previous month’s release.

The phenomenon also extends well beyond simply the United States. It is global.

A diffusion index of every inflation release relative to the prior release for 49 countries shows an upward impulse since the beginning of the year. More pointedly, a diffusion index of reported inflation relative to expectations for the same complex of countries illustrates how actual inflation has been exceeding expected inflation especially since May 2021.
(see Figures 1 and 2… www.CenterforFinancialStability.org/amfm/studies/Global_inflation_071421.pdf)

The Center for Financial Stability (CFS) has been clear about risks and financial stability implications.  Our first email on April 22, 2020 noted how the initial impulse in the signal from CFS broad money would be a period of disinflation followed by inflation.

Inflation Fears Offers the Fed a Chance to Modernize with Money
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Modernize_Money_042621.pdf
Post-Pandemic Economic Risks
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Post_Pandemic_Economic_Risks_050521.pdf

June CFS Divisia money and financial liability data will be released on August 2 at 9:00 AM ET.

The present global macro backdrop for investors and officials is one of the most challenging and complex in decades. We look forward to any comments you might have.

CFS Monetary Measures for May 2021

Today we release CFS monetary and financial measures for May 2021. CFS Divisia M4, which is the broadest and most important measure of money, grew by 7.0% in May 2021 on a year-over-year basis versus 12.2% in April.

For Monetary and Financial Data Release Report:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm/Divisia_May21.pdf

For more information about the CFS Divisia indices and the data in Excel:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

Bloomberg terminal users can access our monetary and financial statistics by any of the four options:

1) ALLX DIVM
2) ECST T DIVMM4IY
3) ECST –> ‘Monetary Sector’ –> ‘Money Supply’ –> Change Source in top right to ‘Center for Financial Stability’
4) ECST S US MONEY SUPPLY –> From source list on left, select ‘Center for Financial Stability’

Senate Subcommittee Considers Benefits of a Central Bank Digital Currency

The U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy considered testimony on the benefits of issuing a central bank digital currency (“CBDC”).

Subcommittee Chair Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) expressed support for a “well-designed” and “efficiently executed” CBDC because of its potential to “drive out bogus digital private money while improving financial inclusion, efficiency, and the safety of our financial system.” By contrast, Ms. Warren criticized cryptocurrencies, calling them a “fourth-rate alternative to real currency” and asserting that they are:

  • a “lousy” means of transacting, since their value substantially fluctuates as a result of speculative day trading;
  • a poor investment, given that there are currently no consumer protections for crypto investors, and pump-and-dump schemes “have become routine in crypto trading”;
  • substantial facilitators of illegal activity, as the secrecy component of cryptocurrencies has enabled criminals to more easily move money; and
  • “staggering” consumers of energy; she pointed to (i) the amount of energy required in “proof-of-work” mining for new cryptocurrency tokens, and (ii) the fact that Bitcoin-related energy consumption is higher than the yearly energy consumption of the Netherlands.

The Subcommittee heard testimony from the following individuals:

  • Dr. Neha Narula, MIT Digital Currency Initiative Director. Ms. Narula testified that a CBDC is not the only method for addressing the issues associated with underbanking in the traditional financial system, noting that a requirement on banks to provide free, no-minimum accounts to users might address the issue. Considering that the U.S. dollar plays a significant role in the global economy, Ms. Narula cautioned against too quickly adopting a U.S. CBDC without thoroughly determining (i) how it should be accessed and managed, and (ii) what data it makes visible, to whom and under what circumstances.
  • Lev Menand, Columbia Law School Academic Fellow and Lecturer in Law. Mr. Menand described shortcomings of the current U.S. banking system, including: (i) inaccessibility for certain U.S. households, (ii) the high cost of overdraft, deposit and minimum balance fees, (iii) slow processing times for check deposits, wire transfers and credit card payments, and (iv) complexity with respect to differing bank ledgers. Mr. Menand stated that the advent of a CBDC could address these shortcomings by, among other things, (i) expanding mainstream banking eligibility, (ii) decreasing the clearing time for payments, (iii) reducing the fees associated with banking, (iv) enhancing financial stability for businesses and institutions, and (v) decreasing regulatory complexity, considering that many of the regulations promulgated following the 2008 financial crisis were aimed at deposit substitutes.
  • Dr. Darrell Duffie, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Professor of Management and Finance. Mr. Duffie urged the United States to invest in the development of a CBDC, considering the progress that has been made internationally in similar ventures, particularly that of China’s eCNY. Mr. Duffie recommended that the United States (i) “take a leadership position” in international conversations regarding the cross-border use of CBDCs, and (ii) enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of the existing U.S. payment system.
  • J. Christopher Giancarlo, Willkie Farr & Gallagher Senior Counsel. Mr. Giancarlo promoted the Digital Dollar Project’s “champion model” proposal for a CBDC, which would involve the Federal Reserve issuing “Digital Dollars” to regulated banking entities. The former CFTC Commissioner stated that the champion model would enable the continuation of the two-tiered commercial bank and regulated money transmitter model through its deployment and recording of the Digital Dollar transition on a “new transactional infrastructure informed by distributed ledger technology.” Mr. Giancarlo asserted that the Digital Dollar would be “far superior” to Bitcoin with respect to environmental sustainability because it would not have to be mined. Rather, the Digital Dollar would be created by the Federal Reserve cryptographically and distributed electronically. Additionally, Mr. Giancarlo contended that the existence of a Digital Dollar during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 crisis would have provided a means of instant monetary relief to targeted beneficiaries. Mr. Giancarlo also noted that a Digital Dollar could be superior to competing financial instruments of foreign jurisdictions, particularly those with anti-democratic regimes that could use those instruments for surveillance purposes. He explained that it would be “in the best national interest of the United States and . . . in the interest of the world economy” to create a well-designed U.S. CBDC. One challenge, Mr. Giancarlo observed, is the ability of the United States to take a leadership role in the innovation of a CBDC, considering that “this global wave of digital currency innovation is quickly gaining momentum.”

LOFCHIE COMMENT

A U.S. dollar CBDC seems inevitable. When Senator Warren and former CFTC Chair Giancarlo agree on something, on anything, it is probably time to act. At what point does continuing to conduct studies create delays that may weaken the competitive position of the dollar in the global economy (or at least fail to capitalize on its strengths)?

PRIMARY SOURCES

  1. U.S. Senate Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency
  2. Senator Elizabeth Warren Testimony: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency
  3. Neha Narula, MIT Digital Currency Initiative Testimony: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency
  4. Lev Menand, Columbia Law School Testimony: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency
  5. Darrell Duffie, Stanford Business School Testimony: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency
  6. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Willkie Farr & Gallagher Testimony: Building a Stronger Financial System – Opportunities of a Central Bank Digital Currency