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Monday, October 25, 2010

El-Erian Says Quantitative Easing Will Cause Inflation


I say "Good". Inflation is necessary to unwind some of the excesses of the credit bubble over the past decade. Debt is denominated in nominal dollars and can be eroded via inflation. Particularly, inflation would help unwind the negative equity situation that many homeowners find themselves in.

Now, of course the flip-side is that this means higher interest rates and the plethora of issues that come with that. However, I think we have proven since mid-2008 that low inflation and low interest rates are not enough particularly in an environment of high consumer debt loads. The issue is if we get the sort of inflation we had in mid-2008 when commodity prices surged and had the effect of rapidly reducing real incomes. That makes servicing debt actually more difficult. To be honest, given the behavior of commodities markets so far, I am concerned about this prospect. It does seem that the excess liquidity likes to slosh in there at the moment (See the commodity charts below).

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