Category Archives: The Mint

Papa Francisco’s Populist Discourse and the meaning of Evo’s Gift

8/2/2015 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

During the month of July we found ourselves south of the equator in our second home, Bolivia.  It has been two long years since we have walked the earth there and much has changed.  The following are some observations made on our journey.

First off, it is obvious that money is everywhere.  From the construction of new apartment buildings to a new style of McMansions that are being erected by those who have benefited by the DEA’s absence in this country:  The Cholet.  The same increase in economic activity that we have noted in Portland is evident here in spades.  Everywhere you look, there is a new store, restaurant, cafe, or industrial park, all with the comforts of modern architecture with inimitable South American flair.

The first part of our visit coincided with the visit of the extremely popular Pope Francisco, or “El papa Francisco” as he is known here.  We arrived in Santa Cruz on July 6th, two days before the Holy See arrived.  On the 8th, we listened, along with all of Bolivia, the radio call of his descent and landing at the airport in El Alto.  The radio call resembled the call of a soccer game here, with the announcer screaming “Llegó” with the same passion that they yell “gol” when the home team scores.

As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, we are ambiguous to the activities of the Pope, who to us is simply another follower of the same Jesus, with a slightly larger following.  In other words, we do not recognize or attribute any special authority nor clairvoyance to the Catholic church that is not available to all believers.

That said, it is undeniable that papa Francisco is something special to the Catholic faithful, especially here in South America, as Francisco  (or Francis, as he is known in the English speaking world), an Argentinian (though you would never know it as he does not seem to swear like a sailor) is the first Pope to hail from the continent.

Having listened to his discourses over two days, it was obvious that Francisco is well schooled in the populist platitudes that the likes of Che Guevara awakened and contemporary leaders Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales have resurrected.

True to the populist playbook, Pope Francisco derides economic inequality and envisions a society where all elements of the economy, the productive sector, distributors, and retailers, all carry out their daily chores in harmony with mother earth and one another.  Where every child can enjoy a happy childhood, every worker enjoy a dignified position, and every elderly person enjoy a dignified retirement.

Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, welcomed Pope Francisco with a unique gift, a crucifix where in the place of the cross, Jesus of Nazareth is portrayed as being crucified on a hammer and scythe, a symbol synonymous with Socialism.

Regalo de Evo a papa Francisco
Regalo de Evo a papa Francisco

Was the Pope offended?  Hardly, you see, the artistic origins of the gift lie with a popular Jesuit priest who made what to some is the obvious connection between the Gospel and Socialist doctrine.  There is more to the story behind the gift, which you can read here:

http://www.ehagendaurbana.com.ar/2015/07/el-cristo-del-martillo-y-la-hoz.htm

We bring the whole matter up to state once and for all that the Gospel and Socialism have just one common thread:  The Gospel, or the Good News, is that God forgives, and expects us to do likewise.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  It is the most important spiritual and natural event that has ever occurred, in our lives and the lives of countless others, for it is forgiveness and forgiveness alone that unleashes the supernatural and eternal presence of Yahweh in the here and now.

To the extent that Socialism demands that mankind treat one another as they would like to be treated, it is in harmony with the Gospel.  However, any attempt to enforce what should be spontaneous acts of goodwill towards one another makes a mockery of the Gospel and subjects it to the rules of men.  As we have explored in our economic treatise, Why What We use as Money Matters, rules made by men are incompatible with freedom, which is the reason for the Gospel in the first place.

This Freedom extends to the right to be Socialist, but it does not extend to the right to enforce this destructive doctrine on one’s unwilling fellow man or woman.

We admire the Pope, heck, he gave mass in La Paz with one lung and drew out millions of the faithful in South America.  If he wants to use his enormous platform and the freedom afforded to him by the forgiveness of sins through Jesus of Nazareth to expound upon an idyllic worker’s paradise. more power to him.

The Pope speaks to the Socialist Movements in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia:

The danger in the Socialist doctrine is not evident in meaningless platitudes spewed by its proponents, nor is it evident in postulations about goals that are as unattainable as they are unmeasurable, such as universal dignity in work and retirement.  The danger of this poisonous doctrine is only evident in the blood spilled silently over the years in its name.  For when authoritarian regimes are allowed to define and enforce such concepts on a large scale, the previously unimagined economic burdens of such a program fall upon everyone, and the end result is invariably a society that lives and treats each other in a quite undignified manner.

A side note, and certainly fodder for further debate here at The Mint, our Mother-in-law posed a very interesting hypothesis about what may be wrong with Bolivian society, which seems hell bent on self destruction despite the gifts Mother Nature has seen fit to surround it with:  The poisonous union of the lie by two strata of society.

First the rich, or those who come into money, those whom we will call the upper strata of society.  This strata of society learns to lie as a means to maintain or improve their status both within their social circle, which in turn feeds a continuous chorus of lies as a group to the populations which they enslave and exploit.

Second, there are the lies of the exploited populations themselves, who learn to lie as a powerful tool of survival in a society where, to paraphrase President Snow of the Hunger Games, the odds are never in their favor.

The union of the accumulated lies tend to make any society impossible to navigate with any form of moral or ideological compass.  For to run the straight and narrow is to be stabbed in the back, and the lies create the sad and universally acknowledged truth that no one can be trusted.

Into such societies the seeds of Socialist ideology find fertile ground in which to grow and take root in the minds of the underprivileged.  They begin to grow and, like GMO crop production, look good until one realizes that the crops are only viable with a disproportionate quantity of productive inputs, and that they leave the soil and its inhabitants desolate once the massive inputs stop flowing.

It is then that the inevitable bloodshed begins, and no amount of platitudes or lofty goals, whether spoken by the Pope or the President, can stop it.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for August 2, 2015

Copper Price per Lb: $2.37
Oil Price per Barrel:  $46.77

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.68
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.20%
Bitcoin price in US:  $279.31
FED Target Rate:  0.14%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,095

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,690
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,998,600,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,991,900,000,000

Our Latest Audio Book and Why the Fed will take Baby Steps

6/6/2015 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them
Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them

Recently we have been working with some wonderful producers to make many of our volumes here at The Mint available in audio format.  The experience has been great as those with talent in the voice department, such as Robert Fox, who brought our newest audio offering, Bitcoins:  What they are and how to use them, to life.

We imagine the producers get a good chuckle as they read our prose, to which Long-suffering readers of The Mint are accustomed.  We know we do!

Why the Fed will take Baby Steps when it comes to raising rates

The US Economy added 280,000 jobs in May of 2015, which was positive no matter how you slice it.  To our readers, this should come as no surprise, every one of our key indicators indicates an economy that is roaring ahead.  Take the price of oil, which continues to hover near the $60 per barrel mark.  While to some, a lower oil price may signal weakness in demand due to a slowdown in underlying activity, we see it as incredibly positive for US consumers, as oil, which translates into gasoline prices, acts as a quasi tax for many consumers whose demand is relatively inelastic.

We also see the steady prices of copper, around $2.70 per ounce, and corn, clocking in at $3.60 per bushel, as signs that the United States economy is on extremely solid footing looking ahead.  These prices tend to tank when bad omens are on the horizon.

The only negative (depending upon who you are), as reflected in the Jobs report, is that wages have not risen at a healthy pace.  This is great for employers and the Fed, who can maintain their margins on the backs of the working class, but not so good for those employed.

We sense this will change, as the productivity gains of the past several years are not likely to replicate themselves over the next several.  The economy is transitioning to the second half of the chessboard (as Thomas Friedman would say) and it will take a ton of work to get it there.  Once it is there, we will see hyperactivity in the economy, it will be a whirlwind that people will either embrace or run direct the other way from.  To an extent, humankind will benefit, but mother nature will suffer perhaps a fatal blow.

If proletariat wages remain low, then why has the stock market reacted negatively to what would otherwise be considered most excellent news?  We can only guess that equity traders, who at times are clairvoyant to their own detriment, look around at the plethora of good news and smell a Fed rate hike on the horizon.

They are correct, of course.  However, we believe that the Fed learned its lesson back in 2008.  The blind 0.25 per month basis hikes that were implemented to cool off the sizzling post 9/11 economy were blunt and oversized for the sheer breadth of the Fed’s economic sphere of influence.  It is doubtful we will see such blunt and misguided policy from the current Fed.

Instead, we see baby steps, increases of 0.01 basis points emitted over time so that the economy can absorb the shocks in a manageable way, rather than taking them square on the kisser as it did in 2008.

Will it work?  Only time will tell, but for the moment the US economy looks like it’s running full speed ahead, and nobody at the Fed is interested in being the next Ben Bernanke.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for June 6, 2015

Copper Price per Lb: $2.69
Oil Price per Barrel:  $59.13

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.60
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.40%
Bitcoin price in US:  $227.55
FED Target Rate:  0.13%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,172

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,849
M1 Monetary Base:  $3,029,600,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,853,900,000,000

The US Economy Turns Green in Time for St. Patrick’s Day

3/17/2015 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

1 oz .999 Fine Silver Round Irish Green Enamel Four-Leaf Clover With Display Box
1 oz .999 Fine Silver Round Irish Green Enamel Four-Leaf Clover With Display Box

A Happy early St. Patrick’s Day to our long-suffering readers of The Mint, who know we have an affinity for the color green, specifically the tone which can be found on the coin pictured to the left.

We have been buried deep in a classic accounting “busy season” of our own design, as, along with our regular duties, we have stumbled upon a vein persons ready to move their accounting systems into the cloud along with a cadre of brilliant entrepreneurs who need solid advice in terms of accounting and systems.  This work has gone nicely with our goal of mastering the tax trade this winter and spring.  We have also managed to produce our first audio version, What is Truth?  On the Nature of Empire (check it out here).

Together, it has made little time for reflection.  Alas,  this is the life of a farmer. When the season to work comes over us, we work day and night, knowing a season of rest waits.

Due to our numbers related tarries, the last time we took a glance at the US economy for long enough to write about it was October 3rd of last year, according to our records.

At that time, when the stated Unemployment rate was 5.9%, we sensed back then that it did not matter as the FED was set on continuing its Zero Interest Rate Policy until its member banks were safely in the clear, and that the US Labor market was getting extremely tight.

In case you are wondering, ZIRP and tight labor markets, taken together, is a recipe for explosive economic growth.  Five short months later, it appears that the feast is nearly ready, and the US economy is about to eat it.

First, let’s check in on Unemployment, which stands at 5.5%. According to the March 9th jobs report, US Job Creation has never been stronger:

US Job Creation
US Job Creation

And that momentum in the labor market is hotter than it was in 2005 – 2006:

Labor Market Momentum
Labor Market Momentum

And you have a labor market that has not been seen since the end of WWII.

But what about Wage Growth? It is tame, a 0.2% drop, in fact, if the BLS is to be believed. However, the NFIB Compensation Plans Indicator and the Employment cost Index are on the rise, meaning American workers are enjoying a rare (long overdue, we might add) post 1971 gain in real wages before the CPI, which clocked in at 0.7% (still well under the FED’s target), overtakes them.

Wage growth and Inflation
Wage growth and Inflation go hand in hand

And this chart seems to indicate that the tightening rental market may be the match that starts the Wage/Price spiral in motion:

Tight Rental Market
Tight Rental Market

We’re not sure about other metro areas, but rental and housing markets in Portland are ‘en fuego,’ with apologies to Dan Patrick.

What does it all mean? No one can be certain, but here are a couple of guesses:

1) The US Economy will once again become the envy of the world, despite itself. Yes, even with Obama care and other political and economic landmines strewn around it, the US economy is on pace to surpass the growth rates of developing nations, soon to be known as last decade’s darlings:

US to blow past emerging markets
US to blow past emerging markets

2) US Workers are likely to get healthy wages from healthy companies. Unhealthy companies will be gutted in this brain drain and fail.

3) Paradoxically, corporate profit margins will continue to increase as productivity gains continue.

4) Housing premiums, in terms of rent and home sales, are about to soar.

5) Interest rates will not go up until the markets yank them up by their shirt collar and hold them up against the wall, the FED will keep short-term rates low and allow the banks to recapitalize on the backs of the US economic miracle:

No Rate Hike coming
No Rate Hike coming

6) There will be no “Grexit” to spoil things.  Despite European claims to clairvoyance, it was the US who established the Euro zone (and its predecessor treaties) as the vital space for a revitalized German industrial base in the wake of WWII (more on this in our upcoming review of “The Global Minotaur” which was ironically written by a Greek economist).  Circa 2014, the Euro currency zone exists for the sole benefit of Germany and to an extent France.  The rest of Europe would be better off without it, which is why Germany and the pan euro banks will hold it together with an iron fist, not matter how futile the effort, or how far they have to bend the rules.

7) The Chicago River will turn green, and a record amount of beer will be sold tomorrow in honor of St. Patrick

Be safe out there as the Luck of the Irish and the ignorance of the FED paints the US Economy green for the foreseeable future!

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for March 16, 2015

Copper Price per Lb: $2.65
Oil Price per Barrel:  $43.68

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.79
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.10%
Bitcoin price in US: $289.87
FED Target Rate:  0.11%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,154

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%

Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,977
M1 Monetary Base:  $3,069,400,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,883,100,000,000

What created the Bolivian Economic Miracle?

10/27/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

For those who do not follow Bolivian Politics, Evo Morales has one a third term as President of the South American nation we are happy to call our second home.

Evo Morales - President of Bolivia in Brazil 2007
Evo Morales – President of Bolivia, photo taken December 17, 2007 in Brazil by Marcello Casal Jr. of Agencia Brasil http://www.agenciabrasil.gov.br/media/imagens/2007/12/17/1840MC44.jpg

As Morales is seen as a Socialist hero, his reelection coincided with a deluge of praise for his hand in the Bolivian Economic miracle that has unfolded over the past 10 years from the left.  It seemed to start with an article from the New York Times back in February, which highlights Morales’ success and the paradox that it presents.  On one hand, he is a, well, a proclaimed Socialist.  On the other, he runs a balanced budget and has largely rejected the advice of the IMF and other financial overlords of the world:

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises from Instability

Then, a widely read article in the Guardian, where the author makes the bold claim that “socialism doesn’t damage economies,” which sparked a swift reaction from the neo-con/neo-lib right.

Evo Morales has proved (sic) that socialism doesn’t damage economies

It is true that the Bolivian economy has grown at a mighty pace over the past 10 years, however, to simplify this miracle to solitary policy changes such as the legalization of coca farming, a deeply personal matter for Morales, or other various social policies noted by the authors is to miss the point completely.

As a public service, we present to you today the short list of reasons why Bolivia is experiencing an economic miracle in the eyes of many Westerners:

  • Benford’s Law, which would account for Bolivia’s rapid relative growth. As a country, it was near the bottom of many world measures in terms of economic statistics.  As such, things tend to go up from a low level quickly on a relative basis.
  • Currency policy: The Boliviano trades tightly with the USD similar to the Yuan.  This is due to the fact that much of the country’s savings are held in dollars.  Currency stability = real growth
  • Legalize it: While the legalization of coca is controversial, the removal of regulations has opened up a wild west of trade and attendant economic activity.
  • Anarchy reigns: Ever since Simon Bolivar freed it from Spanish rule in 1825, Bolivia has had 81 Presidents and been ruled by various “Juntas” or forms of military rule 9 times.  By contrast, the US has been around for 50 years longer and had just 44 Presidents.  If our theory that Anarchy produces stability holds, it would follow that the Bolivian economy is one of the most resilient on the planet, one that cannot help but grow from a solid base.
  • Evo’s Charisma: While Evo Morales is often chided, he is simple and lovable at heart, an anomaly in the cesspool of modern politics.  He has drawn a great deal of positive attention to Bolivia as the first indigenous President in the nation’s history.  This has given Bolivia international exposure not before seen.
  • The Open Letter: While it is a longshot, perhaps Evo has read our open letter to him and is secretly implementing our policy proposals.
  • While Bolivia was extremely poor in the eyes of the world, yet rich in so many ways.

We love Bolivia, it is one of the most precious, pristine, and complicated places on the planet and we are honored to call it our second home.  While speculation as to what has caused the current economic miracle there will continue, we know one thing to be true:

It is Bolivia’s time.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for October 27, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.08
Oil Price per Barrel (WTI):  $80.66

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.63
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.26%
Bitcoin price in US:  $350.95
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,225

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  16,818
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,747,700,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,514,900,000,000

BofA FX Strategist breaks down the state of G10 Currencies

10/16/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Yesterday we had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by John Shin, the G10 FX Strategist at Bank of America.  Mr. Shin is highly intelligent and a deft presenter, as one would expect from someone of his caliber (Harvard PhD in Econ, etc.)  He also managed to make the material, essentially a rehash of Central Bank rate policy over the past several years through today, somewhat entertaining and relevant.

One of the big takeaways from the presentation was that the ECB has not been performing well in its role when compared to the FED, Bank of England, and Bank of Japan, against which it is often compared.  Mr. Shin acknowledged that in many cases their hands are tied as, while they have the experience, they seem to struggle with their mandate, to maintain a stable currency, as they are vilified in a world where other Central Banks have taken stimulus to extremes once thought unimaginable.

The Euro is a very important currency.  The Euro and the ECB as its managing institution are also very young relative to their counterparts.  Making their job even more difficult is the fact that they are managing the currency for the Eurozone, whose internal fiscal and market dynamics at time defy analysis if not logic.  Here at The Mint, we recognize that the ECB is simply making the best of what’s around as they constantly mend the currency union that holds what is at times a tense economic union together.

Mr. Shin also spoke at length about the Unemployment rate in the US and the associated workforce participation rate (roughly 64%) which has rapidly declined due to, according to Shin, a roughly 50/50 mix of demographic and economic factors.  He also put the workforce participation rate in perspective, as it is still above where it was in the 1960’s, roughly 59.5%.

Generally, he was bullish on the US Economy and the US Dollar, and had pegged his expectations for FED rate increases to mid-next year.  It will be interesting to see if his call plays out.

After the presentation was finished, we asked him for a nugget of advice in terms of what his one Key Indicator was to keep a pulse on economic activity.  He said that, while they track many indicators, as one would expect, there is none that speaks more to the contemporaneous state of the US economy than the monthly jobs numbers.  Concretely, when they top 200,000, the economy is in good shape, anything below that is a bad thing in his view.  He said no other data point correlates so well with other economic growth indicators.

So there you have it, the dollar will remain strong and as long as the economy adds 200,000 jobs or more per month, all is well from the perspective of one of B of A’s best and brightest.

Creidt Sui

Mr. Shin is in charge of the “World at a Glance,” which is their flagship publication which highlights the bank’s key forecasts in FX, rates, and commodities.  An extremely interesting read put together by some of the best in the business.

Will his forecasts on FED rate increases come to pass in mid-2015?  If today’s market action is any indication, low rates could be with us for a long time to come.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for October 16, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $2.98
Oil Price per Barrel (WTI):  $83.02

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.52
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.15%
Bitcoin price in US:  $391.63
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,239

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   -0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  16,117
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,815,400,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,513,000,000,000

5.9% and why it doesn’t matter

10/3/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today the BLS reported that payrolls grew in September and that the stated unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%.  They also published the labor force participation at 62.7%.  The handy chart below from the folks at Business Insider shows how steeply labor force participation has dropped over the past five years.

Labor Participation Courtesy of BI
Labor Participation Courtesy of BI

Labor Market Participation aside, the 5.9% unemployment is exciting for banks.  On one hand, it can be seen as a sign that more people are working and theoretically becoming creditworthy.  This is big because consumers with deposits are cherished in the Basel III framework that they are painfully working their investment ladders into.

On the other hand, it is seen as just high enough that the Federal Reserve will not raise short term interest rates for fear of “derailing the recovery” or whatever phrase Janet Yellen chooses to employ in her latest effort to mask the brutal fact that they are continuing to provide money free of charge to a painfully inept banking cartel.

While much will be written about today’s “Goldilocks” job report, it matters not in terms of Fed policy.  The Fed will continue to offer money free to banks until they are certain that Basel policy reforms will not inadvertantly cause (rather than prevent, as they are designed to do) the financial crisis.  Meanwhile, in the real world, the cost of labor, meaning the cost of hiring someone who can actually perform a specific task, is about to skyrocket.

The reason for this is that there remain severe imbalances in the labor market caused by recent advances in technology, namely cloud based administrative services and logistics, which are now colliding with a relative decline in the recent productivity gain that said technology was providing.  While large productivity gains having been the norm, there is soon to be a lack of persons who have the requisite skills to run such systems efficiently, which means that those productivity gains will at a minimum not continue and may even be lost.

There is also another labor undercurrent that the BLS data does not capture.  This is the large scale disruption of entire industries that the cloud and logistics revolution is enabling.

Indeed, there is much more to the labor market than a tidy percentage point can express, as nearly five years of ZIRP is pushing the division of labor to new extremes.  Employers, Employees, and the BLS may soon become archaic terms, as American Society moves towards outsourcing on steroids.

Today’s 5.9% is little more than bad information, unless of course, you are a banker, in which case it means that the Goldilocks days are here again, and the Fed’s subsidy, a license to strip mine the earth that is provided on the backs of its inhabitants and nature herself, will continue until further notice.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for October 3, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.04
Oil Price per Barrel (WTI):  $89.68

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.23
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.45%
Bitcoin price in US:  $377.60
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,192

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   -0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,015
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,833,300,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,418,000,000,000

The US Economy is Already Going Gangbusters

8/29/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Amid what has become a nearly constant stream of alarming news from the Middle East and the escalation in the Ukraine conflict, the US Economic growth has quietly been amassing the fuel for what is shaping up to be an impressive period of extended growth.

Readers of The Mint are aware that we follow a baker’s dozen of key indicators, which are presented at the end of each edition, in order to gauge the actual state of the economy via money supply growth and some of the key inputs and outputs as to what expectations are as to the future state of the money supply. Setting aside the fact that what we use as money is not really money at all, but not so cleverly disguised debt, the state of the money supply gives us a sense as to what will happen in terms of employment and asset prices, the fodder which ultimately impacts GDP. Overall, our key indicators have been steadily signaling growth ever since 2009.

While the fuel has been amassing for approximately 5 years now, it is now poised to be coupled with the proverbial spark necessary to spur growth rates reminiscent of the late ’90s – 2007: Improving sentiment.

You won’t see improving sentiment on TV, hear it on the radio nor read about it in the news. You see, improving sentiment doesn’t draw people to read the news, doom and gloom does.

Improving sentiment can be seen in a very conspicuous place in American cities: Increased traffic, be it car, pedestrian, freight, or public transit. When people are out and about, they are generally doing something. The fact that more people are out tends to beget additional economic activity. It is largely a chicken and egg question but in the cities, when you see traffic increase, it is a good bet you are witnessing economic growth first hand.

Have you seen traffic on the rise where you are? In Portland, it has been staggering.

Confirmations that the US Economy is already going gangbusters and may be poised to go into hyper drive for at least the next 5 years are beginning to pop up in the mainstream media:

Deutsche Bank us expansion timeline
Deutsche Bank us expansion timeline

You might ask what will drive this expansion? While there is truly no catalyst or new age industrial revolution on the horizon, there is an avalanche, tsunami, (insert your favorite metaphor) of money itching to get out of government bonds and into something, anything that will paradoxically give it increased yields and security.

2014 government bond yieldsAs in the past, this money will find its way into real estate, the much scourged asset class that is now surprisingly affordable on a relative basis. Once that happens, we know the script, and the expansion expected by the market in the first chart above seems probable, indeed, inevitable.

Here at The Mint, we have been beating the drum of recovery for some time now by virtue of following our “MINT Perceived Target Rate” which lags the more famous Federal Reserve Target rate by 39 months, the estimated amount of time it takes for Fed policy to hit main street. Through this lens, we see at least 39 months of accelerating growth in the future. Once sentiment kicks in, the game will really be on, and the time to position oneself is now.

Is it time to jump back into real estate? Back in early 2013, Nadeem Walayat, at the Market Oracle gave this prognosis for the US Housing Market, which today is holding true to form, as most of Mr. Walayat’s analysis does.

One would do well to mind his final word of caution, do not make the mistake of leveraging oneself too far. If you do, you must time the exit perfectly, and who needs that kind of pressure? The inflationary mega trend to which he refers and our Key Indicators confirm will be with us a very long time, which means real assets trump money in the back any day of the week. The key is to stay liquid.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for August 29, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.19
Oil Price per Barrel:  $95.08

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.62
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.35%
Bitcoin price in US: $508.89
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,287

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  6.2%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,103
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,732,600,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,406,000,000,000