Inflation's Shot Across the Bow

By: Clif Droke | Tue, Jul 2, 2013
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On May 3, the bond market fired the proverbial "shot heard 'round the world." Treasury yields began a two-month climb to levels not seen in almost two years. Many analysts proclaimed the end of the 30+ year interest rate decline. The true significance in the yield rally isn't that the long-wave deflationary trend in interest rates is over, however. Rather, it's that the commencement of long-term inflation is within sight.

While the rally in Treasury yields does have longer-term significance, it's still farrtoo early to assume the downtrend in yields is over. As we're still some 15 months away from the bottom of the 120-year cycle of inflation/deflation we can only assume the downward trend in interest rates remains intact. Additionally, as real estate analyst Robert Campbell has pointed out, "until the actions of the Fed speak otherwise, Fed policy is currently working to push mortgage rates down."

The rally in Treasury yields, while impressive, should be put into context with the longer-term yield trend. Here's what theTreasury Yield Index (TNX) looks like from the vantage point of a 2-year chart. In this relative short-term chart you can clearly see the attempt yields have made in establishing a new rising trend in relation to the steep drop in 2011-2012.

TNX Monthly

It's only when we examine the long-term monthly chart of TNX that the true long-term trend becomes clear. The downtrend line that can be drawn by connecting the yield peaks from 1996 through 2011 hasn'teven been broken yet. The interest rate downtrend is therefore presumed to be still in force. It likely won't be until after October 2014,when the Kress mega cycle bottoms, that we'll finally see this downtrend broken.

TNX Monthly

What then is the ultimate significance of the sharp rally in bond yields? The spike in yields can only be appreciatedby making historical comparisons with markets that behaved in a similar fashion. For instance, gold was in asimilar long-term downtrend from 1981 through 1999 when, in the autumn of '99,the yellow metal unexpectedly launched a vigorous rally from its long-term lowof nearly $250/oz. to a high of over $330/oz. in just a few short weeks (see chart below). This wasn't the official beginning of gold's long-term bull market, which would actually begin less thantwo years later. It was, however, an advance warning that a major change of gold's long-term trend was in the making.

Gold Chart
Larger Image

Comparing gold with bonds isn't as dissimilar as some may think, for both are excellent barometers of longer-term global liquidity and inflation/deflation expectations. Of the two, interest rates are a more important indicator of inflation and deflation, so it will be especially important to monitor the interest rate trend in the coming months as we draw closer to the 120-year cycle bottom.

The ultimate meaning behind the short-term rally in Treasury yields can only be known with certainty after the facts have become clear. It's still far too early to discern what those facts may be. Based on historical lexamples, however, it's probable that the yield rally is a "shot across the bow"preliminary to the beginning of a new long-term inflationary trend starting inlate 2014/early 2015.


U.S. Economy

The selling pressure which hit stocks and bonds in June left the U.S. retaileconomy unscathed.

Among the individual corporate stock components of the New Economy Index (NEI), which measures the real-time strength of the economy, only Wal-Mart (WMT) took a sizable tumble in June. MonsterWorldwide (MWW), the jobs component of the NEI, also plunged last month but its stock price accounts for only a small amount of the index.

Meanwhile Amazon (AMZN), EBay (EBAY) and FedEx (FDX) - the other important components of the index - are in varying degrees of health or recovery. The signals reflected in the stock price performance of these three stocks alone are worth a hundred conventional economic indicators of the type relied on by mainstream economists.

The NEI reading for last week was in line with the reading of recent weeks, viz.the NEI is still holding on above its 12-week and 20-week moving averages. The interim uptrend for the index remains intact (below), therefore we still have a confirmed "buy" signal for the U.S.economy.

New Economy Index

Deflationary pressure is expected to resurface as we head closer to the final "hard down" phase of the long-term Kress cycle in 2014, but for now those pressures are confined mainly to Europe and Asia and haven't yet appeared in the U.S. The domestic retail economy, along with the consumer spending that supports it, is still firm.

 


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Clif Droke is the editor of Gold & Silver Stock Report, published each Tuesday and Thursday. He is also the author of numerous books, including most recently, "Gold & Gold Stock Trading Simplified." For more information visit www.clifdroke.com

 


 

Clif Droke

Author: Clif Droke

Clif Droke
ClifDroke.com

Clif Droke is a recognized authority on moving averages and internal momentum. He is the editor of the Momentum Strategies Report newsletter, published since 1997. He has also authored numerous books covering the fields of economics and financial market analysis. His latest book is Mastering Moving Averages. For more information visit www.clifdroke.com

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