This year was one for the record books to say the least. The market (as I track it by looking at the S&P index) was down just under 40% for the year. Too many causes to discuss in one post, Sub-Prime, Credit Default Swaps, price bubbles in both Food and energy, to name a few. I’m not a forecaster, so I cannot say when we will reach a market bottom, or if we will continue to drop to lower levels. What I do know is that our new president has quite a challenge ahead of him.
I wish all my readers health and happiness to you and your families in 2009. A safe New Year’s Eve to all.
The talk of deflation, a general decrease in prices, is now becoming more common. Wasn’t it just a few months back that we were worrying about inflation and its cousin stagflation? But, I think the new fears are a bit unfounded. Inflation is not simply defined as ‘rising prices’ but as ‘too many dollars chasing too few goods.’ In the case of deflation, it’s just the opposite, too little demand, and not enough cash to buy the goods offered. I think the mini-bubble we saw in gas prices rippled through the economy and added cost to everything, from food, to any goods tat contained a transportation component in their cost. Now that oil has dropped to a somewhat more reasonable level, gas following, that cost is being pulled out of all goods, thus the short term drop in both the Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI). Deflation? I doubt it.
On Feb 13th I posted Unintended Consequences III and talked about the conflict between crops used for food vs biofuels.
I just found a New York Times article “A New, Global Oil Quandary: Costly Fuel Means Costly Calories” which discusses this topic and confirms my fears.