Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bet you dollars to donuts

Actually, if the dollar keeps sliding, donuts might be the better investment soon. Yeah, the DXY Index was lower when Lehman collapsed last year, but beyond that, we're at pretty much the lowest levels we've seen in a long time.

What's it mean? Well, first of all it means that those commodities valued in dollars become more expensive for the American consumer. If you're a Middle Eastern country selling oil, you need the same buying power when you jaunt off to Paris regardless of what the dollar is doing vs the Euro... so the price of oil and gold go up. For that reason alone, I'm a little skeptical of the folks who are saying that the rise in the oil price is a reflection of stronger economic activity. But I'm a skeptic.

And let's look at the poor consumer again. So now energy prices are going up. And home prices still stink. And they have no credit available. And their retirement accounts are worth 40% less than at the top of the market. But those retail stocks are going to have earnings rebounds just like a coiled spring because of cost cutting. Whatever.

One more thought on the whole dollar/hard commodities thing - could people be piling into those commodities because of a fear of inflation? Yep. Does it make sense? In my mind, yes. How else are we going to pay off this amazing amount of federal debt that we have but to create inflation and pay it with cheaper dollars? And what holds value in inflationary times? Hard commodities.

Yeah, you can guess where I've got client money right now. Go ahead. If you get it right, I'll buy you a donut.

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