Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bernanke On Inflation & The Dollar

Who hasn't weighed in by now on Bernanke's press conference yesterday afternoon?

Contrary to CNBC blowhard Jim Cramer's predictions that Bernanke would silence all inflation critics, the reality was more like a Hail Mary pass. Yes, Bernanke did attempt to claim that commodity prices have surged due to developing nation demand, as Cramer predicted. Not that it was such a hard call to make.

The trouble is, it's not just oil. I don't think US food demand is down as much as its oil consumption is from a few years ago. But we have broad grocery store inflation approximating 10%.

Bernanke's hopes for moderated inflation while Americans pay more for food and gasoline just aren't believable. Further, technically, inflation is a monetary phenomenon, and Helicopter Ben has been monetizing Treasury debt and presiding over a weakening dollar.

I thought all the hoopla over how Ben would handle the press conference was overdone. He's a smart guy and has taught at Princeton. He's suredly used to intelligent questions. Trouble is, his answers weren't comforting for the US economic outlook on inflation, prices and dollar valuation.

But, on hearing that rates won't be rising anytime soon, the equities indices, of course, went wild.

Well, I guess it's one silver lining amidst some pretty unsettling comments from the guy who is supposed to defend the dollar and provide for stable, healthy monetary conditions in the US economy. Neither of which he's doing at present.

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