Liquidity Trap!

IceCap Asset Management: Tug Of War | ZeroHedge

Here we are in 2012, and the World’s four main central banks (USA, Britain, Europe and Japan) continue to print gobs of money. Will the outcome be 1922 Germany or 1990 Japan? An important point to understand is whether the printed money actually flows through to the economy. In the 1922 German case – yes, it definitely did. The printed money circulated in the economy causing the German Mark to plummet against other currencies which resulted in extreme inflation. Today, trillions of Dollars, Yen, Euros and Pounds are being printed – yet this new money is certainly not being distributed into the economy. Instead, big banks everywhere are hoarding the newly minted cash for a rainy day. In economic parlance, this is referred to as a “liquidity trap” meaning there is plenty of cash available, however the cash remains trapped and is not being used. This makes today’s situation, perilously closer to the Japanese experience.
Chart 1 ... shows the amount of money not being distributed into the economy by the very big American banks. Once this money is eventually released (via loans) into the economy, the cost of things could rise very quickly – similar to 1922 Germany.
The bottom line is as follows – the combination of the bursting of property prices and the refusal of the big banks to write-off the corresponding bad debt is resulting in a big wave of deflation. We expect this to continue. Yet, we also are mindful enough to know that pockets of inflation will occur in various countries and within various industries. The real threat of hyper inflation will occur when a major currency collapses. Any country that leaves the Eurozone will undoubtedly see extreme inflation during their transition years. Outside of the Euro-zone, Britain remains at risk due to it being a key center of global finance and at risk should the World’s super-size banks implode once again.

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