Headline of the Week goes to The Wall Street Journal for this A-hed:
In England, Buying the Farm Can Be a Fate Worse Than Debt
Under Ancient Law, Mr. Wallbank Found He Owed a Fortune to Fix a Nearby Church
Read the great story, too. Fascinating tale about arcane Henry VIII-era laws, the 13th century church where Shakespeare’s folks were married, and a 600,000-pound bill.
— The deflation threat hits the front pages. The Journal notes that inflation hit a forty-four year low last month, up just 0.9 percent from a year earlier and flat from the month before.
The core rate is now clearly below 1 percent; it’s not hard to see Japan-style deflation emerging if the economy stays weak.
The danger of a lost decade remains quite real.
I (still) would like to see more reporting on the implications of this threat.
— Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a short piece from last week that’s a start in that direction. And BW (BBW?!) says first quarter inflation was at fifty-one-year lows:
The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge—the core personal consumption expenditures price index, which strips out price hikes in food and energy—rose at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace since records began in 1959, according to the Commerce Dept…
nflation this low can sometimes slip into deflation. A drop in prices effectively boosts the cost of a loan, since a company finds it harder to generate the profit it needs to service its debt. Deflation has gripped Japan for years and proved impossible to stamp out.
The money supply, which grows robustly when banks are lending and consumers are borrowing, also points to declining inflation. The broadest measure of the money supply expanded at an annual rate of just 1.4 percent in the 12 months through April, vs. 8.4 percent a year earlier. That’s a clear sign that consumers have switched from borrowing to saving.