E Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide - Cash Is King, Not Gold

Amid the fallout of stock markets crashing worldwide, gold (silver, too) and oil imploding, and the scare of coronavirus, the dollar itself stands tall. That is not what some were expecting. Nevertheless, unrealistic expectations abound today, so let's see what we can learn from this.

When investors sell en masse, they generally turn to cash as a resting place for their money. Cash for most people today still means US dollars. This implies an increase in demand for US dollars.  Gold investors and their advisers seem to have been expecting just the opposite.

The outcome of a possible recession can lead to relative strength in the dollar and if conditions deteriorate can lead to full-scale depression. A depression is usually  accompanied by deflation.

During deflation, those who hold US dollars would find that their purchasing power had increased. The US dollar would actually buy more, not less. However, the supply of US dollars would be significantly less. This is true deflation, and it is the exact opposite of inflation.

Part of the argument for higher gold prices was, and still is, that the Federal Reserve will inflate us out of any potential deflation, such as might be happening now. The collapse in stock prices is cataclysmic, and the Fed has already responded with lower interest rates (and probably other things they haven't told us about).

Supposedly, the actions of the Fed would become too much for an already weakened US dollar. We might even experience runaway inflation and eventual repudiation of the US dollar.  Gold would then be enshrined as the money of choice. Plausible and possible; but not likely.

The problem is whether the efforts of the Fed can offset the demolition in asset prices which is currently taking place. Even with a Herculean effort by the Fed, it might not be enough to keep us from sliding right into a full-scale depression.

With all of the trillions of dollars of credit that were created by the Fed in response to the events of 2007-08, why did things not get better more quickly? And why did things not improve as much economically? (see Fed Inflation Is Losing Its Intended Effect for possible answers)

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Kelsey Williams is the author of two books: Inflation, What it is, What It Isn't, And Who's Responsible For It and  more

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Tracey Nichols 4 months ago Member's comment

The Fed is making cash WORTHLESS with its never ending QE, you know, the QE they keep calling something else, anything else, but "QE".

Kelsey Williams 4 months ago Author's comment

Yes, that's true. They have intentionally expanded the supply of money and credit for more than one hundred years. But all of their planned efforts are having less and less impact. It could get away from them. All of that QE won't have the intended effects if everyone heads for the exits at once. Eventually, they will probably kill the US dollar for good, but the timing could be skewed considerably.

Barry Glassman 4 months ago Member's comment

There's certainly some bright spots in the stock market. Some companies will benefit from these difficult times.