We won't waste our readers' time with the details of all the 56 documented instances of hyperinflation in the modern, and not so modern, world. They can do so on their own by reading the attached CATO working paper by Hanke and Krus titled simply enough "World Hyperinflations." Those who do read it will discover the details of how it happened to be that in post World War 2 Hungary the equivalent daily inflation rate of 207%, the highest ever recorded, led to a price doubling every 15 hours, certainly one upping such well-known instance of CTRL-P abandon as Zimbabwe (24.7 hours) and Weimar Germany (a tortoise-like 3.70 days). This and much more. What we will point is that at no time in recorded history did a monetary regime end in "hyperdeflation." In fact there is not one hyperdeflationary episode of note. Although, we are quite certain, that virtually all of the 56 and counting hyperinflations in the world, were at one point borderline hyperdeflationary. All it took was central planner stupidity to get the table below, and a paper with the abovementioned title instead of "World Hyperdeflations."
While many claim that inflation is at historic lows, those who spend a large share of their income on necessities might disagree. Inflation for those who spend a large proportion of their income on things like medical services, food, transport, clothing and energy never really went away. And that was also true during the mid 2000s — while headline inflation levels remained low, these numbers masked significant increases in necessities; certainly never to the extent of the 1970s, but not as slight as the CPI rate — pushed downward by deflation in things like consumer electronics imports from Asia — suggested. This biflationary (or polyflationary?) reality is totally ignored by a single CPI figure. To get a true comprehension of the shape of prices, we must look at a much broader set of data.
Tough as Teflon." Or at least this was before central planning. Nowadays, every downtick is a catalyst to buy, as it has become a well known fact that even a 0.1% drop in the market is not only a catalyst for widespread panic, but also grounds for immediate promises of endless easing by any and all Goldman affiliated central banks (that would be all of them).
Several days ago we reported that Spanish financial institutions suffered the largest deposit outflow on record in the month of July when a whopping EUR74 billion, or 5% of the country's entire asset base, picked up and left, the bulk of it most likely taking the well-known path of least resistance to the safety of Swiss and German bank vaults. We showed how this looks visually, and as the chart below confirms it can be summarized in one word only: waterfall. And while in isolation this news was bad enough, a far more troubling implication arises when one considers that in Europe's financial Ice-9 world, in which the interbank market has been dead for over a year, and where the ECB is the shadow lender of only resort, providing funding via various repo channels to local banks to fund Spain's deficit by purchasing sovereign bonds in the primary market. To wit: since the entire financial system's liabilities (deposits) just declined by a record EUR74 in one month, since the consolidated balance sheet has to balance, either Spain's (thoroughly insolvent) banks had to generate EUR74 billion in shareholder equity in one month, i.e. profits - a prospect which is rather amusing considering Spain's banking system recently officially demanded a European bailout, or banks had to sell a like amount of assets in order to fund this outflow. Naturally, they chose the latter. The problem is that the security they sold is the one which only the banks have been buying recently in order to preserve the illusion that Spain is solvent. It was Spanish sovereign bonds.
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