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Is Mr. Inflation Coming Back To Town?

Written by A Forex View From Afar on Sunday, June 14, 2009

An increasing number of market participants are considering that inflation is going to pick up very strongly over the upcoming period.

There are a number of signs that the market is preparing for such an event, but the most important one came from the commodity and Treasury markets. First, since the beginning of March, oil has more than doubled its value, making the current bull market the second most powerful on record. At the beginning of March, oil was trading at $32 per barrel, while on Thursday the oil market briefly tested the $73 area, which means that oil rose nearly 110% in thee months. The strongest bull trend on recorded happened in the early 1990’s, when oil gained more than 150% in a three month window, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team notes.

Over the last few years, oil was responsible for a large portion of the increases seen in the CPI reports. This was best seen during the summer months of 2008, when inflation reached multi-year highs in the most developed countries as oil was heading towards the $150 level. As such, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team expects inflation to pick up again in the coming months.

Further inflation evidence comes from the Treasury market, where the spread between the medium and longer term debt instruments is trading near the highest level on record. Mainly, the spread between the 2-year and the 10-year Treasury notes reached 2.60% in the last few weeks, even though its long-term average sits somewhere around 0.60%. TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team said that the high spread shows that investors are demanding additional protection against inflation, as they think the Fed will be one step behind.

Remaining in the Treasury market, the 5-year breakeven spread has reached 1.90%. The 5-year breakeven spread measures the difference between 5-year conventional note and the 5-year TIPS notes, which are protected against inflation. The higher the spread between the two instruments, the higher investor’s prospects are that inflation will pick up. Moreover, the 5-year breakeven spread is the central banker’s preferred way to gauge inflation expectations over the longer term.

In the forex market, the currencies that usually have a higher interest rate backing their value will be the best performing ones during a global inflation event. As such, prospects really look for currencies like the aussie, pound (even though it is not the case right now) and more specifically for the emerging currencies.

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