IWF: Wir fallen in die säkulare Stag­nation zurück

Der Internationale Währungsfonds (IWF) erwartet einen Rückfall in die säkulare Stagnation. Das wäre ein unerfreuliches Szenario, außer für die Vermögensmärkte. Der Telegraph diskutiert die aktuelle Studie:

  • If you thought that zero rates and quantitative easing were a bad dream that we can all forget, you may be in for a surprise. It is again becoming clear that deflation remains the overarching structural threat to the world economy. A few brave analysts are already starting to flag a return to emergency QE as soon as next year, convinced that the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have over-tightened and set in motion a deepening credit crunch.“ – bto: Die Geldmengen deuten zumindest in diese Richtung. Sie wachsen nicht mehr bzw. gehen in den USA zurück. Das spricht für eine Abnahme der Inflation.
  • The larger point is that traumatic events of the last three years have not led to lasting inflation after all, let alone a replay of the Great Inflation in the 1970s. There has been no fundamental reset of the monetary process. The International Monetary Fund says that for all the noise we remain in the grip of ‘secular stagnation’. The inflation spike caused by the pandemic and Putin’s war – or rather, caused by a miscalibrated burst of central bank money in response to those shocks – is essentially a one-off adjustment in the price level.“ – bto: Der IWF erwartet also eine Rückkehr in die Welt von 2008 bis 2019.
  • The same powerful forces that have bedevilled Europe and America since the Lehman crisis will reassert themselves, this time spreading to China and large parts of the developing world. Let us call it the slow ‘Japanisation’ of the planet. ‚Monetary institutions may have to resort to the same strategies they employed in the decade before the pandemic… Even the central banks in some emerging market economies may eventually need to adopt unconventional policy tools,‘ the IMF said.“ – bto: Das ist eine starke Aussage. Zurück zu Nullzinsen, zurück zu boomenden Vermögensmärkten, zurück zu geringem Wachstum. Doch ist das wirklich realistisch?
  • „The world is still getting older. Much of Asia is following Europe into a demographic death spiral. The growth rate of productivity has collapsed in the West and is collapsing in the East.“
  • „The global capital glut lives on; meaning that excess savings dwarf the opportunities for profitable investment.“ – bto: Aber wir stehen doch vor einem staatlich erzwungenen Investitionsboom, Beispiel: Heizungen in Deutschland.
  • Labour arbitrage and technology have allowed owners of capital to take too much of the pie, and they have a low propensity to spend. They accumulate yet more instead. The workers are taking too little. Inequality remains at post-war extremes. The whole structure is out of kilter.“ – bto: Aber genau das ändert sich doch gerade? Die Arbeitnehmer bekommen mehr Macht, gerade auch angesichts der Deglobalisierung.
  • Over the last forty years these forces have pushed down the Wicksellian ‘natural rate of interest’ – the neutral Goldilocks level – by two percentage points in the West. It is now doing the same to the others. This is why we cannot shake off deflation so easily. Such at least is the IMF’s hypothesis.“ – bto. Darüber haben wir öfter auch im Podcast gesprochen.
  • „This debate in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook may seem surreal at a time when the cost-of-living shock still captures the headlines. But inflation is a lagging indicator and a crude compass for policy. (…) If the tidal pull of global forces is going to tame inflation anyway, one might ask why the Fed, the ECB, and the Bank of England keep raising rates. They risk detonating a systemic crisis in the shadow banking nexus for no worthwhile reason. The gamble is even harder to justify if, as the IMF implies, the danger lurking on the other side of the hill is our old nemesis: Fisherian debt-deflation.“ – bto: Wir wandern immer an einer Schulden-Deflation entlang. Und der Weg wird immer schmaler.
  • This has been the most aggressive rate cycle of modern times. It has been turbo-charged by something that central banks have never done before and struggle to explain in their models. They have lurched almost overnight from QE to reverse-QE (QT), a $2 trillion global switch in annualised liquidity flows. Such tightening hits with a lag. Best estimates are that we have so far felt just a third of the impact.“ – bto: Die Börsen scheinen das aber sehr entspannt anders zu sehen.
  • All key measures of the US money supply have been in steep contraction long enough to clear the overhang of Covid stimulus. Narrow M1 money has fallen by 5.8pc in absolute terms over the last year, and the pace of contraction has accelerated to 11pc over the last three months. Broad M2 money has fallen by 3.1pc and this constricts lending through the banking multiplier. Nothing like this happened in the 1970s. The eurozone is a few months behind but the same picture is emerging.“ – bto: Wenn das so stimmt und die Mechanik ernst zu nehmen ist, wäre es in der Tat ein Problem.
  • Allerdings ist der IWF nicht für gute Prognosen bekannt: „The IMF missed the global financial crisis that developed under its nose in 2008. This time it is hedging bets, warning that it is too early to tell whether the spasms of recent months are isolated episodes or ‚a harbinger of more systemic stress that will test the global financial system‘.“ – bto: Wir hatten ja die ersten Unfälle im System.
  • Und was sollen wir tun, wenn das Szenario der Stagnation zutrifft? The Fund said the proper remedy is joint monetary and fiscal stimulus operating in concert, which means printing money at the right therapeutic dose to fund government spending. It implies using QE to inject money directly into the veins of the economyrather than using it to inflate asset prices. This will force us to revisit the toxic debate over austerity.“ – bto: Wie praktisch, dass die Regierungen einen dringenden Ausgabenplan nach dem anderen vorlegen.
  • The imperative is to lift that rate and break out of the stagnation trap. This requires a sustained blitz on public infrastructure projects with a multiplier above 1.0, which therefore pay for themselves through higher growth, combined with a regulatory cleansing and an assault on cartel practices along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal.“ – bto: … ein Traumszenario für Politiker.

→ telegraph.co.uk: „Brace for QE all over again, and let us get it right next time“, 14. April 2023