Petroleum is at $ 145, a tinge of panic began to spread in the markets this week, and consumers, meanwhile, make a long face like a day without bread.
This is not surprising: the growth figures are also at half-mast, the purchasing power – we never get tired of repeating it – declines, and so on. Until then, all is well, I am about.
Then, on Thursday, the European Central Bank announced a 25 basis point increase in its key rate. And that’s where I start getting lost. Is the attitude of the ECB, as it is often said, responsible for the soaring oil? Is Trichet destined to roast in monetary hells for his struggle against inflation?
Philippe Béchade answered yes to some of these questions, as he wrote in his chronicles on Thursday and Friday. As far as I am concerned, I want to give a reply from Normand: p’têt ‘ben qu’oui … but p’têt’ ben non, too.
The ECB is the cause of many evils (ask European exporting companies, for example) but the rise in oil? It contributes, of course – but speculators, OPEC, the geopolitical situation, the fall in the dollar and the fundamental factors of supply and demand must not be forgotten.
Simone Wapler gave us some more thought in MoneyWeek’s Daily on Wednesday.
“At the beginning of this crisis, last summer, oil was at a reasonable level: $ 70 a barrel,” says Simone. “It was $ 80 a barrel in July 2006. The” collapsed “dollar is only a consequence of the debt of the world’s biggest power, issuing the fiduciary currency in which world trade is traded. Current inflation is not the result of oil, it is the result of an unprecedented monetary issue. This ill-considered monetary issuance was made by the United States. “
“This is still not enough, and this time it was justified by the fact that nobody wanted to pay for the madness of the internet bubble.” Remember: everyone was going to get rich because the 0 and 1 were circulating Freely in networked computers “.
“In order to make a soft landing, the Fed has softened credit conditions, while the other central banks of the world followed.” The revival by consumption, an old French myth, was applied by the world’s leading power. Which inflated the internet bubble served to reinflate a bubble of real estate. Everybody (American) would be able to own its roof “.
“But a low interest rate causes the currency to fall.” When the Fed wanted to raise its rates to resuscitate its dollar, the housing bubble has deflated in turn.
And this is where the ECB stands today: with a galloping monetary mass, in direct contradiction with its original mission (to maintain price stability), and consequently obliged to raise its rates at the worst possible moment. Except that … all this is probably a poultice on a wooden leg – that’s what Adrian Ash thinks of BullionVault.
He was wondering at the beginning of the year, while the Financial Times pointed to J.C. Trichet as “Man of the Year 2007”:
“Will Trichet’s policy at the head of the ECB put an end to inflation in 2008 and extinguish the dazzling rise in gold? We would give more chances of success to a firefighter trying to extinguish a fire By spraying it with kerosene “.
“There is no room for complacency [on inflation],” Mr Trichet said. But what explanation other than complacency for explaining the M3’s soaring increase? But which is not accelerating fast enough to keep pace with monetary expansion in the United States or indecent inflation in Great Britain and China?
“Trichet may seem like a strange choice for ‘Man of the Year 2007’, but he seems to be an ideal choice for” the man of the moment. “It embodies the current air of time in terms of central bank – a moment when one uses words … and small actions.
“By saying one thing while doing another … by helping the inflation forces to come together, when he claimed to firmly oppose it … Trichet summed up the spirit of our financial era even better As Ben Bernanke to the US Federal Reserve “.