Saturday, 28 November 2015

The "Gold Price ($/oz) to Reserve Balances plus Money Supply" Ratio for the U.S. Hits 32 Year Low

To the extent gold is a hedge against (potential) monetary inflation, gold has never been appraised this low compared to the amount of reserves for U.S. depository institutions and money supply based on data since January 1984.

Reserves have here been added to the money supply for an important reason: though reserves are not classified as "money", they will become money once and if banks lend them out or use them to buy securities. Adding reserves to the money supply hence gives us an indication of the potential quantity of money.

This is especially relevant these days as the majority of reserves are classified as excess reserves, i.e. reserves above and beyond what banks (and other depository institutions) are required to hold. It is these excess reserves that banks can lend out or use to acquire securities, converting reserves (which forms part of the monetary base) to money in the process. *

* The money creation process makes it possible for new money to expand at a multiple of excess reserves. Assuming a 10% reserve requirement, new money can be created at a multiple of 10x the excess reserves. Given the tremendous amount of excess reserves today following QE1, 2 and 3, there is however little risk banks would be allowed by the Fed and regulators to create such vast amounts of new money.  

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