Inflation Products and Markets Expert

Michael Ashton is Managing Principal at Enduring Investments LLC, a specialty consulting and investment management boutique that offers focused inflation-market expertise. He may be more

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EC Being Closer To The ‘Oh Darn’ Inflation Strike
The time period between spikes of inflation angst seems to be shortening. I am not sure yet about the amplitude of those spikes of angst, but the concern seems to be quickening.
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Why The M2 Slowdown Doesn’t Blunt My Inflation Concern
Commercial bank credit growth has been declining for a while, pointing to the reason that money supply growth is slowing.
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Inflation And Castles Built On Sand
Imagine that inflation is represented by the proportion of the sand on a beach that is wet rather than dry. There are two ways that sand can get wet: because of random wave action that comes and goes, or because the tide is coming in.
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Trade Surplus And Budget Deficit? Ouch
Higher actual volatility tends to force leveraged traders to reduce position size because their calculation of “value at risk” or VAR generally uses trailing volatility.
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To Hedge Inflation, Nudge At Neptune
While 10-year breakevens have risen from 1.70% to 2.10% over the last 9 months or so, that’s still below current median inflation, and below where core inflation will be in a few months as the one-offs subside.
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Trump And Tariffs – Not A New Risk
There is no such thing as “risk off.” Risk is ever-present, and an investor’s job is not to guess at which risks will actually present themselves but to efficiently preserve as much upside as possible while protecting against downside risks cheaply.
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Comments

Latest Comments
Trump And Tariffs – Not A New Risk
1 month ago

Maybe. So far, it's all Trump in the scoring column.

Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

That's how I feel. I am not a fan of thinking of gold as a currency, and currently think gold is a bit overpriced...but gold has it all over Bitcoin. IMO

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

Thanks! You should have read my private comments when I used to write for clients of a bank or dealer. I was definitely less reverent. Occasionally got me into trouble. Writing for a 'net audience has tamed my prose somewhat.

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

Ha! I remember when they started to phase out tokens, I refused to switch because you couldn't use a metrocard for anything else. Therefore, it was inferior to the token in my pocket. However, once they started discounting the metrocard, it overcame that option value pretty easily.

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

Incidentally, I'm not trying to sound argumentative...just to be provocative about what money is and whether bitcoin is there yet. Maybe it will be someday, but yesterday it went from 10000 to 11500 to 9000 to 10000. So it rallied 11.5%, fell 22%, and then rallied 11% to finish the day. That's not something I'm keeping in my wallet, although it may be fun to trade.

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

I'd rather have a knish over the currency of some of the more unstable regimes in the world! Bitcoin is certainly on the Zdollar-knish-USdollar continuum somewhere, but probably to the left of knish. At least I can eat a knish and know what it's worth.

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

Well, by that definition a subway token is money (or was, back when they had subway tokens!). You could buy a newspaper in a bodega with one, and of course a subway or bus ride, and people would definitely give you money for it. Its value in units of goods was also vastly more stable than bitcoin. I think you need a higher standard; for example, you can buy just about ANY item with it (you can't, with bitcoin, at least not yet) regardless of size, and the value is reasonably stable over time. Store of value, medium of exchange, unit of account, right?

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

I see it as a speculative trading vehicle. I don't see them ever really being currencies (the crypto folks would scream that they already are, but they're a long way from being actual money).

In this article: SPX
Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
4 months ago

That's true! I would even concede billions rather than millions. But to displace the dollar, that needs to be tens of trillions. I don't think (and I may be wrong!) that you can build a currency on dark commerce alone.

In this article: SPX
Avoiding The Rattlesnakes In Monetary Policy
7 months ago

Wages are rising at 3.3% per annum. Not sure what "higher wages" means here, but that's well above inflation so it would seem they are responding to low unemployment. Indeed, they are responding almost exactly as the Phillips Curve would suggest: www.talkmarkets.com/.../the-phillips-curve-is-working-just-fine-thanks

So I'm not sure what the objection is. Yes, the Fed doesn't understand how this works, and so they'll screw it up almost for certain. I think we agree on that!!!

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Michael Ashton Commented on Trump and Tariffs – Not a New Risk:

Maybe. So far, it's all Trump in the scoring column.

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Work Experience

Managing Principal
Enduring Investments LLC
February 2009 - Present (9 years 4 months)

Enduring Investments is a boutique consulting and investment management company, founded in 2009, offering focused inflation‐market insights and advice. The mission of Enduring Investments is to provide specialized, high value‐added advice, investment products, and research to our clients, focusing on our unique strengths and deep experience in inflation‐linked markets.

Inflation Trading and Product Development
Natixis
December 2005 - February 2009 (3 years 3 months)

I built the inflation derivatives business in the US.

Associate Director
Barclays Capital
January 2001 - August 2004 (3 years 8 months)

Traded gamma options book; in 2003 was put in charge of inflation derivatives book. Traded 1/3 of all US CPI swaps in the interbank market. Wrote a daily commentary and analysis that was distributed to thousands of clients and colleagues globally. Proposed the CPI futures contract to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and was lead market-maker for the contract.

Vice President
Deutsche Bank
July 1999 - December 2000 (1 year 6 months)

Developed new institutional clients; suggested positions, structures, and spreads to said clientele and executed trades in a range of fixed-income product including futures, Treasuries, agencies, mortgages, and OTC product such as swaps, Treasury options, and swaptions. Wrote a daily commentary and analysis that was distributed to more than 500 clients, traders, and salespeople.

Education

Trinity University
B.A., Economics
1986 / 1990
Minors in Mathematics and Finance Graduated summa cum laude

Publications

What's Wrong With Money? The Biggest Bubble of All
Michael Ashton
Wiley
03/07/2016

"What's Wrong with Money? "explores how money is valued and warning signs that point to its eventual collapse. The author is widely regarded as a premier expert on inflation; in this book, he illustrates how erosion of trust in central banks is putting us at high risk of both near- and long-term inflation--and a potentially very serious disruption. It's not about a conspiracy surrounding inflation reporting; it's about the tentative agreement we all carry that lends money its value. This book walks you through the history of currency and details the ways in which it can fall apart; you'll learn how to invest for lesser and greater inflation outcomes.

An economic system without money is incredibly inefficient, but our shared agreement in monetary value has historically never been enough. "What's Wrong with Money?" shows you the lessons from the past and the reality of the present and helps you make plans for the future of money.

E-piphany
Michael Ashton
Michael Ashton

So, it turns out that writing commentary is somewhat of an addiction. I first began writing market commentary in 1990, when I worked for a company called Technical Data in Boston (it is now part of Thomson Financial). If you know the BondData or MoneyData product – I was writing on those products back then.

I wrote an internal commentary called “Nerd Notes” when I was at JP Morgan; wrote a more-detailed customer-focused commentary called the “U.S. Government Trading Commentary” for Bankers Trust; “Mountains and Molehills” for Deutsche Bank, “Sales and Trading Commentary from the US Interest Rate Derivatives Desk” at Barclays, and then “Inflation Desk Commentary” at Natixis. Sprinkled in between were various private letters: “Speculator’s Diary” and “Ashton Analytics Daily Commentary.”