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

ALL CONTRIBUTIONS

Update And Summary On Housing Inflation
It’s worth turning for a bit to look at the housing market. Shelter is a large part of what consumers spend money on, and therefore a large part of the CPI.
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EC The Neatest Idea Ever For Reducing The Fed’s Balance Sheet
It is currently not possible to directly access any inflation index other than headline inflation (in any country that has inflation-linked bonds, aka ILBs).
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Inflation-Related Impressions From Recent Events
In early August Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare reported the largest nominal wage increase in 1997. This month there was a correction, but the trend does appear firmly upward.
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Post-CPI Analysis - Friday, August 10
Measured inflation should continue to accelerate for the balance of 2018 and make the Fed’s obsession with core PCE increasingly indefensible.
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Alternative Risk Premia In Inflation Markets
When people talk about ‘alternative risk premia’, they mean one of two things.
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HH The Important Trade Effects Are Longer-Term
The question about the impact of trade wars is really two questions, and I suppose they get conflated a lot these days. First, there’s the near-term market impact; second is the longer-term price/growth impact.
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Comments

Latest Comments
The Neatest Idea Ever For Reducing The Fed’s Balance Sheet
1 month ago

No, banks must hold reserves against their activities such as lending. The way the Fed controls (or anyway, the way they did for almost most of a century before the financial crisis) the money supply is to make greater or lesser amounts of reserves available in the system. By restricting the amount of reserves, the Fed restricts the amount of lending (and incidentally, causes rates to rise since scarce reserves are bid up. But that's an effect, not a cause). Right now, the Fed can restrict reserves but it won't affect the banks' ability to lend as these are all "excess." Until the Fed sufficiently reduces the balance sheet they have almost no control over the money creation process. (They could also raise reserve requirements and make all excess reserves required, but that would forcibly de-lever banks permanently and there's really no chance of that happening).

Central banks tell us this doesn't really matter, that they can control the health of the patient by changing the markings on the thermometer rather than by regulating the patient's temperature...but to be kind that's "speculative" at best.

In this article: TIP
Inflation And Corporate Margins
6 months ago

Yes, I would expect so.

Trump And Tariffs – Not A New Risk
8 months ago

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

Higher Wages: Good For You, Not Good For Stocks
11 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
11 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
11 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
11 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
11 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
11 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
11 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
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Work Experience

Managing Principal
Enduring Investments LLC
February 2009 - Present (9 years 11 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.”