“Only don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence — and makes me very angry…”
-Michael Corleone, The Godfather
Listening to Ben Bernanke repeatedly deny that the Fed’s QE2 program has played any role in jamming up commodities prices stirs the same emotions Michael felt when his brother-in-law Carlo denied fingering Sonny for Barzini’s people.
Bernanke continues to insist that rising commodity prices are due to supply and demand dynamics, and denies any culpability of the Fed’s easy money monetary policy. Senators at today’s testimony on the Hill let that assertion go unchallenged. Would’ve been nice if someone asked Bernanke to reconcile ISM’s February manufacturing survey today, listing roughly 30 commodities up in price, none down, but only three commodities — capacitors, cocoa powder and electric components — in short supply.
It’s a simple enough question: Dr. Bernanke, there’s a laundry list of commodities up in price, and many of their run-ups began in late August, coincident with early mentions of potential QE2. Less than a handful of commodities were reported by manufacturers as being in short supply. So how can supply and demand dynamics alone explain the sharp run-up in commodities during the past six months, when there appear to be few, if any, supply constraints?
For an organization like the Fed where credibility is crucial, it’s amazing that its officials continue to stand by such a flimsy rationale for high commodity prices. Continue reading…