The Fed kept rates at zero Wednesday and Chairman Ben Bernanke practically guaranteed more action by the central bank to boost the economy during his press conference following the FOMC meeting. (See: Borrowers Win, Savers Lose as Fed Stands Pat — Again)
In justifying it's uber-easy stance, the Fed cited a "subdued outlook for inflation," which has "moderated since earlier in the year as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their peaks."
That's poppycock, according to Michael Pento, president of Pento Portfolio Strategies and a senior strategy at Agora Financial.
"Inflation is already here," Pento says, citing the following stats:
Inflation: The Consumer Price Index is up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis and Pento (among many others) believes that index grossly underestimates inflation in the real world.
The Misery Index: A combination of unemployment plus CPI inflation, the Misery Index recently hit a 28-year high. (If history is prologue, that's bad news for President Obama.)
Money Supply: M2 Money Supply has grown over 10% in the past 12 months through September. 'They'll claim the money is staying in the banking system but it's not, it's being lent out," Pento says, citing a recent uptick in Commercial & Industrial loans as evidence.
Given the Fed's apparent willingness to ignore these realities, Pento is acutely concerned that inflationary pressures will accelerate in the weeks and months ahead. Admittedly, that's something he's long warned about, with mixed results. But the strategist has also long been bullish on gold and related stocks, with much better results. (See: Go for Gold: Inflation Is Here and Going to Get "Much, Much Worse," Pento Says)
"How do you protect yourself? In an environment of profoundly negative real interest rates that are falling, what do you have to do?," he asks rhetorically. "You have to own commodities and precious metals stocks. That's been the correct trade..." and will remain so unless and until the Fed does an abrupt about-face.
- Ben Bernanke