A measure of the U.S. money supply, created but abandoned by the Federal Reserve, has turned negative in the past year and signals disinflation or outright deflation, according to economists who track the figure.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows M3 has shrunk 5.4 percent in the past year, an indication the economy may face deflationary pressure as fewer dollars chase the same amount of goods, according to economists Paul Ashworth and Paul Dales at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto. They began compiling a measure of M3 after the Fed discontinued it in 2006.
“Sharp falls in the money supply tend to go hand in hand with very, very low rates of inflation if not deflation,” Dales said. The decline in M3 “suggests there is perhaps greater downward pressures on inflation than M2 suggests.”