The “Old Normal” Remains Elusive – ”Not so Fast Taking That Punchbowl”

The plan was simple: central banks injecting massive liquidity into the system to bring the world out of the post crash doldrums.  The Fed’s dual mandate of low inflation and high employment would eventually force its hand as low unemployment would lead to increased wages and inflation (aka: a hallmark of the “Old Normal” called the Phillips Curve which posits a “stable and inverse” relationship between inflation and unemployment). During the past few years, it seemed like this scenario was taking hold as the Fed was telegraphing multiple rate increases, the ECB was winding down their stimulus, wage inflation was finally stirring, etc. But, recent developments indicate a slowdown in growth (recent forecasts for China, the US and Europe all trending lower), low inflation (the Fed’s inflation gauge, PCE, remains below the 2.0% target and oil prices unable to sustain recent gains) and very low unemployment still not moving wages significantly, especially for the low wage earners. Stay tuned. By David R. Pascale, Jr. , Senior Vice President at George Smith Partners