Velocity of US Money Supply at Long Last Edging Up

By: Prieur du Plessis | Fri, Nov 20, 2009
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Despite ballooning Fed reserves to bail out banks, money supply as measured by the growth in money supply with a zero maturity (notes and coins, check accounts, savings deposits and money-market accounts collectively) continues to slow.

The slowing growth is contra to what normally happens when the Fed lowers the Federal funds rate.

In real terms the growth rate is also slowing.

The slowing in MZM growth is a consequence of US banks' tight lending standards. The trend is likely to continue until the banks relax these standards.

Velocity of MZM is at long last picking up after it started falling in the first quarter of 2007 - six quarters before economic growth slumped. The increase in MZM velocity effectively points to increased economic activity. Further increases in this velocity are essential for sustained economic growth.

Bottoms in consumer sentiment and MZM growth coincide, emphasizing the importance of improved consumer sentiment to get the economy going.

Lastly, the US bond market is an excellent indicator insofar as MZM velocity is concerned. Currently the yield on the 10-year note is pointing to further improvements in money velocity. The US bond market therefore also suggests that consumer sentiment is likely to continue improving and that the current improvement in the economy is sustainable, albeit probably at a slow rate.

Note: The source for all graphs is Plexus Asset Management, based on data from I-Net Bridge.

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Prieur du Plessis

Author: Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

With 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management, Dr Prieur du Plessis is one of the most experienced and well-known investment professionals in South Africa. More than 1 000 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns. He also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment, in 2002.

He holds the following degrees: BSc (Quantity Surveying) (Cape Town), HonsB (B & A) (cum laude) (Stellenbosch), MBA (cum laude) (Stellenbosch); and DBA (Doctor of Financial Management) (Stellenbosch).

Prieur is chairman of the Plexus group of companies, which he founded in 1995. Previously he was general manager: portfolio management at Sanlam, responsible for the management of investment portfolios with total assets in excess of $5 billion.

Plexus is a pioneer in the mutual fund industry and has achieved a number of firsts under Prieur's leadership. These include the authoritative Plexus Survey, a quarterly analysis of the consistency of the performance of unit trust management companies, the Plexus Offshore Survey, the Plexus Unit Trust Indices, and the PlexCrown Fund Ratings.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin, American author of the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

In 2001 Prieur received the Santam/AHI Business Leader of the Year award for corporate leadership, business acumen and entrepreneurial flair. He was also profiled in the book South Africa's Leading Managers (2006). Plexus received the AHI/Old Mutual Enterprise of the Year award in 1997 and was also included in the book South Africa's Most Promising Companies (2005).

Prieur is 52 years old and lives with his wife, TV producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Welgemoed, Cape Town. His recreational activities include long-distance running, motor cycling and reading. He belongs to the Cape Town Club, Johannesburg Country Club, Gordon's Bay Yacht Club and Swiss Social & Sports Club.

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