Friday, March 31, 2006

Mainstream report of M3 discontinuance

Color me surprised to find an MSN Money article on the Fed's decision to stop publishing the M3 money supply figures for public release. Jim Jubak's latest installment, entitled, "Fed kills a key inflation gauge", deals with this very topic.

Although it comes after the fact of M3's discontinuance (publication of M3 data ceased on March 23), I am still a bit astonished to read the contents of this article. Jubak has addressed in print some of the important issues associated with the loss of this data, but I have yet to see many other mainstream news sources do the same. Whiile he doesn't exactly go in for the kill (Jubak relates some of the Fed's possible motives for shelving M3 as being drawn from the realm of "conspiracy theories", a device which provides him with some cover), the article does a pretty admirable job of relating why the eradication of this data is important.

In the following passage, Jubak relates his bewilderment over the removal of a broad money supply figure at a time when "markets can add hundreds of billions of global liquidity in a matter of hours". Here are Jubak's words:

"Rather than killing off M3, you'd think the Federal Reserve would be spending money to develop and publish data for an M4 and maybe an M5 to track the ebbs and flows of an even-more-expansive definition of money that includes some of the new forms of money that have been manufactured on Wall Street and in other global banking sectors."

All in all, a pretty interesting and surprising read. Have a look at the full article in the link above.