Thursday, November 23, 2006

M3 reporting & increases in money supply

From the Big Picture blog, Barry Ritholtz on "The Return of M3":

Last year, we lamented the passing of M3 reporting. This broadest of money supply measures had shown a discomforting increase in liquidity, far greater than what M2 was revealing.

At the time of the M3 announcement, we suspected the Fed was attempting to cover their tracks, disguising an ongoing increase in money supply and an unstated "easing" in Fed bias. Since that time, we have learned: the Treasury Department was also adding liquidity -- a duty they have assumed, in part, in addition to the same performed by the Fed. Indeed, based on the credit growth data Doug Noland published last month (October Credit Review), it appears that the Fed has – despite increasing interest rates – actually eased over the last two years.

Barry also mentions the websites where M3 figures are being reconstructed from publicly available data. One such source is the excellent (see "Key Stats (M3)" at the top of their home page for those figures). Another is John Williams' Shadow Statistics site.

For more background on the Fed's discontinuance of M3 reporting, please see the following article, "M3 Outrage".