The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are financial markets good predictors of long-term inflation?

Not according to new research published by the Brazilian central bank. This is timely too--only the other day I was asking an economist friend about this exact question. And Citigroup published a related analysis last week. Intuitively, I suggested to my friend that the bond market was unlikely to be especially good at forecasting long-term CPI. The Brazilian central bank finds that inflation-linked bonds are, in fact, a contrary indicator over the long-run:

"There is a widespread belief that inflation-linked bonds are a direct source of information about inflation expectations. In this paper we address this issue by analyzing the relationship between break- even inflation (the difference between nominal and real yields) and future in inflation. The dataset is extracted from Brazilian Treasury bonds covering the period from April 2005 to July 2010. We find that break-even in inflation is an unbiased forecast only of the 3-month and 6-month ahead inflation. For medium horizons (12 and 18 months) break-even inflation has weak explanatory power of future inflation. Over long horizons (24 and 30 months), we report a significant, but counterintuitive, negative relationship between the break-even and realized inflations."