Some market sceptics have attributed the stock market’s gains to the stimulative forces of the Federal Reserve’s ultra-easy monetary policy.
Many of those same people have blamed the Fed for rising commodity prices too.
However, this latter argument seems to be losing its strength.
Cullen Roche of the Pragmatic Capitalism blog points us to this interesting chart from Societe Generale’s global research team led by Patrick Legland.
Photo: Societe Generale
Here’s SocGen’s commentary:
The effect of QE on commodities (if any) vanished earlier than for equity markets. During each of the first two quantitative easing phases carried out by the Fed, commodities appreciated by over 25%. However, following the announcement of QE3 in Sept. 2012, commodity prices declined (-7% for the CRB index), a reminder that they remain largely driven by economic cycles rather than central bank actions (Gold being the notable exception). In fact, equity markets now seem to be the only asset which benefits from abundant central bank liquidity.
Conclusion: The all-time high reached by US equity markets last week can be attributed to the fact that the only major asset class which benefits from the current “risk-on” mood of investors is equities in developed market.
“Could it simply be that there are other real fundamental drivers of stock prices at present (like corporate profits being driven in part by huge government deficits?) and that the QE “wealth effect” is all in our heads?” asks Roche.
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