What seemed like economic fantasy could soon become cold reality as the global economy wrestles with deflation despite hundreds of billions in central bank money creation.
Investors have been fleeing assets normally linked with economic growth such as materials stocks, energy commodities and copper.
And one prominent Federal Reserve member this week openly discussed whether the U.S. central bank needs to accelerate, rather than pull back, its asset purchase program.
All this while the Fed adds another $85 billion monthly of so-called money printing, the Bank of Japan embarks on an even bigger program relatively speaking, and multiple other central banks either are cutting rates or contemplating the type of quantitative easing programs associated with reflating economies.
"Gold is telling us that the global economy is on thin ice," said Michael Pento, founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies and a staunch gold advocate. "There are parts of the economy that are deflating like Europe and China and parts that are inflating like the United States and Japan. So it's a battle."
Indeed, it's hard to swallow the notion of deflation hitting the U.S. and Japan when looking at the stunning stock market gains in both places.
Moreover, monetary base growth in the U.S. has been surging lately, up about 7 percent on an annualized basis.
But the U.S. market at least has been choppy as of late, enduring a spate of consecutive up-and-down days and itself showing signs that while investors are buying equities, they're still trying to avoid extreme risk.
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