Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com – By Steve Saville
Changes in asset prices or any other prices do not cause changes in money supply, although many of the people who comment on the financial markets and economics believe otherwise. We were recently reminded of this mistaken belief when reading an analysis of oil’s large price decline that included the assertion that hundreds of billions of dollars had been eliminated from the economy as a result of this price change.
Plunges in asset prices invariably provoke comments along the lines of “a huge amount of money has just been wiped out”. For example, when the US real estate and stock markets tanked during 2008 a popular line of argument involved comparing the Fed’s QE with the massive declines in market value to show that the amount of money added by the Fed was small in relation to the amount of money subtracted by the asset-price collapse. The conclusion of this argument was that the Fed’s money-creation would fail to boost prices. However, we explained at the time that this argument was wrong to the core — that no actual money had been destroyed by the dramatic price action and, therefore, that the Fed’s QE resulted in a large net addition of money that would inevitably lead to rising prices somewhere in the economy.
Due to the persistent popularity of the wrongheaded idea that price declines cause money-supply declines and the likelihood that this idea will become even more popular during the next bear market in US equities, it is worth reviewing exactly how money can vanish under the current monetary system. In doing so we will refer to the Fed and the US money supply, but as far as we know the same concepts apply in all of today’s developed economies.
The first way that the US money supply can shrink is via the Fed’s extraction of dollars. This is the opposite of QE. When the Fed conducts a QE operation or monetises assets under a conventional open market operation, it buys bonds from Primary Dealers (PDs). This process adds ‘covered’ money to the economy, that is, it adds dollars to the