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Why CPI Numbers Suggest Interest Rates Are Too Low Vs. Inflation

The following chart from Shadow Statistics by John Williams compares the official government Consumer Price Index (CPI) with the significantly higher CPI that Williams calculates if the index was measured by pre-1990 methodology when interest rates generally were higher than inflation.  Williams believes that there’s been a sharp deterioration in the last couple of decades in the methodology the government uses to calculate CPI and it doesn’t reflect what consumers and businesses are really experiencing. In any case, both present government-calculated CPI and Williams’ “shadow” CPI show that the current 3% interest rates result in a nominally negative return. What does this mean? Interest rates are likely to go up 2% to 3% to more realistic levels.


Brad Lamensdorf

Brad Lamensdorf, the founder and portfolio manager of Active Alts, is a principal and co-manager of the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF. He previously managed a long-short investment partnership from 1998-2005 under the name Tarpon Capital Management. Earlier in his career Mr. Lamensdorf was an equity trader/market strategist for the Bass Brothers’ trading arm. He managed a short only portfolio in addition to co-managing a $1bil hedging program. He also served as in-house market strategist for the entire internal and external network of Bass Brothers money managers.

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