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Claim Y2Kcsh - Y2K-Fed Rolls out Presses

Category: Finance:US Finance JUDGED at 0
Owner:38, highlander
Judge:2, Chris Hibbert
due date:2000/06/01

The Claim

This claim will be judged yes if the official figures available from Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve-M1 AND ITS COMPONENTS-Weekly or Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve-M1 AND ITS COMPONENTS-Monthly

indicate an increase of U.S. currency in circulation of at least 10% during some 3 month or 12 week period between 1999/4/1 and 2000/4/1.

Note: If the Fed moves or reorganizes its web page, the judge is encouraged to substitute the best official figures available from the Federal Reserve on the United States currency supply(or an official agency legally designated by the U.S. government to replace the Federal Reserve). If the Federal Reserve dissolves or fails to publish any figures on the currency supply in the US this claim will be judges yes. If the Fed recalls existing currency(i.e. ceases accepting as legal tender currency that was legal as of 1998/10/1 before 2000/4/1) this claim will be judges yes. This claim will also be judges yes if either the CPI rises by at least 50% or price of gold rises at least 150% in terms of currency that was valid as of 1998/10/1 in any 3 month or 12 week period between 1999/4/1 and 2000/4/1(using the London spot price for gold or the official CPI figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statisics ). (it is the opinion of this claim author that an unprecedented rise in gold prices or the CPI would indicate a likely departure from traditional U.S. monetary policies that would make the Fed's figures somewhat suspect or possible evidence that the Fed had lost its ability to control the supply of currency)

Background: According to official figures at Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve-M1 AND ITS COMPONENTS-Weekly the Fed has never increased the currency in circulation (a componet of M1) by more than 6% in any 12 week period since 1975 or according to Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve-M1 AND ITS COMPONENTS-Monthly no 3 month period since 1959.

The currency in circulation is an indication of the relative importance of paper currency to the deposits in demand accounts and other components of M1 (a basic measure of Money Supply). The total Money Supply as of 1998/09/14 was 1068.9 $US Billion of which 447.9 $US Billion was currency.

In public statements, spokespersons of the Federal Reserve have indicated that the Fed would prepare for Y2K by having "plenty" of cash on hand(the figure 50 $US Billion has been thrown around). More info at: Federal Reserve Board Testimony from 7/30/97

It is the premise of this claim that the cash actually put into circulation during the period immediately before and after Y2K will at least reach the high end of what the Federal Reserve has stated they preparing for-and that placing a significant amount of currency into circulation may help measure things like the degree of breakdown of the banking system associated with Y2K problems.

Judge's Statement

I intend to go by the intent of this claim, which calls out specific statistics as guages for whether the amount of currency in circulation in the US has changed. If those statistics aren't available, or are available from different places than those listed in the claim, I will rely on other sources, or other similar statistics. If I have to rely on other sources or other statistics, I will request review of my choices on the fx-discuss list before releasing a judgement.

In case the URLs in the claim description go away, I record here the fact that they pointed to seasonally adjusted numbers. If the CPI figures become relevant, I'll use seasonally adjusted numbers and the broadest numbers, which appear to be the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

The due date on the claim is 2000/6/1, but it looks like all the data will be in by 5/17, and I expect to render a judgement within a week of that point.

Of the three criteria listed above:

10% increase in currency in circulation The relevant figures only exceeded 2.5% right around the new year. The number got as high as 6.2% the first week of the year.
50% rise in the Consumer Price Index The numbers for April aren't out yet, but the numbers through March are below 1%, so a yes doesn't look likely based on this criterion. [I used the figures from BLS linked to from the claim. "Table 2. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Seasonally adjusted U.S. city average, by expenditure category and commodity and service group"
150% rise in the price of gold The overall high during the period was on 12 Oct, 1999, at 323.50 USD, and the overall low was on 21 Jul, 1999, at 252.90 USD.

Goldline keeps the last month's data on the London spot price for gold. I subscribed to the email list over the relevant period.

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