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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Boing, boing, splat

57 varieties of mishap

Like all parents, I adore my daughter, but as a 3-year-old, blinkin' heck she can be hard work at times. 

We often like to make home-made jams, preserves, and sauces together over the summer, as a way to minimise her time in front of the television, if nothing else. 

For this week's mishap, my darling toddler managed to deposit a tsunami of tomato ketchup all over her lap, the dining room table, the floor, and then left a red trail of destruction across most of the house between her seat and the kitchen. 

I'm sure you can imagine the drill. She was hammering fruitlessly on the end of the bottom of the bottle with absolutely nothing coming out, until suddenly...well, I'm sure you can guess the rest. 

Nothing, nothing, nothing...splat!

After the event, we dutifully wasted no time in admonishing her. 

It was hardly her fault, of course, she's only just turned three, and she'd never tried home-made tomato sauce before, or indeed, any brand of runny ketchup from a glass bottle. 

But, still, surely she should have just known? Argh!

Bottled up

It's been intriguing to reflect on the past decade, as the financial crisis recedes into the rear view mirror.

When governing bodies and central banks began their unconventional 'money printing' policies, QE programmes, and monetising debt, everyone appeared to be certain that this would inevitably lead to inflation, and quite possibly uncontrolled hyperinflation. 

Everyone just knew it. 

There was even a funny guy from the US called Jordan something or other - who as far as most could tell was but a teenager, or not far from it - lecturing us on runaway inflation, hoarding gold, and predicting a 60 per cent fall in Australian home values.

The thing that's captivating is how swiftly and dramatically the prevailing narrative on inflation has about-faced.

Everyone now seems to be convinced that today's comparatively high levels of household debt are disinflationary, and that the inflation genie has become subdued, perhaps forever. 

When you think about it, it's certainly a remarkable shift in narrative in a relatively short period of time, but everyone seems to just know it now. 

This week's forecasts from the central bank appeared to show Australia's rate of inflation meandering back towards the 2.5 per cent target over a period of about half a decade.

Surprises in store

The problem with forecasts, however, is that they are necessarily based upon a short history of outcomes, and by their very nature can't adequately make allowances for unforeseen shocks or unprecedented events. 

In any case, even the 90 per cent confidence intervals take in a remarkably broad range of scenarios. 

Something to ponder, though, is that perhaps central banks around the world have been hammering on the monetary sauce bottle, and the inflationary ketchup is about to come flying out all in a rush, splattering its blood red influence everywhere. 

Nothing, nothing, nothing...splat!

Maybe we'll even see uncontrolled hyperinflation in parts of the world? This is by no means a forecast, just a weekend thought for you to chew on!

Anyway, back to cleaning the floor for me.