According to the Financial Times, Google is planning to construct a price index that could eventually serve as an alternative to official government statistics. While the Google Price Index (GPI) is still a work in progress and only tracks web-traded goods, the potential for expansion into other sectors of the economy could provide a more complete picture of inflation in the future. If fully developed, the GPI may keep government statistics honest in periods of higher inflation.
Warren Buffett is not buying into projections of an imminent “double dip” recession and sees a broad based economic recovery ahead. Berkshire Hathaway’s diverse collection of operating companies gives Mr. Buffett a unique view into the health of the overall economy and he has frequently commented on overall economic conditions over the past few years. Read this article for more details.
Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial, has made a bold bet on falling prices over the next decade according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. Fairfax Financial is an insurance company based in Canada which many have compared to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway due to Mr. Watsa’s impressive long term track record. Fairfax posted very strong results in 2007 and 2008 due to large gains in equity hedges and credit default swaps that were taken based on Mr. Watsa’s correct reading of the economy ahead of the Great Recession. Read this article for more details.
Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas M. Hoenig has been a voice in the wilderness for some time. Mr. Hoenig was the only dissenter of the policy action at the January meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee because he believes that economic and financial conditions no longer warrant the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keep the federal funds rate at “exceptionally low” levels for an extended period of time. Last year, Mr. Hoenig gave a speech outlining alternatives to the “too big to fail” doctrine that has become conventional wisdom in Washington. Read this article for Mr. Hoenig’s current views and a link to a recent speech.
Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings, has often been referred to as “Canada’s Warren Buffett” due to his successful insurance and investing track record. However, in a recent interview with canada.com, Mr. Watsa expressed very different views regarding inflation compared to Warren Buffett’s recent statements on the subject. A few excerpts from the interview appear in this article.