6 Charts That Show Inflation Is Near

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I wrote a column last week about the likelihood of near-term inflation. Given the response to the article, and taking a cue from Morgan Housel's "7 Charts That Sum Up Our Jobs Mess," I decided to illustrate the argument with a series of charts.

As you'll see, the charts begin with the Federal Reserve's aggressive response to the financial crisis and end with a dramatic increase in the price of commodities such as corn, oil, and gold. The charts in between illustrate why the dramatic growth in the money supply has only begun to exert its influence on consumer prices.


Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, recent balance sheet trends.


Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and author's calculations.


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and author's calculations.


Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.


Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.


Source: USDA, Feed Grains Database.

Of course, if it's true that higher inflation is on the way, and I believe that it is, then it's important to start thinking about how to inflation-proof your portfolio.

As I discussed previously, the traditional way to do so is to anchor it in tangible assets. You can do this directly through an exchange-traded fund like the SPDR Gold Trust (NYS: GLD) , or indirectly by investing in companies that produce tangible assets like Molycorp (NYS: MCP) , a rare earth producer, or Paramount Gold and Silver (NYS: PZG) , an exploration-stage mining company in Mexico.

A second approach, and the one I prefer, is to invest in consumer goods companies that can pass price increases onto their customers. Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) and Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) are textbook examples of this given the power of their respective brands. Two less attractive but equally compelling examples are Philip Morris International (NYS: PM) and Altria (NYS: MO) , both of which sell products that are addictive regardless of price.

If neither approach appeals to you, however, our in-house analysts drafted a free report detailing three under-the-radar companies profiting from an increase in oil prices, one of the commodities that's already begun the upward ascent. To learn the identity of these three companies before the market catches on, click here now.

At the time this article was published Foolish contributor John Maxfield, J.D., does not have a financial stake in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Altria Group, Coca-Cola, and Philip Morris International.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris International, and Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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