Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Weekly Columns Are Up at XE.com

International Economic Week in Review

US Bond Market Week in Review

US Equity Market Week in Review

Steve Hayward of Powerline Continues to Be an Economic Jackass

     Today, Steve Hayward of Powerline wrote a blog post titled, The Economy in Pictures.  He uses a whopping 4 graphs to argue that the economy is near a recession.  You can stop laughing now.  
 
     Over at XE.com I have a post that uses 18 different indicators -- and these are indicators that have a long track record of being accurate predictors of economic activity -- to argue that we're still looking at a modestly growing economy.  

     Once again, we have Steve Hayward proving that he's an economic jackass of the highest order. But on a good note, we can also start to argue that he's a great contrary indicator: do the exact opposite of what he does and you'll make out like a bandit in the market.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekly Indicators for September 19 - 23 at XE.com


 - by New Deal democrat

My Weekly Indicators post is up at XE.com.  Commodities undid their recent wobble, but the trend in several interest rate indicators is of concern.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bonddad's Thursday Linkfest

New Fed Projections




BOJ Adds to QE (FT)

The Bank of Japan has launched a new kind of monetary easing as it set a cap on 10-year bond yields and vowed to overshoot its 2 per cent inflation target on purpose.

Its decision demonstrates that even eight years after the global financial crisis, central bankers are still willing to experiment with monetary policy tools as they struggle to escape from low inflation around the world.

The move marks another effort by Haruhiko Kuroda, BoJ governor, to surprise market expectations by expanding his monetary policy toolkit to signal his determination that Japan escape its decades of on-and-off deflation.


Weekly Chart of the Japanese ETF






The global economy is projected to grow at a slower pace this year than in 2015, with only a modest uptick expected in 2017. The Outlook warns that a low-growth trap has taken root, as poor growth expectations further depress trade, investment, productivity and wages.

Over the past few years, the rate of global trade growth has halved relative to the pre-crisis period, and it declined further in recent quarters, with the weakness concentrated in Asia. While low investment has played a role, rebalancing in China and a reversal in the development of global value chains could signal permanently lower trade growth, leading to weaker productivity growth. Lack of progress – together with some backtracking – on the opening of global markets to trade has added to the slowdown. 

Exceptionally low – and in some cases negative – interest rates are distorting financial markets and raising risks across the financial system.  A disconnect between rising bond and equity prices and falling profit and growth expectations, combined with over-heating real estate markets in many countries, increases the vulnerability of investors to a sharp correction in asset prices.

“The marked slowdown in world trade underlines concerns about the robustness of the economy and the difficulties in exiting the low-growth trap,” said OECD Chief Economist Catherine L. Mann. “While weak demand is surely playing a role in the trade slowdown, a lack of political support for trade policies whose benefits could be widely shared is of deep concern.

”Monetary policy is becoming over-burdened. Countries must implement fiscal and structural policy actions to reduce the over-reliance on central banks and ensure opportunity and prosperity for future generations.”







Table of the 20 Largest Shipping Companies by Market Cap (FinViz)




Chart of the Shipping Sector (Finviz)




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Divided Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged

This is over at xe.com.

August housing cools off, but slow increase in trend persists


 - by New Deal democrat

This post is up at XE.com.  The headline numbers are disappointingly flat.  But when we step back and take a look at the three month moving average, a slight trend appears.

Bonddad's Wednesday Linkfest

I'm a financial adviser with Thompson Creek Wealth as well as a tax and business attorney with The Law Office of Hale Stewart.



But maybe the real issue is that the economy is stuck in a netherworld where growth remains perpetually weak while unusually low interest rates keep the macro trend from falling into a conventional business-cycle ditch. Actually, we’ve been in something approximating this netherworld in recent years, albeit punctuated by temporary bursts of relatively solid growth.








The latest data, courtesy of the Census Bureau, which released its annual update on incomes and poverty yesterday, showed that median household income increased a whopping 5.2 percent in 2015 to an inflation-adjusted $56,516. As the New York Times, noted, it was “the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967.”

.....

Ignore the naysayers; the most recent numbers were a huge positive surprise, showing that incomes for all Americans are rising in a meaningful way. Unlike in recent years, when much of the gains went to an increasingly narrow group at the top of the economic strata, last year’s improvements were broad and deep. “Gains were spread across the income spectrum and by race, while women’s earnings inched closer to men’s,” Bloomberg reported.















Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The so-so 2016 election economy


 - by New Deal democrat

As I have pointed out in several recent posts, the economic fundamentals forecast a very tight, 51/49 Presidential race.  Here again is a copy of Nate Silver's "economics only" election forecast:



Here's how Silver calculates the index:

"How does the model judge how well the economy is doing? It calculates an index, which may seem complicated but is actually relatively intuitive. We combine the change over the past year in six measures of economic health — jobs (nonfarm payrolls); manufacturing (industrial production); income (real personal income); spending (personal consumption expenditures); inflation (the consumer price index); and the stock market (S&P 500) — into a single index. Each part of the index is compared to how well the economy was doing by that metric in previous presidential election years"

While (except for the stock market) this is a good coincident index for the economy, almost exactly matching the criteria used to determine if the economy is in recession or not,voddly it does not include most of the series that Silver himself found om 2011 were most correlated with the results of Presidential elections over the last 50 years:



So let's take a look at the nine series that had correlations of .30 or better:

ISM manufacturing index (Jan - Sep):



Unfortunately the ISM has withdrawn its permission for the St. Louis FRED to post its data, so I can't post a better graph.  But I can tell you that through August, this year the ISM Manufacturing index has averaged 50.8 -- just barely positive.

Nonfarm employment:



Employment has grown by about 1% in the first 8 months of this year.

Unemployment rate (Sep less Jan):



The unemployment rate in September is the same as it was in January.

Real personal income minus transfers




This is also up about 1% so far this year.

Change in employment to population ratio (Sep less Jan)



The e/p ratio has only improved by 0.1% this year.

Real GDP and real GDP per capita



Real GDP is only up about 0.5% through the second quarter.  Per capita it is up less than 0.2%.

Real final sales (i.e., production plus wholesale plus retail sales)


This is also up about 1% through the second quarter.

Real disposable income per capita


This too is up about 1% as of July.

In summary, only one series -- the unemployment rate -- out of the 9 most correlated with the re-election of the incumbent party is not positive (and it is unchanged).  All of the others are positive, although several just barely so. BUT, none of them are strongly positive.  This is an economy moving forward in no better than second gear.  So the incumbent party is favored -- but by very little.

Bonddad's Tuesday Linkfest

I'm a financial adviser with Thompson Creek Wealth as well as a tax and business attorney with The Law Office of Hale Stewart.

OPEC Is Close to Deal?

OPEC members are close to reaching an agreement on how to stabilize the market, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said after speaking to his counterparts from Iran and Ecuador.

Maduro held “positive discussions” with fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries who attended the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, he said Sunday at a press conference following the event, in which 15 heads of state gathered in the South American country. Maduro said he spoke with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the summit and that he hopes an accord can be reached by the end of the month. 

1-Year Chart of Oil






China’s debt has grown to alarming levels, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements that highlight a big potential risk to the global economy.

What the BIS terms the country’s “credit gap” is now three times higher than the typical danger level, the research shows.

The measure tracks the difference between corporate and household debt as a proportion of gross domestic product and the long term trend, thus highlighting any divergence between current and historic borrowing patterns — a possible indicator of unsustainable debt accumulation.





1-Year Chart of the Chinese Market








McDonald’s could face an order to pay nearly $500m in back taxes to Luxembourg, according to a Financial Times analysis of an investigation by Brussels into state-supported tax avoidance.

Last month the European Commission imposed a €13bn tax penalty on Apple in Ireland, triggering a storm of protest from Washington and corporate America. As the commission steps up its crackdown on so-called sweetheart tax deals, two US multinationals — McDonald’s and Amazon — are potentially next in line.

According to an FT review of the commission’s McDonald’s probe, it paid an average tax rate of 1.49 per cent on the $1.8bn profit earned by its Luxembourg-based European headquarters since its 2009.


1-Year Chart of McDonalds






Bonddad's Tuesday Linkfest

I'm a financial adviser with Thompson Creek Wealth as well as a tax and business attorney with The Law Office of Hale Stewart.

OPEC Is Close to Dael?

OPEC members are close to reaching an agreement on how to stabilize the market, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said after speaking to his counterparts from Iran and Ecuador.

Maduro held “positive discussions” with fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries who attended the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, he said Sunday at a press conference following the event, in which 15 heads of state gathered in the South American country. Maduro said he spoke with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the summit and that he hopes an accord can be reached by the end of the month. 

1-Year Chart of Oil






China’s debt has grown to alarming levels, according to new data from the Bank for International Settlements that highlight a big potential risk to the global economy.

What the BIS terms the country’s “credit gap” is now three times higher than the typical danger level, the research shows.

The measure tracks the difference between corporate and household debt as a proportion of gross domestic product and the long term trend, thus highlighting any divergence between current and historic borrowing patterns — a possible indicator of unsustainable debt accumulation.





1-Year Chart of the Chinese Market








McDonald’s could face an order to pay nearly $500m in back taxes to Luxembourg, according to a Financial Times analysis of an investigation by Brussels into state-supported tax avoidance.

Last month the European Commission imposed a €13bn tax penalty on Apple in Ireland, triggering a storm of protest from Washington and corporate America. As the commission steps up its crackdown on so-called sweetheart tax deals, two US multinationals — McDonald’s and Amazon — are potentially next in line.

According to an FT review of the commission’s McDonald’s probe, it paid an average tax rate of 1.49 per cent on the $1.8bn profit earned by its Luxembourg-based European headquarters since its 2009.


1-Year Chart of McDonalds