Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Germany, Maybe Europe: No Signs Of The Bottom

For anyone thinking the global economy is turning around, it’s not the kind of thing you want to hear. Germany has been Ground Zero for this globally synchronized downturn. That’s where it began, meaning first showed up, all the way back at the start of 2018. Ever since, the German economy has been pulling Europe down into the economic abyss along with it, being ahead of the curve in signaling what was to come for the whole rest of the global...

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Inflation, But Only At The Morgue

Why is everyone so angry? How can socialism possibly be on such a rise, particularly among younger people around the world? Why are Americans suddenly dying off? According to one study, two-thirds of millennials are convinced they are doing worse when compared to their parents’ generation. Sixty-two percent say they are living paycheck to paycheck, with no savings and no way to get any (though they also tend to “overspend” when compared to other...

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De-dollarization By Default Is Not What You Might Think

Last month, a group of central bank governors from across the South Pacific region gathered in Australia to move forward the idea of a KYC utility. If you haven’t heard of KYC, or know your customer, it is a growing legal requirement that is being, and has been, imposed on banks all over the world. Spurred by anti-money laundering efforts undertaken first by the European Union, more and more governments are forcing global banks to take part.

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Dollar Soft Ahead of Retail Sales Data

There were no surprises in the US-China Phase One trade deal. The dollar is drifting lower ahead of the key retail sales data; there are other minor US data out today. Bank of England credit survey showed demand for loans fell in Q4. Turkey cut its one-week repo rate by 75 bps to 11.25%; South Africa is expected to keep rates steady at 6.5%.

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Instability Rising: Why 2020 Will Be Different

In 2020, increasing monetary and fiscal stimulus will be the equivalent of spraying gasoline on a fire to extinguish it. Economically, the 11 years since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 have been one relatively coherent era of modest growth, rising wealth/income inequality and coordinated central bank stimulus every time a crisis threatened to disrupt the domestic or global economy.

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Clarida Picks Up Some Data

I should know better than to make declarative all-or-none statements like this. I said there isn’t any data which comports with the idea of a global turnaround, this shakeup in sentiment which since early September has gone right from one extreme to the other. Recession fears predominated in summer only to be (rather easily) replaced by near euphoria (again).

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Very Rough Shape, And That’s With The Payroll Data We Have Now

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has begun the process of updating its annual benchmarks. Actually, the process began last year and what’s happening now is that the government is releasing its findings to the public. Up first is the Household Survey, the less-watched, more volatile measure which comes at employment from the other direction. As the name implies, the BLS asks households who in them is working whereas the more closely scrutinized...

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Some Thoughts on the Latest Treasury FX Report

The US Treasury’s latest “Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States” report no longer considers China a currency manipulator. The underlying message is that the Trump administration will continue to use an ad hoc “carrot and stick” approach to improve US access to the domestic markets of its major trading partners.

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Just a Friendly Heads-Up, Bulls: The Fed Just Slashed its Balance Sheet

Perhaps even PhD economists notice that manic-mania bubbles always burst--always. Just a friendly heads-up to all the Bulls bowing and murmuring prayers to the Golden Idol of the Federal Reserve: the Fed just slashed its balance sheet--yes, reduced its assets. After panic-printing $410 billion in a few months, a $24 billion decline isn't much, but it does suggest the Fed might finally be worrying about the reckless, insane bubble it inflated:

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Not Abating, Not By A Longshot

Since I advertised the release last week, here’s Mexico’s update to Industrial Production in November 2019. The level of production was estimated to have fallen by 1.8% from November 2018. It was up marginally on a seasonally-adjusted basis from its low in October.

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM has been able to get some traction as markets basically shrugged off the risk-off sentiment after the Iran attacks.  This week’s planned signing of the Phase One trade deal should help boost EM further, but we remain cautious.  The Iran situation is by no means solved, and we see periodic bouts of risk-off sentiment coming from smaller skirmishes. 

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Global Headwinds and Disinflationary Pressures

I’m going to go back to Mexico for the third day in a row. First it was imports (meaning Mexico’s exports) then automobile manufacturing and now Industrial Production. I’ll probably come back to this tomorrow when INEGI updates that last number for November 2019. For now, through October will do just fine, especially in light of where automobile production is headed (ICYMI, off the bottom of the charts).

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The Fed Can’t Reverse the Decline of Financialization and Globalization

The global economy and financial system are both running on the last toxic fumes of financialization and globalization. For two generations, globalization and financialization have been the two engines of global growth and soaring assets. Globalization can mean many things, but its beating heart is the arbitraging of the labor of the powerless, and commodity, environmental and tax costs by the powerful to increase their profits and wealth.

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Dollar Builds on Gains as Iran Tensions Ease

Markets have reacted positively to President Trump’s press conference yesterday, while the dollar continues to gain traction. The North American session is quiet in terms of US data. Mexico reports December CPI; Peru is expected to keep rates steady at 2.25%. German November IP was slightly better than expected but still tepid; sterling took a hit on dovish comments by outgoing BOE Governor Carney.

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The Real Trade Dilemma

When I write that there are no winners around the world, what I mean is more comprehensive than just the trade wars. On that one narrow account, of course there are winners and losers. The Chinese are big losers, as the Census Bureau numbers plainly show (as well as China’s own). But even the winners of the trade wars find themselves wondering where all the spoils are.

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More Trends That Ended 2019 The Wrong Way

Auto sales in 2019 ended on a skid. Still, the year as a whole wasn’t nearly as bad as many had feared. Last year got off on the wrong foot in the aftermath of 2018’s landmine, with auto sales like consumer spending down pretty sharply to begin it. Spending did rebound in mid-year if only somewhat, enough, though, to add a little more to the worst-is-behind-us narrative which finished off 2019.

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Manufacturing Clears Up Bond Yields

Yesterday, IHS Markit reported that the manufacturing turnaround its data has been suggesting stalled. After its flash manufacturing PMI had fallen below 50 several times during last summer (only to be revised to slightly above 50 every time the complete survey results were tabulated), beginning in September 2019 the index staged a rebound jumping first to 51.1 in that month.

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Is This “The Top”?

Parabolic moves end when the confidence that the parabolic move can't end becomes the consensus. The consensus seems to be that the stock market is on its way to much higher levels, and soon. The near-term targets for the S&P 500 (SPX, currently around 3,235) range from 3,500 to 4,000, with longer-term targets reaching "the sky's the limit."

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

While the global economic backdrop remains favorable for EM, rising geopolitical risks will be a growing headwind. The EM VIX surged above 18% Friday as Iran tensions escalated, the highest since early December. With these tensions likely to persist, EM may remain under some pressure for the time being. High oil prices are positive for the exporters in Latin America and the Middle East but negative for the importers in Asia and Eastern Europe.

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2019: The Year of Repo

The year 2019 should be remembered as the year of repo. In finance, what happened in September was the most memorable occurrence of the last few years. Rate cuts were a strong contender, the first in over a decade, as was overseas turmoil. Both of those, however, stemmed from the same thing behind repo, a reminder that September’s repo rumble simply punctuated.

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