Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Disposable (Employment) Figures

If last month’s payroll report was declared to be strong at +128k, then what would that make this month’s +266k? Epic? Heroic? The superlatives are flying around today, as you should expect. This Payroll Friday actually fits the times. It wasn’t great, they never really are nowadays (when you adjust for population and participation), but it was a good one nonetheless.

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The BIS Misses An Opportunity To Get Consistent With The Facts

Much has been made about the repo market since mid-September. Much continues to be made about it. The question is why. It is now near the middle of December and repo looks dicey despite repo operations and a not-QE small-scale asset purchase intended to increase the level of bank reserves. Always the focus on “funds” which may be available. It was John Adams who took on the task of defending several British soldiers on trial for the Boston...

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You Will Never Bring It Back Up If You Have No Idea Why It Falls Down And Stays Down

It wasn’t actually Keynes who coined the term “pump priming”, though he became famous largely for advocating for it. Instead, it was Herbert Hoover, of all people, who began using it to describe (or try to) his Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Hardly the do-nothing Roosevelt accused Hoover of being, as President, FDR’s predecessor was the most aggressive in American history to that point, economically speaking.

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The Taxonomy of Collapse

The higher up the wealth-power pyramid the observer is, the more prone they are to a magical-thinking belief that the empire is forever, even as it is crumbling around them. How great nations and empires arise, mature, decay and collapse has long been of interest for a self-evident reason: if we can discern a template or process, we can predict when the great nations and empires of today will slide into the dustbin of history. One of the...

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

EM has had a good month so far as market optimism on a Phase One trade deal remains high. Yet November trade data due out this week should show that until that deal is finalized, the outlook for EM remains weak.  Deadline for the next round of US tariffs is December 15 and so talks this week are crucial. 

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European Economy: A Time Recession

Eurostat confirmed earlier today that Europe has so far avoided recession. At least, it hasn’t experienced what Economists call a cyclical peak. During the third quarter of 2019, Real GDP expanded by a thoroughly unimpressive +0.235% (Q/Q). This was a slight acceleration from a revised +0.185% the quarter before.

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Fails Swarms Are Just One Part

There it was sticking out like a sore thumb right in the middle of what should have been the glory year. Everything seemed to be going just right for once, success so close you could almost feel it. Well, “they” could. The year was 2014 and the unemployment rate in the US was tumbling, the result of the “best jobs market in decades.” Real GDP in that year’s two middle quarters was pretty near 5% in both.

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All Signs Of More Slack

The evidence continues to pile up for increasing slack in the US economy. While that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a recession looming, it sure doesn’t help in that regard. Besides, more slack after ten years of it is the real story. The Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation measure in October 2019 stood at 1.31%, matching February for the lowest in several years.

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More Signals Of The Downturn, Globally Synchronized

For US importers, October is their month. And it makes perfect sense how it would be. With the Christmas season about to kick into full swing each and every November, the time for retailers to stock up in hearty anticipation is in the weeks beforehand. The goods, a good many future Christmas presents, find themselves in transit from all over the world during the month of October. For the Census Bureau’s trade data, that means this is the month...

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Costs Are Spiraling Out of Control

And how do we pay for these spiraling out of control costs? By borrowing more, of course. If we had to choose one "big picture" reason why the vast majority of households are losing ground, it would be: the costs of essentials are spiraling out of control. I've often covered the dynamics of stagnating income for the bottom 90%, and real-world inflation, i.e. a decline in purchasing power.

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Consistent Trade War Inconsistency Hides The Consistent Trend

You can see the pattern, a weathervane of sorts in its own right. Not for how the economy is actually going, mind you, more along the lines of how it is being perceived from the high-level perspective. The green light for “trade wars” in the first place was what Janet Yellen and Jay Powell had said about the economy.

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The Risen (euro)Dollar

Back in April, while she was quietly jockeying to make sure her name was placed at the top of the list to succeed Mario Draghi at the ECB, Christine Lagarde detoured into the topic of central bank independence. At a joint press conference held with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa, Lesetja Kganyago, as the Managing Director of the IMF Lagarde was asked specifically about President Trump’s habit of tweeting disdain in the direction...

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Crunchtime: When Events Outrun Plan B

Not only will events outrun Plan B, they'll also outrun Plans C and D. We all know what Plan B is: our pre-planned response to the emergence of risk. Plan B is for risks that can be anticipated, regular but unpredictable events such tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. In the human sphere, risks that can be anticipated include temporary loss of a job, stock market down turns, recession, disruption of energy supplies, etc.

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Dollar Soft on Weak Data and the Return of Tariff Man

The dollar has taken a hit from the weaker than expected data Monday. Tariff man is back. The US economy remains solid in Q4 but there are some worrying signs for the November jobs data Friday. The political pressure on Turkey from the US could increase soon; South Africa’s Q3 GDP came in well below expectations at -0.6% q/q and 0.1% y/y.

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EM Preview for the Week Ahead

Over the weekend, China reported stronger than expected November PMI readings while Korea reported weaker than expected November trade data.  While the China data is welcome, we put more weight on Korea trade numbers, which typically serve as a good bellwether for the entire region.  Press reports suggest the Phase One trade deal has stalled due to Hong Kong legislation passed by the US Congress.

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Could America Survive a Truth Commission?

A nation that's no longer capable of naming names and reporting what actually happened richly deserves an economic and political collapse to match its moral collapse. You've probably heard of the Truth Commissions held in disastrously corrupt and oppressive regimes after the sociopath/kleptocrat Oligarchs are deposed. 

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A China Trade Deal Just Finalizes the Divorce

Each party will continue to extract whatever benefits they can from the other, but the leaving is already well underway. Beneath the euphoric hoopla of a trade deal with China is the cold reality that the divorce has already happened and any trade deal just signs the decree. The divorce of China and the U.S. was mutual; each had used up whatever benefits the tense marriage had offered, and each is looking forward to no longer being dependent on the...

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Nothing Good From A Chinese Industrial Recession

October 2017 continues to show up as the most crucial month across a wide range of global economic data. In the mainstream telling, it should have been a very good thing, a hugely positive inflection. That was the time of true inflation hysteria around the globe, though it was always presented as a rationally-determined base case rather than the unsupported madness it really was.

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The Big One, The Smoking Gun

It wasn’t just the unemployment rate which was one of the key reasons why Economists and central bankers (redundant) felt confident enough to inspire 2017’s inflation hysteria. There was actually another piece to it, a bigger piece potentially complimentary and corroborative bit of conjecture. I write “conjecture” because despite how all this is presented in the media there’s very little precision to any of it.

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We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy or Globalization

The servitude of society to a globalized economy is generating extremes of insecurity, powerlessness and inequality. Does our economy serve our society, or does our society serve our economy, and by extension, those few who extract most of the economic benefits? It's a question worth asking, as beneath the political churn around the globe, the issues raised by this question are driving the frustration and anger that's manifesting in social and...

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