Category Archive: 5.) Alhambra Investments

The Big And Small of Leading Japan

In the middle of 2018, Japan, they said, was riding so high. Gliding along on the tidal wave of globally synchronized growth, Haruhiko’s courage and more so patience had finally delivered the long-promised recovery. The Japanese economy had healed to a point that its central bank officials believed it time to wean the thing off decades of monetary “stimulus.”

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China Enters 2020 Still (Intent On) Managing Its Decline

Chinese Industrial Production accelerated further in December 2019, rising 6.9% year-over-year according to today’s estimates from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). That was a full percentage point above consensus. IP had bottomed out right in August at a record low 4.4%, and then, just as this wave of renewed optimism swept the world, it has rebounded alongside it.

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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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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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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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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 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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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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A Sour End To The 2010’s Doesn’t Have To Spoil The Entire 2020’s

It has been perhaps the most astonishing divergence in the first two decades of 21st century history. In late 2017, Western economic officials (mostly central bankers) were taking their victory laps. They took great pains to tell the world it was due to their profound wisdom, deep courage, and, most of all, determined patience, that they had been able to see their policies through to the light of day (no thanks to voters around the world).

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Everything Comes Down To Which Way The Dollar Is Leaning

Is the global economy on the mend as everyone at least here in America is now assuming? For anyone else to attempt to answer that question, they might first have to figure out what went wrong in the first place. Most have simply assumed, and continue to assume, it has been fallout from the “trade wars.”

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Latest European Sentiment Echoes Draghi’s Last Take On Global Economic Risks

While sentiment has been at best mixed about the direction of the US economy the past few months, the European economy cannot even manage that much. Its most vocal proponent couldn’t come up with much good to say about it – while he was on his way out the door. At his final press conference as ECB President on October 24, Mario Draghi had to acknowledge (sort of) how he is leaving quite the mess for Christine Lagarde.

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China Data: Something New, or Just The Latest Scheduled Acceleration?

The Chinese government was serious about imposing pollution controls on its vast stock of automobiles. The largest market in the world for cars and trucks, the net result of China’s “miracle” years of eurodollar-financed modernization, for the Chinese people living in its huge cities the non-economic costs are, unlike the air, immediately clear each and every day.

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A Repo Deluge…of Necessary Data

Just in time for more discussions about repo, the Federal Reserve delivers. Not in terms of the repo market, mind you, despite what you hear bandied about in the financial media the Fed doesn’t actually go there. Its repo operations are more RINO’s – repo in name only. No, what the US central bank actually contributes is more helpful data.

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If The Best Case For Consumer Christmas Is That It Started Off In The Wrong Month…

Gone are the days when Black Friday dominated the retail calendar. While it used to be a somewhat fun way to kick off the holiday shopping season, it had morphed into something else entirely in later years. Scenes of angry shoppers smashing each other over the few big deals stores would truly offer, internet clips of crying children watching in horror as their parents transformed their local Walmart into Thunderdome.

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Lagarde Channels Past Self As To Japan Going Global

As France’s Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde objected strenuously to Ben Bernanke’s second act. Hinted at in August 2010, QE2 was finally unleashed in November to global condemnation. Where “trade wars” fill media pages today, “currency wars” did back then. The Americans were undertaking beggar-thy-neighbor policies to unfairly weaken the dollar.

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