Category Archive: Global Macro

Global Asset Allocation Update

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. The performance of markets in the first quarter of the year was a bit schizophrenic. Stocks performed well which one might interpret as a reflection of improving economic growth prospects. Certainly President Trump and his proxies were quick to take credit but unfortunately for the new...

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Now You Tell Us

As we move further into 2017, economic statistics will be subject to their annual benchmark revisions. High frequency data such as any accounts published on or about a single month is estimated using incomplete data. It’s just the nature of the process. Over time, more comprehensive survey results as well as upgrades to statistical processes make it necessary for these kinds of revisions.

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The Left’s Descent to Fascism

The Left is morally and fiscally bankrupt, devoid of coherent solutions, and corrupted by its embrace of the Corporatocracy. History often surprises us with unexpected ironies. For the past century, the slide to fascism could be found on the Right (conservative, populist, nationalist political parties).

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The Expanded Retail Sales Gap

Retail sales growth in February 2017 was going to be low by virtue of its comparison to February 2016 and the extra day in that month. The Census Bureau’s autoregressive models are supposed to normalize just these kinds of calendar irregularities so that we can make something close to apples to apples comparisons. The seasonally-adjusted estimate for February, however, was calculated to be less than the one for January 2017, therefore suggesting...

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Assessing China’s Economic Risks

First quarter GDP in China rose 6.9%, better than expected and above the government’s target (6.5%) for 2017. It stands to reason, however, that if Communist officials thought they could get 6.9% to last for the whole year they would have made it their target, especially since 6.5% would be less than the GDP growth rate for 2016 (6.7%). In only that one way is China’s GDP statistic meaningful.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX was mostly firmer last week, helped by Trump comments and softer US data. Whilst this seems positive for EM, the global backdrop remains uncertain. Some in EM (Russia, Turkey, and Korea) remain vulnerable to geopolitical concerns. In addition, idiosyncratic domestic political risks remain in play for other EM countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey. We expect the investment climate for EM to remain challenging this week.

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What Was Chinese Trade in March?

As with all statistics, there are discrepancies that from time to time may obscure the meaning or validity of the particular estimate in question. For the vast majority of the time, any such uncertainties amount to very little. Overall, harmony among the major accounts reduces the signal noise from any one featuring a significant inconsistency.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Malaysia’s central bank said it will allow investors to fully hedge their currency exposure. Egypt declared a 3-month state of emergency after two deadly church attacks. South Africa’s parliamentary no confidence vote has been delayed. Argentina central bank surprised markets with a 150 bp hike to 26.25%. Brazil central bank accelerated the easing cycle with a 100 bp cut in the Selic rate.

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Earnings per Share: Is It Other Than Madness?

As earnings season begins for Q1 2017 reports, there isn’t much change in analysts’ estimates for S&P 500 companies for that quarter. The latest figures from S&P shows expected earnings (as reported) of $26.70 in Q1, as compared to $26.87 two weeks ago. That is down only $1 from October, which is actually pretty steady particularly when compared to Q4 2016 estimates that over the same time plummeted from $29.04 to $24.16. At $26.70, that would...

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Optimal Lunacy

In June 2012, Janet Yellen, then the Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, addressed an audience in Boston with what for the time seemed like a radical departure. It was the latest in a string of them, for conditions throughout the “recovery” period never did quite seem to hit the recovery stride. Because of that, there was constant stream of trial balloons suggesting how the Federal Reserve might try to overcome this economic inertia. At that...

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Millennials Are Abandoning the Postwar Engines of Growth: Suburbs and Autos

Where's the growth going to come from as the dominant generation makes less, borrows less, spends less, saves more and turns away from long commutes, malls and suburban living and abandons the worship of private vehicles?

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Who’s Playing The Long Game–and What’s Their Game Plan?

When we speak of The Long Game, we speak of national/alliance policies that continue on regardless of what political party or individual is in office. The Long Game is always about the basics of national survival: control of and access to resources, and jockeying to diminish the power and influence of potential adversaries while strengthening one's own power and influence.

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The Global Burden

Bundesrepublik Deutscheland Finanzagentur GmbH (German Finance Agency) was created on September 19, 2000, in order to manage the German government’s short run liquidity needs. GFA took over the task after three separate agencies (Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Securities Administration, and Deutsche Bundesbank) had previously shared responsibility for it.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

It is hard not to notice that the chart above has a lot less red in it than it has in some time. That is true of the month to month data as well as the year over year changes. There has been a widely reported gap between so called soft data – surveys and polls – and the hard data – actual economic activity reports. Bulls say the gap is there because the soft data always leads the hard data.

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It Was And Still Is The Wrong Horse To Bet

The payroll report disappointed again, though it was deficient in ways other than are commonly described. The monthly change is never a solid indication, good or bad, as the BLS’ statistical processes can only get it down to a 90% confidence interval, and a wide one at that. It means that any particular month by itself specifies very little, except under certain circumstances.

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Emerging Markets Preview for the Week Ahead

EM FX ended the week on a soft note, as the weaker than expected US jobs data was unable to derail the dollar’s rally. For the week, the worst performers were ZAR (-3%), TRY (-2.5%), and RUB (-2%). CZK bucked the trend, rising after the CNB exited the cap. This week, higher inflation readings in the US could draw market focus back to Fed tightening, which would be negative for EM.

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US Jobs: Who Carries The Burden of Proof?

The idea that interest rates have nowhere to go but up is very much like saying the bond market has it all wrong. That is one reason why the rhetoric has been ratcheted that much higher of late, particularly since the Fed “raised rates” for a third time in March. Such “hawkishness” by convention should not go so unnoticed, and yet yields and curves are once more paying little attention to Janet Yellen.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Reserve Bank of India surprised markets with the start of the tightening cycle. The Czech National Bank (CNB) ended the EUR/CZK floor. Israeli central bank said it won’t hike rates until Q2 2018. Both S&P and Fitch cut South Africa’s rating one notch to sub-investment grade BB+. Moody's put South Africa’s Baa2 rating on review for a downgrade.

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Ultra-Loose Terminology, Not Policy

As world “leaders” gathered in Davos in January 2016, they did so among financial turmoil that was creating more economic havoc than at any time since the Great “Recession.” Having seen especially US QE as the equivalent of money printing, their focus was drawn elsewhere to at least attempt an explanation for the contradiction.

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We Need To Define The ‘Shadows’, And All Parts of Them; or, ‘Rising Dollar’ Kills Another Recovery Narrative

JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon caused a stir yesterday with his 45-page annual letter to shareholders. The phrase that gained him so much widespread attention was, “there is something wrong with the US.” Dimon mentioned secular stagnation and correctly surmised it was the right idea if for the wrong reasons. He then gave his own which included a litany of globalist agenda items, including not enough access to mortgages.

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