Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

The Best ‘Reflation’ Indicator May Be Japanese

Japanese industrial production dropped sharply in January 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry reported last month. Seasonally-adjusted, the IP index fell 6.8% month-over-month from December 2017. Since the country has very little mining sector to speak of, and Japan’s IP doesn’t include utility output, this was entirely manufacturing in nature (99.79% of the IP index is derived from the manufacturing sector).

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The Problem with a State-Cartel Economy: Prices Rise, Wages Don’t

The vise will tighten until something breaks. It could be the currency, it could be the political status quo, it could be the credit/debt system--or all three. The problem with an economy dominated by state-enforced cartels and quasi-monopolies is that prices rise (since cartels can push higher costs onto the consumer) but wages don't (since cartels can either dominate local labor markets or engage in global wage arbitrage: offshore jobs, move to...

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX was mostly stronger last week, despite the dollar’s firm tone against the majors. Best EM performers on the week were MXN, KRW, and COP while the worst were ZAR, INR, and PEN. US jobs data poses the biggest risk to EM this week, as US yields have been falling ahead of the data. Indeed, the current US 10-year yield of 2.74% is the lowest since February 6.

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What If All the Cheap Stuff Goes Away?

Nothing stays the same in dynamic systems, and it's inevitable that the current glut of low costs / cheap stuff will give way to scarcities that cannot be filled at current low prices. One of the books I just finished reading is The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire.

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15 Years of War: To Whose Benefit?

As for Iraq, the implicit gain was supposed to be access to Iraqi oil. Setting aside the 12 years of "no fly zone" air combat operations above Iraq from 1991 to 2003, the U.S. has been at war for almost 17 years in Afghanistan and 15 years in Iraq. (If the word "war" is too upsetting, then substitute "continuing combat operations".)

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Embrace The Uncertainty

There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going...

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Decrypting the Appointment of John Bolton

So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump. To many observers, the appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor is the functional equivalent of appointing the Anti-Christ--or maybe worse. Indeed, these observers would, when comparing the two, find grudging favor with the Anti-Christ.

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Just A Few More Pips

On Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Central Banker Crisis Handbook it states very clearly, “do not make it worse.” It’s something like the Hippocratic oath where monetary authorities must first assess what their actions might do to an already fragile system. It’s why they take great pains to try and maintain composure, appearing calm and orderly while conflagration rages all around. The last thing you want to do is confirm the run.

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Should Facebook and Google Pay Users When They Sell Data Collected from Users?

Let's imagine a model in which the marketers of data distribute some of their immense profits to the users who created and thus "own" the data being sold for a premium. It's not exactly news that Facebook, Google and other "free" services reap billions of dollars in profits by selling data mined/collected from their millions of users. As we know, If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold, also phrased as if...

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Solutions Only Arise Outside the Status Quo

Solutions are only possible outside these ossified, self-serving centralized hierarchies. Correspondent Dan F. asked me to reprint some posts on solutions to the systemic problems I've outlined for years, most recently in How Much Longer Can We Get Away With It? and Checking In on the Four Intersecting Cycles. I appreciate the request, because it's all too easy to dwell on what's broken rather than on the difficult task of fixing what's broken.

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Is Profit-Maximizing Data-Mining Undermining Democracy?

As many of you know, oftwominds.com was falsely labeled propaganda by the propaganda operation known as ProporNot back in 2016. The Washington Post saw fit to promote ProporNot's propaganda operation because it aligned with the newspaper's view that any site that wasn't pro-status quo was propaganda; the possibility of reasoned dissent has vanished into a void of warring accusations of propaganda and "fake news" --which is of course propaganda in...

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The Boom Reality of Uncle He’s Globally Synchronized L

Top Chinese leadership is taking further shape. With Xi Jinping’s continuing consolidation of power going on right this minute, most of the changes aren’t really changes, at least not internally. To the West, and to the mainstream, what the Chinese are doing seems odd, if not more than a little off. Unlike in the West, however, there is determined purpose that is in many ways right out in the open. Many here had been expecting that outgoing PBOC...

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM ended Friday under renewed selling pressures, and capped off a mostly softer week. COP, THB, and TWD were the best performers last week, while TRY, RUB, and ZAR were the worst. Despite a widely expected 25 bp hike, this week’s FOMC meeting still has potential to weigh on EM.

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US Industry Experiences The Full 2014 Again in February

In February 2018, it was like old times for the US industrial sectors. Prior to the 2015-16 downturn, the otherwise moribund economy did produce two genuine booms. The first in the auto sector, the other in energy. Without them, who knows what the no-recovery recovery would have looked like. They were for the longest time the only bright spots.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

Bob Williams and Joseph Y. Calhoun talks about Bi-Weekly Economic Review for March 15, 2018.

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Emerging Markets: What Changed

Hong Kong may impose a tax on unsold apartments as an effort to increase supply and cool off the housing market. Bank of Israel’s MPC had a split vote last month for the first time in three years. South Africa President Ramaphosa said the ANC wants Julius Malema of the opposition EFF to rejoin the party. Former South Africa President Zuma will face trial on 16 criminal charges.

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Checking In on the Four Intersecting Cycles

Correspondent James D. recently asked for an update on the four intersecting cycles I've been writing about for the past 10 years. Here's the chart I prepared back in 2008 of four long-term cycles: 1. Generational (political/social).2. Price inflation/wage stagnation (economic). 3. Credit/debt expansion/contraction (financial). 4. Relative affordability of energy (resources).

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How Much Longer Can We Get Away With It?

Alas, fakery isn't actually a solution to fiscal/financial crisis.. This chart of "debt securities and loans"--i.e. total debt in the U.S. economy--is also a chart of the creation and distribution of new money, as the issuance of new debt is the mechanism in our financial system for creating (or "emitting" in economic jargon) new currency: when a bank issues a new home mortgage, for example, the loan amount is new currency created out of the...

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Three Months Now of After-Harvey Retail Sales; or, The Boom Narrative Goes Boom

If indeed this inflation hysteria has passed, its peak was surely late January. Even the stock market liquidations that showed up at that time were classified under that narrative. The economy was so good, it was bad; the Fed would be forced by rapid economic acceleration to speed themselves up before that acceleration got out of hand in uncontrolled consumer price gains. On February 1, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracking model was moved up to...

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China’s Questionable Start to 2018

The Chinese government reported estimates for Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) for both January and February 2018. The National Bureau of Statistics prepares and calculates China’s major economic statistics in this manner at the beginning of each year due to the difficulties created by calendar effects (New Year Golden Week).

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