Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Monthly Macro Monitor – December 2018 (VIDEO)

Economic thoughts and analysis from Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun.

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Converging Views Only Starts With Fed ‘Pause’

There’s no sign of inflation, markets are unsettled, and now new economic data keeps confirming that dark side. Forget each month, every day there is something else suggesting a slowdown. That much had been evident across much of the global economy, but this is now different. The US has apparently been infected, too, not that that is any surprise.

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Unexpected?

Now that the slowdown is being absorbed and even talked about openly, it will require a period of heavy CYA. This part is, or at least it has been at each of the past downturns, quite easy for its practitioners. It was all so “unexpected”, you see. Nobody could have seen it coming, therefore it just showed up out of nowhere unpredictably spoiling the heretofore unbreakable, incorruptible boom everyone was talking about just last week.

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House View, December 2018

We remain neutral on global equities overall, seeing relatively limited potential for developed market stocks in particular as earnings growth declines. We favour companies with pricing power as well as measurable growth drivers and low leverage.

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The View from the Trenches of the Alternative Media

What's scarce in a world awash in free content and nearly infinite entertainment content? After 3,701 posts (from May 2005 to the present), here are my observations of the Alternative Media from the muddy trenches. It's increasingly difficult to make a living creating content outside the corporate matrix.

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China’s Global Slump Draws Closer

By the time things got really bad, China’s economy had already been slowing for a long time. The currency spun out of control in August 2015, and then by November the Chinese central bank was in desperation mode. The PBOC had begun to peg SHIBOR because despite so much monetary “stimulus” in rate cuts and a lower RRR banks were hoarding RMB liquidity.

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Truth Is What We Hide, Self-Serving Cover Stories Are What We Sell

The fact that lies and cover stories are now the official norm only makes us love our servitude with greater devotion. We can summarize the current era in one sentence: truth is what we hide, self-serving cover stories are what we sell. Jean-Claude Juncker's famous quote captures the essence of the era: "When it becomes serious, you have to lie."

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Bearish on Fake Fixes

The conventional definition of a Bear is someone who expects stocks to decline. For those of us who are bearish on fake fixes, that definition doesn't apply: we aren't making guesses about future market gyrations (rip-your-face-off rallies, dizziness-inducing drops, boring melt-ups, etc.), we're focused on the impossibility of reforming or fixing a broken economic system.

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America Needs a New National Strategy

A productive national Strategy would systemically decentralize power and capital rather than concentrate both in the hands of a self-serving elite. If you ask America's well-paid punditry to define America's National Strategy, you'll most likely get the UNESCO version: America's national strategy is to support a Liberal Global Order (LGO) of global cooperation on the environment, trade, etc. and the encouragement of democracy, a liberal order that...

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Monthly Macro Monitor – November 2018

Is the Fed’s monetary tightening about over? Maybe, maybe not but there does seem to be some disagreement between Jerome Powell and his Vice Chair, Richard Clarida. Powell said just a little over a month ago that the Fed Funds rate was still “a long way from neutral” and that the Fed may ultimately need to go past neutral.

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The Direction Is (Globally) Clear

It is definitely one period that they got wrong. Still, IHS Markit’s Composite PMI for the US economy has been one of the better forward-looking indicators around. Tying to real GDP, this blend of manufacturing and services sentiment has predicted the general economic trend in the United States pretty closely. The latter half of 2015 was the big exception.

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For The First Time In 25 Years, China Has To Make A Choice Between External Stability And Growth

Back in August 2 we reported of a historic event for China's economy: for the first time in its modern history, China's current account balance for the first half of the year had turned into a deficit. And while the full year amount was likely set to revert back to a modest surplus, it was only a matter of time before one of the most unique features of China's economy - its chronic current account surplus - was gone for good.

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Does the Market Need a Heimlich Maneuver?

For all we know, the panic selling is Wall Street's way of forcing the Fed's hand: stop with the rates increases already or Mr. Market expires. Markets everywhere are gagging on something: they're sagging, crashing, imploding, blowing up, dropping and generally exhibiting signs of distress.

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Eurodollar Futures: Powell May Figure It Out Sooner, He Won’t Have Any Other Choice

For Janet Yellen, during her somewhat brief single term she never made the same kind of effort as Ben Bernanke had. Her immediate predecessor, Bernanke, wanted to make the Federal Reserve into what he saw as the 21st century central bank icon. Monetary policy wouldn’t operate on the basis of secrecy and ambiguity. Transparency became far more than a buzzword.

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Does Any of This Make Sense?

Does any of this make sense? No. But it's so darn profitable to the oligarchy, it's difficult to escape debt-serfdom and tax-donkey servitude. We rarely ask "does this make any sense?" of things that are widely accepted as beneficial-- or if not beneficial, "the way it is," i.e. it can't be changed by non-elite (i.e. the bottom 99.5%) efforts.

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Retail Sales Marked By Revisions

Retail sales rebounded 0.8% in October 2018 from September 2018, but it’s the downward revisions to the prior months that are cause for attention. The estimates for particularly September were moved sharply lower. Total retail sales two months ago had been figured last month at $485.8 billion (unadjusted) originally, but are now believed to have been just $483.0 billion.

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The Implicit Desperation of China’s “Social Credit” System

Other governments are keenly interested in following China's lead. I've been pondering the excellent 1964 history of the Southern Song Dynasty's capital of Hangzhou, Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276 by Jacques Gernet, in light of the Chinese government's unprecedented "Social Credit Score" system, which I addressed in Kafka's Nightmare Emerges: China's "Social Credit Score".

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China’s Pooh Lesson

It’s one of those “nothing to see here” moments for Economists trying not to appreciate what’s really going on in China therefore the global economy. The slump in China’s automotive sector dragged on through October, with year-over-year sales down for the fourth straight month.

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Understanding the Global Recession of 2019

Isn't it obvious that repeating the policies of 2009 won't be enough to save the system from a long-delayed reset? 2019 is shaping up to be the year in which all the policies that worked in the past will no longer work. As we all know, the Global Financial Meltdown / recession of 2008-09 was halted by the coordinated policies of the major central banks, which lowered interest rates to near-zero, bought trillions of dollars of bonds and iffy assets...

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Why Are so Few Americans Able to Get Ahead?

Our entire economy is characterized by cartel rentier skims, central-bank goosed asset bubbles and stagnating earned income for the bottom 90%. Despite the rah-rah about the "ownership society" and the best economy ever, the sobering reality is very few Americans are able to get ahead, i.e. build real financial security via meaningful, secure assets which can be passed on to their children.

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