Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

The Payroll Report To Focus On Is August’s, Not September’s

The hurricanes didn’t disappoint, causing major damage at least to the BLS. Precisely how much the statistics were affected by the disruptions in Texas and Florida really can’t be calculated, not that everyone won’t try. It makes this month’s payroll report a Rorschach test of sorts. You can pretty much make it out to be whatever you want.

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The Consent of the Conned

Every single line item in our entire Bernie Madoff scam of a system is cooked. My theme this week is The Great Unraveling, by which I mean the unraveling of our social-political-economic system of hierarchical, centralized power. Let's start by looking at how the basis of governance has transmogrified from consent of the governed to consent of the conned.

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Non-Transitory Meandering

Monetary officials continue to maintain that inflation will eventually meet their 2% target on a sustained basis. They have no other choice, really, because in a monetary regime of rational expectations for it not to happen would require a radical overhaul of several core theories. Outside of just the two months earlier this year, the PCE Deflator has missed in 62 of the past 64 months. The FOMC is simply running out of time and excuses.

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The Damage Started Months Before Harvey And Irma

Ahead of tomorrow’s payroll report the narrative is being set that it will be weak because of Harvey and Irma. Historically, major storms have had a negative effect on the labor market. Just as auto sales were up sharply in September very likely because of the hurricane(s) and could remain that way for several months, payrolls could be weak for the same reasons and the same timeframe.

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Be Careful What You Wish For: Inflation Is Much Higher Than Advertised

What the Federal Reserve is actually whining about is not low inflation--it's that high inflation isn't pushing wages higher like it's supposed to. It's not exactly a secret that real-world inflation is a lot higher than the official rates--the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Personal Consumption Expenditures PCE).

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX ended the week under pressure, as US data points to a rate hike in December and perhaps more in 2018. FOMC minutes this Wednesday will be closely studied for clues. US retail sales and CPI data Friday will also be important. We believe the most vulnerable currencies in this environment are ZAR and TRY, but one could also add MXN and perhaps RUB to that mix too.

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Auto Sales Up Last Month, But Why?

Auto sales rebounded sharply in September, with most major car manufacturers reporting better numbers. Sales at Ford were up 8.9% last month from September 2016; +11.9% at GM; Toyota +14.9%; Nissan +9.5%; Honda +6.8%. The only negatives were reported by FCA (-9.7%) and Mercedes (-1.7%).

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Incomes Are What Matters, So Bad Month, Bad Year, Bad Decade

Sometimes economics can be complicated, such as why the labor market has slowed in such lingering fashion since early 2015. Sometimes economics can be easy, such as why there is so much less to the economy this year than thought. The easy part relates to the hard part. The labor market slowed and so did national income. Though so much of official focus is on debt supplementation, it’s always, always about income.

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What If the Tax Donkeys Rebel?

I would hazard a guess that an increasing number of tax donkeys are considering dropping out as a means of increasing their happiness and satisfaction with life. Since federal income taxes are in the spotlight, let's ask a question that rarely (if ever) makes it into the public discussion: what if the tax donkeys who pay most of the tax rebel? There are several likely reasons why this question rarely arises.

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Dollar Surge Continues Ahead Of Jobs Report; Europe Dips As Catalan Fears Return

World stocks eased back from record highs and fell for the first time in eight days, as jitters about Catalonia’s independence push returned while bets on higher U.S. interest rates sent the dollar to its highest since mid August; S&P 500 futures were modestly in the red - as they have been every day this week before levitating to record highs - ahead of hurricane-distorted nonfarm payrolls data (full preview here). U.S. jobs report will also be...

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Maximum Optimism?

The economic reports of the last two weeks were generally of a more positive tone. The majority of reports were better than expected although it must be noted that many of those reports were of the sentiment variety, reflecting optimism about the future that may or may not prove warranted. Markets have certainly responded to the dreams of tax reform dancing in investors’ heads with US stock markets providing a steady stream of all time highs, bond...

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, China (+4.1%), South Africa (+3.2%), and Hungary (+2.4%) have outperformed this week, while Egypt (-2.8%), Qatar (-2.7%), and Mexico (-1.7%) have underperformed. To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 1.9% this week while MSCI DM rose 0.6%.

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Surprise! The Rules Will Change (But Not to Your Benefit)

These expedient fixes end up crippling the mechanisms that are needed to actually solve the systemic sources of the crisis. We can add a third certainty to the two standard ones (death and taxes): The rules will suddenly change when a financial crisis strikes. Why is this a certainty? The answer is complex, as it draws on human nature, politics and the structure of societies/economies ruled by centralized states (governments). The Core Imperative...

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Run On The Pound? Jeremy Corbyn Says Should Plan For

Run On The Pound ? Jeremy Corbyn Says Should Plan For. Right to plan for ‘run on pound’ if Labour wins says Corbyn and Labour party . British pound already down 20% since Brexit, collapse already in play. Run on the pound likely due to Labour’s ‘command economy’ approach. Collapse in Sterling would undermine UK financial system. Portfolios holding sterling and related assets would be significantly affected. Pension funds and property the most...

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US: Reflation Check

There is a difference between reflation and recovery. The terms are similar and relate to the same things, but in many ways the latter requires first the former.  To get to recovery, the economy must reflate if in contraction it was beaten down in money as well as cyclical forces. In the Great Crash of 1929 and after, reflation was required because of the wholesale devastation of the money supply. 

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Stagnation Is Not Just the New Normal–It’s Official Policy

Japan is a global leader is how to gracefully manage stagnation. Although our leadership is too polite to say it out loud, they've embraced stagnation as the new quasi-official policy. The reason is tragi-comically obvious: any real reform would threaten the income streams gushing into untouchably powerful self-serving elites and fiefdoms.

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This Chart Defines the 21st Century Economy

There is nothing inevitable about such vast, fast-rising income-wealth inequality; it is the only possible output of our financial and pay-to-play political system. One chart defines the 21st century economy and thus its socio-political system: the chart of soaring wealth/income inequality. This chart doesn't show a modest widening in the gap between the super-wealthy (top 1/10th of 1%) and everyone else: there is a veritable Grand Canyon between...

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Eurozone: Distinct Lack of Good Faith

The erosion of social order in any historical or geographic context is gradual; until it isn’t. Germany has always followed a keen sense of this process, having experienced it to every possible extreme between the World Wars. Hyperinflationary collapse doesn’t happen overnight; it took three years for the Weimar mark to disintegrate, and then Weimar Germany. Even Nazism wasn’t all it once. What was required was continued denial especially on the...

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX firmed Friday, but capped off a bad week overall. US jobs data this Friday is unlikely to provide much clarity on Fed policy, though we think it remains on track to hike again in December. The Fed’s balance sheet reduction will start this month. We remain negative on EM, and believe selling pressures are likely to persist in Q4.

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Not Political Risk For China, But Unwelcome Reality

China’s Communist Party concluded the Third Plenum of its 18th Congress in November 2013. It was the much-discussed reform mandate that many in the West took to mean another positive step toward neo-liberal reform. At its center was supposed to be a greater role for markets particularly in the central task of resource allocation. In some places, the Party’s General Secretary Xi Jinping was hailed as the great Chinese reformer.

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