Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Mid-Year Global Update

Economic thoughts and analysis from Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun.

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The Imperial Naivete of the American Public

The nation's premier corporate profit engines / social media giants are the ideal platforms for undermining the U.S. via the sowing of disintegration. Whether it's stated or not, one source of the inchoate outrage triggered by Russian-sourced purchases of adverts on Facebook in 2016 (i.e. "meddling in our election") is the sense that the U.S. is sacrosanct due to our innate moral goodness and our Imperial Project.

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX saw some violent swings last week, due in large part to some unhelpful official comments Friday. BRL and TRY were the best performers last week, while RUB and CLP were the worst. When all is said and done, however, we think Fed policy remains unaffected and so we remain negative on EM FX. Also, global trade tensions remain high after Trump threatened tariffs on all Chinese imports entering the US.

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Solutions without Historical Templates: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains

Crypto-blockchain technologies are leveraging the potential of computers and the web for direct political-social innovation. We're accustomed to three basic templates for system-wide solutions or improvements: 1. an individual "builds a better mousetrap" and starts a company to exploit this competitive advantage;

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

This will be a fairly quick update as I just posted a Mid-Year Review yesterday that covers a lot of the same ground. There were, as you’ll see below, some fairly positive reports since the last update but the markets are not responding to the better data. Markets seem to be more focused on the trade wars and the potential fallout. I would also note that at least some of the recent strength in the data is related to the tariffs.

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Mid-Year Global Markets Update

Volatility returned to markets with a vengeance in the first half of this year. 2018 started off as an extension of last year when volatility was almost wholly absent. Stocks roared out of the starting gate, up almost every day until January 26th. And then – whoosh. What took nearly a month to gain took just 6 trading days to give back and then some.

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Our Institutions Are Failing

Our institutional failure reminds me of the phantom legions of Rome's final days. The mainstream media and its well-paid army of "authorities" / pundits would have us believe the decline in our collective trust in our institutions is the result of fake news, i.e. false narratives and data presented as factual.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review – (VIDEO)

Economic thoughts and analysis from Alhambra Investments CEO Joe Calhoun.

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Buybacks Get All The Macro Hate, But What About Dividends?

When it comes to the stock market and the corporate cash flow condition, our attention is usually drawn to stock repurchases. With good reason. These controversial uses of scarce internal funds are traditionally argued along the lines of management teams identifying and correcting undervalued shares. History shows, conclusively, that hasn’t really been true.

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Will AI “Change the World” Or Simply Boost Profits?

The real battle isn't between a cartoonish vision or a dystopian nightmare--it's between decentralized ownership and control of these technologies and centralized ownership and control. The hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and its cousins Big Data and Machine Learning is ubiquitous, and largely unexamined. AI is going to change the world by freeing humankind from most of its labors, etc. etc. etc.

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China’s Seven Years Disinflation

In early 2011, Chinese consumer prices were soaring. Despite an official government mandate for 3% CPI growth, the country’s main price measure started out the year close to 5% and by June was moving toward 7%. It seemed fitting for the time, no matter how uncomfortable it made PBOC officials. China was going to be growing rapidly even if the rest of the world couldn’t.

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We Are All Hostages of Corporate Profits

We're in the endgame of financialization and globalization, and it won't be pretty for all the hostages of corporate profits. Though you won't read about it in the mainstream corporate media, the nation is now hostage to outsized corporate profits. The economy and society at large are now totally dependent on soaring corporate profits and the speculative bubbles they fuel, and this renders us all hostages: Make a move to limit corporate profits or...

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The USA Is Now a 3rd World Nation

I know it hurts, but the reality is painfully obvious: the USA is now a 3rd World nation. Dividing the Earth's nations into 1st, 2nd and 3rd world has fallen out of favor;apparently it offended sensibilities. It has been replaced by the politically correct developed and developing nations, a terminology which suggests all developing nations are on the pathway to developed-nation status.

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House View, July 2018

On a tactical, rolling three-to-six-month basis, we are tilting away from a bullish to a neutral stance on developed-market equities as trade and political frictions are rising. That said, we remain more upbeat on their prospects after the summer.

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The Gathering Storm

July 4th is an appropriate day to borrow Winston Churchill's the gathering storm to describe the existential crisis that will envelope America within the next decade. There is no single cause of the gathering storm; in complex systems, dynamics feed back into one another, and the sum of destabilizing disorder is greater than a simple sum of its parts.

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US Vs China – Is It ‘Art Of The Deal’ Or Economic Warfare?

While monetary tightening remains the main risk for global stock markets, the threat of a trade war continues to dominate the headlines...

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Emerging Market Preview: Week Ahead

EM FX ended Friday mixed, capping off a mostly softer week.  TRY, MXN, and RUB were the top performers and the only ones up against USD, while ARS, CLP, and BRL were the worst.  Looking ahead, US jobs data on Friday pose some risks to EM, coming on the heels of a higher than expected 2% y/y rise in PCE.  China will also remain on the market’s radar screen, with the first snapshots of June economic activity just starting to emerge.  We remain...

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Emerging Markets: What Changed

PBOC fixed USD/CNY at the highest level since December 14. Bank Indonesia delivered a larger than expected 50 bp to 5.25%. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov survived a second no-confidence vote this year. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected but with sweeping new powers. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE are reportedly in talks to help stabilize Bahrain.

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Revisiting The Revised Revisions

I missed durable goods last month for scheduling reasons, which was a shame given that May is the month each year for benchmark revisions to the series. Since new estimates under the latest revisions were released today, it seems an appropriate time to revisit the topic of data bias, and why that matters. What happens with durable goods (or any data for that matter, the process is largely the same) is that the Census Bureau conducts smaller surveys...

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Make Capital Cheap and Labor Costly, and Guess What Happens?

Employment expands in the Protected cartel-dominated sectors, and declines in every sector exposed to globalization, domestic competition and cheap capital. If you want to understand why the global economy is failing the many while enriching the few, start with the basics: capital, labor and resources. What happens when central banks drop interest rates to near-zero? Capital becomes dirt-cheap.

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