Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

US Trade Settles Down Again

US trade is further leveling off after several months of artificial intrusions. On the import side, in particular, first was a very large and obvious boost following last year’s big hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Starting in September 2017, for four months the value of imported goods jumped by an enormous 8.3% (revised, seasonally-adjusted). Most of the bump related to consumer and capital goods.

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Does Anyone Else See a Giant Bear Flag in the S&P 500?

We all know the game is rigged, but strange things occasionally upset the "easy money bet." "Reality" is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to technical analysis and economic tea leaves.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: As Good As It Gets?

In the last update I wondered if growth expectations – and growth – were breaking out to the upside. 10 year Treasury yields were well over the 3% threshold that seemed so ominous and TIPS yields were nearing 1%, a level not seen since early 2011. It looked like we might finally move to a new higher level of growth. Or maybe not.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX put in a mixed performance Friday, and capped off an overall mixed week. Over that week, the best performers were IDR, TRY, and INR while the worst were BRL, MXN, and ARS. US yields are recovering and likely to put renewed pressure on EM FX.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review – VIDEO

Interview with Joe Calhoun about BiWeekly Economic Review 01/06/2018.

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Burrito Index Update: Burrito Cost Triples, Official Inflation Up 43 percent from 2001

Welcome to debt-serfdom, the only possible output of the soaring cost of living. Long-time readers may recall the Burrito Index, my real-world measure of inflation. The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 (August 1, 2016). The Burrito Index tracks the cost of a regular burrito since 2001. Since we keep detailed records of expenses (a necessity if you’re a self-employed free-lance writer), I can track the cost of a regular...

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Emerging Market Preview: Week Ahead

EM FX has started the week mixed.  Some relief was seen as US rates stalled out last week, but this Friday’s jobs number could be key for the next leg of this dollar rally.  On Wednesday, the Fed releases its Beige book for the upcoming June 13 FOMC meeting, where a 25 bp hike is widely expected.  We believe EM FX remains vulnerable to further losses.

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America 2018: Dicier by the Day

Scrape all this putrid excrescence off and we're left with a non-fantasy reality: everything is getting dicier by the day. If we look beneath the cheery chatter of the financial media and the tiresomely repetitive Russian collusion narrative (that's unraveling as the Ministry of Propaganda's machinations are exposed), we find that America in 2018 is dicier by the day.

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How Systems Collapse

This is how systems collapse: faith in the visible surface of abundance reigns supreme, and the fragility of the buffers goes unnoticed. I often discuss systems and systemic collapse, and I've drawn up a little diagram to illustrate a key dynamic in systemic collapse. The key concepts here are stability and buffers. Though complex systems are never static, but they can be stable: that is, they ebb and flow within relatively stable boundaries...

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What Happened Monday?

Italian politics dominated Monday's activity. Initially, the euro reacted positively in Asia to news that the Italian President had blocked the proposed finance minister. A technocrat government would be appointed to prepare for new elections.

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Emerging Markets: What Changed

President Trump canceled the planned summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Malaysia’s new Finance Minister Lim was sworn in along with 13 other cabinet ministers. Philippine central bank cut reserve ratios for commercial banks by one percentage point to 18% effective June 1. The United Arab Emirates opened up its economy to more foreign investment.

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The Currency of PMI’s

Markit Economics released the flash results from several of its key surveys. Included is manufacturing in Japan (lower), as well as composites (manufacturing plus services) for the United States and Europe. Within the EU, Markit offers details for France and Germany.

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Globally Synchronized Asynchronous Growth

Industrial Production in the United States rose 3.5% year-over-year in April 2018, down slightly from a revised 3.7% rise in March. Since accelerating to 3.4% growth back in November 2017, US industry has failed to experience much beyond that clear hurricane-related boost. IP for prior months, particularly February and March 2018, were revised significantly lower.

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Sustainability Boils Down to Scale

Only small scale systems can sustainably impose "skin in the game"-- consequences, accountability and oversight. Several conversations I had at the recent Peak Prosperity conference in Sonoma, CA sparked an insight into why societies and economies thrive or fail: It All Boils Down to Scale. In a conversation with a Peak Prosperity member who goes by MemeMonkey, MemeMonkey pointed out that social / economic organizations that function well at small...

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Anchoring Globally Synchronized Growth, Or We Gave Up Long Ago?

January was the last month in which China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) specifically mentioned Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) of state holding enterprises (or SOE’s). For the month of December 2017, the NBS reported accumulated growth (meaning for all of 2017) in this channel of 10.1%. Through FAI of SOE’s, Chinese authorities in early 2016 had panicked themselves into unleashing considerable “stimulus.”

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The Next Recession Will Be Devastatingly Non-Linear

The acceleration of non-linear consequences will surprise the brainwashed, loving-their-servitude mainstream media. Linear correlations are intuitive: if GDP declines 2% in the next recession, and employment declines 2%, we get it: the scale and size of the decline aligns. In a linear correlation, we'd expect sales to drop by about 2%, businesses closing their doors to increase by about 2%, profits to notch down by about 2%, lending contracts by...

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX ended Friday on a weak note and extended the slide. For the week as a whole, the best EM performers were PHP, TWD, and SGD while the worst were ARS, ZAR, and TRY. With US rates continuing to move higher, we believe selling pressures on EM FX will remain in play this week. Our recently updated EM Vulnerability Table supports our view that divergences within EM will remain.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Growth Expectations Break Out?

There are a lot of reasons why interest rates may have risen recently. The federal government is expected to post a larger deficit this year – and in future years – due to the tax cuts. Further exacerbating those concerns is the ongoing shrinkage of the Fed’s balance sheet. Increased supply and potentially decreased demand is not a recipe for higher prices. In addition, there is some fear that the ongoing trade disputes may impact foreign demand...

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Emerging Markets: What Changed

Bank Indonesia started a tightening cycle with a 25 bp hike to 4.5%. Jailed Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was released by new Prime Minister Mahathir. Malaysia scrapped the controversial 6% goods and services tax (GST). Violent protests shook Israel as the relocated US embassy opened in Jerusalem.

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And Now For Something Completely Different

Back in February, Japan’s Cabinet Office reported that Real GDP in Japan had grown in Q4 2017 for the eighth consecutive quarter. It was the longest streak of non-negative GDP since the 1980’s. Predictably, this was hailed as some significant achievement, a true masterstroke of courage and perseverance. It was taken as a sign that Abenomics and QQE was finally working (never mind the four years).

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