Category Archive: Global Macro

Wealth Paradox Not Effect

US Household Net Worth rose to a record $94.8 trillion in Q1 2017. According to the Federal Reserve’s Financial Accounts of the United States (Z1), aggregate paper wealth rose by more than 8% year-over-year mostly as the stock market shook off the effects of “global turmoil.” It was the best rate of expansion since the second quarter of 2014 just prior to this “rising dollar” interruption.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Philippines central bank forecast a current account deficit this year, the first one in fifteen years. Kuwait refrained from matching the Fed’s 25 bp hike. The US Senate voted overwhelmingly to step up sanctions against Iran and Russia. Moody’s downgraded South Africa by a notch to Baa3 with negative outlook. South Africa plans to require that all local mines be 30% black-owned.

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Questions Persist About China Trade

Chinese trade statistics were for May 2017 better than expected by economists, but on the export side questions remain as to their accuracy. Earlier this year discrepancies between estimates first published by the General Administration of Customs (GAC), those you find reported in the media, and what is captured by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), backed up by data from the Ministry of Commerce, became noticeable.

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All About Inventory

Andy Hall has been called the God of Oil. As chief of Astenbeck Capital, he has proven at times that even gods can be mortal. In the “rising dollar” period, for example, after making money on the way down Mr. Hall went bullish.

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Forced Finally To A Binary Labor Interpretation

JOLTS figures for the month of April 2017, released today, highlight what is in the end likely to be a more positive outcome for them. It has very little to do with the economy itself, as what we are witnessing is the culmination of extreme positions that have been made and estimated going all the way back to 2014.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX was mixed last week but in general held up well in the aftermath of Super Thursday. The global backdrop seems relatively benign right now despite the FOMC meeting this week. We still think investors have to be picky. TRY, ZAR, and BRL at current levels seem too rich given the underlying risks in all three.

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Signs of Something, Just Not Wage Acceleration

I have been writing for many years that they really don’t know what they are doing. I only wish it was that simple. There has been developing another layer or dimension to that condition, a second derivative of stupid, whereby when faced with this now well-established fact the same people, experts and authorities all, they have no frame of reference to figure out what next to do. In other words, they really don’t know what to do when they realize...

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

The Reserve Bank of India cut its inflation forecast for FY2017/18. South Korean President Moon suspended the installation of the remaining components of the THAAD missile shield. S&P cut Qatar one notch to AA-. Turkey looks likely to get caught up in yet another regional conflict. Brazil’s structural reform agenda has been delayed as President Temer remains on the ropes.

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The Anti-Perfect Jobs Condition

The irony of the unemployment rate for the Federal Reserve is that the lower it gets now the bigger the problem it is for officials. It has been up to this year their sole source of economic comfort. Throughout 2015, the Establishment Survey improperly contributed much the same sympathy, but even it no longer resides on the plus side of the official ledger.

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Dollars And Sent(iment)s

Both US manufacturing PMI’s underwhelmed just as those from China did. The IHS Markit Index was lower than the flash reading and the lowest level since last September. For May 2017, it registered 52.7, down from 52.8 in April and a high of 55.0 in January. Just by description alone you can appreciate exactly what pattern that fits. The ISM Manufacturing PMI was slightly higher in May than April, 54.9 versus 54.8, but still down from a February peak...

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Pay No Attention To 50

China’s PMI’s were uniformly disappointing with respect to what Moody’s was on about last week. Chinese authorities expended great effort and resources to get the economy moving forward again after several years of “dollar”-driven deceleration. here was a massive “stimulus” spending program where State-owned FAI expenditures of about 2% of GDP were elicited to make up for Private FAI that at one point last year was actually contracting.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: The Return of Economic Ennui

The economic reports released since the last of these updates was generally not all that bad but the reports considered more important were disappointing. And it should be noted that economic reports lately have generally been worse than expected which, if you believe the market to be fairly efficient, is what really matters.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX closed last week on a firm note as weak US jobs data supported the notion that the Fed will find it hard to tighten in H2. No major US data will be reported this week and the FOMC embargo for the June 14will be in effect. As such, there is little on the near-term horizon that might help the dollar, so it’s likely to remain on the defensive this week.

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How Debt-Asset Bubbles Implode: The Supernova Model of Financial Collapse

Gravity eventually overpowers financial fakery. When debt-asset bubbles expand at rates far above the expansion of earnings and real-world productive wealth, their collapse is inevitable. The Supernova model of financial collapse is one way to understand this. As I noted yesterday in Will the Crazy Global Debt Bubble Ever End?, I've used the Supernova analogy for years, but didn't properly explain why it illuminates the dynamics of financial...

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

The Indonesian cabinet is discussing revisions to the 2017 state budget. The Thai central bank plans to reform some FX rules. South African President Zuma survived the no confidence vote within his own ANC. Brazil’s central bank signaled a slower pace of easing ahead after it cut 100 bp again. Moody’s cut the outlook on Brazil’s Ba2 rating from stable to negative.

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Will the Crazy Global Debt Bubble Ever End?

We've been playing two games to mask insolvency: one is to pay the costs of rampant debt today by borrowing even more from future earnings, and the second is to create wealth out of thin air via asset bubbles. The two games are connected: asset bubbles require leverage and credit.

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Simple (economic) Math

The essence of capitalism is not strictly capital. In the modern sense, the word capital has taken on other meanings, often where money is given as a substitute for it. When speaking about things like “hot money”, for instance, you wouldn’t normally correct someone referencing it in terms of “capital flows.” Someone that “commits capital” to a project is missing some words, for in the proper sense they are “committing funds to...

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Inflation Isn’t Evenly Distributed: The Protected Are Fine, the Unprotected Are Impoverished Debt-Serfs

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation is bogus on a number of fronts, a reality I've covered a number of times: though the heavily gamed official CPI is under 2% for the past four years, the real rate is 7% to 12%, depending on whether you happen to live in locales with soaring rents/housing and healthcare costs.

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The Keynesian Cult Has Failed: “Emergency” Stimulus Is Now Permanent

Can we finally admit that eight years of following the Keynesian coloring-book have not just failed, but failed spectacularly? What do we call a status quo in which & emergency measures" have become permanent props? A failure. The "emergency" responses to the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09 are, eight years on, permanent fixtures.

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