Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Bi-Weekly Economic Review

The Fed did, as expected, hike rates at their last meeting. And interestingly, interest rates have done nothing but fall since that day. As I predicted in the last BWER, Greenspan’s conundrum is making a comeback. The Fed can do whatever it wants with Fed funds – heck, barely anyone is using it anyway – but they can’t control what the market does with long term rates.

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Forget ObamaCare, RyanCare, and any Future ReformCare-the Healthcare System Is Completely Broken

It's time to start planning for what we'll do when the current healthcare system implodes. As with many other complex, opaque systems in the U.S., only those toiling in the murky depths of the healthcare system know just how broken the entire system is.

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX ended the week on a firm note. Indeed, virtually all of EM was up against the dollar last week, led by ZAR and MXN. BRL and PHP were the laggards. It remains to be seen how markets react to the failure to pass the health care reform in the US. Will Trump move on the tax reform? Can the Republicans proceed with its agenda in light of the fissures within the party?

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The Inverse of Keynes

With nearly all of the S&P 500 companies having reported their Q4 numbers, we can safely claim that it was a very bad earnings season. It may seem incredulous to categorize the quarter that way given that EPS growth (as reported) was +29%, but even that rate tells us something significant about how there is, actually, a relationship between economy and at least corporate profits.

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Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities

The American Dream increasingly involves a lease, not a mortgage. Detroit was once known as a city where a working-class family could afford to own a home. Now it’s a city of renters. Just 49 percent of Motor City households were homeowners in 2015, down from 55 percent in 2009 and the lowest percentage in more than 50 years.

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The Deep State’s Dominant Narratives and Authority Are Crumbling

This is why the Deep State is fracturing: its narratives no longer align with the evidence. As this chart from Google Trends illustrates, interest in the Deep State has increased dramatically in 2017. The term/topic has clearly moved from the specialist realm to the mainstream. I've been writing about the Deep State, and specifically, the fractures in the Deep State, for years.

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All In The Curves

If the mainstream is confused about exactly what rate hikes mean, then they are not alone. We know very well what they are supposed to, but the theoretical standards and assumptions of orthodox understanding haven’t worked out too well and for a very long time now. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury is today yielding less than it did when the FOMC announced their second rate hike in December.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Reserve Bank of India will introduce a new monetary policy tool. Moody’s raised the outlook on Russia’s Ba1 rating from stable to positive. Fitch cut Saudi Arabia’s rating a notch to A+. Moody’s cut the outlook on Turkey’s Ba1 rating from stable to negative. China has temporarily suspended beef imports from Brazil.

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TIC Analysis of Selling

When the Treasury Department released its Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for December, what was a somewhat obscure report suddenly found mainstream attention. Private foreign investors had sold tens of billions in US securities primarily US Treasury bonds and notes which the media then made into some kind of warning to then-incoming President Trump. It was supposed to be a big deal, the kind of rebuke reserved for disreputable leaders of...

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Durable Goods After Leap Year

New orders for durable goods (not including transportation orders) were up 1% year-over-year in February. That is less than the (revised) 4.4% growth in January, but as with all comparisons of February 2017 to February 2016 there will be some uncertainty surrounding the comparison to the leap year version.

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Non-Randomly Surveying RMB

China’s central bank, unlike other central banks, is constantly active almost never resting. Because it is always in motion, the PBOC can seem to be “adding” liquidity at the very same time it might be “draining” it. Its specific actions should never be interpreted as standalone procedures related solely to some unknown policy stance. That is particularly true given that we know what their stance is and has been – neutral.

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Economics Through The Economics of Oil

The last time oil inventory grew at anywhere close to this pace was during each of the last two selloffs, the first in late 2014/early 2015 and the second following about a year after. Those events were relatively easy to explain in terms of both price and fundamentals, though the mainstream managed to screw it up anyway (“supply glut”).

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Pressure, Sure, But From Where?

It may just be that in life you have to get used to disappointment. Though not for lack of trying, I have spent a great deal of time over the years intending to piece together exactly what happened on days like October 15, 2014. The official explanation is an obvious whitewash, one so haphazard that I doubt it will ever be referred to again outside of ridicule.

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Was There Ever A ‘Skills Mismatch’? Notable Differences In Job Openings Suggest No

Perhaps the most encouraging data produced by the BLS has been within its JOLTS figures, those of Job Openings. It is one data series that policymakers watch closely and one which they purportedly value more than most. While the unemployment and participation rates can be caught up in structural labor issues (heroin and retirees), Job Openings are related to the demand for labor rather than the complications on the labor supply side.

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Solutions Abound–on the Local Level

Rather than bemoan the inevitable failure of centralized "fixes," let's turn our attention and efforts to the real solutions: decentralized, networked, localized.Those looking for centralized solutions to healthcare, jobs and other "macro-problems" will suffer inevitable disappointment. The era in which further centralization provided the "solution" has passed: additional centralization (Medicare for All, No Child Left Behind, federal job training,...

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX had a stellar week, ending on a strong note in the aftermath of what the market perceived as a dovish Fed hike Wednesday. Every EM currency except ARS was up on the week vs. USD, with the best performers ZAR, TRY, COP, and MXN. There are some risks ahead for EM this week, with many Fed speakers lined up and perhaps willing to push back against the market’s dovish take on the FOMC.

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Industrial Symmetry

There has always been something like Newton’s third law observed in the business cycles of the US and other developed economies. In what is, or was, essentially symmetry, there had been until 2008 considerable correlation between the size, scope, and speed of any recovery and its antecedent downturn, or even slowdown. The relationship was so striking that it moved Milton Friedman to finally publish in 1993 his plucking model theory he had first...

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Retail Sales: Extra Day Likely, no Meaningful Difference

Retail sales comparisons were for February 2017 skewed by the extra day in February 2016. With the leap year February 29th a part of the base effect, the estimated growth rates (NSA) for this February are to some degree better than they appear. Seasonally-adjusted retail sales were in the latest estimates essentially flat when compared to the prior month (January). That leaves too much guesswork to draw any hard conclusions.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

The PBOC increased the rates it charges for OMO and MLF by 10 bp. Indian Prime Minister Modi’s BJP won elections in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Czech central bank broached the possibility of a koruna cap exit later than mid-2017. Kuwait became the first OPEC member to call for extended output cuts.

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Further Unanchoring Is Not Strictly About Inflation

According to Alan Greenspan in a speech delivered at Stanford University in September 1997, monetary policy in the United States had been shed of M1 by late 1982. The Fed has never been explicit about exactly when, or even why, monetary policy changed dramatically in the 1980’s to a regime of pure interest rate targeting of the federal funds rate.

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