Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

A dovish Fed could become even more so

Trade, inflation expectations and economic data could well spark ‘insurance’ rate cuts by the Fed in the coming months.We now believe that the Federal Reserve (Fed) could deliver two ‘insurance’ rate cuts of 25bps in coming months (up to now, we expected rates to be on hold in 2019-2020). We see three drivers that could dictate the exact timing of these cuts:

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A Quiet Revolution Is Brewing

Politics as practiced in a bygone era of stability no longer offers any solutions to these profound disruptions. I recently read a fascinating history of the social, political and economic context of the American Revolution: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood.

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Economic Reports

Is recession coming? Well, yeah, of course, it is but whether it is now, six months from now or 2 years from now or even longer is impossible to say right now. Our Jeff Snider has been dutifully documenting all the negativity reflected in the bond and money markets and he is certainly right that things are not moving in the right direction.

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What Kind Of Risks/Mess Are We Looking At?

The fact that the mainstream isn’t taking this all very seriously isn’t anything new. But how serious are things really? That’s pretty much the only question anyone should be asking. What are the curves telling us about what’s now just over the horizon?

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More What’s Behind Yield Curve: Now Two Straight Negative Quarters For Corporate Profit

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) piled on more bad news to the otherwise pleasing GDP headline for the first quarter. In its first revision to the preliminary estimate, the government agency said output advanced just a little less than first thought. This wasn’t actually the substance of their message.

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Why Being a Politician Is No Longer Fun

As a society, we are ill-prepared for the end of "politics is the solution." It's fun to be a politician when there's plenty of tax revenues and borrowed money to distribute, and when the goodies get bipartisan support. An economy that's expanding all household incomes more or less equally is fun, fun, fun for politicians because more household income generates more income tax revenues and more spending that generates other taxes.

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Europe Comes Apart, And That’s Before #4

In May 2018, the European Parliament found that it was incredibly popular. Commissioning what it calls the Eurobarameter survey, the EU’s governing body said that two-thirds of Europeans inside the bloc believed that membership had benefited their own countries. It was the highest showing since 1983. Voters in May 2019 don’t appear to have agreed with last year’s survey.

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Lesson of the S-Curve: Doing More of What’s Failed Will Fail Spectacularly

I often refer to the S-Curve because Nature so often tracks this curve of ignition, rapid expansion, stagnation and decline. One lesson of the S-Curve is that the human bias to keep doing more of what worked so well in the past leads to doing more of what failed even as results turn negative.

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Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

If you want to identify tomorrow's superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land. The status quo measures wealth with "money," but "money" is not what's valuable. "Money" (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being "money") is wealth only if it can purchase what's actually valuable.

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China’s Insurmountable Global Weakness: Its Currency

If China wants superpower status, it will have to issue its currency in size and let the global FX market discover its price. Quick history quiz: in all of recorded history, how many superpowers pegged their currency to the currency of a rival superpower? Put another way: how many superpowers have made their own currency dependent on another superpower's currency?

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Technology Is Not Just Disruptive, It’s Disastrously Deflationary

Deflation eats credit-dependent, mass-consumption economies alive from the inside. While AI (artificial intelligence) garners the headlines, the next wave of disruptive technologies extend far beyond AI: as the chart of technologies rapidly being adopted shows, this wave includes new materials and processes as well as the "usual suspects" of machine learning, natural language processing, data mining and so on.

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The Transitory Story, I Repeat, The Transitory Story

Understand what the word “transitory” truly means in this context. It is no different than Ben Bernanke saying, essentially, subprime is contained. To the Fed Chairman in early 2007, this one little corner of the mortgage market in an otherwise booming economy was a transitory blip that booming economy would easily withstand. Just eight days before Bernanke would testify confidently before Congress, the FOMC had met to discuss their lying eyes....

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Proposed Negative Rates Really Expose The Bond Market’s Appreciation For What Is Nothing More Than Magic Number Theory

By far, the biggest problem in Economics is that it has no sense of itself. There are no self-correction mechanisms embedded within the discipline to make it disciplined. Without having any objective goals from which to measure, the goal is itself. Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase talked about this deficiency in his Nobel Lecture:

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Weakening Japanese momentum behind strong GDP figures

Japan’s latest GDP report reveals some notable weakness in the economy despite the strong headline figures.The preliminary reading of Japanese GDP for Q1 shows that the economy grew by 2.1% q-o-q annualised, beating the consensus forecast of -0.2%.However, behind the strong headline figures, details of the GDP report reveal some broad-based weakening in momentum.Declining corporate capex and sluggish household consumption both drag on domestic...

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Two Intertwined Dynamics Are Transforming the Economy: Technology and Financialization

If you want to understand how the economy is being transformed, look at the intersection of Big Tech, financialization and the central state. The two dynamics transforming the economy--technology and financialization--are intertwined yet widely viewed as unrelated. Critics and proponents of each largely ignore the other dynamic: critics of institutionalized fraud and other manifestations of financialization implicitly assume the economy will return...

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Japan’s Surprise Positive Is A Huge Minus

Preliminary estimates show that Japanese GDP surprised to the upside by a significant amount. According to Japan’s Cabinet Office, Real GDP expanded by 0.5% (seasonally-adjusted) in the first quarter of 2019 from the last quarter of 2018. That’s an annual rate of +2.1%. Most analysts had been expecting around a 0.2% contraction, which would’ve been the third quarterly minus out of the last five.

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The Normalization and Institutionalization of Fraud

Normalizing and institutionalizing fraud undermines the foundations of the economy and the financial system. I am indebted to Manoj Samanta (twitter: @flation_debate) for the insightful concept the commoditization of fraud. The first step in the commoditization of fraud is to normalize fraud as Business as Usual (BAU) to the point that it's no longer viewed as "wrong," destructive or an aberration of evil-doers but as an accepted way to maximize...

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Downward Mobility Matters More Than Liberal-Conservative Labels

The real heresy here is the American economy is now rigged for downward mobility. In the conventional narrative, one's economic class is overshadowed by one's political belief structure: liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc. In terms of economic class, the conventional narrative divides people into their ideological beliefs about economic ideologies: free market capitalism, socialism, etc.

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Global Doves Expire: Fed Pause Fizzles (US Retail Sales)

Before the stock market’s slide beginning in early October, for most people they heard the economy was booming, the labor market was unbelievably good, an inflationary breakout just over the horizon. Jay Powell did as much as anyone to foster this belief, chief caretaker to the narrative. He and his fellow central bankers couldn’t use the word “strong” enough.

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Core sovereign bond yields – update

We are adjusting downward our year-end targets for the 10-year US Treasury and Bund yields.Taking hold of two important changes to our central macroeconomic scenarios, we are adjusting downward our year-end target for the 10-year US Treasury yield from 3.0% to 2.8% and the Bund yield from 0.5% to 0.3%. 

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