Category Archive: 5) Global Macro

Why Aren’t Oil Prices $50 Ahead?

Right now there are two conventional propositions behind the “reflation” trade, and in many ways both are highly related if not fully intertwined. The first is that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. The Fed is raising rates again and seems more confident in doing more this year than it wanted to last year. With nominal rates already rising in the last half of 2016, and with more (surveyed) optimism than even 2014, it may at times seem the...

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U.S. CPI after the energy push

The Consumer Price Index for January 2017 rose 2.5%, pulled upward by its energy component which thanks to oil prices now being comparing to the absolutely lows last year saw that part of the index rise 11.1% year-over-year. Given that oil prices bottomed out on February 11, 2016, this is the last month where oil prices and thus energy inflation will be at its most extreme (except, of course, should WTI actually rise between now and the end of...

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This Is How the Status Quo Unravels: As the Pie Shrinks, Everybody Demands Their Piece Should Get Bigger

The politics of the past 70 years was all about horsetrading who got what share of the growing pie: the "pie" being cheap energy, government revenues and consumption, sales and profits. Horsetrading over a growing pie is basically fun. There's always a little increase left for the losers, so there is a reason for everyone to cooperate in a broad political consensus.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

The economic data since my last update has improved somewhat. It isn’t across the board and it isn’t huge but it must be acknowledged. As usual though there are positives and negatives, just with a slight emphasis on positive right now. Interestingly, the bond market has not responded to these slightly more positive readings with nominal and real yields almost exactly where they were in the last update 3 weeks ago. In other words, there’s no reason...

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Real Wages Really Inconsistent

Real average weekly earnings for the private sector fell 0.6% year-over-year in January. It was the first contraction since December 2013 and the sharpest since October 2012. The reason for it is very simple; nominal wages remain stubbornly stagnant but now a rising CPI subtracts even more from them.

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A New Frame Of Reference Is Really All That Is Necessary To Start With

In the middle of 1919, the United States was beset by a great many imbalances. Having just conducted a wartime economy, almost everything before then had been absorbed by the World War I effort. With fiscal restraint subsumed by national emergency, inflation was the central condition. Given that the Federal Reserve was by then merely a few years old, no one was quite sure what to do about it.

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Want to Bring Back Jobs? It’s Impossible Unless We Fix these Four Things

It's your choice, America--you can keep your cartels and the captured government that enables and protects them, or you can fix what's broken and unaffordable. If there is any goal that might attract support from across the political spectrum, it's creating more fulltime jobs in the U.S. But this laudable goal is dead-on-arrival (DOA) unless we first fix these four things. Why is job growth stagnating? Many point to automation, and yes, that is a...

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Brazil: Continuing Problems

The cruelest part, perhaps, of this economic condition globally is how it plays against type. In all prior cycles, economies of all kinds and orientations all over the globe would go into recession and then bounce right of it once at the bottom. It was often difficult to see the bottom, of course, but once recovery happened there was no arguing against it.

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Emerging Market Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX ended last week on a firm note. Falling US rates allowed many foreign currencies to gain some traction. This week, a heavy US data slate is likely to test the market’s convictions on the Fed, with January PPI, CPI, IP, and retail sales all being reported. Yellen also testifies before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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No China Trade Interpretations

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China does not publish any of the big three data series (Industrial Production, Retail Sales, Fixed Asset Investment) for the month of January. It combines January data with February data because of the large distortions caused by Lunar New Year holidays.

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Emerging Markets: What Has Changed

Reserve Bank of India signaled an end to the easing cycle. S&P moved the outlook on Indonesia’s BBB- rating from stable to positive. The ruling Law and Justice party in Poland may be backing off of plans to force banks to convert $36 bln in foreign currency loans. Romanian Justice Minister Lordache resigned. Local press is reporting that Brazil’s central bank may cut the 2019 inflation target from 4.5% to 4.25%.

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Jobless Claims Look Great, Until We Examine The Further Potential For What We Really, Really Don’t Want

Initial jobless claims fell to just 234k for the week of February 4, nearly matching the 233k multi-decade low in mid-November. That brought the 4-week moving average down to just 244k, which was a new low going all the way back to the early 1970’s. Jobless claims seemingly stand in sharp contrast to other labor market figures which have been suggesting an economic slowdown for nearly two years.

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The Colonization of Local-Business Main Street by Corporate America

This is what our mode of production optimizes: ugliness, debt-serfdom, and servitude to politically dominant corporations.

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The Central Banks Pull Back: Now It’s Up to Fiscal Policy to “Save the World”

Another problem is the rise of social discord, for reasons that extend beyond the reach of tax reductions and increased infrastructure spending. Have you noticed that the breathless anticipation of the next central bank "save" has diminished? Remember when the financial media was in a tizzy of excitement, speculating on what new central bank expansion would send the global markets higher in paroxysms of risk-on joy?

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Expropriation and Impoverishment: “Capitalist” Greece and “Socialist” Venezuela

Yesterday I noted that not all assets will make it through the inevitable financial re-set. ( Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable "System Re-Set"?) Those that are easy to expropriate will be expropriated, and those assets vulnerable to soaring taxes, inflation and currency devaluation will also be hollowed out.

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Which Assets Are Most Likely to Survive the Inevitable “System Re-Set”?

Your skills, knowledge and and social capital will emerge unscathed on the other side of the re-set wormhole. Your financial assets held in centrally controlled institutions will not. Longtime correspondent C.A. recently asked a question every American household should be asking: which assets are most likely to survive the "system re-set" that is now inevitable?

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Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM ended the week on a firm note, with markets digesting what they perceived as a dovish Fed bias. We disagree, and continue to believe that markets are underestimating the Fed’s capacity to tighten this year. EM FX could continue gaining some traction if the dollar correction continues, but we think US interest rates will ultimately move higher and put pressure on EM once again.

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The Central Banks Face Unwelcome Realities: Their Policies Boosted Wealth Inequality, Failed to Generate “Growth”

Rather than be seen to be further enriching the rich, I think central banks will start closing the "free money for financiers" spigots. Take a quick glance at these charts of the Federal Reserve balance sheet and bank credit in the U.S.

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India: The World’s Fastest Growing Large Economy?

India has been the world’s favorite country for the last three years. It is believed to have superseded China as the world’s fastest growing large economy. India is expected to grow at 7.5%. Compare that to the mere 6.3% growth that China has “fallen” to.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Philippine Environment Department suspended 5 mines and closed 21 after a nationwide audit. The Turkish central bank raised its end-2017 forecast from 6.5% to 8% due largely to the weak lira. Central Bank of Turkey finally got around to releasing the schedule of its MPC meetings this year. Fitch downgraded Turkey last Friday to sub-investment grade BB+, as expected. Allies of Brazil President Michel Temer now head up both houses of congress. Press...

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