Tag Archives: Economy

Business Conditions Are At Their Worst Since 2008 Financial Crisis, Says Morgan Stanley

The business environment is deteriorating — fast.

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That is according to a gauge of business conditions tracked by Morgan Stanley, which said in a recent note that its proprietary Business Conditions Index, or MSBCI, fell 32 points last month, marking its sharpest collapse since the metric was formulated. The gauge touched its lowest point since the 2007-08 financial crisis. A separate composite business-condition index also fell by the most since 2008 and hit its lowest level since February of 2016.

Morgan Stanley’s report comes as stocks in June have mostly drifted higher in turbulent trading, with the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.52% entering correction territory on June 3, but gaining 6.3% since that point as of Friday morning trade, according to FactSet data.

Swirling anxiety around the U.S.’s trade relationship with China and other major international counterparts has hurt the confidence of business leaders because the unresolved tariff battles have made it difficult for corporate chieftains to develop business strategies and forced many companies to alter their supply chains.

Morgan Stanley said that its index also reflects an apparent slowdown in domestic jobs growth. Economists for the report, led by Ellen Zentner, wrote that the fall in business conditions is “consistent with the slowdown in gross hirings reflected in the latest employment report for May, and raising the risk that weakness in labor demand persists into next month’s report.”

Indeed, the U.S. created just 75,000 new jobs in May, well off consensus forecast for some 185,000 jobs created on the month, and potentially marking a significant change of momentum in what has been a pillar of strength in the domestic economy.

Morgan Stanley said that taken with other metrics that drill down deeper into financial conditions, “these indicators point to business expansion coming to a near halt in June.”

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.07% the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.16% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.52% were headed lower as Broadcom AVGO, -5.57% lowered its guidance for the rest of the year after reporting second-quarter earnings Thursday afternoon. Other chip-sector stocks were lower on the news as well.

Source: by Mark Decambre| Market Watch

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Rollercoaster! Global Economic Growth (G10, US, Emerging) Sliding Down Together

The global economy is in a rollercoaster pattern.

And unfortunately the G10, US and Emerging nations are on the downward side.

https://confoundedinterestnet.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/rollercoaster.jpg

This might explain Larry Kudlow’s call for a 50 bps drop in the Fed Funds Target Rate. At least Trump’s nominee for The Fed’s Board of Governors was previously the President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. And CEO of Godfathers Pizza! Conditional on the US Senate approving his appointment, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

Source: Confounded Interest

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This week in politicks…

 

Business Spending Suffers Longest Contraction Since 2015

After no January Durable Goods report as the government was shut down one month ago, today we got a double whammy of a Durables report, with both November and December data, and as many had warned, it was disappointing, rising just 1.2%, below the 1.7% expectations, if up from 1.0% in November (revised up from 0.7%).

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However, much of the upside was once again due to transportation orders, read Boeing defense and airplane spending. Indeed, new orders for non-defense aircraft and parts soared 28.4%, by far the biggest contributor of December spending. Ex airplanes, under the hood things were even uglier:

  • New orders ex-trans. rose 0.1% in Dec. after 0.2% fall
  • New orders ex-defense rose 1.8% in Dec. after being unchanged

Most importantly for those following the buyback vs capex debate, non-defense capital goods orders ex-aircraft, i.e. core capex spending, fell 0.7% in Dec. after falling 1.0% in Nov (revised lower from -0.7%).

This was the third consecutive month of declines, the longest stretch of contraction since late 2015 when China nearly dragged the entire world into a recession and only the early 2016 Shanghai accord saved the world from what would have been a certain contraction.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/core%20capex%20feb%202019.jpg?itok=inESv3qR

Source: ZeroHedge

US Government Quietly Cuts Historical Capex Data By Billions Of Dollars

While Wall Street looked upon today’s Durable Goods report with caution, noting the substantial beat in the headline print which was entirely as a result of a surge in non-defense aircraft orders (read Boeing) which soared by 65%, there was substantial weakness below the surface especially in the core CAPEX print, the capital goods orders non-defense ex-aircraft, which disappointed significantly, sliding 0.8% on expectations of a 0.3% rebound.

However, that was just part of the story. A far bigger part was missed by most because as always Wall Street was focused on the sequential change, and not on the absolute number.

As it turns out, the Department of Commerce decided to quietly revise all the core data going back all the way back to 2014. In doing so it stripped away about 4% from the nominal dollar amount in Durable Goods ex-transports, where the March print was slashed from $154.7 Billion to $148.3 Billion…

… and, worse, the government just confirmed what many had said for years, namely that CAPEX spending had been far lower than reported all along when it revised the capital goods orders non-defense ex-aircraft series lower by a whopping 6%, taking down the March print from $66.9 billion to only $62.4 billion, the lowest absolute number since early 2011.

So how did this downward revision to a critical historical series, and key driver of GDP, change the current GDP estimte?  Well, according to the Atlanta Fed, “the GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2016 is 2.9 percent on May 26, up from 2.5 percent on May 17. The forecast for second-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth increased from -0.3 percent to 0.4 percent following this morning’s durable manufacturing release from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Oddly not a word about the sharp revisions to the core data in main stream media.

Source: ZeroHedge

Why The US 10 Year Treasury Is Headed Below 1%

US GDP Output Gap Update – Q1 2016

Among our favorite indicators to write about is the GDP output gap. Today we update it with the latest Q1 2016 GDP data. We’ve written about it many times in the past (some recent examples: 09/30/201512/27/2014, and 06/06/2014). It is the standard for representing economic slack in most other developed countries but is usually overlooked in the United States in favor of the gap between the unemployment rate and full employment (also called NAIRU (link is external). This is partially because the US Federal Reserve’s FOMC has one half of its main goal to promote ‘full employment’ (along with price stability) but it is also partially because the unemployment rate makes the economy look better, which is always popular to promote. In past US business cycles, these two gaps had a close linear relationship (Okun’s law (link is external) and so normally they were interchangeable, yet, in this recovery, the unemployment rate suggests much more progression than the GDP output gap.

The unemployment gap now, looked at on its face, would imply that the US is at full employment; i.e., the unemployment rate is 5% and full employment is considered to be 5%. Thus, this implies that the US economy is right on the verge of generating inflation pressure. Yet, the unemployment rate almost certainly overstates the health of the economy because of a sharp increase over the last many years of unemployed surveys claiming they are not involved in the workforce (i.e. not looking for a job). From the beginning of the last recession, November 2007, the share of adults claiming to be in the workforce has fallen by 3.0% of the adult population, or 7.6 million people of today’s population! Those 7.6 million simply claiming to be looking for a job would send the unemployment rate up to 9.4%!. In other words, this metric’s strength is heavily reliant on whether people say they are looking for a job or not, and many could switch if the economy was better. Thinking about this in a very simplistic way; a diminishing share of the population working still has to support the entire population and without offsetting higher real wages, this pattern is regressive to the economy. The unemployment rate’s strength misses this.

Adding to the evidence that the unemployment rate is overstating the health of the economy is the mismatch between the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) household survey (unemployment rate) and the establishment survey (non-farm payroll number). Analyzing the growth in non-farm payrolls over the period of recovery (and adjusting for aging demographics) suggests that the US economy still has a gap to full employment of about 1.5 million jobs; this is the Hamilton Project’s Jobs Gap (link is external).

But, the labor market is a subset of the economy, and while its indicators are much more accessible and frequent than measurements on the entire economy, the comprehensive GDP output gap merits being part of the discussion on the economy. Even with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revising potential GDP lower each year, the GDP output gap (chart) continues to suggest a dis-inflationary economy, let alone a far away date when the Federal Reserve needs to raise rates to restrict growth. This analysis suggests a completely different path for the Fed funds rate than the day-to-day hysterics over which and how many meetings the Fed will raise rates this year. This analysis is the one that has worked, not the “aspirational” economics that most practice.

In an asset management context, US Treasury interest rates tend to trend lower when there is an output gap and trend higher when there is an output surplus. This simple, yet overlooked rule has helped to guide us to stay correctly long US Treasuries over the last several years while the Wall Street community came up with any reason why they were a losing asset class. We continue to think that US Treasury interest rates have significant appreciation ahead of them. As we have stated before, we think the 10yr US Treasury yield will fall to 1.00% or below.

by Kessler | ZeroHedge

Housing Outlook Stays Bright as Economic Forecast Darkens

https://s15-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftse2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.Mf342a65e68fd4985cfa3eea28c893ef5o2%26pid%3D15.1%26f%3D1&sp=7609356586dc7c65d508e60aab322f03While the outlook for overall economic growth is darkening, the housing market is expected to keep up its momentum in 2016, according to Freddie Mac’s April 2016 Economic Outlook released on Friday.

Freddie Mac revised downward its forecast for Q1 GDP growth from 1.8 percent down to 1.1 percent. The “advance” estimate for GDP growth in the first quarter will be released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Thursday, April 28. The GDP grew at an annual rate of just 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015 but then shot up to 3.9 percent for Q2; for the third and fourth quarter, the real GDP grew at rates of 2.0 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

The first quarter for the last few years has been punctuated by slow economic growth. While some of this can be attributed to seasonality, Ten-X (then Auction.com) Chief Economist Peter Muoio said that last year’s dismal GDP showing in the first quarter could be attributed to the brutal winter which slowed economic activity, labor disagreements at a bunch of the West Coast ports that really slowed the flow of cargo in Q1, and low oil prices (though this was partially offset by lower gas prices which put more money in consumers’ pockets).

“We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance.”

On the positive side, Freddie Mac expects the unemployment rate will fall back below 5 percent for 2016 and 2017 (last month it ticked back up to 5.0 percent after hovering at 4.9 percent for a couple of months). Reduced slack in the labor market will push wage gains above inflation, although the gains are expected to be only modest, according to Freddie Mac.

While the economic forecast for Q1 has grown darker, the forecast looks bright for housing in 2016, however.

“We expect housing to be an engine of growth,” Freddie Mac stated in the report. “Construction activity will pick up as we enter the spring and summer months, and rising home values will bolster consumers and help support renewed confidence in the remaining months of this year.”

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Low mortgage rates have boosted refinance activity in the housing market during Q1. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.7 percent for the first quarter, which drove an increase for the 1-4 single-family originations estimate for 2016 up by $50 billion up to $1.7 billion. Rates are expected to bump up, however, and average 4 percent over the full year of 2016, according to Freddie Mac. House prices are expected to appreciate by 4.8 percent over 2016 and 3.5 percent for 2017; homeowner equity is expected to rise as a result of the home price appreciation, which could mean more refinance opportunities.

The low mortgage rates combined with solid job growth are expected to make 2016 the strongest year for home sales since the pre-crisis year of 2006 despite the persistently tight inventory of for-sale homes, according to Freddie Mac.

“Sales were slow in the first quarter, but trends in mortgage purchase applications remain robust and we expect home sales to accelerate throughout the second quarter of 2016 as we approach peak home buying season,” Freddie Mac said.

Click here to view the entire Freddie Mac Economic Outlook for April 2016.

by Brian Honea | DS News

Negative Interest Rates Are Destroying the World Economy

https://i0.wp.com/armstrongeconomics-wp.s3.amazonaws.com/2015/11/Negative-Rates.jpgQUESTION: Mr. Armstrong, I think I am starting to see the light you have been shining. Negative interest rates really are “completely insane”. I also now see that months after you wrote about central banks were trapped, others are now just starting to entertain the idea. Is this distinct difference in your views that eventually become adopted with time because you were a hedge fund manager?

ANSWER: I believe the answer is rather simple. How can anyone pretend to be analysts if they have never traded? It would be like a man writing a book explaining how it feels to give birth. You cannot analyze what you have never done. It is just impossible. Those who cannot teach and those who can just do. Negative interest rates are fueling deflation. People have less income to spend so how is this beneficial? The Fed always needed 2% inflation. The father of negative interest rates is Larry Summers. He teaches or has been in government. He is not a trader and is clueless about how markets function. I warned that this idea of negative interest rates was very dangerous.

Yes, I have warned that the central banks are trapped. Their QE policies have totally failed. There were numerous “analysts” without experience calling for hyperinflation, collapse of the dollar, yelling the Fed is increasing the money supply so buy gold. The inflation never appeared and gold declined. Their reasoning was so far off the mark exactly as people like Larry Summers. These people become trapped in their own logic it becomes irrational gibberish. They only see one side of the coin and ignore the rest.

Central banks have lost all ability to manage the economy even in theory thanks to this failed reasoning. They have bought-in the bonds and are unable to ever resell them again. If they reverse their policy of QE and negative interest rates, government debt explodes with insufficient buyers. If the central banks refuse to reverse this crazy policy of QE and negative interest rates they will see a massive capital flight from government to the private sector once the MAJORITY realize the central banks are incapable of any control.

alarm_clock

The central banks have played a very dangerous game and lost. It appears we are facing the collapse of Social Security which began August 14th, 1935 (1935.619) because they stuffed with government debt and robbed the money for other things. Anyone else would go to prison for what politicians have done and prosecutors would never defend the people because they want to become famous politicians. We will probably see the end of this Social Security program by 2021.772 (October 9th, 2021), or about 89 weeks into the next business cycle. These people are completely incompetent to manage the economy and we are delusional to think people with no experience as a trader can run things. If you have never traded, you have no busy trying to “manipulate” society with you half-baked theories. So yes. The central banks are trapped. They have lost ALL power. It becomes just a matter of time as the clock ticks and everyone wakes up and say: OMG!

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We have government addicted to borrowing and if rates rise, then everything will explode in their face. Western Civilization is finished as we know it just as Communism collapsed because we too subscribe to the theory of Marx that government is capable of managing the economy. Just listen to the candidates running for President. They are all preaching Marx. Vote for me and I will force the economy to do this. IMPOSSIBLE! We have debt which is unsustainable the further you move away from the United States which is the core economy such as emerging markets. Unfunded pensions destroyed the Roman Empire. We are collapsing in the very same manner and for the very same reason. We are finishing a very very very important report on the whole pension crisis issue worldwide.

Source: Armstrong Economics