The Last Time This Happened Was... Never

We’re seeing a shift in the world’s dominant superpower at the exact same time there’s a shift in the global financial system, and reserve currency, and game-changing technology. And even more trends that we haven’t even discussed. The convergence of all of these trends at the same moment is the MEGA-trend. The last time this happened was... never.

For Canadian Oil Sands It's Adapt Or Die

That low oil prices are squeezing out oil sands producers is not breaking news. But in spite of a grim oil price outlook, production out of Calgary has continued to grow, defying both expectations and logic. The implications are serious, not just for the future of Canada’s energy industry and economy, but also North American energy relations.

Mortgage Applications Lowest Since 2000 For This Time Of Year

Mortgage applications fell 17.0% this week on a non-adjusted basis (following a 7.2% the previous week) for the biggest 2-week drop since January 2015. Even on a seasonally-adjusted basis the last 2 weeks have dropped 6.2% and 7% (the biggest 2 week drop since Feb 2015). However, just as Sept 2014 was notably seasonally weak for mortgage applications, for this time of year, mortgage applications have not been weaker since 2000.

RANsquawk PREVIEW: FOMC Monetary Policy Meeting Decisions & Projections - 17th September 2015

  • Markets await one of the most hyped rate decision in several years
  • Most expect the Fed to keep the Fed Fund Rate on hold at 0.00-0.25% while signalling a possible rate hike by the end of the year, however there is a substantial outside bet (~30%) that the Fed will hike rates by 15-25bps

OVERVIEW

September’s FOMC monetary policy decision has been one of the most hyped rate decisions in recent years, with expectations shifting in the past few months from a possible hike to the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) to the most recent consensus that the bank will leave rates unchanged this month. There remains an substantial but outside bet (markets pricing in ~30% probability of a hike) that the Fed could raise rates this month, however rhetoric from the central bank over the past month suggests policy makers remain undecided, and given the Fed’s commitment to communication, many suggest Fed Chair Yellen would have prepared the market much more if action was likely to be taken on Thursday.

Many analysts note that financial markets are not ready for the first rate hike yet, the Fed will not lose credibility if they do not move, and one large consideration for the doves on the committee is that the full impact of “Black Monday” has yet to be fully seen and global growth uncertainties remain after a period of market volatility. However, hawks on the panel will likely support their argument for a rate hike by pointing to the fact that the Fed cannot wait for overwhelming evidence before hiking as this would be too late. One other point members are likely to pick-up on is that the labour market can no longer be used as an excuse to delay this month given its relative strength, however inflation continues to languish as indicated by Wednesday’s fall in CPI due to the slide in gasoline prices.

Oil Slides Despite Inventory Draw And Crude Production Dropping For 6th Week

Confirming last night's 'surprise' API inventory drawdown, DOE reported a 2.1mm draw, following 2 weeks of significant builds. Crude production fell for the 6th week in a row to its lowest since Dec 2014. It appears some profit-taking algos are in place as a draw combined with lower production has been met with significant selling pressure in WTI.

Inside Janet Yellen's Brain At 4am...

Will Janet Yellen proudly put the Fed on the side of the angels, announcing that she and her crew have decided to move the Fed’s key interest rate to a more normal level… regardless of how much it costs the cronies? No, she won’t. Once you begin manipulating markets, it’s a hard habit to break. After nearly seven years of emergency financial policies, we are now in a permanent emergency..."What if they say it’s my fault? What if they call it the Yellen Depression? Oh, no... It’s not fair... It’s not fair... Boo-hoo... sob... sob... I should have stayed at Harvard. I’d have tenure. I’d have a nice pension. George and I could go the Martha’s Vineyard in the summer. It would be such a nice life."

The Last Time Homebuilder Confidence Was This High, The Housing Market Crashed

NAHB Sentiment jumped (again) to 62 (from 61) - its highest since 2005. The last time homebuilders were this exuberant, home sales collapsed.. reminding us of Upton Sinclair's classic line, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” In this case, with mortgage applications indicating anything but a healthy housing market, "It is difficult to get a homebuilder to admit all is not well when his entire career depends on his ignorance of reality."

Fed Enters Rate Hike Meeting With First Headline Deflation Since January

As the final inflation data before the FOMC decision, some have argued that this print matters most as an excuse to stay in 'emergency mode' - perhaps they are right. Consumer Prices dropped 0.1% (as expected) in August - this is the first 'deflation' since January - great news for consumers. Gasoline and airline tickets saw the biggest drops dragging down YoY CPI but The Fed will shrug its "transitory" shoulders but ex-food-and-energy did miss expectations, rising 1.8% YoY (against 1.9% exp). Notably food prices rose 0.2% in August, driven by a surge in egg prices. So WWJYD?

Global Trade Bellwether FedEx Misses, Cuts Outlook, Blames Weak Industry Demand, Higher Wages

Every quarter we pay particular interest to the results reported by Fedex not only due to its position as the leading company in worldwide logistics but due to its status as a bellwether in global trade. And not surprisingly, following a bevy of reports here and elsewhere confirming the plunge in global trade, Fedex did not disappoint, or rather it did when it reported non-GAAP EPS of $2.42 missing already reduced consensus expectations of $2.45, but it also cut its full year 2016 EPS guidance from $10.60-$11.10 to $10.40-$10.90 (below the consensus $10.83) proving yet again that hopes for EPS growth are just as misplaced as those for multiple expansion at a time when the Fed is preparing to hike rates and as China unleashes Quantitative Tightening.

Frontrunning: September 16

  • Contrarian CEOs tell the Fed: Go ahead, raise my rates (Reuters)
  • Goldman Warns Markets Unprepared for Fed as Treasuries Seesaw (BBG)
  • Investors Look Beyond Fed Meeting, See Low Rates (WSJ)
  • Volatility seen lingering no matter what the Fed does (Reuters)
  • What Rising Interest Rates Would Mean for You (BBG)
  • China Stocks Jump in Last Hour of Trading on State Support Signs (BBG)
  • No Escape for China Hedge Funds Overwhelmed by Stocks Crash (BBG)
  • Hedge Fund Bridgewater Defends Its ‘Risk-Parity’ Strategy (WSJ)

China Plunge Protectors Unleash Berserk Buying Spree In Last Hour Of Trading As Fed Meeting Begins

Ffor whatever reason starting in the last hour of trading and continuing until the close, the Shanghai Composite - after trading largely unchanged - went from red on the day to up 4.9% after hitting 5.9% minutes before the close - the biggest one day surge since March 2009 - and nearly erasing the 6.1% drop from the past two days in just about 60 minutes of trading, providing a solid hour of laughter to bystanders and observers in the process.

S&P Downgrades Japan From AA- To A+ On Doubts Abenomics Will Work - Full Text

Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+.  The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.