Cash For Clunkers
Per capita energy consumption remains at recession levels. There are other factors at work here, of course, but if we combine these data series, we get a picture not of robust growth akin to previous post-recession periods, but a "recovery" that by previous standards remains recession-bound.
Retail Disaster: Holiday Sales Crater by 11%, Online Spend Declines: NRF Blames Shopping Fiasco On "Stronger Economy"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/30/2014 23:09 -0400
“A highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” Mr. Shay said.
One can kiss the US subprime-driven "manufacturing renaissance" goodbye. The reason, as we reported moments ago, Industrial Production dropped 0.1%, driven by a -0.4% contraction in manufacturing, the worst print since the "harsh winter collapse" of January 2014. The answer to the key question, what drove the tumble, is simple: what goes up has come down, in this case production of Motor Vehciles and Part, after posting its best number in 5 years, just posted... it worst monthly drop in five years, or since May 2009 to be precise. As the chart below shows, following July's month's 9.3% surge in production of motor vehicles and parts, August has come and wiped out all the gains, with a 7.6% plunge, the bigest collapse since May 2009.
The auto loan subprime bubble may be the latest to burst (after student loans) as the rate of car repossessions jumped 70.2 percent in the second quarter, with much of that increase coming from finance companies not run by automakers, banks or credit unions. "The number of delinquencies and repossessions rising is what we would expect as the auto industry sells more vehicles," "But this slight uptick is one to keep an eye on." The surge in delinquencies and repossessions is being driven primarily by borrowers with subprime and deep subprime credit scores.
In July, the gain in durables was led by an increase of 10.1 percent in the index for motor vehicles and parts, which was the largest since the index jumped 26.9 percent in July 2009. In other words, when it comes to the US economy, subrpime is the new "cash for clunkers" as can be seen on the chart below.
Consumer Credit Has Fifth Biggest Monthly Jump In History; Revolving Credit Soars By Most Since November 2007Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/06/2014 15:23 -0400
A month ago we pointed out that with April US consumer savings plunging to levels not seen since Lehman, the only place where the tapped out consumer could find some purchasing power is by maxing out their credit cards. This is precisely what happened: moments ago the Fed released its April consumer credit report and it was a doozy: expected to print at $15.00 billion, down from a pre-revision $17.5 billion, the April total instead exploded to a whopping $26.85 billion. This was the fifth biggest surge in history, and was only surpassed by the 2010 "cash for clunkers" record, as well as previous one time outliers in 1998, 2001, and 2006.
When good decisions are no longer possible, bad decisions are inevitable.
The biggest bubble is in investors' belief that there is no risk.
If somehow the scramble to open stores earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving day, until such time as the very Thanksgiving dinner had to be interrupted early for the annual rush out to the (un)friendly neighborhood Thug-Mart (Toys'R'Us opened at a ridiculous 5pm on Thanksgiving day) and punching people in the face just to get that 42 inch, 2010-model Plasma TV for $99, was supposed to boost overall sales instead of merely pulling them forward (see cash for clunkers), it didn't work. According to ShopperTrak, total Black Friday traffic plunged 11% and total sales fell 13.2%, the second consecutive year of declines following last year's 1.8%. The reason, as largely expected, is that a substantial portion of Friday shopping was pulled back to Thursday: as ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said, "if retailers continue to promote Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday buying season, he thinks the holiday will eventually surpass Black Friday in sales. "We're just taking Black Friday sales and spreading them across a larger number of days," Martin said."
"A liquidity trap is a situation described in Keynesian economics in which injections of cash into the private banking system by a central bank fail to lower interest rates and hence fail to stimulate economic growth. A liquidity trap is caused when people hoard cash because they expect an adverse event such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Signature characteristics of a liquidity trap are short-term interest rates that are near zero and fluctuations in the monetary base that fail to translate into fluctuations in the general price levels." Importantly, this evidence is mounting that the Federal Reserve has now become trapped within this dynamic. The important point is that, for the first time that we are aware of, someone (of apparent note to the status quo) has verbally stated that we are indeed caught within a liquidity trap. This has been a point that has been vigorously opposed by supporters of the Federal Reserve actions.
It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. John Taylor believes this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects.
In the first three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) of this disheartening look back at a century of central banking, income taxing, military warring, energy depleting and political corrupting, we made a case for why we are in the midst of a financial, commercial, political, social and cultural collapse. In this final installment we’ll give our best estimate as to what happens next. There are so many variables involved that it is impossible to predict the exact path to our world’s end. Many people don’t want to hear about the intractable issues or the true reasons for our predicament. They want easy button solutions. They want someone or something to fix their problems. They pray for a technological miracle to save them from decades of irrational myopic decisions. As the domino-like collapse worsens, the feeble minded populace becomes more susceptible to the false promises of tyrants and psychopaths. Anyone who denies we are in the midst of an ongoing Crisis that will lead to a collapse of the system as we know it is either a card carrying member of the corrupt establishment, dependent upon the oligarchs for their living, or just one of the willfully ignorant ostriches who choose to put their heads in the sand and hum the Star Spangled Banner as they choose obliviousness to awareness. Thinking is hard. Feeling and believing a storyline is easy.
Much has ben written lately about the fact that the Federal Reserve is beginning to realize that they are caught in a "liquidity trap." However, what exactly is a "liquidity trap?" And perhaps more importantly how did we end up in it - and how do we get out?
First, the important news: in a few hours the Fed will inject between $1.25-$1.75 billion into the stock market. More importantly, it is a Tuesday, which means that in order to not disturb a very technical pattern that will have held for 20 out of 20 Tuesdays in a row, the Dow Jones will close higher. Judging by the futures, this has been telegraphed far and wide: it is a Ben Bernanke risk-managed market, and everyone is a momentum monkey in it. In less relevant news, the underlying catalyst for the overnight rip higher in risk was the surge in the USDJPY, which left the gate at precisely Japan open time, and after languishing at the round number 101 support for several days, did not look back facilitated by what rumors said was a direct BOJ intervention via a Price Keeping Operation in which banks bought ETFs directly. This was catalyzed by the usual barrage of BOJ and FinMin individuals engaging in post-crash damage control and chattering from the usual script.
The big story this past week, besides the annual State of the Delusion speech by Barack “It won’t add a cent to the deficit” Obama, was the fate of the passengers on the Carnival Triumph as their skyscraper sized ship was left adrift at sea for days without power. The ordeal at sea of the Carnival Triumph and the leadership displayed by the Carnival management and executive officers is a microcosm of our declining empire. Rather than deal with our reality, Obama chose the Carnival Cruise Line method of public relations - misinformation, denial and delusion. He has embraced the Big Lie concept as if he had created it. Our cruise of illusions and delusions is headed for troubled water. The math challenged citizens on this ship have been enjoying the 24 hour pizza buffet without the labor required to pay for the bounty. This voyage is reaching an end and the bill is coming due. The engine is on fire but the captain is telling us all is well. Eventually, everyone will know the captain lied.