The US trade deficit is now at its lowest point since that date and currently stands at $34.22 billion for the month ofJune 2013.
As Obama parades around middle-America, promoting hope-and-change amid a "Better-Bargain for the middle-class," it seemed only appropriate to lay out a few 'facts' before his next pronouncement. Once upon a time, the United States has the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world. Sadly, things have dramatically changed in America since that time. There just aren't as many "middle class jobs" as there used to be. In fact, just six years ago there were about six million more full-time jobs in our economy than there are right now. Those jobs are being replaced by part-time jobs and temp jobs. We live at a time when incomes are going down but the cost of living just keeps going up. As a result, the middle class in America is being absolutely shredded and the ranks of the poor are steadily growing. The following are 44 facts about the death of the middle class that every American - especially President Obama - should know...
The American Homeownership Dream is officially dead. Long live the New Normal American Dream: Renting.
We take a new look at Japan from the 1980s to today in order to decipher what “Abenomics” might do to this fragile nation. We argue that moving Japan from its current stable, but unsustainable equilibrium, through activist monetary policy risk a run on the sovereign. We present part I and part II here today. We hope you enjoy it.
The optimism over the housing recovery has gotten well ahead of the underlying fundamentals. While the belief was that the Government, and Fed's, interventions would ignite the housing market creating an self-perpetuating recovery in the economy - it did not turn out that way. Instead it led to a speculative rush into buying rental properties creating a temporary, and artificial, inventory suppression. The risks to the housing story remains high due to the impact of higher taxes, stagnant wage growth, re-defaults of the 6-million modifications and workouts and a slowdown of speculative investment due to reduced profit margins. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2013 and beyond - the data suggests that it might be quite a bit of wishful thinking.
A new Nielson survey on global consumer confidence for the 2nd quarter this year reveals that confidence is improving around the world. It works out to 55% of people around the world that believe that we are currently going through a recession, which means that this is the lowest figure surveyed for over two years.
If the worst retail sales number in 12 months doesn't send the S&P to 1,700 nothing will. Because that is precisely the data point we got moments ago when the Census bureau reported June retail sales growth of 0.4%, missing expectations of a 0.8% print and down from a downward revised 0.5%. However, the only growth in the headline number was thanks to auto and gas sales. Ex autos retail sales were unchanged on expectations of a 0.5% increase, while ex autos and gas the print was down -0.1%, crushing hopes of a +0.4% increase. Any minute now, however, the Fed's S&P500 trickle down wil, with a 4 year delay, hit the end consumer: the entire Princeton economics department pinky swears.
"In this respect the Gini coefficient had apparently reached in 2006 the previous high seen in 1929, prior to the Great Depression. This is a reminder that capitalism’s natural way of dealing with excesses is via business failure and liquidation; which is why wealth distribution would have become much less extreme as a consequence of the 2008 crisis if losses had been imposed on creditors to bust financial institutions, for example owners of bank bonds, in line with capitalist principles; as opposed to the favoured ‘bailout’ approach pursued for the most part by Washington. This means, unfortunately, not that the problem has been avoided but that the ‘great reckoning’ has been deferred to another day as the speculative classes have continued to game the system by resort to carry trades actively encouraged by the Fed and other central bankers, which is why fixed income markets freak out when they see signs of an exit."
The vast majority of Americans are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is coming. They don't understand how our financial system works, they don't understand how vulnerable it is, and most of them blindly trust that our leaders know exactly what they are doing and that they will be able to fix our problems. As a result, most Americans are simply not prepared for the massive storm that is heading our way. Most American families are living paycheck to paycheck, most of them are not storing up emergency food and supplies, and only a very small percentage of them are buying gold and silver for investment purposes. Right now we seem to be living in a "hope bubble" and people have become very complacent. They seem to have forgotten what happened back in 2008...
Not so long ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said it expected the U.S. government to register a budget deficit in the current fiscal year of $642 billion. But hold on a minute... The budget deficit so far (as of May 31, 2013) has already hit $626.3 billion, and we still have four more months to go in the government’s current fiscal year! The U.S. has been the family that spends more than it earns for many years now. In the short term, spending more than one takes in can work (especially if the Fed just prints new money and gives it to the government to pay its bills). But in the long term, if fundamental changes are not made to the government’s spending habits, financial chaos just starts all over again. Posting a budget deficit year after year is not sustainable. The debt-infested eurozone nations did very much the same; they borrowed to spend. Look where they are now.
Following April's surprising drop in crude imports which led to a multi-year low in the March trade balance (revised to -$37.1 billion), the just released April data showed an 8.5% jump in the deficit to $40.3 billion, if modestly better than the expected $41.1 billion. This was driven by a $2.2 billion increase in exports to $185.2 billion offset by a more than double sequential jump in imports by $5.4 billion, to $222.3 billion. More than all of the change was driven by a $3.2 billion increase in the goods deficit, offset by a $0.1 billion surplus in services.The Census Bureau also revised the entire historical data series, the result of which was a drop in the March deficit from $38.8 billion to $37.1 billion. In April 233,215K barrels of oil were imported, well above the 215,734K in March, and the highest since January. Furthermore, since the Q1 cumulative trade deficit has been revised from $126.9 billion to $123.7 billion, expect higher Q1 GDP revisions, offset by even more tapering of Q2 GDP tracking forecasts. And since the data is hardly as horrible as yesterday's ISM, we don't think it will be enough on its own to guarantee the 21 out of 21 Tuesday track record, so we eagerly look forward to today's POMO as the catalyst that seals the deal.
When two weeks ago we reported on the core retail sales "beat", we were surprised. Here's why: "Retail sales ex autos were in line with expectations at -0.1%, on expectations of a -0.2% print, but it was the sales number ex-autos and gas which surprised the most, rising 0.6% on expectations of a +0.3% increase, up from a -0.1% decline." We are no longer surprised. Reuters has the answer:
- US APRIL RETAIL SALES EX-AUTOS/GASOLINE REVISED TO +0.2 PCT (PREV +0.6 PCT)
And, as a reminder, the consensus was for a +0.3% print. So instead of a 100% beat relative to consensus, it was a 50% miss. Why did this happen: from the Census Bureau: "retail sales estimates were revised to reflect the introduction of a new sample, new seasonal factors, and results of the 2011 Annual Retail Trade Survey." Of course, the algos who bid stocks up on the flashing read headline of this now outdated and flawed "beat", will certainly go back and sell all the stocks they were otherwise going to buy, since it is now a "miss."
When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars. At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in service to their country. The holiday was officially proclaimed in 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers and was expanded after World War I to honor those who died in all wars. Today, Memorial Day honors over one million men and women who have died in military service since the Civil War. This infographic compiles statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Defense to honor our men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Curious why in yesterday's FOMC minutes the following line "a few participants expressed concern that conditions in certain U.S. financial markets were becoming too buoyant" received special attention? Here is the reason: as the chart below shows, according to the census bureau, the average new home sale price just hit a new all time high, rising by a record 15.4% to a record $330,800. In a country in which real disposable consumer income is flat at best and in reality declining, it only makes sense that the average new home price just hit a level not seen since the prior credit-bubble fueled housing peak.