With uncertainty lingering and patience wearing thin after five-plus years of still lackluster wage growth, consumers are increasing saving for the future, hedging against a continuation of “more of the same.” Thus, for many, extra savings at the pump as a result of lower gas prices are simply being stored away to help supplement spending needs in the future, ramping up savings, not spending.
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
A recent article argues that the increasing demand for consumer credit is an indicator of increasing consumer confidence. The argument seems reasonable due to the way it is presented--there is an entirely different conclusion one would draw were the argument presented differently.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
Following the Conference Board's tumble in confidence, Bloomberg's consumer comfort index surged this morning (rather aberrationally) to highs not seen since 2007. However, while UMich consumer confidence rose from last month to its highest since July 2007, it missed expectations by the most since October 2013. It would seem the survey respondents in UMich and Bloomberg confidence are stockholders, and Conference Board respondents are not... UMich data is dominated by a surge in current conditions with the outlook flat.
While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:
- GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%
The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.
“Ordinary people are unnerved about how money works in a bottomless cyber space. Gold seems tangible, clear and timeless”
With business confidence at post-crisis lows (in the US and around the world), it is hardly surprising that consumer confidence would fade and at 88.7 (vs 96.0 expectations), this is the biggest miss since June 2010. It appears last month's exuberant surge/beat was anomalous as we tumble from 94.5 in October, in spite of tumbling gas prices and record high stocks... The drop was largely driven by a slide in 'hope' as expectations fell to the lowest since June. Labor, employment, and business conditions all dropped.
- Ferguson in Flames (Reuters)
- Ferguson Cop Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life (BBG)
- Sharpton: Grand Jury Announcement ‘An Absolute Blow’ (Daily Caller)
- Gunshots echo as violence returns to Ferguson, protests across U.S. (Reuters)
- BoJ members warned on costs of more easing (FT)
- Hagel Exit Shows Obama Has Taken Power Away From Pentagon (BBG)
- Ukraine leader, under pressure from West, pledges new government soon (Reuters)
- Eurozone Stagnation Poses Major Risk to Global Growth, OECD Warns (WSJ)
- ECB’s Coeure Says Officials Won’t Rush as They Debate All Assets (BBG)
Just two months after the OECD cut its global growth outlook, overnight the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cut it again, taking down its US, Chinese, Japanese but mostly, Eurozone forecasts. In the report it said: "The Economic Outlook draws attention to a global economy stuck in low gear, with growth in trade and investment under-performing historic averages and diverging demand patterns across countries and regions, both in advanced and emerging economies. “We are far from being on the road to a healthy recovery. There is a growing risk of stagnation in the euro zone that could have impacts worldwide, while Japan has fallen into a technical recession,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said. “Furthermore, diverging monetary policies could lead to greater financial volatility for emerging economies, many of which have accumulated high levels of debt.” And sure enough, the OECD's prescription: more Eurozone QE. As a result, futures in the US are in fresh all time high territory ignoring any potential spillover from last night's Ferguson protests, just 30 points from Goldman's latest 2015 S&P target, Stoxx is up 0.5%, while bond yields are lower as frontrunning of central bank bond purchases resumes. Oil is a fraction higher due to a note suggesting the Saudi's are preparing for a bigger supply cut than expected, although as the note says "it is unclear if the cut sticks."
Another day, another case of central banks, not one but two this time, dictating "price" action.
"This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards - and the Ebola events leading into it - it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I've seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows... After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to "stimulate" our economy by directly buying stock index futures."
Despite record low bond yields and all the promises one can bear from politicians and central bankers, the people of Europe are the least confident since February. At -11.6, missing expectations of a slight improvement from -11.1 to -10.7, this is the biggest miss since August 2011. It's perhaps not surprising given the near-record highs in unemployment but oddly, confidence seems highly correlated to EUR strength (or weakness)... the opposite of what the market hopes for.
The Ebola crisis has faded from headlines but remains a risk after the death of another Ebola patient in Nebraska and the death of a suspected victim in New York yesterday. This brings the number of confirmed deaths to two in the U.S. and possibly three if the New York victim is confirmed as having had Ebola.
Global Slowdown Confirmed By PMIs Missing From Japan To China To Europe; USDJPY Nears 119 Then SlidesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/20/2014 08:00 -0400
The continuation of the two major themes witnessed over the past month continued overnight: i) the USDJPY rout accelerated, with the Yen running to within 2 pips of 119 against the dollar as Albert Edwards' revised USDJPY target of 145 now appears just a matter of weeks not months (even though subsequent newsflow halted today's currency decimation and the Yen has since risen 100 pips , and ii) the global economic slowdown was once again validated by global PMIs missing expectations from Japan to China (as noted earlier) and as of this morning, to Europe, where the Manufacturing, Services and Composite PMI all missed across the board, driven by a particular weakness in France (Mfg PMI down from 48.5 to 47.6, below the 48.8 expected), but mostly Germany, after Europe's growth dynamo, which disappointed everyone after yesterday's rebound in the Zew sentiment print, printed a PMI of only 50.0, down from 51.4 a month ago, down from 52.7 a year ago, and below the 51.5 expected. And just as bad, Europe's composite PMI just tumbled to 51.4, the lowest print in 16 months!