The vital question of the moment is whether of not The Bernank will signal an intention of moving towards QE3 in his much-anticipated 'Jackson Hole' conference in two weeks. Citi's Tom Fitzpatrick believes "it would be irresponsible to do so and that we need a more 'responsible fiscal policy' which will not materialize as long as we have an 'irresponsible monetary policy' bailing policymakers out". However, what we think in this regard is totally irrelevant to this discussion for it is what we think the Fed thinks that is critical. Recent data seems to have been a little more supportive of the economy (on the face of it) and may lead the Fed to stay on hold in the near term (September meeting). This will almost certainly raise the bar extremely high for further easing as we head into the Presidential race proper. If this window closes then a move before December will be extremely unlikely barring a major financial/market/economic shock, since after the 9/13 meeting, there are no more meetings until 12/12. However this increases the danger of the Fed getting 'caught behind the curve' which must be balanced with the 'mistake' of one-monetary-step-too-far with very real inflationary consequences.
Who gets burned when the newest credit bubble busts?
Jackson Hole To Be Empty: July Retail Sales Spike As Producer Prices Have Highest Increase In 6 MonthsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/14/2012 08:41 -0400
Dash any hopes about a "surprise" Jackson Hole announcement by the Fed. The reason: July retail sales posted the biggest beat to expectations, rising at 0.8% on expectations of a 0.3% increase, which was above the highest Wall Street estimate of 0.6%, and which despite the downward revision of June headline retail sales from -0.5% to -0.7%, means that the Fed will now be looking at the possibility of inflation rising as a result of increased consumer spending. Ex autos and gas, the increase in spending was +0.9%, on expectations of a 0.5% rise (prior revised from -0.2% to -0.4%). Was this spike in spending credit driven or not? This will be seen once the next personal savings and consumer credit report is out, but that won't happen until after Jackson Hole. So those who trade based on hope and prayer may be well-advised to shelve those two strategies for the next 3 weeks, especially since PPI rise 0.3%, on expectations of a 0.2% pick up following June's 0.1% increase: the biggest increase in 6 months.
Yes, There's A NEW Bubble It's Near Guaranteed To Pop Bringing Consumer Discretionary and Durable Sector Stocks Along With It!
Just like every other aspect of the global economy and capital markets, the sudden, rapid moves in every times series are becoming increasingly more pronounced: today's case in point - consumer credit. Instead of rising by the expected $10.25 billion in June, following the whopper of a May bounce when it grew by $17 billion, in June, credit rose by only $6.46 billion. On the surface this was not a big miss and was the 10th consecutive increase in a row, driven exclusively by non-revolving credit - i.e. student and GM subprime loans. However, looking below the surface shows that following May's biggest monthly surge in revolving credit since November 2007 (+$7.5 billion), consumers have again expressed a revulsion to credit, with revolving credit sliding by $3.7 billion: this was the biggest monthly contraction in revolving credit since April 2011, and before that since February 2009. Did Americans developed a sudden taste for credit funded consumption in May, only to puke it all up and then some in June? It sure appears that way based on recent retail sales numbers. The July retail sales number will simply confirm if the re-icing of US consumers has continued for another month.
European equities are seen in decent positive territory heading into the Wall Street bell, though a clear lack of direction has been observed as well a thin summer volumes . The FTSE-100 is the day's underperformer following last night's allegations made by the State of New York against UK bank Standard Chartered that the company violated US sanctions by making secret transactions to the tune of USD 250bln with Iran. The Spanish 10-year yield has held below the key 7.00% level, though higher than yesterday's close at 6.76 with the spread over the benchmark Bund is slightly wider by 1.2bps. Steepening seen in the Spanish 2-year over the last couple of days as ECB's Draghi commented that any periphery bond-buying programme would be in the short end has halted and is now wider by 13bps. The Italian 10-year yield briefly traded above the 6.00% level though has since pulled back to lows printed earlier, currently standing at 5.91%, its spread tighter by 10.4bps on the session.
Market players are watching for any details on the ECB’s bond purchasing plans, after bank chief Mario Draghi said last week that the ECB would target short-term debt, fuelling optimism in the bond markets. A Reuter’s poll of economists on Friday highlighted that they expect the Fed to start QE3 in September, but a top Fed official said that a stimulus package so close to a presidential election would not be prudent. Since the ECB conditioned it would buy more government debt from Spain & Italy if they agreed to strict austerity packages, this has decreased pressure on either country to act quickly. The Financial Times interviewed Ken Wattret, a BNP Paribas economist who said: “If people think this will all be sorted in a matter of days, or weeks, then they will be disappointed. We could be in limbo for months.”
After last week's event-a-palooza, where the headlines, the spin, the erroneous HFT trading, and the propaganda (Draghi is too cold; Draghi is too hot; Draghi is just right) just refused to stop, we finally enter the summer proper where all of Europe is on vacation, as is congress. Add on top of this a very light macro event week and an earnings season which has seen the bulk of companies already report, and we expect the volume in the coming 5 days to be among the lowest recorded in 2012, and thus in the past decade. Which of course means that the cannibalization among the market makers will continue as more and more firms succumb to "trading anomalies."
There was not much in the GDP report that was unexpected, except durable goods. The decline in durable goods was comparable to Q2 2011, right down to the primary driver of that weakness - motor vehicles. However, there was no earthquake in Japan this year to disrupt supply chains, production schedules and brand availability. Just like last year, marginal economic growth overall seems to be backfilled with a tide of inventory. The trouble with inventory at the margins of growth is that it is essentially a build-up of forward demand, and therefore susceptible to reversal should overdone production move out of alignment with final demand. Both monetary and fiscal policies actively seek to pull forward demand, meaning this inventory-driven activity conforms to policy goals. It's almost like the 1960's and 70's, with motor vehicles and government spending driving the marginal economy again. All that’s missing is for Ralph Nader to show up and write about how cars are dangerous.
While bad news may be good news for the market hoping that it will spur more stimulative measures from the Fed to boost asset prices - for Main Street America bad news is just bad news. More importantly, the decline in consumer confidence continues to perpetuate the virtual economic spiral. As the consumer retrenches the decline in aggregate end demand puts businesses on the defensive who in turn reduces employment. The reduction in employment, and further stagnation of wages, puts the consumer further onto the defensive leading to more declines in demand. It is a difficult cycle to break.
Big Retail Sales Miss In Longest Collapse Streak Since 2008 Recession, Confirms US Consumer ZombificationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2012 08:40 -0400
Today's advance retail sales for June was simply abysmal, printing at -0.5% on the headline, and -0.4% ex autos. Expectations were for a print of +0.2% on the headline and unchanged less autos. Gas was not the culprit either as ex autos and gas the miss was -0.2%, on expectations of a +0.2% print. This was the third consecutive drop in a row: the longest since December 2008, when the US economy was flat out imploding. Expect furious Q2 GDP revisions imminently once the sellside community plugs this number into bean counter abaci. Goldman will likely cut its recently downgraded Q2 GDP from 1.3% to 1.1% or even sub 1.0%, which is essentially stall speed. Finally, today's number confirms our biggest worry: the spike in May consumer credit was not for discretionary purchases: it was for staples. Do the math. Finally, building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers down 1.6%, the biggest sequential drop aside from gas stations. At least housing has "bottomed." Of course, EURUSD spiking on expectations of more imminent NEW QE.
Revolving Consumer Credit Has Biggest Jump Since 2007, As Depository Institutions Turn On The SpigotSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/09/2012 15:31 -0400
Two items of note in this month's consumer credit statement. First: after dipping the most in April ($3.5 billion) since April of last year, revolving consumer credit soared by $8 billion in May, the most since November 2007, and just shy of half of the $17.1 billion in total consumer credit increase, solidly beating expectations of an $8.5 billion increase. Whether this one time spike will hold is unknown. What is known is that the US government continued to fund student and car loans to the tune of $6.2 billion, or roughly in line with historical Federal Government funding. Which, however, brings us to the second note. In May something quite curious happened: as the second chart shows, while the Federal government continues to be the primary source of lending, the biggest source of loans in May was actually Depository Institutions, which added $17.5 billion in May, a number only matched by the surge in December lending amounting to $21.3 billion. Back then, however, all of this lending was to fund holiday purchases which would soon be returned (we all remember the epic surge in December retail sales, only for everything to be unwound and then some in January and February). Which then begs the question: just what did consumers splurge on in May? Because it better have been more than just gas.
Not much going. Markets treading water in sync. Going RN, simply on lower levels. The calm before the Storm?
Minor data week, which will leave market action subject to jitters and rumours, technicals and charts. Tricky auctions of the week will be the one for EUR 8bn Italian bills on Thu and Italian 3 YRS to close the week on a Friday 13th (amount still open; were EUR 3bn 3s and 1.5bn 7 and 8 –year bonds last month). One will bear in mind that the holiday season, which slowly but surely starts to kick in, will further diminish what’s left of liquidity, exacerbating any given move.
A preview of the key events in the coming week (which will see more Central Banks jumping on the loose bandwagon and ease, because well, that is the only ammo the academic econ Ph.D's who run the world have left) courtesy of Goldman Sachs whose Jan Hatzius is once again calling for GDP targetting, as he did back in 2011, just so Bill Dudley can at least let him have his $750 million MBS LSAP. But more on that tomorrow.
So where does this leave us, knowing that despite all the exuberant highs and depressed lows, we had ended the previous week pretty much in unchanged matter?
Well, after a 10-day period that had not one but 2 bail-outs announced, a EU summit that initially seemed to good to be true, results-wise, and then ended up just being that, and a triplet of Central Bank cuts cum QE supportive measures, things don’t look much better…