Over the past couple of years there has been a rising chorus of individuals warming to the idea of a new secular bull market. This is not surprising given the seemingly unstoppable rise of asset prices since the financial crisis despite a litany of geopolitical and economic headwinds. But are the "ingredients" that spurred the previous two secular bull market periods in existence today?
The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200% grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. But now, the year of consequences may have finally arrived.
The key is to understand why real median household incomes continue to decline and then how to correct it. It all comes back to financial policies that incentivize investors to avoid economy-boosting investments and toward financial investments that have no economic benefit. The result is a narrowing of income distribution exasperating the down spiral, while inflating wealth to the already wealthy. As long as these policies remain intact the American quality of life will continue to spiral downward while the wealth at the top continues to accelerate until one day when the top pops off and all that wealth goes abroad. And that Mr. Liesman is what we call economics.
In its latest effort to counter financial instability - and show its commitment to maintaining order and support for the economy - Russia's Central Bank (CBR) has unveiled 7 new measures... Ranging from bank recaps to measures aimed at helping manage interest-rate and credit risks, the reaction in the Ruble is positive for now... as perhaps, taking a lesson from the US, The CBR removes Mark-to-Market accounting for various credit instruments.
For the 3rd month in a row, Consumer Credit growth rose less than expected. At $13.226 billion (against expectations of a $16.5bn gain), this is the smallest growth since Nov 2013. This is the first 3-month miss since June 2009. Once again, as expected, the rise is all student and auto loans (which now face 27% delinquency for the subprime borrowers). However, perhaps the most notable facet is a 66% collapse in revolving credit growth from a year ago.
Confused why in the lack of any horrible economic news (unless of course someone leaked a worse than expected November payrolls print which would put QE4 right back on the table) futures are higher, especially in the aftermath of yesterday's disappointing ECB conference? Then look no further than the Yen which has now lost pretty much all control and is in freeplunge mode, rising some 25 pips moments ago on no news, but merely as wave after wave of momentum ignition algos now make a joke of the Japanese currency, whose redline of 123 (as defined by SocGen)is now just 240 pips away. At this pace, Japan's economy, which as reported yesterday has just seen a record number of corporate bankruptcies due to the plummeting yen, may well be dead some time next week. Which, with Paul Krugman as its new and improved economic advisor, is precisely as expected. RIP Japan.
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.
Non-bombastic overview of the forces influencing the capital markets in the week ahead.
Another month, another $14.5 billion increase in student and car loans, offset by a measly $1.4 billion in credit card debt, following last month's upward revised $200 million drop in revolving debt. Total consumer debt in September increase by $15.9 billion, just below the $16.0 billion estimate, and the problem is that with the Fed's credit injection fading, someone has to step on the borrowing pedal. Alas, if one takes away student and car loans, the credit creation is not nearly enough to push US consumption higher. In any event, the most amusing chart is the following. It simply screams sustainable.
- The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare (Matt Taibbi)
- Explains the midterm results: Optimism precedes job data (Reuters)
- EU Dream Ebbs Amid Weak Growth, Putin's Jets, 25 Years After Wall Came Down (BBG)
- SEC Probing Trading Activity at Apple Supplier GT Advanced (WSJ)
- Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone (Reuters)
- China Gold Buying Means Price Floor to Standard Chartered (BBG)
- High-Speed Ad Traders Profit by Arbitraging Your Eyeballs (BBG)
- Central Banks Can’t Be ‘Only Game in Town’ Boosting Economies (BBG) - less talking, more getting to work
European shares fall, reversing earlier gains, with the banks and tech sectors underperforming and basic resources, oil & gas outperforming. Companies including ArcelorMittal, Allianz, Swiss Re, Richemont released results. The Spanish and Italian markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is stronger against the dollar. Japanese 10yr bond yields rise; German yields increase. Furthermore, the pullback in the USD-index from overnight highs has also provided the commodity complex with some upside and thus has seen basic materials and energy name outperform to the benefit of the FTSE 100. Elsewhere, Allianz’s (+4.9%) impressive pre-market report has helped halt the move to the downside for the DAX which trades with modest gains of 0.3%. Fixed income markets continue to hold fire (albeit in marginal negative territory) with volumes exceedingly thin ahead of key risk events. And with that, all eyes move to today's Nonfarm payroll expected to print at 235K, after last month's 248K. Something to keep in mind: the average seasonal adjustment to the October data is almost exactly 1 million, so yet again the fate of the US and global economy, will be determined by an Arima X 13 "fudge factor."
Though there is some debate over the exact income a middle class household brings in, USA Today notes that we do have an idea of who the middle class are — most working class people. Today's bourgeoisie is composed of laborers and skilled workers, white collar and blue collar workers, many of whom face financial challenges. Bill Maher reminded us a few months back that 50 years ago, the largest employer was General Motors, where workers earned an equivalent of $50 per hour (in today's money). Today, the largest employer — Wal-Mart — pays around $8 per hour. The middle class has certainly changed. USA Today's Cheat Sheet has ranked a list of things the middle class can no longer really afford.
The summer rebound is well and truly over, and the latest nail in the short-lived rebound came moments ago when the Fed reported that in August, consumer credit rose by only $13.5 billion: only because it was far below the $20 billion expected and a plunge from the $26 billion surge in July, since revised far lower to $21.6 billion. Worse, revolving credit actually declined in the month by just over $200 million, its first decline since February. But don't worry: while US consumers put their credit cards on ice, they had no problems continuing to borrow like drunken sailor when it comes to car and student loans, which rose to a new record high of $2.366 trillion, an increase of $13.7 billion, which still was the lowest monthly increase since January.
- Liberian Rubber Farm Becomes Sanctuary Against Ebola (WSJ)
- The World’s Most Powerful Central Banker: Janet Who? (BBG)
- Islamic State moves into south west of Syrian Kurdish town (Reuters)
- Waldorf to Be Biggest Chinese Property Purchase in U.S. (BBG)
- Spain Seeks People in Contact With Ebola-Infected Nurse (BBG)
- Hong Kong protests at crossroads as traffic, frustration pile up (Reuters)
- Immigration: Grim Caseload at the Border (WSJ)
- China Cuts Thousands of ‘Phantom’ Workers From State Payroll (BBG)
- U.S., U.K. Regulators Push to Settle Deutsche Bank Libor Case This Year (WSJ)
- Wall Street Moles Go to NY’s Top Cop, Spurning SEC Cash (BBG)
- Pimco's outflow headaches only just beginning (Reuters)
- Japan Lawmakers Flag Need for Exit Strategy as Yen Falls (BBG)