Consumer Sentiment

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Consumers Love Higher Gas Prices: UMich Confidence Rises To 2nd Highest In 8 Years





Having fallen for the last two months, with stock prices back near record highs, many expected an exuberant bounce in UMich Consumer Sentiment and were not disappointed. In the face of rising gas prices, Consumers were loving it - UMich printed 95.9, beating expectations of 94.0 by the most since August, for the 2nd most exuberance since 2007. Current and futures expectations rose notably as consumers believe now is a good time buy a home, vehicle, ore major appliance more than ever.

 
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China's True Economic Growth Rate: 1.6%





While the world gasped last night when China's production-based, and goalseeked GDP number came in at 7.0% - the lowest in 6 years the truly scary numbers were in the details, which revealed unprecedented deterioration. Details which suggest China is now growing at a 1.6% annual pace: the lowest in modern history.

 
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China GDP Tumbles To Lowest In 6 Years Amid Quadruple Whammy Of Dismal Data





A month ago we warned "Beijing, you have a big problem," and showed 10 charts to expose the reality hiding behind a stock market rally up over 100% in the last year. Tonight we get confirmation that all is not well - China GDP fell to 7.0% (its lowest in 6 years) with QoQ GDP missing expectations at +1.3% (vs 1.4%). Then retail sales rose 10.2% YoY - the slowest pace in 9 years (missing expectations of 10.9%). Fixed Asset Investment rose 13.5% - the lowest since Dec 2000 (missing expectations). And finally Industrial Production massively disappointed, rising only 5.6% YoY (weakest since Dec 2008). Finally, as a gentle reminder to the PBOC-front-runners, a month ago Beijing said there was no such thing as China QE (and no, the weather is not to blame.. but the smog?).

 
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Key Global Events In The Coming Week





While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.

 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v

 
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Futures Jump On Chinese Easinng Speculation, False Rumor Of PBOC Rate Cut





With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation’s growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.

 
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UMich Consumer Sentiment Drops For 2nd Month In A Row, First Time Since Oct 2013





For the first time since October 2013, UMich Consumer Sentiment dropped for consecutive months (printing a final 93.0 for March down from 95.4 in Feb, but above the flash print earlier in the month). Under the surface there are concerns with an increasing number of respondents noting that household finance are worse than 5 years ago, and an increasing number of people seeing now as a "bad time to buy" a house or car.

 
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Frontrunning: March 27





  • Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
  • Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
  • With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
  • Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
  • North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
  • Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
  • Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
 
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Futures Wipe Out Early Gains In Volatile Session As Dollar Resumes Climb; Oil Slides





After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.

 
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Buying Euphoria Fizzles Ahead Of Make Or Break Tsipras-Merkel Talks





As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.

 
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Near Perfect Correlation Between Wages And Spending Bodes Poorly For Economy





The correlation between wage growth and consumer spending is now 0.93 according to RBC meaning that the 80% of the labor force who aren't seeing their pay increase will not be driving the US economic engine going forward.

 
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Underwater Homeowners "Here To Stay" Zillow Says





The percentage of homeowners underwater in the US was flat from Q3 to Q4 which doesn’t sound all that terrible until you consider that this figure had fallen for 10 consecutive quarters. Things look particularly bad in Florida and the midwest where more than 25% of borrowers are sitting in a negative equity position. A new report from Zillow says negative equity will become a permanent fixture in the housing market.

 
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Michelle Obama Meets Japan's Emperor, Awkwardness Ensues





US diplomats still haven’t quite figured out how to greet Japanese officials, as was made abundantly clear when the First Lady visited Japan this week.

 
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Futures Rebound After EUR Finds 1.05 Support; China Stocks Soar; Im-"Patient" Fed On Deck





It started off as the perfect storm for futures: after Sunday night's latest plunge in WTI, which saw it drop to the lowest price since Lehman, the double whammy that has now forced Deutsche Bank to become the first major institution to forecast no growth for S&P500 EPS in 2015, namely the strong dollar, reared its ugly head and the EURUSD seemed dangerouly close to breaching the all important 1.04-1.05 support level we first noted last week. However, overnight parties tasked with preserving "financial stability" appear to have once again stepped in, and not only has the EURUSD rebounded off 1.05, but crude is now just barely down from the Friday close as all firepower is put to the same use, that sent the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.3% overnight, and which sent the Dax over 12,000 for the first time ever.

 
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Thousands Crowd Brazil's Streets: Demand Military Intervention & Rousseff Resignation, Impeachment





It appears the 'people' are growing more and more dissatisfied with their corrupt and greedy leaders across the world. As we noted recently, Brazil's economy is imploding, consumer sentiment is at record lows, and with the Petrobras scandal providing a glimpse at just how deep the corruption might go, Brazilians are revolting. Hundreds of thousands are crowding the streets in several regional Brazilian capitals, dominated ironically by the middle and upper classes. Demands for "Dilma Out" and "Impeach Dilma" are also interspersed with calls for a quasi-coup and "military intervention."

 
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