As reported earlier, several hours ago Saudi Arabia announced that its 91-year-old King Abdullah had passed away, in the process setting off what may be a fascinating, and problematic, Saudi succession fight which impacts everything from oil, to markets to geopolitics, especially in the aftermath of the dramatic political coup in neighboring Yemen. As a reminder, it is Saudi Arabia whose insistence on not cutting oil production with the intent of hobbling the US shale industry has led to the splinter of OPEC, and to a Brent price south of $50. Which is why today's event and its implications will be analyzed under a microscope by everyone: from politicians to energy traders. Here, courtesy of Ecstrat's Emad Mostaque, is an initial take at succession, the likely impact on oil, then the Saudi market & currency and finally regional politics.
... things like a 50%+ drop in oil prices happen. Which at some point will lead more people to wonder what the real numbers are. For emerging nations, those numbers will not be pretty for 2015. They’re going to feel like they’re being thrown right back into the Stone Age. And they’re not going to like that one bit, and look for ways to express their frustration. Volatility is not just on the rise in the world of finance. It also is in the real world that finance fails to reflect. At some point, the two will meet again, and Wall Street will mirror Main Street. It will make neither any happier. But it’ll be honest.
Chicago Fed's Charlie Evans called the drop in rates at the longer-end of the Treasury yield curve "extraordinary," falling just short of screaming "sell, sell, sell bonds" and threw wrench in the Fed's policy path by noting "raising rates at the wrong time would be catastrophic." So it is noteworthy that damage control appears to have been engaged this morning by no lesser Fed mouthpiece than Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath. Reminding the public of Bill Dudley's fears, when he argued the Fed had the wrong reaction to lower long rates in the 2000s, a mistake that might have contributed to the housing boom that ended disastrously; when instead the Fed should push rates higher sooner or more aggressively than planned.
Today we update where China stands on its path to a very hard landing. As the charts below show, what has been so far a controlled descent is rapidly sliding out of control.
Moments ago the Census Bureau reported that 458K new homes were sold in October (with a 16.5 error confidence), which missed expectations of a 471K increase from last month's 467K print, but that's ok, because last month's number was also revised substantially lower from 467K to 453K, which in turn will allow the mainstream propaganda to tout that New Home Sales jump in October to match the highest print since October 2013. There is one problem: here is what the update chart of New Home Sales data looks like on a historical basis... and as revised. It sure puts that 458K "increase" in a slightly different light.
The last time US homeownership declined down to 64.4% (which the Census Bureau just reported is what US homeownership declined to from 64.7% in Q2), was back in the fourth quarter of 1983. Here's why.
Less than a week after the NAR reported September existing home sales which surged at a 5.17 million annualized pace, the highest since September 2013, rebounding from the August drubbing which was also the worst miss in 2014, today the NAR flip-flopped and disappointed sellside expectations of a 1.0% rebound following the August -1.0% decline, rising a modest 0.3%, and less than half the 2.2% expected increase from a year ago, rising only 1.0% Y/Y. This was the third miss in the series in the last 4 prints.
President Obama is saying the economy is better, Bernanke is warning that real people don't believe that; and while earning $250,000 per speaking engagement, Ye 'Olde' Fed head was unable to refinance his mortgage...
"In conclusion, this analysis finds little evidence of the permanent structural damage to the economy’s productive potential that many commentators see as the main culprit for the subpar recovery from the Great Recession..." and Surprise... "our model suggests that monetary policy played an important role in cushioning the blow from the financial crisis and in sustaining the recovery, which could have been significantly more disappointing without the aggressive actions undertaken by the Fed."
Just one guy's attempt to make sense of what is likely to happen in the coming days.
- Euro left reeling after ECB's liquidity splurge (Reuters)
- Coalition Emerges to Battle Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
- Ukraine Gas Chief Takes on Gazprom in Race With Winter (BBG)
- Nato leaders fail to agree spending targets (FT)
- JPMorgan Had Exodus of Tech Talent Before Hacker Breach (BBG)
- Mercedes-Benz Sales Rise Despite Weak German Demand (WSJ)
- Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans (BBG)
- ICE looks to crack financial data market (FT)
In what will hardly be a good sign for tomorrow's "critical" non-farm payrolls report, moments ago ADP reported that in August only 204K private payrolls were created in the US economy, below the downward revised 212K in July, and below the consensus estimate of 220K. The good news, as Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP said, is that "August marks the fifth straight month of employment gains above 200,000, continuing an encouraging trend for the U.S. labor market.” Just barely. The bad news: this was the lowest ADP print since March, and hardly the "lift off" trend that many were expecting. Notably, the June 281K jobs print was revised even higher to 297K the highest in years and makes one wonder how much forward demand was pulled back into Q2 as a result of abnormally easy credit conditions and generous government spending.
A record-breaking surge in monthly credit creation and a trillion Yuan of QE-lite was enough to provide a glimmer of hope into the tumbling Chinese economy for one or maybe two months but with the real estate market continuing to free-fall, it should be no surprise that China's PMIs finally catch down to the erstwhile reality simmering under the surface in the ultimate centrally-planned economy. China's official government PMI dropped from 30-month highs, missed expectations and the early month flash print, to less exuberant 51.1 reading (with Steel industry new orders totally collapsing) with both medium- and small-companies printing contractionary sub-50 levels. Then (after Japan's PMI beat - of course it did as hard data crashes worst on record), HSBC China PMI also missed, printing a slightly expansionary 50.2 Showing, as BofA warns "the two PMIs both show that the current recovery is relatively weak and choppy..." and RBS adds "we expect the government to interpret such an outlook as challenging its growth target and to take more, and more significant, measures to support growth."
The Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath unleashed an instantaneous reaction to today's FOMC minutes and the message is clear - markets are much less uncertain than the Fed about the timing (sooner rather than later) of the first rate-hike. The minutes of the meeting, Hilsy notes, provide fresh evidence of an intensifying debate inside the central bank about when to respond to a surprisingly swift descent in the unemployment rate and rising consumer prices. The minutes appeared to reflect a slightly more aggressive stance than Ms. Yellen's testimony.
The attached Barron’s article appeared in December 2007 as an outlook for the year ahead, and Wall Street strategists were waxing bullish. Notwithstanding the advanced state of disarray in the housing and mortgage markets, soaring global oil prices and a domestic economic expansion cycle that was faltering and getting long in the tooth, Wall Street strategists were still hitting the “buy” key. In fact, the Great Recession had already started but they didn’t have a clue: "Against this troubling backdrop, it’s no wonder investors are worried that the bull market might end in 2008. But Wall Street’s top equity strategists are quick to dismiss such fears."