Department Of Commerce
Typically, one method of MOPE that the government and the FED love to engage in is seasonally adjusting economic figures, which means that they look at the real numbers and simply re-jig them until they better fit their “models”.
Back in 1976, Congress decided that they needed more information on US companies’ international trade activities. So they passed a law requiring the Department of Commerce to survey the biggest businesses in America to find out more about what they were doing abroad. These days, the survey is conducted every five years. And like most surveys it’s a bunch of useless bureaucratic drivel that only wastes the time of the poor souls who have to fill it out. Now it’s something that can get you thrown in jail.
It's official: after seeing it work so well for years in China, the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Statistics has officially replaced all of its excel models with just one function. The following.
Having missed expectations for 5 of the last 7 months, Durable Goods New Orders jumped 4% MoM in March - the biggest jump since the July Boeing aberration (all driven by a 112% surge in defense Aircraft new orders). Durable Goods New Orders (ex-Transports) fell 0.2% MoM (missing expectations of a 0.3% rise) for the biggest YoY drop since 2012, and under the covers it is ugly - Capital Goods New Orders non-defense, ex-aircraft have now fallen for 7 straight months, missing expectatons dramatically (-0.5% vs +0.3% exp.). These numbers have never fallen for this long a period without a recession.
Moments ago the Department of Commerce reported March starts and permits data, which after the February collapse was expected by everyone to rebound strongly because, well, it didn't snow as much in March as it did in February. Apparently it did, because not only did Housing Starts miss massively, and just as bad as in February, printing at 926K, on expectations of a 1.040MM rebound from last month's revised 908K.
Despite another data series revision by the Department of Commerce, there was no way to put lipstick on the pig of America's wholesale trade data, and as reported moments ago, the all important merchant sales for February dropped for 3rd month in a row in February, the longest stretch since the last recession. What's worse however, is that the annual pace of decline has now stretched over both January and February, confirming that 2015 is now officially a year of contraction for the US economy. As a reminder, every time this series suffers an annual decline, there is a recession.
Former employees of federal agencies can often find good (and lucrative) jobs as lobbyists, capitalizing on the connections that they forged while in public service. As OpenSecrets exposes, the numbers of revolving-door-enthusiasts is reminiscent of the Ebola epidemic as this deadly-to-democracy disease spreads from department to department ripping away 'hope and change' wherever it appears. "Revolvers" include those as powerful - and well connected - as secretaries of state and as far from Washington as Peace Corps volunteers... but The Department of Commerce tops the list...
Euro-denominated emerging market sovereign issuance will soar to its highest levels in 10 years on the back of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme, as issuers outside the eurozone seek to take advantage of falling euro yields, according to bank analysts.
How geo-politics continues to influence macro markets
While a record amount of ink has been spilled praising the benefits of plunging crude price on the US consumer, so far this has manifested merely in soaring consumer confidence, if not in an actual boost to retail sales. Less has been written about the adverse side-effects of plunging oil, even though by now even the most “undisputed” permabulls have been forced to admit that the imminent collapse in capital spending is truly “unprecedented”, a phrase Goldman uses in the chart below. So what does plunging CapEx actually mean for the economy, aside from a major haircut to 2015 GDP, and what other areas of the economy will be affected by the Saudi Arabian scorched earth war on the US shale industry?
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
Nobel Prize Winning Economists, Federal Reserve Chair and Other Top Experts: War Is BAD for the Economy
Despite 2nd Slowest Income Growth In 2014, Spending Rises Most Since March Driven By Subprime, Car SalesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/29/2014 08:38 -0400
Mission releverage accomplished. Personal Income rose 0.3% in August (very slightly below Bloomberg's median estimate), the 2nd slowest growth of the year. Personal spending however jumped 0.5%, beating the 0.4% expectations, and its equal best growth since March. What was spending focused on? Why autosales, which accounted for about half of the spending. And what funded this spending? Why subprime car loans of course; it sure wasn't the real disposable income per capita which was a paltry $37,684 in August.
One look at the August housing starts and permits data, and one will wonder just how is it possible that yesterday NAHB homebuilder confidence rose to a 9 year high, when according to the US Department of Commerce both Housing Start and Permits tumbled in the past month, with the housing "leading indicator" that is Permits sliding 5.6% from 1040K to 998K, and declining sequentially in every region of the US, with double digit drops in the Northeast and the Midwest, while Housing Starts tumbled by 14.4% from 1117K, to only 956K, wildly missing Wall Street expectations of "only" a 5.2% drop to 1037K.
Housing Starts Tumble, Miss Most Since January 2007; Permits Have Biggest Two-Month Plunge Since LehmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/17/2014 08:55 -0400
"Epic disaster." Those two words best explain what just happened with US housing starts and permits in June.