Something funny happened on the way to the "wealth effect": we call it affectionately, the "poverty effect." At least for those who have homes. The November Case Shiller index confirmed that the double dip in housing is accelerating, with the composite index posting its 5 sequential decline. The 20 city composite came at -1.59% Y/Y on expectations of a rebound to 1.7%. Perhaps the Chaircreature should finally consider lowering those mortgage rates instead of focusing so much on the Russell 2000. What we are amazed by is that all that abundant California snow was not blamed on this one particular negative surprise.
How The Commerce Department Pulled $46.3 Billion In Personal Income Out Of Thin Air To Prevent The Double DipSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 10:44 -0400
It is a good thing that America has a functioning, objective and analytical media, as otherwise we might need David Rosenberg to point out that one of the key factors for the avoidance of the technical double dip was a completely unexpected number fudge courtesy of the Commerce Department which, at the most crucial stage in the economy's conversion into a re-recession, miraculously "found" $46.3 billion in personal income that "the consumer thought wasn't there before." In other words, the government literally pulled a number out of thin air which created a relative sequential boost to the economy, even though it was just a non-recurring accounting adjustment to continuous numbers and should have been completely ignored! By then it was too late (very much in the same way that the BLS has had 44 out of 52 adverse data revisions after the data has been reported, when it is too late for its to impact asset prices): it set off a chain of events which resulted in a jump in ISM, diffusion and various other indices (not to mention the BLS endless data adjustment) which caused a last second avoidance of the double dip becoming official. Oh and the Fed's QE2 did not hurt either...
And predicts banks could face another trillion in housing-related losses ...
With housing - just like with unemployment and every other portion of the economy - failure to prosecute the fraud is killing us ...
With everyone's attention focused squarely on Ireland and whether or not the country would be finally put out of its misery, one thing that most missed is that after today's release of subpar economic data, Europe has now entered a double dip. While this is not news to Zero Hedge readers, as we were confident this would happen when the EURUSD passed 1.30 for the first time several months ago, it may take others by surprise. Unfortunately Europe's troubles are only going to get worse. The only way to stimulate organic growth now, read create another export-led bounce, requires the devaluation of the euro. However, that would mean that the ECB would have to not only launch a comparable program to QE, which would paradoxically anger an inflation-weary Germany (whose economy would benefit the most from an export boom) but far more importantly, anger the New York Fed. And this Europe can not afford - keep in mind that in Europe's rickety financial structure in which a whole lot of countries are kept on life support, the ECB is only the second to last (and far less reliable) provider of resuscitation services. The last one is the New York Fed, which courtesy of its FX swap lines, now has infinite leverage over what happens in Europe. Should there be another crisis, and there will be, the Fed's generosity will be tested again. As will the IMF... to whose various credit lines America just happens to be the biggest sole contributor. There is a word for this type of arrangement: total leverage.
Rosenberg Agrees With Goldman: Sees Inventory Surge As Precursor To Negative Q4 GDP Print, "Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2010 12:35 -0400
Eerlier we pointed out that Goldman anticipated that a surge in the inventory number (which it did, coming at $115.5 billion compared to Goldman expectations of a sub $100 billion change), would simply lead to even more Cash 4 Clunker like forward performance pull, resulting in a collapse in the quarter in which inventory clearances finally took place. It seems the quarter in question is the current one. Indeed, various channel checks have confirmed that inventory levels at assorted businesses have been trimmed aggressively into the year end, and it is not unfeasible that we could see a $30-40 billion drop in inventory levels in Q4. Problem with that is, it will result in a negative GDP print due to the high marginal impact of a swing as seemingly small as the anticipated. Here is Rosie's explanation for why the government can play timing tricks all it wants but at the end of the day, it is inevitable that the economy is now contracting. How long before it is officially disclosed is at this point far more of a political issue than an economic one.
Irish bond spreads are back in the spotlight, with Bund spreads jumping by over 20 bps to over 415 bps, although not on the heels of a failed auction (the country did auction off €400 million in February and April 2011 bills earlier, which was less than sought), but rather on news that Ireland is the first country in Europe to officially double dip back into negative growth. Ireland was also the first European country to dip into recession what may seem like an eternity ago. The stunner is just how vast the difference between the expected and the actual economic reality was. As BBC reports: "The Irish economy shrank in the second quarter
from the previous three months, surprising analysts who had been
expecting growth. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.2%, the Central
Statistics Office said. It also revised down its measure of growth in
the first quarter to 2.2% from 2.7%." So poor Ireland not only has to deal with a drunk PM, insolvent bank system, and, what is not surprising a new economic crunch, but what is far more concerning, a Department of Truth and Unicorns, which is unable to lie its teeth off and paint a rosy picture when the feces are already in process of being fanned.
Diana Olick, by far the best reporter at CNBC, and not merely an anchored regurgitator of propaganda bullet points, let one slip today, by posting an article on CNBC titled: "Home Price Double Dip Begins" (and we have a screenshot in case CNBC realizes the grave error it has made and retracts it). While nothing new to Zero Hedge readers, where we have been making the case that the economy has nothing to double dip to, considering it has been in one depression for 33 months now, it may catch the broader public by surprise. Ms. Olick's arguments: "given the combination of the expiration of the
home buyer tax credit and the increasing number of loans moving to final
foreclosure, we knew that home prices overall would take a hit, but it
would take a while. Well we're here." And there you have it - there is little that can and should be added when dealing with the simple truth. Of course, for CNBC to regain its floundering Nielsen ratings it would take all the daily staff to follow in Ms. Olick's example and report what is actually happening to the country, instead of what Joe LaVorgna believes should be happening, based on the goalseeked output his "economic" model is spewing forth. Alas, it is now far too late for the cable station to regain much needed credibility, especially when anchors tell guests who dare to question the propaganda assumptions that they disagree with they are not welcome.
We apologize for pointing out the inevitable, but gold is now breaking out and the usual LBMA gimmicks to slam it down are no longer working. Is the price suppression regime over? And that worthless atavism of a bygone era, stocks, continue to surge on increasingly bad news, confirming that all trading is now driven on expectations of what the Fed will do next Tuesday. If Morgan Stanley is right, expect gold to hit $1,350 in under 7 days. Additionally, should this occur, it will merely confirm that the double dip is accelerating at an uncontrollable pace, and that without the Fed's intervention the economy will tumble. Time to end all this "is there or isn't there" a double dip bullshit already.
Roubini's latest media appearance, and now that the spectre of a double dip has fully arisen there are quite a few of them, is with the FT's James Blitz in which the NYU professor does a quick 5 minute summary of what he sees as the main threats to the US economy, among which are a 40%+ chance of a double dip, a sub 1% GDP growth in H2 2010, the disappearance of all stimulus pushes (and the conversion of the fiscal stimulus from a tailwind to a headwind), an awful job market, bigger bank losses, declining home prices, a drop in the stock market, widening spreads, a feedback loop from stock markets into the economy, and much more. We are happy the professor has revised his call from a few months back seeing virtually no chance of a double dip. As to policy, Roubini thinks the US has run out of policy bullets on both the monetary and fiscal side: he is sure the Fed will do more QE, but it will be impotent as there is already over $1 trillion in excess reserves (of course, it simply means excess reserves will be $2 trillion, $3 trillion... etc. And IF the economy picks up, this money will hit broad money. But no, aside from that, there is no threat of inflation. Because the Fed is fully prepared to absorb $3 trillion in excess money....). As to Europe, Roubini thinks austerity will also result in a disaster, first for the periphery and then for Germany, so basically damned if you do and damned if you don't vis-a-vis stimulating, which is precisely what we have been saying for over a year: the central banks have boxed themselves in a corner from which there is no escaping, regardless of what they do. Lastly, on Asia, and specifically China, Roubini notes the obvious that even the world's most overheating economy is faced with so many problems that it can only do what the US has been doing so well to date: kick the can down the road.
Going into today I considered that there were two possible scenarios for equities in terms of EW count. The first according to which we were in wave 2 consolidating after the initial impulse down to 1,106 before eventually going lower, and the second in which we would have been in wave 3 already, in which case we should have topped around 1,094/1,098 and reversed lower aggressively. I think the first scenario is the one we are currently experiencing. I have only one ounce of doubt left and that is that AUDJPY has rejected quite hard today's highs approaching the key resistance triangle. - Nic Lenoir
The ECRI Leading Indicator Index just came at -10.1%, a drop from last week's -9.9%, once again inflecting into double dip territory. One can only imagine what the spin proffered by the index creators will be this time: it was suddenly very credible last week, hopefully that credibility persists as it reaffirms a definitive double dip yet again.
A week ago TCW's chief economist announced he would hold a presentation for clients explaining why the Double Dip has arrived. Here is the powerpoint used by Komal Sri-Kumar on the call.
Is The Double Dip The Statistical Equivalent Of A Traffic Ticket? And Guess Which Sole Asset Class' Implied Vol Declined In The Past MonthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/29/2010 22:54 -0400
A few days ago, BNY's Nicholas Colas was kind enough to share his perspectives on why traffic congestion and market structure are comparable, especially in the context of record high cross-asset correlations. Continuing on this series of roadside analogies, today the BNY analyst compares the economic double dip to a traffic violation, and specifically the probability of getting two speeding tickets in the span of one day. "What are the odds of being caught speeding twice in one day? One in five? One in ten? Pretty remote, one would think, given that the ratio of police to motorists on most roads is 1,000:1 or greater. I can tell you from direct and personal experience, however, that the odds of that event are much, much higher than you think. I had my driver’s license suspended for 30 days in 1997 for two tickets, issued on the same day and only a few miles apart. Here’s the thing: most people, after receiving one ticket, will drive more carefully immediately thereafter. But I, working through the math I referenced above, thought “No… The odds are actually in my favor now. I can, in fact, speed with impunity.” This proved to be an error. As it turns out, going substantially faster than the general flow of traffic will gather the attention of the law. This offsets the theoretical odds against discovery, and then some. Oh, and driving a bright yellow car. I should have mentioned that, too." And once again, the specter of market uncertainty raises its ugly head, this time in the form of spiking implied volatility, which has jumped for every asset class in the past month... except gold.
In this week's Big Interview, the WSJ's Simon Constable interviews Robert Shiller who flat out says that an economic double dip may be "imminent." This compares to his earlier warning that he saw the chances of a double dip at over 50%. Guess that probability has now doubled. Notably, Shiller also believes that when the NBER looks back at the data, Q3 of this year will mark the beginning of the second dip of the recession. Ironically, since up to now the previous recession has never actually officially ended, very soon the NBER will merely confirm that the recession which started in December 2007, will have continued for three years, in what is possibly the longest recession on record. Furthermore, those looking to sell houses are advised not to listen to the interview, as the co-creator of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index also added that he is worried housing prices could decline for another five years. He noted that Japan saw land prices decline for 15 consecutive years up to 2006. Following up on this week's weakest new home sales data in history this should probably not come as a big surprise to most. Also for bond fans, Shiller confirmed Rosenberg's view that bonds are not in a bubble. Hopefully Mr. Shiller bond prophecying skills in bonds are better than in houses, where it was mostly in hindsight in early 2007 when the bubble had already popped.