"...the jobs report was not the sole factor for the revision to our call for the Fed. It was simply the last of a string of softer indicators that has prompted us to change our forecast. But remember, the economy is still expanding, inflation is still accelerating and the Fed is still normalizing." - BofA
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2016 is 0.1 percent on April 8, down from 0.4 percent on April 5. After this morning's wholesale trade report from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the forecast for the contribution of inventory investment to first-quarter real GDP growth fell from –0.4 percentage points to –0.7 percentage points.
"Capital markets seem to be pricing in a 50% or higher probability of a US recession. Our rates team has developed an adjusted yield curve measure that signals a 68% probability of recession."
"The US Treasury curve is still steep by historical standards. Taken at face value, this may suggest recession odds are small. However, we argue this logic is flawed because the curve is structurally steep when the Fed Funds rate is close to zero. When adjusted for the proximity of rates to zero, the curve may already be inverted and therefore may already be priced for a recession./// Implied recession odds are as high as 64% if the adjusted OIS curve is used"
Following years of QE-inspired excess returns, investors in 2016 suddenly find themselves embroiled in a broad and brutal bear market. The 10-year rolling return loss from commodities (-5.1%) is currently the worst since 1938, and equal-weighted US stock index down 25% from recent highs. However, in BofAML's view, the pertinent question for investors is whether the current bear market represents a healthy "reset" of both profit expectations and equity and credit valuations, or more ominously, the onset of a broader economic malaise that will require a major policy intervention in coming months to reverse.
After the Fed's statement, one thing was clear: the career economists at the Marriner Eccles building are very confused, admitting to hiking rates for the first time in nine years "even as economic growth slowed late last year". But more confused are the Wall Street economists who follow the Fed and are expected to interpret what the Fed says, means and hints, especially when said Fed has no clue what is going on, like right now. So while their opinions are utterly worthless, for the record, here is what the economisseds see in today's 558 words of sheer Fed confusion.
Eight months ago, Bank of America chief economist Ethan Harris triumphantly declared victory over the "perma-bears." Today, the "perma-bears" get the last laugh.
According to Bank of America there sill be no recession until 2027, if ever, and the S&P will hit 3500 by 2025. Just one thing we would like to know: does Bank of America anticipate another bailout of Bank of America during this upcoming golden age a la 2008, or is that also impossible to predict.
For the latest bit of evidence that global trade is indeed in free fall, look no further than the container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif. and around New York harbor which handle more than 50% of seaborne freight coming into the US. As it turns out, “peak” season turned out to be anything but.
"Using a dataset on developed market business cycles, we calculate that the unconditional odds that a six-year-old expansion will avoid recession for another four years—and mature into a 10-year-old expansion—are about 60%."
Courtesy of the following chart by BofA, we have the answer: while for the most part of 2015, the move in the price of oil was a combination of both supply and demand, the most recent plunge has been entirely a function of what now appears to be a global economic recession, one which will get far worse if the Fed indeed hikes rates as it has repeatedly threatened as it begins to undo 7 years of ultra easy monetary policy.
One year ago, as part of its always entertaining long-run forecasting exercise, Bank of America predicted that GDP growth in 2015 and 2016 would be 3.3% and 3.4% respectively. Fast forward one year, when in its updated "long-run" forecast, Bank of America's crack economist Ethan Harris admits he was off by "only" 30% in his prediction of next year's GDP, and instead of 3.3%, he now "forecasts" 2015 GDP to be... 2.3%. But the punchline is this: "if history is our guide, at some point in the next decade the US will experience a recession, but predicting a recession far in advance is almost impossible. We plan to update this table on a regular basis."
The last time the Fed tried to exit a period of massive balance sheet expansion coupled with ZIRP - back in 1937 - its strategy completely failed. The Fed tightening in H1’37 was followed in H2’37 by a severe recession and a 49% collapse in the Dow Jones. This is the ghost of 1937 and it is about to make a repeat appearance.