The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis. The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.
Yesterday's exuberant equity market reaction has been largely defined by the mainstream media as driven by WSJ Hilsenrath's 'confirmation' that Yellen will keep the uber-dovish phrase "considerable time" in the FOMC statement today. So, we wonder, why did the Fed-whisperer, after markets had closed last night, issue a quasi-retraction of his prediction explaining that instead of some prohetical "I just know" statement, it was a "best guess," as he concluded, "will the Fed take these steps? Only the people in the room know that. The rest of us will see Wednesday afternoon." It appears the sell-side disagrees with him on the language...
The last week has been dominated by sell-side strategists raising hawkish concerns about this week's FOMC with a focus on the drop of the "considerable time" language describing the period from the end of QE to the start of rate hikes. The Wall Street Journal's Fed-whisperer Jon Hilsenrath just dropped a rather large hint that that the "considerable period" language will remain... “Given the economic backdrop, they don’t want to send a signal right now that rate increases are imminent." Here's what the street thinks...
While today's key news event will likely be the preannounced latest, third, round of anti-Russian sanctions and the Russian retaliation, the reality as DB notes, is that the market seems to be seeing "some fatigue" in this story with the ECB, Scotland and next week's Fed meeting taking center stage. As a result, and ahead of expectations of change in Fed language which should carry a more hawkish tone, the dollar has been bid up some more overnight, leading to fresh multi-year highs in the USDJPY, and the now-paired TSY trade, with 10Y yields up to 2.57%, although this may now be in short-term oversold territory. The latest Scottish poll appears to have dented some of the "Yes" momentum, with 52% of the polled saying they would vote No in the referendum, although right now neither side has a clear majority when factoring in the undecideds: which means it will come down to the wire next week, with clear implications for Europe's secessionist movements if the Yes vote still manages to prevail, not to mention massive ramifications for the UK.
Going into this year’s Jackson Hole meeting, it does not appear to BofAML's Ethan Harris that the FOMC is leaning toward a policy change as in 2010, let alone on the verge of a big shift as in 2012. Instead, the Fed is in a bit of a limbo state as it waits for clear evidence that 1Q GDP was a fluke and convincing signs of stronger wages. With significant policy changes a long way off, and with the intense market focus on Jackson Hole, we expect the Fed Chair to try to say nothing interesting about the policy outlook.
"An Unforgettable Winter" - Bank Of America's "Explanation" For The 17th Worst GDP Print In US HistorySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 13:03 -0500
And so the polar bears penguins come out of hibernation, "explaining" today's disastrous GDP print. Randomly selected for your reading pleasure, here is Bank of Frigid America's Ethan Harris spiking the Kool Aid with an above Surgeon General recommended dose of hopium.
Here Are The Funniest Quotes From BofA As It Throws In The Towel On Its "Above-Consensus" GDP ForecastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/13/2014 09:28 -0500
It is hard not to gloat when reading the latest embarrassing mea culpa from Bank of America's Ethan Harris, who incidentally came out with an "above consensus" forecast late last year, and has been crushed month after month as the hard data has lobbed off percentage from his irrationally exuberant growth forecast for every quarter, and now, the year. As a result, BofA has finally thrown in the towel, and tongue in cheekly admits it was wrong, as follows: "our tracking model now suggests growth of -1.9% in 1Q and 4.0% in 2Q for a first half average of just 1.0%.... Momentum is weak, but fundamentals are strong. We have lowered second half growth to 3.0% from 3.4%."
The gain in home prices has been widespread, with prices up on an annual basis in all 20 metropolitan areas surveyed. However, as BofAML notes the improvement has been particularly notable in certain markets, which have disproportionately pulled up the national composite. Ethan Harris points out that the trend in home prices in California is particularly important when gauging the risks to national home prices; and prices have peaked. The bottom line, they warn, "if history is a guide, this suggests a slowdown in national prices is coming."
In what should be the biggest joke of the day, Bank of America has just released its GDP forecast not for the next several quarter, but making a mockery of the IMF's 2022 Greek GDP forecast, it predicts US growth for the next decade! The punchline: after expecting a surge in growth to 3.4% in 2016, the bailed out bank tapers off its forecast which evens off at 2.2%... some time in 2025. And throughout this period its crack economist team headed by Ethan Harris anticipates precisely.... zero recessions. Indeed, in what will be a first time in history, the US is expected to grow for 16 consecutive years since its last official, NBER-defined recession (which "ended" in the summer of 2009) without entering a recession.
One Wall Street strategist who appears to have thrown in the towel on the entire rising wages debate is none other than BofA's chief economist, Ethan Harris, who in a note released on Friday fires the proverbial shot across the David Rosenberg bow regarding rising wage pressures: "Don't hold your breath."
Of all the Fed’s communication tools, BofA notes that the minutes seem to be the most confusing to the markets. They should be “old news," Ethan Harris comments, and yet, investors look to the minutes for nuggets of insight. The result, in our view, is a steady stream of “head fakes” and a regular pattern of weakness in the bond market. The results are striking and more consistent than we had expected: the bond market sold off on 18 out of 20 days. Of course, this time could be different but the last 2 years of FOMC Minutes releases have seen bond yields rise on average 3.5bps (bonds are already 3bps higher in yield) and effective Fed watching these days appears mainly a matter of avoiding misleading messages and fading "misinterpretation" of their communications.
Few laws cause as much high blood pressure as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Supporters of the law consider it the signature legislation of the Obama administration. Yet, in 2011 the House of Representatives passed the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law,” one of more than 40 attempts to scuttle the legislation. Public opinion polls are ambiguous: most Americans are against the law as a whole and yet most support many of its provisions. BofAML tries to slice through the partisan debate and show what serious research says about how the ACA will impact the labor market.
European equities trade negatively as political tensions on both sides of the Atlantic dampens risk appetite and a lower than expected HSBC manufacturing PMI figure from China further weighs upon investor sentiment. In the US, government is on the precipice of the first shutdown since 1996 after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay to Obama’s signature healthcare reforms. If the Republicans follow through with their threat a shutdown will occur at midnight tonight. As a result a fixed income in the US and core Europe benefit with investors wary of the immediate harm a shutdown will do to confidence in the economy.
With a government's October 1 shut down - temporary of course - now seemingly inevitable, and more importantly with the peak debt ceiling negotiations due in just about a week after which point the Treasury will run out of money, many wonder what comes next. That this is happening just two short years after the dramatic August 2011 debt ceiling impasse, when the market tumbled 20% and likely slowed economic growth is still fresh in everyone's mind, is hardly helping matters. Add a potential political crisis in Greece and Italy, and suddenly a whole lot of unexpected variables have to be "priced in."
With the FOMC set to announce the decision to taper or not taper, forward guide or not forward guide, cut thresholds or not cut thresholds, we thought a reminder of the seven reasons to delay the taper (following what BAML's Ethan Harris calls the recent "punch in the stomach for the economic recovery story") and the four crucial reasons why the Fed can't (or won't) delay the Taper.