Federal Reserve Bank
Perhaps the biggest market moving event of the day, more so than the Durables data, was Bill Dudley's speech. However, at least based on the prepared remarks there is no discussion of the economy. From Bloomerg. Now all eyes turn to the Q&A which is where any questions relevant to the recent move in markets will most likely emerge.
A half-century ago, America - and then the world - was rocked by a mighty stock-market crash that soon turned into the steepest and longest-lasting depression of all time. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it - except that now, with gold abandoned and each nation able to print currency ad lib, we are likely to wind up, not with a repeat of 1929, but with something far worse...
Bernanke Shills for El Militario-Industrio Complexo
- China stocks slump 6 percent on fears of further yuan depreciation (Reuters)
- U.S. Lacks Ammo for Next Economic Crisis (Hilsenrath)
- Emerging Markets Extend Slide as Commodities Fall; Pound Jumps (BBG)
- China yuan to move both ways, more 'adjustments' unlikely: central bank economist (Reuters)
- Playing Chinese markets is as simple as 'follow the leader' (Reuters)
- PBOC Injection Shows China Worries About Outflows (WSJ)
- Russia Fails to Soothe Oil Concerns as Citi Joins Ruble Bears (BBG)
The economy operates within a finite world, so at some point, a problem of diminishing returns develops. In other words, it takes more and more effort (human labor and use of resources) to produce a given quantity of oil or food, or fresh water, or other desirable products. The problem of slowing economic growth is very closely related to the question: How can the limits we are reaching be expected to play out in a finite world? Many people imagine that we will “run out” of some necessary resource, such as oil, but we see the situation differently. Here are a few issues that may not be obvious.
- Turkey says coalition to launch 'comprehensive battle' against Islamic State (Reuters)
- Buffett’s Celebration Tempered by 50th Anniversary Stock Slump (BBG)
- SEC Set to Approve CEO Pay-Gap Disclosure Rule (WSJ)
- Greece wants full bailout, not bridge loan, ruling party says (Reuters)
- Stocks Rise Fueled by Strong European Corporate Earnings and Chinese Data (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Reclaims Place Among U.S.'s Top 10 Biggest Stocks (BBG)
- Eurozone retail sales fall sharply in June (MW)
What if the assumptions about a U.S. economic recovery and Fed rate hikes were wrong? Could observers be mistaken now about the trajectory of the Dollar vs. the Euro as they were back in 2000? Confidence is the only thing that really undergirds modern fiat currencies. But confidence can be very ephemeral...disappearing as quickly as it arrives. The U.S. Dollar benefits from confidence that the Euro currency may just be unworkable, that the U.S. economy will continue to improve, and that the Fed will raise rates throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. If these expectations are unfulfilled, there could be a Euro reversal.
"Priced in?" Atlanta Fed's Lockhart is the un-Bullard as he proclaims that September would be "appropriate time" for rate hikes to begin... Stocks have roundtripped from initial excitement to lows of the day, short-end bonds are ugly as the curve flattens dramatically and the USD index is surging...
Here is the paradox as succinctly summarized by Deutsche Bank, which notes that the current -29% year-over-year drop in the CRB index implies YoY headline CPI inflation falling from 0.1% to -0.9% over the next couple of months, or just in time for the September or December FOMC meetings both proposed as the "lift off" date. This would be the largest year-over-year drop since September 2009 (-1.3%) and one of the lowest prints in modern history.
The 0.18% month-over-month decline in Case Shiller home price index is the biggest since July 2014 which confirms the David Blitzer's view that "over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate." His biggest fear is that "first time homebuyers are the weak spot in the market," adding that prices are increasing about twice as fast as inflation or wages. Moreover, other housing measures are less robust - housing starts are only at about 1.2 million units annually, and only about half of total starts are single family homes. Sales of new homes are low compared to sales of existing homes.
Congress Votes Today to Override State Law and Block Americans’ Right to Know If Our Food Has Been Genetically Modified
With Puerto Rico missing a payment on a bond overnight "due to non-appropriation of funds" but denying that this constitutes anything close to a default, the territory may be about to retake the limelight as Greece is now "fixed." As Peter Schiff explains, this is far from over... As in Greece, the Puerto Rican economy has been destroyed by its participation in an unrealistic monetary system that it does not control and the failure of domestic politicians to confront their own insolvency. But the damage done to the Puerto Rican economy by the United States has been far more debilitating than whatever damage the European Union has inflicted on Greece. In fact, the lessons we should be learning in Puerto Rico, most notably how socialistic labor and tax policies can devastate an economy, should serve as a wake up call to those advocating prescribing the same for the mainland.
"I want to be clear at the outset that I am not saying that it is appropriate for fiscal policymakers to increase the long-run level of public debt. I am simply pointing to one benefit associated with such an increase: It allows the central bank to be more effective in mitigating the impact of adverse shocks to aggregate demand."
While a skim of the FOMC Minutes suggest the committee is balanced on when (or if) to raise rates, WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath has just provided some more color confirming that "Fed officials are cautious about overseas developments but appear unalarmed," suggesting their confident economic growth forecasts point to a September rate hike (unless the whole world collapses obviously).