Economic forecasting is a dangerous job. As Mark Twain put it in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, “October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.” Every wrong prediction could doom a career, or a bank account. Prudence and humility are the only sound tools for building one’s reputation. The talking heads on CNBC appear to know neither. They pledge allegiance to the flag of the tinkering bureaucracy. It explains the loss of ratings, and loss of confidence in the ability of “experts” to see what’s coming down the tracks. Refusing to learn from mistakes will lead to future blunders. Pundits that don’t heed this message are doomed to fail.
A week ago, when showing the following chart of Chinese housing trends, we reported that the "burst Chinese housing bubble leads to first annual price decline since 2012", and warned that it is only a matter of time before both China's GDP, extensively reliant on housing construction, as well as Chinese bank assets, vastly consisting of housing-related loans and other fixed income exposure, take a major hit. This happened yesterday, when in an exchange filing China's Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the largest lender by assets in both China and the entire world, reported its biggest jump in bad loans since at least 2006. Specifically, ICBC’s nonperforming loans rose to 115.5 billion yuan in September from 105.7 billion yuan in June. The increase was the biggest since quarterly data became available.
Goldman Cuts 2015, 2016 EPS Forecasts On "Diminished Global GDP Growth" Just As Fed Surprises With Hawkish OutlookSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2014 15:48 -0500
It is perhaps the definition of irony that just two hours after the Fed issued a surprising statement that was so bullish on US growth it is as if the past month never happened, as if Williams and Bullard never threatened with QE4 just because the market almost entered a correction, and that made Goldman's chief economist Jan Hatzius to a express "modest hawkish surprise" that the very same bank, Goldman, whose alum is in charge of the NY Fed (leading to hours of secret tapes exposing the white glove treatment Goldman gets at the Fed), just announced it was cutting its 2015 and 2016 EPS forecasts "diminished global GDP growth and lower crude prices."
The Swiss establishment has been reliant upon the public’s ignorance, but now they are up against a formidable opponent in Egon von Greyerz. Not only that, but they can clearly see that, as elsewhere around the world, the public is fast becoming disenchanted with the status quo; and that is potentially very dangerous for these people. What is important to understand here is that if the initiative passes it will be part of the Swiss constitution IMMEDIATELY - as some are suggesting. This means that the government and parliament cannot touch it. Only another referendum can change it. This is proper democracy for you. The closer we get to the vote on November 30, the bigger this story is going to become, and the bigger it becomes, the higher the chance that the yes vote wins. Should that happen, it will undoubtedly set off alarm bells throughout the gold market, as yet more physical gold will need to be repatriated and another sizeable, price-insensitive buyer will enter the marketplace.
As the chart demonstrates, there has never been a time when the all important leading indicator that is the San Fran housing market (see here for the reasons why) has posted such a steep slowdown in annual price increases without a bubble of some sort, be it the dot com, the first housing or the European sovereign debt bubble, having burst. Will this time finally be different?
Following misses in yesterday's Markit Service PMI, Existing Home Sales and the Dallas Fed report, and today's Durable Goods numbers, we just made it a pentafecta for misses in US econ data, when the just released August Case-Shiller data for August confirmed once again that US housing is rapidly slowing down, when the Top 20 Composite Index (Seasonally Adjusted) posted another decline in August, its fourth in a row, declining by -0.15% and missing expectations of a modest 0.2% rebound (following last month's -0.5%) decline. The best summary of the situation came from S&P's David Blitzer: "The deceleration in home prices continues... The Sun Belt region reported its worst annual returns since 2012, led by weakness in all three California cities -- Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego." But who cares what the birth (and death) place of every housing bubble is doing, right?
Burst Chinese Housing Bubble Leads To First Annual Price Decline Since 2012; Prices Drop In Record 69 CitiesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/24/2014 07:04 -0500
It has been over six months since the Chinese housing bubble has popped. What's worse, as overnight housing numbers out of China confirmed, the government has so far failed to contain the fallout, and according to the National Bureau of Statistics, which is anything but, after a fifth straight monthly decline, Chinese home prices have now wiped out all price gains in the past year. This was immediately spun as bullish by media outlets and sellside experts as "raising expectations the government will have to implement more economic support measures to cushion the blow." I.e., buy stocks because central banks will push risk prices artificially higher yet again. In other words, bad is still good and failure continues to be success.
What do an old German bank note, a current $100 bill, and an apple all have in common? The answer, according to ConvergEx's Nick Colas, is that these simple objects can tell us much about the current investment scene, ranging from Europe’s economic challenges to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s attempts to reduce unemployment. Colas takes an “object-ive” approach to analyzing the current investment landscape by describing 10 common items and how they shape our perceptions of reality. The other objects on our list: a hazmat suit, a house in Orlando, a barrel of oil, a Rolex watch, a butterfly, a heating radiator in Berlin, and a smartphone.
There's something we 'regular' citizens wrestle with that the elites never seem to: a sense of moral duty.
Why Chinese Growth Forecasts Just Crashed To A Paltry 3.9% - And Are Going Even Lower - In One ChartSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/20/2014 11:11 -0500
Sadly for China's social instability, Chinese growth is going not only to 3.9% but much, much lower. The reason? Quietly, over the past 5 years, China raked up an epic debt load, which by 2015 is expected to hit a whopping 252% of GDP, or a 100% of GDP increase in debt, just to keep its growth dynamo running. A dynamo which has now fizzled, as can be seen best in the Chinese housing bubble which as we have reported previously, has now burst, and China is desperate to keep imminent hard landing, as controlled as possible. Here is Exhibit A...
Not everything is as it seems. While the PBOC may be taking a stand on monetarism and its character, it has been very curious that the yuan has not fully participated in the dollar turmoil marking so many other “dollar” dependent nations. While the yuan’s appreciation trend may have been altered, that has not led again to the kind of disorder that marked the currency earlier in the year. Maybe that is due, at least in part, to these expectations that the PBOC will eventually relent on its new approach, but we also think that the PBOC is at least looking the other way on some of the “old tricks” that supported the Chinese version of the dollar short.
Nobody in the economic intelligentsia is implying that the IMF is staffed by paranoid cranks. They continue to ignore and belittle the Austrian school. This pompous and undeserved behavior will go on until it’s too late. In the process, the ivory tower disciples of Keynes will only further prove their intellectual bankruptcy. The average person never trusted them to begin with. And things certainly won’t change now.
What’s He Going To Do … Lobby To Convince Us that Ebola Is Not That Big A Risk?
Surprise! Having been fooled twice before in the last housing bubble by the NAHB's persistent optimism in the face of dismal realities, it appears October was the beginning of a breaking point in realtor confidence. The headline sentiment index dropped to 54, missing extrapolated expectations of 59, led by a collapse in prospective buyers traffic (from 47 to 41). The headline 54 level is below the lowest estimate of 56 from 52 economists surveyed. Both present and future sales sub-indices also dropped but have no fear, as the NAHB notes, "while there was a dip this month, builders are still positive about the housing market," as cheaper borrowing costs may help draw more prospectiev buyers into the market (umm yeah that hasn't worked).
The last time the stock market reached a fevered peak and began to wobble unexpectedly was August 2007. Markets were most definitely not in the classic “price discovery” business. Instead, the stock market had discovered the “goldilocks economy." But what is profoundly different this time is that the Fed is out of dry powder. Its can’t slash the discount rate as Bernanke did in August 2007 or continuously reduce it federal funds target on a trip from 6% all the way down to zero. Nor can it resort to massive balance sheet expansion. That card has been played and a replay would only spook the market even more. So this time is different. The gamblers are scampering around the casino fixing to buy the dip as soon as white smoke wafts from the Eccles Building. But none is coming. For the first time in 25- years, the Wall Street gamblers are home alone.