Gross Domestic Product
- Germanwings Airbus crashes in France, 148 feared dead (Reuters)
- Greece promises list of reforms by Monday to unlock cash (Reuters)
- Merkel Points Tsipras Toward Deal With Greece’s Creditors (BBG)
- Banks Shift Bond Portfolios -Move to ‘held to maturity’ category aims to guard against rising rates, shield capital (WSJ)
- Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution (BBG)
- As Silence Falls on Chicago Trading Pits, a Working-Class Portal Also Closes (NYT)
- Oil below $56 as Saudi output near record, China activity slows (Reuters)
*FISCHER SAYS RATE LIFTOFF LIKELY WARRANTED BEFORE END-2015
With the world now convinmced that Janet Yellen is as dovish as she has ever been on rate hikes, today comes the first post-FOMC speech. None other than Vice-chair Stanley Fischer is due to address The Economic Club of New York on the topic of "Monetary-policy lessons and the way ahead." As Art Cashin warned this morning, Fischer "seems to feel that the Fed must raise rates this year. He is also the only Fed official to concede that any rate hike will be different than any seen before."
In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the hidden and often unspoken crisis brewing within the employment market, as well as in personal debt. The primary consequence being a collapse in overall consumer demand, something which we are at this very moment witnessing in the macro-picture of the fiscal situation around the world. Lack of real production and lack of sustainable employment options result in a lack of savings, an over-dependency on debt and welfare, the destruction of grass-roots entrepreneurship, a conflated and disingenuous representation of gross domestic product, and ultimately an economic system devoid of structural integrity — a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks.
Less than three weeks ago, when the PBOC proceeded with its latest "surprise" rate cut, we showed a chart that should scare everyone who is hoping that China will avoid a hard-landing would prefer would never have been revealed: the annual collapse in Chinese home prices is now so sharp and so widespread, that it has surpassed the housing collapse in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse." Overnight things went from bad to worse, when China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that contrary to hopes for a modest rebound, China's average new home prices fell at the fastest pace on record in February from a year earlier.
In the first part of this article series, we discussed the true state of global demand, along with the unstable situation within numerous indicators from exports to retail. Swiftly falling global demand for raw materials as well as consumer goods is an undeniable reality. This is a distinct problem in terms of the U.S., which has been, up until recently, the primary consumption driver for much of the world. As we will show, U.S. demand is about to fall even further into the abyss as real unemployment and personal debt take their toll.
There is no mystery anywhere to be found in the fact that US retail sales don’t follow the jobs trend. Not if you look at what kind of jobs they are, let alone at all the other made up and manipulated numbers that are being thrown around about the US economy. The only mystery is why everyone persists in talking about a recovery. That recovery will never come, simply because all 90% of Americans do is pay for the other 10% to get richer. There are many other factors, but that all by itself makes a recovery a mathematical mirage.
"Exceptionally" optimistic, "exceptionally distracted" ignorance, or "exceptionally blind" faith?
Simply put - the Greek economy still consumes more than it earns. Despite a 25% contraction in its economy, a plunge in domestic consumption and a sharp decline in imports, as WSJ reports, Greece is still exporting less than it imports, i.e. its current account is still negative. The reason... Shipping.
Earlier today, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras was busy not making German friends, following the latest Greek overture to confiscate German assets in response for allegedly unpaid German WWII reparations. “After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved. But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay. And I wonder, because there is a lot of talk at the European level these days about moral issues: is this stance moral?” Tsipras said and added that "despite the crimes of the Third Reich and Hitler’s hordes, the German debt was written off." As a result Greece is now seeking to recoup German WWII reparations which may amount to as much as 80% of Greek GDP!
"The relationship of U.S. net worth to GDP appears to have reached unsustainable heights," warns NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, adding that a massive decline in the value of assets is "more likely" than a massive increase in GDP. Logically this seems unavoidable, unless you believe that we are truly wealthier now, even with an economy that is delivering a rather poor performance (historically weak output and sales growth) in real terms. It would seem not to be 'whether' we will adjust but when.
In a surprise move, the RBI just cut its main interest rates for the second time in two months, taking it from 6.75% to 6.50%, in what the central bank calls a “pre-emptive” policy move, but what is in reality merely a confirmation that so far in 2015 at least 20 central banks have lowered their interest rate.
While every other word from talking-heads and policy-makers relates various anecdotes (or simple lies) about US economic growth, The Atlanta Fed appears to have taken a 'data-dependent' perspective on the real economy (as opposed to smoke and mirrors). Based on their GDPNow "nowcasting" model, The Atlanta Fed projects Q1 2015 GDP growth os just 1.2% (less than half current sell-side economist consensus) and getting weaker...
Yesterday, when we observed the latest record plunge in the Ukraine currency we predicted that the imploding, hyperinflating nation will "halt currency trading any minute." Well, Ukraine has so far not fully blocked all trading... yet, however hours ago Ukraine’s central bank did the next best thing when it announced it would "boost restrictions on capital operations as it fights to quell panic that has triggered deposit withdrawals and depleted foreign-exchange reserves, Governor Valeriya Gontareva said." The punchline, almost literally, "Panic must be stopped and we are doing that now,” Gontareva said. Because there is nothing that creates more panic than warning "panic must end or else..."
When the system is set up to encourage maximizing self-interest, accountability for the whole is lost. And once accountability for the effectiveness and health of the whole system is lost, the system will degrade and eventually collapse, for the same reason that unrestricted grazing by individuals eventually destroys the commons.