Gross Domestic Product
It is no secret that the gist of western thinking has been that sanctions against Russia would pressure its economy enough to force Putin to finally crawl to the negotiating table, tail between his legs, and beg for western forgiveness. Call it the law of unintended consequences striking once again, because while Russia's economy continues to hum along (if only for now, something that can't be said about Ukraine's) and has forced the Kremlin to seek a variety of deals with China to avoid western isolationism, one other country may have been crippled far faster than Russia: Germany.
Even if the economy were growing at a faster pace, it wouldn't come close to offsetting the interest payments on our ever-expanding debt. If you want to know why the Status Quo is unsustainable, just look at interest and debt.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide Congress with an update on the state of the economy, how rosy the future is, why she needs to keep rates lower for longer, and that there are no bubbles (oh apart from in bonds which everyone should sell because we need the collateral). These are her first comments since the FOMC press conference in mid-June and stocks have soared since then (as bond yields have tumbled) and she will have to tread a fine line between exuberant over headline job improvements and the need to keep over-inflated bubbles pumped full of cheap/free money for longer...
Now that even that bedrock of the Keynesian voodoo religion, the Gross Domestic Product calculation, has become a ridiculous farce, with everyone in Europe suddenly adding the uncalculable "contribution" from drug dealers and hookers all in a mad dash to make debt/GDP ratios appear better than they are, it is truly time to unleash the clowns as none other than the country which has taken fabricating economic data to an artform, no not the US for those confused but China, is preparing to change the way its calculates its GDP, with the biggest contribution coming from, hold on to your hats, R&D. One wonders if "reverse engineering" of pirated products and services is covered in this "non-GAAP GDP" category. The end result? GDP for the country which cumulatively will be several percentage points higher once the entire fudging/recasting exercise is completed. Here are the details.
You feel poorer because you are poorer.
Egypt's surging budget deficit has hit its limit and the Oil Ministry has decided to cut its $20bn plus fuel subsidies. The result - mainstream fuel prices by up to 78% from midnight on Friday. As Reuters reports, previous governments have failed to curb energy product subsidies, fearing backlash from a public used to cheap fuel. We will wait and see the response but as one analyst noted "It should be noted that the effect of a rise in fuel prices will not affect the poor directly, since they do not own cars..." which makes perfect sense as long as the poor do not use or purchase any item that has fuel in its supply chain - brilliant! The government hopes the fuel subsidy cut will raise 40 billion pounds.
The most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report in which 'debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising' and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper describes in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds, will be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments. This far-reaching plan for the expropriation of savers, investors and retirees clearly shows the reality of socialism.
- Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
- No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
- Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
- Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
- South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
- Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
- Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
- Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
- Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
- Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
As individuals, it is entirely acceptable to be "optimistic" about the future. However, "optimism" and "pessimism" are emotional biases that tend to obfuscate the critical thinking required to effectively assess the "risks". The current "hope" that Q1 was simply a "weather related" anomaly is also an emotionally driven skew. The underlying data suggests that while "weather" did play a role in the sluggishness of the economy, it was also just a reflection of the continued "boom bust" cycle that has existed since the end of the financial crisis. The current downturn in real final sales suggests that the underlying strength in the economy remains extremely fragile. More importantly, with final sales below levels normally associated with the onset of recessions, it suggests that the current rebound in activity from the sharp decline in Q1 could be transient.
The end game of three decades of excess is upon us, and we can't deny the weight of the debt imbalances that are currently in play. The medicine that the current administration is prescribing is a treatment for the common cold; in this case a normal business cycle recession. The problem is that the patient is suffering from a "debt cancer," and until the proper treatment is prescribed and implemented; the patient will most likely continue to suffer.
UPDATE: FIFA bites back and bans Uruguay's Luis Suarez for 4 months
As 12ET rolls around and USA's soccer team prepares to engage zee Germans with the goal of advancing to the FIFA World Cup's knockout stage, Bloomberg undertook an 'economic' face off to see just how the two powerhouse nations stack up. The result - a 4-0 win for Germany does not bode well for the soccer...
- Minorities Seen Driving U.S. Household Growth (Reuters)
- GM prepares to recall some Cruze sedans with Takata air bags (Reuters)
- PBOC Halts Repos as China Money Rate Climbs to Seven-Week High (BBG)
- Ukraine Optimism Wavers on Peace as Cease-Fire Winds Down (BBG)
- Economic Rebound Seen Undercut by Weak Pay as Vote Winner (BBG)
- Cracks Open in Dark Pool Defense With Barclays Lawsuit (BBG)
- The Survivor: How Eric Holder outlasted his (many) critics (Politico)
- IBM, Lenovo Tackle Security Worries on Server Deal (WSJ)
- Militants take Iraqi gas field town, president calls parliament session (Reuters)
- Carney Surprises Confounding Markets as BOE Manages Guidance (BBG)
With Gen-X and Gen-Y out as buyers, who's left to scoop up the tens of trillions of dollars of Boomer assets at bubblicious prices? Given that other nations face the same demographic dilemma, the answer appears to be: no one.
One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers. It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.
We all knew just how wrong it was as we sat there and listened to the World Bank going on in January about how world economic growth would top 3.2%. Today the World Bank has downgraded economic growth to 2.8%, which some might say is even over the odds