A month ago the US economy was said to have grown only 1.5%, driven by a long-overdue and perhaps welcome correction to inventories. Moments ago we got the first revision to the Q3 GDP, which as consensus expected rose from 1.5% to 2.1%, however for all the wrong reasons because while personal consumption actually decline from a 3.2% increase, and a 2.19% contribution to the GDP bottom line, it is now said to have grown only 3.0%, adding 2.05% to the final GDP print.
It had been a relatively quiet session overnight when as reported previously, the geopolitical situation in the middle east changed dramatically in a moment, when NATO-member country Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet allegedly over Turkish territory even though the plane crashed in Syria, and whose pilots may have been captured by local rebel forces. The news promptly slammed Turkish assets and FX, sending the Lira tumbling, pushing lower European stocks and US equity futures while sending 2 Year German Bunds to record negative yields.
While it is hoped that the economy can continue to expand on the back of the "service" sector alone, history suggests that "manufacturing" continues to play a much more important dynamic that it is given credit for.
While there are many that continue to dismiss individual "economic data points" in order to promote a "bullish bias" for the equity markets, it is more important to accumulate the "weight of evidence." The rising inventory levels, weak consumption, and plunging imports all suggest that the domestic consumer is much weaker than currently believed. The last time this combination of data points collided was just prior to the start of the last recession. But then again, this is where "economic theory" collides with "Main Street realities." Place your bets carefully.
This is the fifth time in the past three years that the VIX rose 2% of more on a day the S&P 500 also rose, and short-term volatility expectations were at least 10% below longer-term volatility expectations. Those dates were: September 14, 2012, January 21, 2014, August 25, 2014, and May 18, 2015. Over the next month, the S&P 500 was not able to gain more than +1% at its best point, and suffered a loss averaging -3.2% at its worst point. Quite a negative reward-to-risk ratio.
The talking heads were busy this week powdering the GDP pig. By averaging up the “disappointing” 1.5% gain for Q3 with the previous quarter they were able to pronounce that the economy is moving forward at an “encouraging” 2% clip. And once we get through this quarter’s big negative inventory adjustment, they insisted, we will be off to the ‘escape velocity’ races. Again. No we won’t! The global economy is in an epochal deflationary swoon and the US economy has already hit stall speed. It is only a matter of months before this long-in-the-tooth 75-month old business expansion will rollover into outright liquidation of excess inventories and hoarded labor. That is otherwise known as a recession.
Back in September we explained why, contrary to both conventional wisdom and the BOJ's endless protests to the contrary, neither the BOJ nor the ECB have any interest in boosting QE at this - or any other point - simply because with every incremental bond they buy, the time when the two central banks run out of monetizable debt comes closer. Since then the ECB has jawboned that it may boost QE (but it has not done so), and overnight as reported previously, the BOJ likewise did not expand QE despite many, including Goldman Sachs, expecting it would do just that.
The long awaited inventory correction is finally arriving. Moments ago the BEA reported preliminary Q3 GDP, which at 1.49%, missed both sellside consensus expectations of 1.6%, and tumbled from the 3.9% reported in the second quarter as the quarterly volatility continues at an unprecedented pace. This was the second lowest quarterly GDP print since Q1 2014 excluding the "double seasonal adjustment" meant to cover up the collapse in Q1 2015 GDP.
“In an as-yet unreleased statement circulated to the BBC, myself and others, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has shaped much of global drug policy for decades, call on governments around the world to decriminalise drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs.”
The Federal Reserve is quickly becoming trapped by its own "data-dependent" analysis. Despite ongoing commentary of improving labor markets and economic growth, their own indicators are suggesting something very different. As we have stated previously, while the Federal Reserve may hike interest rates simply to "save face," there is indeed little real support for them doing so. Tightening monetary policy further will simply accelerate the time frame to the onset of the next recession. Of course, the Fed knows this which is why they recently floated the idea of "negative interest rates" out into the markets. In other words, they already likely realize they are screwed.
"...the markets did retest the late August lows, and when combined with the very oversold conditions, led to a frantic 'short covering' rally back to previous resistance. It is worth noting that the recent market action is very similar to that of the August decline and initial rebound as well... . If the market is still confined within a more "bearish" trend, the current rally, like the ones that preceded it, will be a "rally to nowhere."
If you’re a fan of dovish policymakers who are committed to Keynesian insanity, you can always count on Minneapolis Fed chief Narayana Kocherlakota who is out today with the latest hint that NIRP is coming to America.
Most people believe that low oil prices are good for the United States, since the discretionary income of consumers will rise. There is the added benefit that Peak Oil must be far off in the distance, since “Peak Oilers” talked about high oil prices. Thus, low oil prices are viewed as an all around benefit. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth...
While the final Q2 GDP revision released moments ago by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is a largely meaningless number looking at the performance of the economy some 3 months ago, it will still set the momentum for today's trade, and with its surging from a 3.7% first revision print to 3.9%, surpassing expectations of a 3.7% print, means that concerns (or perhaps hopes) for a rate hike are once again back on the table.