So what did Americans supposedly spend so much more on compared to the previous revision released one month ago? Was it cars? Furnishings? Housing and Utilities? Recreational Goods and RVs? Or maybe nondurable goods and financial services? Actually no. The answer, just as we predicted precisely 6 months ago is... well, just see for yourselves.
And just like that Q3 GDP, the one for the quarter ended Sept.30, was revised from 3.9% (which in turn was revised higher from 3.5%) to a mindblowing 5% - the highest print since Q3 2003 when GDP rose by 6.9%. This was above the highest Wall Street forecast of 4.7%, higher even than Joe Lavorgna's. The drivers: unprecedented revisions to Personal Consumption which supposedly rose by 3.2% in Q3 as opposed to the 2.2% prior reported, and 2.5% expected. Consumption accounted for 2.21% of the final 5.0% GDP print: this was the highest since Q4 2010 when it rose 2.8%. In fact, everything was revised higher: fixed investment rose 1.21% compared to the 0.97% reported previously; private inventories were virtually unchanged after allegedly subtracting 0.6% from growth in the original Q3 GDP estimate; net trade was unchanged adding 0.77% to GDP and finally the government boosted GDP a little as well, contributing 0.8%.
With the wind down of the record 2014 trading slump now in its final days (although judging by volumes throughout the year one may have a difficult time noticing just when the holidays began and ended), the already entertaining zero-liquidity market moves are sure to provide further amusement today in the context of the US economic data bonanza on deck, which includes Durable Goods, GDP, Personal Income and Spending, Richmond Fed, UMich, and New Home Sales. Beat or miss, all of the above are guaranteed to send the S&P to higher recorder highs because in the multiple-expansion euphoria blow-off top phase nobody cares about such trivia as fundamentals or the economy, especially when Japan and Germany are about to monetize all of their gross issuance. Just remember to occasionally keep an eye on the preferred rigging correlation pairs: the USDJPY and the VIX, whose every illiquid jerk will be followed by Citadel & NYFed's algos tic for tic.
The simple message: Quantitative Easing has failed to generate inflation. Stated alternatively: QE has not been able to overcome still extant deflationary pressures. Global central banker actions in printing over $13 trillion of new money over the last 6 years have been insufficient to surmount still existing deflationary forces. It tells us the probability of further global deflationary impulses are very real. This has direct implications for any sector of the economy or financial markets whose fundamentals are negatively leveraged to deflationary pressures (think banks, real estate, etc.) Be assured the central bankers are more than fully aware of this.
The decline in oil prices is a clear message that "something is awry" globally and investors should take heed that risks of a market decline have risen markedly. While I am not saying that the economy is about to slide off into a recession, previous declines in oil prices of the current magnitude have been associated with poor outcomes for investors. Caution is advised.
The big selloff in 2015 will come from housing and housing-related investments as the marginal cost of capital rises through regulation and through “margin calls” on banks as their profit-to-GDP ratios grow too high for the economy to function properly. The dividend society is here and the true manifestation of Japanisation is not a future event but a thing we are living in right now…
While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:
- GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%
The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.
Just as the OECD cut US GDP further, here comes the BEA with an impressive first revision to the Q3 GDP, which succeeded in fixing all those things that were lacking in the first report which said GDP had grown 3.5% in the quarter. Moments ago, the revised number slammed expectations of a modest decling to 3.3%, rising by3.9%, above the highest Wall Street estimate (range was 2.8% to 3.8%), with the boost coming from all those components that disappointed in the first go around, namely Personal Consumption (which rose from 1.8% to 2.2%), contributing 1.51% of the final GDP print, inventories subtracting far less, or just -0.12% compared to -0.57%, and fixed investment revised to 0.97% from 0.74%. Finally, while exports were revised modestly lower, a small decline in imports also offset the net decline in trade contribution.
While the argument that declines in energy and gasoline prices should lead to stronger consumption sounds logical, the data suggests that this is not actually the case.
“Unconventional measures might entail the purchase of a variety of assets, one of which is sovereign bonds,” the ECB president said in Brussels yesterday in answer to a question during his quarterly testimony to lawmakers at the European Parliament. Draghi and the uber doves appear determined to ignore the failure of QE in both the U.S. and Japan.
Since Ben Bernanke reminded the world of the existence of government printing-presses, echoed Milton Friedman's "helicopter drop" solution to fighting deflation, and decried Japan for not being as insane as it could be... it has only been a matter of time before some global central bank decided that the dropping of cash onto the populace was the key to economic recovery. Having blown their wad on QQE (and been left with a triple-dip recession), it appears Japan has reached that limit. As Japan's News47 reports, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed his cabinet to develop economic measures such as handing out 'gift certificates' to the poor to "support personal consumption directly."
Our world, our life, has been built on debt and propaganda for many years. They have kept us from noticing how poorly we are doing. But now a third element has entered the foundation of our societies, and it’s set to eat away at everything that has – barely – kept the entire edifice from crumbling apart. Deflation.
The recent mid-term elections sent a very clear message to Washington, D.C., which was simply "the economy sucks." While statistical economic data suggests that the economy is rapidly healing, it has only been so for a very small percentage of the players. For most American's they have only watched the "rich" prosper as the Federal Reserve put Wall Street before Main Street. Stock buybacks, dividends and acquisitions are great for those that have money invested in the financial markets, however, for the rest of America it is only a spectator sport. The risk to the markets currently is that the wave of deflationary pressures engulfing the globe have only begun to wash back on the domestic economy. The drag on exports, combined with the potential for extremely cold winter weather, puts both economic and earnings growth rate projections at risk. With the markets in extremely overvalued territory, the risks to investors clearly outweigh the rewards over the long-term.
Moments ago, the market was expecting Q3 GDP to print at 3.0%, and was pleasantly surprised when instead it got a 3.5% print, sending all risk assets kneejerk higher. However, a quick glance into the components revealed that things were certainly not as they seemed, with Personal Consumption in Q3 actually decreasing notably from Q2's 2.5%, to just 1.8% in Q3, below the 1.9% Expected, and accounting for 1.22% of the 3.54% Q3 GDP, the lowest Personal Consumption boost to GDP since Q2 2012 excluding the infamous Q1 winter vortex quarter. So what happened to boost Q2 GDP if that core driver, the US consumer was not there? Simple. Government stepped in, and stepped in hard, with its 0.83% boost to the bottom line GDP the highest since Q2 of 2009!
To summarize (even though with liquidity as non-existant as it is, this may be completely stale by the time we go to print in a minute or so), European shares erase gains, fall close to intraday lows following the Fed’s decision to end QE. Banks, basic resources sectors underperform, while health care, tech outperform. Companies including Shell, Barclays, Aviva, Volkswagen, Alcatel-Lucent, ASMI, Bayer released earnings. German unemployment unexpectedly declines. The Italian and U.K. markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the Swiss the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; German yields decline. Commodities decline, with nickel, silver underperforming and wheat outperforming. U.S. jobless claims, GDP, personal consumption, core PCE due later.