what did they spend the most amount of money on? The answer, drumroll.... Recreational goods and vehicles. Not cars, which actually were a huge negative to Q1 GDP growth, reducing the headline consumption number by $13.4 billion nominal, but recreational vehicles, and other sundry related goods, which amounted to to $11.3 billion in Q1 spending.
"Did the Fed have an advance glimpse at Q1 GDP?" That was a question everyone was asking yesterday when the Fed came out with another not too hawkish statement. The answer may have been yes because moments ago the BEA reported that the US economy grew at just a 0.5% annualized rate in the first quarter, missing expectations of a 0.7% growth rate, growing at half the rate recorded in the 4th quarter, and the lowest quarterly growth rate since Q1 2014 (when the winter was blamed for a negative print). It was also the third consecutive quarter of GDP declines.
We were wrong: several minutes ago when we documented the collapse in the Gallup Economic confidence, we said that "we look forward to the UMich confidence report to beat expectations when it is released in just a few minutes." Moments ago the official print came out and it was not pretty: sliding from 91 to 89.7, not only did the print miss expectations of a rebound to 92.0, but was the lowest print since September 2015. The reason for the drop? Consumers reported a slowdown in expected wage gains, weakening inflation-adjusted income expectations, and growing concerns that slowing economic growth would reduce the pace of job creation.
There is currently no evidence of a recession now, or even in the few months ahead. There never is. While Trump’s call of a “massive recession” may seem far-fetched based on today’s economic data points, no one was calling for a recession in early 2000 or 2007 either. By the time the data is adjusted, and the eventual recession is revealed, it won’t matter as the damage will have already been done.
"I think stagflation is starting to show - that idea of stronger nominal growth but weaker real growth is starting to show up across the economy. It certainly is showing up with real personal consumption slowing; it's showing with slower job creation growth as the wage rate rises, and it's showing up in weaker profits as the share of labor income rises reducing profit margins for corporations."
While the February personal consumption expenditures (aka personal spending) - that all important data about the well-being of the US consumer - was in line with expectations rising 0.1%, it was the January revision that was striking. From a 0.5% increase reported a month ago, it was now revised to a paltry 0.1%. In nominal dollar terms, this means that instead of US consumer spending a whopping $67.5 billion more in January, the increase was a paltry $14.7 billion, a delta of $52.8 billion!
What was most troubling in yesterday's GDP report is that the second highest spending category making up the GDP calculation, Healthcare at $1.9 trillion, has been soaring in recent years, more than offsetting the housing weakness, and as the chart below shows, the US economy is within 2-3 quarters of the moment when outlays on healthcare (and Obamacare) will surpass spending on Housing.
While the final revision to Q4 2015 GDP was so irrelevant it was released on a holiday when every US-based market is closed, even the futures, it is nonetheless notable that according to the BEA in the final quarter of 2015 US GDP grew 1.4%, up from the 1.0% previously reported, and higher than the 1.0% consensus estimate matching the highest Q4 GDP forecast. The final Q4 GDP print was still well below the 2.0% annualized GDP growth reported in Q3.
Japan Goes Full Krugman: Plans Un-Depositable, Non-Cash "Gift-Certificate" Money Drop To Young PeopleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2016 20:06 -0400
The Swiss, the Finns, and the Ontarians may get their 'Universal Basic Income' but the Japanese are about to turn the Spinal Tap amplifier of extreme monetary experimentation to 11. Sankei reports, with no sourcing, that the Japanese government plans to unleash "vouchers" or "gift certificates" to low-income young people to stimulate the "conspicuous decline" in consumption among young people. The handouts may not be deposited, thus combining helicopter money (inflationary) and fully electronic currency (implicit capital controls and tracking of spending).
After the February jobs report, President Obama said “America’s pretty darn great right now.” He then went on to disparage the “doomsday rhetoric” of the Republicans, which he said was pure “fantasy. I think that there is a good chance that this will enter the Hall of Fame of miss-timed statements, right up there with this jewel from Ben Bernanke in March 2007: “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the sub-prime market seems likely to be contained.”
After the G-20 ended in a wave of global disappointment, leading to the biggest Yuan devaluation in 8 weeks, and sending Chinese stocks into a tailspin on concerns the PBOC has forsaken its stock market as well as speculation the housing bubble is now sucking up excess liquidity which in turn pushed global market deep in the red to start the week, it was the PBOC's turn to scramble in a panicked reaction to sliding risk exactly one month after Japan unveiled its own desperation NIRP, and as reported before unexpectedly cut its Reserve Requirement Ratio by 0.5% to 17.0%, the first such cut in 2016 and the 5th since the start of 2015.
Janet Yellen's last "data-dependent" loophole to delay a rate hike in the coming months was just revised away.
With Wall Street consensus expecting the poor first Q4 GDP estimate of 0.7% to be revised even lower to 0.4%, and with Wall Street's biggest former permabull Joe LaVorgna expecting a number as low as 0.1%, instead it received a surprising jolt to the upside when the BEA reported that instead of a decline, Q4 GDP was actually revised higher to 1.0%. But, as usual, the devil is in the details, because instead of actual consumption growth providing the much needed upside boost, consumption was actually revised lower, and all the upside was the result of less than expected inventory liquidation.
Global Stocks, Oil Continue Streamrolling Shorts On Last Minute Hopes For G-20 Stimulus AnnouncementSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/26/2016 08:00 -0400
With the conclusion of this weekend's G-20 unknown, and many still expecting a major stimulus, the squeeze will likely continue into the close of trading ahead of the weekend when nobody will want to be caught short into what may end up being another global coordinated intervention to prop up markets. “With a lot of policy events coming there is a fair chance of more stimulus plans so the markets can squeeze higher,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG. "The big reversal shows that there is some expectation building up into those events."
The massive indulgence in debt, what the Austrians refer to as a “credit induced boom”, has now reached its inevitable conclusion. This is one of the primary reasons why economic growth will continue to run at lower levels going into the future. We will witness an economy plagued by more frequent recessionary spats, lower equity market returns and a stagflationary environment as wages remain suppressed while costs of living rise. Correlation or causation? You decide.