Back in May when we presented our humble and succinct analysis on what the preliminary 1.8% GDP looked like, we said "Ex the now traditional inventory build [of 1.2%], Q1 GDP growth was sub 1%" basically being the only party who said that aside for the "old faithful plug" better known as the traditional BEA fudge to get GDP to whereever the administration wants it, growth was where it ultimately ended up being: 0.4%. And the kicker? The primary cause of the downward revision was, you guessed it, Inventories, which imploded from 1.31% to 0.32% (see chart). In other words, the next time we are skeptical about government data in any format, believe us, and not "them." Which also goes for our skepticism when it comes to the predictive ability of one Goldman Sachs, most notably our take on Goldman's December 1 2010 "watershed" report in which Hatzius said: "This outlook represents a fundamental shift in the thinking that has governed our forecast for at least the last five years... Five years ago, we became very pessimistic about the US economic outlook...So why do we now expect growth to pick up? In a nutshell, it is because underlying demand has strengthened significantly" Total and utter fail. Our summary then was also rather spot on: "Much more hopium inside. This is unfortunate. Jan Hatzius used to have credibility." Indeed, after waiting for so long, the firm once again capitulated per its most recent report released last night: "Our forecasts for 3%-3.5% growth in Q4 and 2012 are under review for probable downgrade." So with apologies for the self-backpatting, this brings us to the topic of this post. As we have said for over a year, the catalyst for QE3 will be none other than Goldman. Which is convenient because the title of Goldman's report is "The Fed's Easing Options." Pretty much as subtle as it gets.
When the US does default is when the Second Round of the Great Crisis will hit. At that point the financial systems/ economies of entire countries, not just private banks, will collapse. What will follow will be the equivalent of 2008 on steroids featuring market crashes, debt defaults, civil unrest, food shortages, spikes in crime, etc. The purpose of the reports is to help you prepare for all of these items.
Any time Wall Street tells you something, ignore it. Case in point: the historical "consensus" forecast of Q2 GDP. We have presented this chart before, most recently as pertains to Q1 GDP, although when it comes to unmasking Wall Street's broad incompetence, repeated showings never hurt. And the chart speaks volumes not only to just how much more "insight" those experts have into the future of the economy (none, but that doesn't prevent them getting multi-million bonuses at the end of every year), but also that any hopes of a Q3 and Q4 economic rebound will be imminently dashed. Below is the dramatic(ally wrong) history of Q2 GDP consensus forecasts, one day ahead of the first estimate of the official data release which will now most likely come well below a contractionary level in real terms.
For the record, I still believe that there will not be a breach of the debt ceiling and no overt default for the US. Things will be worked out in the nick of time, like they always are. However, the media is full of articles wondering about what ‘investors’ might do in response to a US default and/or credit downgrade. What will happen to Treasury prices? Will they go down as investors dump them en masse in response to a credit downgrade forcing interest rates to climb? It’s a big question and the most likely answer is “No, not really”. Partly because these so-called investors have been well-conditioned to believe that another bailout is always around the corner, but mainly because they have nowhere to go. The big money is trapped... The Treasury market is the largest and most liquid in the world, by far. For many big money funds there really aren’t any realistic options other than the Treasury market, and this present reality will limit the market reaction to any downgrade.
"On The Beach Getting Tan And Sipping Corona, We Got A Monetary Plan-- And It Involves A Lot Of Toner..."Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/27/2011 16:29 -0500
Yo, we up in the Fed and we living in style
Spending lots of money while we sipping crystal
still making it rain and yeah it be so pleasing
wait, not making it rain-- we be "Quantitative Easing!"
QE1, QE2 QE4, QE3 Dropping IOU's
in every fund that I see
printing the cash inflating the monies
callin up China "a-yo we straight out of 20's!"
in the club we be louding out
while to the market, yeah we be crowding out
on the beach getting tan and sipping Corona
we got a monetary plan-- and it involves a lot of toner...
Is a second recession in so short of a time in the offing? It certainly seems that way. The hope for a continued recovery has grown dim as of late as many of the economic indexes are moving towards contractionary territory. As we posted recently in "EOC Index Shows Economic Weakness" there are several concerns pressing the US economy and, in the words of David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, “one small shock” could send us into a second recession. With the recent release of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index our proprietary economic index is just one small step away from crossing the 35 mark which has always been a pre-cursor to recession. We have discussed many times recently that with the unemployment rate remaining high, housing prices slipping into a secondary decline, consumer and business spending slowing, while gas and food prices remain high eating up more than 20% of consumers wages and salaries. Add on top of these factors the likelihood of a Greek debt default, a slowdown in the Eurozone, a weaker dollar and Washington locked in debate over the debt ceiling - well, the list of risks far outweigh the positives. However, that doesn't seem to deter Wall Street economists and main stream media which seem to all be wearing an extremely thick pair of rose colored glasses these days. However, it doesn't take an economist to figure out that any one of these factors could send us tumbling into a second recession.
Only now, after three years of roller coaster markets, epic debates, and gnashing of teeth, are mainstream financial pundits finally starting to get it. At least some of them, anyway. Precious metals have continued to perform relentlessly since 2008, crushing all naysayer predictions and defying all the musings of so called “experts”, while at the same time maintaining and protecting the investment savings of those people smart enough to jump on the train while prices were at historic lows (historic as in ‘the past 5000 years’)....Those who instead listened to the alternative media from 2007 on have now tripled the value of their investments, and are likely to double them yet again in the coming months as PM’s and other commodities continue to outperform paper securities and stocks. After enduring so much hardship, criticism, and grief over our positions on gold and silver, it’s about time for us to say “we told you so”. Not to gloat (ok, maybe a little), but to solidify the necessity of metals investment for every American today. Yes, we were right, the skeptics were wrong, and they continue to be wrong. Even now, with gold surpassing the $1600 an ounce mark, and silver edging back towards its $50 per ounce highs, there is still time for those who missed the boat to shield their nest eggs from expanding economic insanity. The fact is, precious metals values are nowhere near their peak. Here are some reasons why…
Despite frantic efforts to reach an agreement to raise the US debt ceiling, no concrete measures emerged during the weekend, which allied with Moody's downgrade of Greece's sovereign rating by three notches today, promoted risk-aversion in the market. European equities traded under pressure, weighed upon by financials, which in turn provided support to Bunds, whereas the Eurozone peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads widened across the board. Particular widening was observed in the Belgian/German spread leading up to the bond auctions from Belgium, however the spread narrowed somewhat after they went through successfully. Elsewhere, CHF and JPY emerged as major beneficiaries of the risk-averse trade, whereas commodity-linked currencies traded lower. Moving into the North American open, the economic calendar remains thin, however Chicago Fed National Activity and Dallas Fed Manufacturing reports are scheduled for later in the session. Also, Texas Instruments, and Anadarko Petroleum are among some of the companies reporting their corporate earnings today.
Here is my take on the Greek "bailout" and what it means for the rest of us...
Default will be painful, but it is all but inevitable for a country as heavily indebted as the U.S. Just as pumping money into the system to combat a recession only ensures an unsustainable economic boom and a future recession worse than the first, so too does continuously raising the debt ceiling only forestall the day of reckoning and ensure that, when it comes, it will be cataclysmic. We have a choice: default now and take our medicine, or put it off as long as possible, when the effects will be much worse.
Strategic Investment Conference: Luminaries In Finance Presentation Series: Part 2 - David RosenbergSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/21/2011 17:08 -0500
Following up to the presentation by Gary Shilling at this year's Strategic Investment Conference, we next move on to an old Zero Hedge favorite: David Rosenberg.
Debt Crisis Being Used as Shock Doctrine to Steal More Money from the American People to Give to the Richest .1%Submitted by George Washington on 07/21/2011 15:15 -0500
There's an EMERGENCY ... give us all your money!!!
There is only one section of the proposed European Bailout draft statement that is relevant to traders: Section 7, bullet 3 which says: "To improve the effectiveness of the EFSF and address contagion, we agree to increase the flexibility of the EFSF, allowing it to intervene in the secondary markets on the basis of an ECB analysis recognizing the existence of exceptional circumstances and a unanimous decision of the EFSF Member States." Everything else is noise. Europe just legalized its own Plunge Protection Team and off balance sheet Quantitative Easing program with one signature. Good luck trading in this, or any, market which even the politicians now admit is nothing more than a central banking policy tool.
John Taylor, the "Fed Chairman who should have been", has penned a terrific op-ed in the WSJ. Advocating nothing short of a great reset, this is one of today's must read pieces: "If government interventions are the economic problem, then the solution is to unwind them. Some lament that with the high debt and bloated Fed balance sheet, we have run out of monetary and fiscal ammunition, but this may be a blessing in disguise. The way forward is not more spending, greater debt and continued zero-interest rates, but spending control and a return to free-market principles. Unfortunately, as the recent debate over the debt limit indicates, narrow political partisanship can get in the way of a solution. The historical evidence on what works and what doesn't is not partisan. The harmful interventionist policies of the 1970s were supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. So were the less interventionist polices in the 1980s and '90s. So was the recent interventionist revival, and so can be the restoration of less interventionist policy going forward. "
A rather sobering report out from S&P, which has no other function than to tighten the screws even more on those who prudently are holding out against extending the debt ceiling. As for S&P: please explain to US how 120% debt/GDP is better than 100% debt/GDP, and thus more worthy of a AAA rating? Please. Because we must be bloody stupid: "In our view, the need for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling before it is breached--which the government has said would occur on or around Aug. 2--remains a major risk to the U.S. economy, in our view. Because we see a real risk that efforts to reduce future deficits may meaningfully miss the targets that Congressional leaders and the White House have discussed, we put the likelihood that we would lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next three months and potentially as soon as early August--by one or more notches, into the 'AA' category--at about 50-50."