At this point only an act of god, or a sudden Saudi change of heart to cut crude production by 50% (unclear which is more probable) can prevent a recession in Texas. However, one state that few thought would be impaired as a result of the crude plunge, is California. Yet as the LA Times reports, it is precisely California, and specifically Kern County located in the middle of the state and containing the farmer town of Bakersfield and countless oil rigs, that yesterday declared a state of fiscal emergency during the weekly supervisors' meeting on Tuesday. The reason: predictions of a massive shortfall in property tax revenues because of tanking oil prices.
The latest corporate scam is to blame workers for the high unemployment rate. They say there is a skills gap. Even President Obama is in on the joke. The real skills gap is the other way around: too many skills for the low-wage menial jobs that pervade the labor market. The person who makes your coffee or your Big Mac might be able to design the next major bridge or write for The New York Times. Instead of high school kids cooking up your lunch, true professionals are behind the counter, and the future of the country is behind it too. The longer they stay there, the odds increase that America will take a permanent backseat in global power. In one short century, we have gone from superpower to super size me, a plutocracy, a nation that wasted its most valuable resource: the energy and innovation of its own people.
Meet The Extreme Super Rich: A List Of The 80 People Who Own As Much As The World’s Poorest 3.6 BillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2015 15:31 -0500
"Eighty people hold the same amount of wealth as the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people, according to an analysis just released from Oxfam. The report from the global anti-poverty organization finds that since 2009, the wealth of those 80 richest has doubled in nominal terms — while the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population has fallen." There you have it. The reason the wealth of the richest has doubled since 2009, is because “it’s not a recession, it’s a robbery.” Central bank and government policy has done this, it is no accident.
Forget The Hindenburg Omen and The Hilsenrath Omen, today we have the real deal as The Baltic Dry Index hits the ominous 666 level - the lowest print for this time of year on record. Of course, just like with oil - this is brushed off as over-supply (not under-demand) and we are sure someone will opine how positive this drastic deflation of shipping rates is for global business... but still - this is the lowest print since September 2012 (and practically the lowest since the recession).
"Equities Will Be Devastated" Crispin Odey Warns, Looming Recession Will Be "Remembered For 100 Years"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 22:12 -0500
"I think equity markets will get devastated," warns famed $12bn AUM hedge fund manager Crispin Odey in his latest letter to investors. Having been one of the biggest bulls of this particular central bank artificial-bull cycle, his dramatic bearish tilt (as we discussed what he thinks are the biggest risks underpriced by the market previously), is notable. Finally, Odey fears major economies are entering a recession that will be "remembered in a hundred years," adding that the "bearish opportunity" to short stocks looks as great as it was in 2007-2009.
The fear of deflation has become the cornerstone of Keynesian economic thought. However, it is the height of hypocrisy that Keynesians use the specter of deflation to frighten us into believing we need to endlessly dilute the value of our currencies and take the rate on our savings to zero percent; but then, at the same time, take every data point that points to falling prices as another reason to be bullish on markets and the economy. Their mantras are: Lower commodity prices–a boost to the consumer, plunging interest rates–an increase in mortgage refinancing. How can Keynesians celebrate deflation, while at the same time use it to scare us into accepting ZIRP forever? The easy answer would be, they are, by definition, cheerleaders for the stock market...
Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.
Just when you hoped the bad news was bad enough to warrant an uber-dovish Fed statement, Markit's US Services PMI prints 54.0, beating estimates of 53.8 and up from December's 53.0. After 6 months of dropping, January's preliminary data rose; however, as Markit notes, new business expansion fell to a post-recession low, “The 5.0% an nualised rate of GDP expansion in the third quarter certainly looks like a peaking in the pace of expansion, with the surveys pointing to 2.5% annualised growth at the start of the year."
Following November's across the board ugliness in Durable Goods data, the hockey-stick extrapolators all positioned for the bounce back... Only 1 of 57 economists expected a negative print! But the actual data was a total disaster. Against expectations of a 0.3% rise (following last month's 0.7% drop), December printed down 3.4% and November was revised drasticaly lower to down 2.1%. This is the lowest durable goods ex-transports since March.
Welcome To The Wreckovery: Who Could Have Possibly Anticipated Caterpillar's Disastrous Earnings And Guidance?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 07:54 -0500
Well, pretty much anyone who had read any of our CAT monthly sales reports over the past 2 years.
While central banks’ grip on the economy seems to be waning, notes Citi's Matt King, additional liquidity still seems as potent as ever when it comes to propping up global markets. The question in our minds revolves around whether central banks remain willing to keep pumping when the economic benefits are so questionable. Equally, though, valuations are already so elevated that we doubt they can afford to stop. One way or another, this feels like a recipe for increased volatility.
The Japanese fire at the Europeans. The Europeans fire at the Japanese & Chinese. The Chinese fire scattershot at everybody else in Asia. England & America prep to teach those they consider muppets not to play with guns. It's World War Money, if you know what I mean...
With the Ruble having plunged 3 handles today alone, it appears perhaps more than a few could see this coming...
- RUSSIAN FEDERATION RATINGS CUT TO JUNK BY S&P
- RUSSIAN FEDERATION CUT TO BB+ FROM BBB- BY S&P; OUTLOOK NEG
Putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade. Of course, this happens just 6 days after the news first leaked that S&P would pay a $1.5 billion settlement to the US DoJ over downgrading America: one wonders just what else was in the small print?
The fallout from the monetary policy machinations in Europe over the last two weeks are far from over. After notable weakness last week, the Swiss Franc collapsed 2.7% today against the USD - its largest single-day drop since Sept 6th 2011. Whether this is SNB re-intervention, natural kneejerk reactions to the massive move on SNB day, covering of positions as FX brokers try to unwind positions, or Swiss recession fears is unclear; but one thing is obvious, higher-er margins and lower-er leverage is on the way as these moves are colossal on a historical volatility basis...
The policy of safeguarding Boomer benefits with asset bubbles will lead to the destruction of the unprepared, the unwary and those who foolishly trusted our "leadership" and central bank to tell them the truth.