The so-called “trustees” of the social security system issued their annual report last week and the stenographers of the financial press dutifully reported that the day of reckoning when the trust funds run dry has been put off another year - until 2034. So take a breath and kick the can. That’s five Presidential elections away!
...Except that is not what the report really says.
It appears Chicago businesses are immune to the vaguaries of the worst quarterly wage growth in US history. Following significant weakness earlier in the year, Chicago PMI surged to 54.7, the second highest in 2015, smashing expectations of a 50.8 print. Having flashed its recessionary warning lights, while 7 underlying factors improved led by increased production and new orders (and prices paid), employment continued to fall (though at a slower pace). After missing in July's preliminary print (93.3 vs 94.0), UMich consumer sentiment final print for July dropped even further to 93.1, heading back towards the lows of the year as hope plunged from 87.8 to 84.1 - the lowest since Nov 2014.
As Marc Faber said at SocGen's January conference, if he could short central banks directly he would do so, but gold is the next best thing; and despite it being sucked into the general commodity malaise, Albert Edwards says "Gold is a must-have holding in this world."
Italy Youth Unemployment Hits Record High 44.2%, Concerns Rising "Recession Exit May Be Unsustainable"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/31/2015 07:32 -0400
While the overall unemployment rate for the Eurozone also unchanged at 11.1%, it was renewed concern about what is going on in Italy, where unemployment rose from 12.5% to 12.7%, while Italy's youth unemployment rate, which surprisingly jumped by nearly 2% to 44.2%, a record level. As Bloomberg put it, "Italy’s jobless rate unexpectedly rose in June as businesses continue to dismiss workers amid concerns that the country’s exit from recession may not be sustainable."
Athletes in next year's Summer Olympics here will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games. An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
Can markets be saved an eighth time, a ninth time, a tenth time this year? How about next year?
"The reality is that business and investment spending are the true leading indicators of the economy and the stock market. If you want to know where the stock market is headed, forget about consumer spending and retail sales figures. Look to business spending, price inflation, interest rates, and productivity gains." The Skousen index suggests that the current economy is significantly weaker than headline statistics state.
A look at the internals reveals a major surprise - while many said that the Q1 economy does not expose the true strength of the US consumer (instead of shopping in stores, they shopped online which wasn't captured or comparable), what actually happened was that Personal Consumption Expenditures as a % of GDP actually declined from 1.4% to 1.2% when netting out the harsh winter impact. As in the real economic driver was even weaker and this time you can't blame it on the weather!
The worst "economic expansion" in history was even worse than previously expected.
Why are governments suddenly so keen to ban physical cash? The answer appears to be that the banks and government authorities are anticipating bail-ins, steeply negative interest rates and hefty fees on cash, and they want to close any opening regular depositors might have to escape these forms of officially sanctioned theft. The escape mechanism from bail-ins and fees on cash deposits is physical cash, and hence the sudden flurry of calls to eliminate cash as a relic of a bygone age — that is, an age when commoners had some way to safeguard their money from bail-ins and bankers’ control.
Authorities pushing currency devaluation as a cure for their stagnating economies might want to study Frederic Bastiat's insight into the eventual cost and consequences: "For it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa.”
"The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates near zero but cited progress in the U.S. job market, a sign it remains on course to raise interest rates in September or later this year. At the same time, however, it flagged a nagging concern about low inflation, which is creating caution among officials and could convince them to delay the day of the first increase."
Did you know that the Federal Reserve pays an annual 6% dividend to its shareholders, i.e., the member banks of the cartel? Must be nice, considering savers who had nothing to do with cratering the world economy, and failed to receive a taxpayer funded bailout, can barely earn 0.5% on their money. It’s also quite bizarre. How many other “public institutions” have private shareholders to whom they pay 6% risk free dividends? None, which once again highlights the point that the Federal Reserve is NOT a public institution working on behalf of the citizenry, but is rather a banking cartel designed to enriched and protect its member banks (as we saw on clear display in 2008). It appears that some members of Congress are now targeting the estimated $17 billion per year paid out by the Fed to its member banks via the highway-funding bill.
Here is the paradox as succinctly summarized by Deutsche Bank, which notes that the current -29% year-over-year drop in the CRB index implies YoY headline CPI inflation falling from 0.1% to -0.9% over the next couple of months, or just in time for the September or December FOMC meetings both proposed as the "lift off" date. This would be the largest year-over-year drop since September 2009 (-1.3%) and one of the lowest prints in modern history.
There will always be some "crisis" or excuse to do nothing. But the fact remains that the U.S. economy is not at zero interest rate health. Monetary policy is broken with the status quo. Unlimited and constant central bank participation in the markets is ultimately destructive, encourages dangerous risk taking (just buy every dip, nothing can go wrong,) and has become too much of an aphrodisiac for policy makers. Savers are being told you are the patsies for share buybacks.