Another look under the hood of what is driving consumer expenditures...
While the current economic data appears rosy, it won't be sustained without credit or rising wages or job growth. Much of existing spending is from a drawdown of savings and various transitory stimulus programs. These things won't last.
Improving California state finances make its municipal bonds a “buy.” With California in the heat of primary elections, this is good news no one seems to want to talk about. Inconvenient ties to the “vampire squid.” With taxes about to skyrocket everywhere, tax free municipal bonds are about to become more valuable. What’s this movie, "Fight Club", all about, anyway? (VCV), (NCP), (NVX).
In its influential World Economic Outlook, the IMF said the recovery in global growth over the past year had relied on "highly accommodative" policies and there was a risk of a relapse. But the Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, a former top official at the IMF, said advanced economies don’t face a deflationary threat and the U.S. economy is rebounding faster than anticipated. Are we out of the woods yet?
Sprott Speaks, Discusses The Global Ecoonomy, The Imaginary Recovery And His New Physical Gold TrustSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2010 16:47 -0400
I still have a deep, deep concern about the leverage in the banking system. I look at the inability of governments who are spending vast amounts of money to generate much growth in GDP. I can give the example of running a $1.5 trillion deficit last year and GDP goes up $200 billion. So we are not getting much bang for the buck but we still owe the buck at the end of the year. I also worry about what's going on in China. The Chinese government has asked the banks to cool down their lending, the latest data in March show that lending has gone down from $300 billion per month to $100 billion. That's $2.4 trillion a year less. And obviously it has to have an effect on their economy as the lending of $2 trillion did positively last year. When you look back at China in 2009, they had a $4 trillion economy, they lent $2 trillion to people, they had a $600 billion stimulus: those should generate some GDP growth. I am not even convinced that 10% growth which would be $400 billion is a good response to all the measures that were taken. - Eric Sprott
Today we will be getting the BLS numbers on jobs which everyone says will be great. Will it be good or bad news? The problem is that many of these "jobs" aren't jobs. The needle isn't budging.
ECB's Juergen Stark Warns Of "Clear Risk Of Sovereign Debt Crisis," Cautions Recovery Largely Due To Massive Support By Governments And Central BanksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2010 22:00 -0400
The ECB's executive board member Juergen Stark had a rare admission (and even rarer for a central banker demonstration of rationality) that not only are most advanced economies about to enter a "third wave, a sovereign debt crisis in most advanced economies", not only is a "timely exit of extraordinary fiscal measures crucial in order to ensure a continued recovery", but that the mentioned recovery and economic improvements are largely as a result of "massive support measures taken by governments and central banks." In other words, the whole episode of the past year has been a one-time item which most analysts would exclude from "recurring operations" yet due to the magic of the Keynesian magic wand, the new normal is expected to persists as the magical "consumer" at some point takes over the recovery from the government effort. Alas, while the economy has indeed stabilized (effect), the cause continues to be purely based on governmental actions, as the consumer, and the private sector in general, continues retrenching. Too bad the US Federal Reserve has no aerobic critters than can formulate the same critical thoughts as Mr. Stark, or else they would realize that the path they are leading the US on is pure disaster, and furthermore, with the lessons from the last bubble fresh in everyone's mind, doing all they can to be branded mad, at least according to the Einsteinian definition of insanity: let's just keep flooding the system with money and keep hoping that something will change. In retrospect, pleading insanity in a decade when the entire western world is in ruins, before a tribunal of the people may not have quite the desired effect.
A lot of conflicting data came in last week. There is a lot of positive news, but does it all add up to a recovery or is the cyclical recovery headed for a stall? Nothing has changed the underlying conditions that would relieve the credit freeze. And without credit, the economy will stall.
The Minneapolis Fed has launched a useful charting service which analyzes not only the Great Recession, which allegedly has ended (must be news to the 1.8 million...and growing...newly uncovered unemployed, but we'll take the NBER's word for it) but the even Greater Recovery that we have presumably been in for the past 6 months or so. At least those Fed critters have a twisted sense of humor. In order to quantify just how funny they are, the Min Fed provides the following preamble "The 2007-2009 recession is widely thought to have ended sometime last summer. How bad was this recession, and how quickly is the economy recovering? How does this recession and recovery compare to previous cycles?"How indeed? Here are the charts which just a cursory perusal will lead the peruser to wonder what on earth the administration is smoking. Recovery indeed.
Consensus is expecting US payrolls to rise by 15,000 in January. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual print comes in at ten times that amount...
Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has put together a simple yet comprehensive presentation on a topic Zero Hedge has discussed in the past: how the demographic shift in the US will mirror the spender-to-saver transformation of an aging Japanese society, and as a result lead to an accentuation of the economic crisis into the double-dip phase, should all the artificial , one-time stimulus actions be phased out. For all those who think that a "new normal" with unemployment straddling double digits for years to come will be conducive to growth, think again. And after today's failed referendum on Obama's healthcare policies, America's immediate future will be focused on two simple propositions: [yes/no] on stimulus and [yes/no] on Q.E. 2. Everything else will be smoke and mirrors.
Rising interest rates, stubbornly high unemployment, no credit, and large chunks of the economy dead in the water are not what economic booms are made of. The second in a series of seven on The Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Annual Asset Allocation Review.
Pimco CEO: We're Trained to Think the "Farther You Fall, The Higher You'll Bounce Back. We're Hostage to the V"-Shaped Recovery ModelSubmitted by George Washington on 12/29/2009 15:25 -0400
Are we going to have a V-shaped recovery? W-shaped? L-shaped? WWWWW-shaped?
All one really needs to do is to take a look a housing from a bird's eye view, whether adjusted for inflation or not, and it is quite obvious that not only are we still in a housing bubble, but we have a while to go before we reach equilibrium. Those insurer's, lenders, and investors highly levered to residential and commercial real estate had better be prepared for another 30% or so drop.