recovery

Two Months After We Said It Would, Goldman Cuts Its GDP Forecast (With Much More To Come)

Back in December 2013, as we do after every periodic bout of irrational exuberance by Goldman's chief economist Jan Hatzius et al (who can forget our post from December 2010 "Goldman Jumps Shark, Goes Bullish, Hikes Outlook" in which Hatzius hiked his 2011 GDP forecast from 1.9% to 2.7% only to end the year at 1.8%, and we won't even comment on the longer-term forecasts) designed merely to provide a context for Goldman's equity flow and prop-trading axes, we said it was only a matter of time before Goldman (and the rest of the Goldman-following sellside econo-penguins) is forced to once again trim its economic forecasts. Overnight, two months after our prediction, the FDIC-backed hedge fund did just that, after Goldman's Hatzius announced that "we have taken down our GDP estimates to 2½% in Q1 and 3% in Q2, from 2.7% [ZH: actually 3.0% as of Thursday] and 3½% previously."

The Bernank Celebrates

BernankeSmilingIn economics the chicken must always come home to roost. Man can only live beyond his means for so long. Bernanke’s reputation hinges upon the market not tanking as his successors close up the spout of gushing currency. The endpoint is coming. When it happens, the house of cards will tumble down. And with it will come the livelihoods and hopes of many. With every boom there is a bust. It’s an immutable fact of government intervention into the economy. As Bill Bonner writes, articles full of lavishing praise for Bernanke will begin appearing in coming weeks. Writing puff pieces on state bureaucrats is often a high-paying gig. But they all reveal a particular trend: celebrating the wise achievements of someone empowered to govern society. When businessmen are praised in print, their accomplishments are chalked up as minor victories reserved for the few. When the selfless man of charity is given his due, the praise is mild. When a lord of government sees the pages of a major periodical, it’s the kind of brown-nosing that would make a teacher’s pet uncomfortable. For now, Bernanke will bask in exaltation. But his just deserts are coming. You can bet $4 trillion on it.

Bankruptcy In The USSA: Detroit Bondholders About To Be GM'ed In Favor Of Pensioners

First, the Obama administration showed during the course of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings, that when it comes to Most Preferred Voter classes, some unsecured creditors - namely labor unions, and the millions of votes they bring - are more equal than other unsecured creditors - namely bondholders, and the zero votes they bring. Five years later we are about to get a stark reminder that under the superpriority rule of a community organizer for whom "fairness" trumps contract law any day, it is now Detroit's turn to make a mockery of the recovery waterfall. As it turns out, bankrupt Detroit is proposing to favor pension funds at roughly double the rate of bondholders to resolve an estimated $18 billion in long-term obligations, according to a draft of a debt-cutting plan reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Greece Is Back: Germany, France, Creditors Hold Secret Meeting Due To Greek Bailout "Mounting Concerns"

There was a time - roughly between May 2010 and the spring fall of 2011 - when all the world had to worry about was Greece. Then the realization finally dawned that since a Grexit from the Eurozone would kill the EUR and the European integration dream with so much "political capital" invested, crush Deutsche Bank, and bring back the much dreaded (by German exporters) Deutsche Mark, it became clear that there is no fear that Greece, which is now a decrepit shell of a country with a collapsed economy and society in shambles, has now become a slave state to European bureaucrats, business and banks (in Nigel Farage's words), will never be formally kicked out of Europe and only an internal coup would allow it to finally break free from the clutches of unelected European tyrants. And then the world moved on to more important things: like Japan, China Emerging Markets and how they are all enjoying the Fed's taper. Sadly, we have to report, that Greece is once again baaaaack.

UMich Confidence Drops Most In 3 Months

Previous month's epic miss and hurriedly revised expectations from UMich confidence was 'baffled with schizophrenic bullshit' when the Conference Board printed at near record post-crisis highs earlier in the week. It is perhaps not unexpected that despite a drop MoM, following the huge miss last month that UMich confidence would very modestly beat expectations. As in the last 2 cycles, we saw an echo surge in confidence and that has now (just as in the last two cycles of confidence) begun to fade. Both current conditions and economic outlook fell MoM.

Frontrunning: January 31

  • Even Obama's fans has turning on him: "The Decline and Fall of 'Hope and Change'"
  • European Stocks Drop, Head for Worst January Since 2009 (BBG)
  • Euro-Area Inflation at 0.7% Builds Rate Pressure on ECB (BBG)
  • Japan’s Inflation Accelerates as Abe Seeks Wage Gains (BBG)
  • Unpossible - this is the USSA: Detroit Debt Proposal Favors Pension Funds (WSJ)
  • Keystone Report Said Likely to Disappoint Pipeline Foes (BBG)
  • YHOO still pretending someone cares about it: Yahoo says detected hacking attempt on email accounts (Reuters)
  • How Google's Costly Motorola Maneuver May Pay Off (WSJ)
  • Mexico Surpassing Japan as No. 2 Auto Exporter to U.S.  (BBG)

Bernanke's "Success" Summed Up In One Chart

Since his appointment, the balance sheet of Ben Bernanke's Fed has exploded, stock prices have resurged to newerer highs, and home prices are breaking (bad) records once again. However, the following chart of sentiment towards the money-printer-in-chief by income bracket sums it all up... (despite Bernanke's "belief" that "Fed policy is a Main Street policy") Greenspan will be happy though, as Bernanke's disapproval rating is almost double that of his when he left office in 2006 (and approval rating considerably lower).

The MyRA Propaganda Begins: "A Start To A Secure Retirement" Promises Treasury Secretary

You didn't think the US could at first slowly, and then all of a sudden, expropriate retirement accounts and invest them in the "no risk, guaranteed return" MyRA Ponzi scheme introduced by Obama during the State of the Union address without lots of behavior-modifying indoctrination in the "friendly press" first now did you? Sure enough, here is the first major propaganda salvo, coming from none other than the US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, which will be published tomorrow across the McClatchy media empire.

"The (Other) Shoe" - IceCap Monthly Commentary

If one were only to look at the stock market and the buzz within New York, London, San Francisco, Sydney or Toronto; they would conclude that the world is indeed booming. After all, people say the stock market is a leading indicator and that is telling us that the world is bursting at the seams with accelerating growth. And of course, the leading financial news stations are tripping over themselves with gushes of great news. Now, we don’t mean to be the party pooper; however one must understand what is really happening to truly appreciate the still, slow moving and delicate economic pickle the world has been stuck with. For starters, these major cities are always booming. Instead, for a better picture of economic life, feel free to visit St. Louis, Winnipeg, or Marseilles and we’re sure you’ll have no problems at all securing that dinner reservation. Peeling away the top layer of fabulous news resulting from the stock market, we cannot help but see that the deep structural issues associated with the 2008-09 crisis remain. The mountains of bad debt have simply shifted away from specific investors, to governments and their tax payers. From a global perspective, this transfer of bad debt from specific investors to tax payers is THE most important issue to understand. In simpler terms, and unknown to many, the bad debt has been spread around the world for everyone to share. Yes, socialism has arrived and few in our capitalistic world have noticed.

Frontrunning: January 29

  • Obama warns divided Congress that he will act alone (Reuters)
  • Fed Decision Day Guide From Emerging Markets to FOMC Voter Shift (BBG)
  • Fed poised for $10 billion taper as Bernanke bids adieu (Reuters)
  • Bernanke’s Unprecedented Rescue Unlikely to Be Repeated (BBG)
  • Argentina Spends $115 Million to Steady Peso (WSJ)
  • Billionaires Fuming Over Market Selloff That Sinks Magnit (BBG)
  • SAC’s Counsel Testifies at Insider Trading Trial in Unexpected Move by the Defense (NYT)
  • Automakers Fuel Japan’s Longest Profit Growth Streak Since 2007 (BBG)
  • Turkey Crisis Puts Jailed Millionaire at Heart of Gold Trail (BBG)
  • Ukraine expects $2 billion tranche of Russian aid soon (Reuters)

The Less 'Hoping & Dreaming', More 'Believing' State Of The Union Post-Mortem

President Obama unveiled 12 key executive actions in his 6,778 word tome this evening at a reading level that was lower than the average of George W. Bush's SOTUs and the same as Clinton's (Flesch-Kincaid 9.8). From 'raising the minimum wage' to 'myRA' savings plans ("a guaranteed return with no risk"?) and from redesigned high schools to teach real-world skills (like EBT-card-usage?) to increasing college opportunities (blowing that bubble even bigger), it was a corporate-bashing, hopeful-job-creating manifesto that had less "hopes" and "dreams" than MLK's speech, but more "believing."

President Obama Delivers His View On The State Of The Union - Live Feed

Given the fact that the S&P 500 is up over 18% since the last State of the Union address, we suspect the state of the Union will be "strong." However, a glimpse over the shoulder of Tom Perkins and his pals and one can't help but wonder how "strong" the Union is when there are 2.845 million more people not in the labor force than a year ago. Last year's 6,990 words were strewn with "hope", "change", "jobs" and "wall street" - we suspect the term "inequality" pops up more than once this time along with the ubiquitous lambasting of the opposition for counterfactually buggering the whole "recovery" plan up. If only there was no 'opposition' - oh wait, we forgot to add "unilateral" and "executive order" as suggested words for tonight's show.