One of the more amusing comments overnight came from Bank of America, which now predicts that China's export growth will be boosted by iPhone 6 by 1% per month through year-end. Whether or not this is accurate is irrelevant, but we are happy that unlike before, BofA has finally figured out that iPhone sales are positive for Chinese GDP, not US, which was the case with the release of the iPhone 4 and 5, when clueless strategists all came out boosting their US (!) GDP forecasts on the iPhone release. We note this because the long-awaited release of Apple's new iPhone will certainly grab some attention tomorrow. According to a BofA poll last week and of the 124 respondents surveyed, 66% of those have noted that they are going to buy the new iPhone and of those planning to buy 75% of those will be replacing their iPhone 5/5s.
The term “jobless recovery” is itself an oxymoron since the main function of any economic advance is to broaden participation. Thus a “jobless recovery” is nothing of the sort, indicating more so the re-arranging of numbers rather than full achievement – the hallmarks of redistribution.
As financialism spreads, so does disharmony, not just in function but in breaking correlations among economic accounts and statistics that were once seemingly so unconquerable.
It is not hard to find an exemplary chart of the collapse of the Japanese economy - as we have been diligently exposing for the past few years despite Abenomics' promises. Even Japanese government advisors are concerned: "My biggest concern is that most of the emphasis has been on solving the short-to-medium term challenges of overcoming deflation and boosting demand. While I think that emphasis has been the right approach, most Japanese economic problems really revolve around long-term issues: an aging and declining population, a need to increase our potential growth rate, and longer-term fiscal consolidation. Whether or not the government can overcome these challenges is still very much an unknown." These six charts suggest not only does Japan have a long way to go, but the trend is very much not their friend...
If the US equity market's reaction to the worst jobs data of 2014 is anything to go on; Japanese stocks should be a double overnight given the catastrophe that just printed. While the initial prints for the post-tax-hike period were bad enough (record worst levels in most cases), the revsions are even worse. Drum roll please: 1) Trade balance miss, worst in 4 months; 2) GDP -7.1% miss, revised down, worst since Q1 2009; 3) Business Spending/Capex -5.1% miss, revised down, worst since Q2 2009; and 4) Consumer Spending -5.3% miss, revised down, worst on record. But apart from that, as the Japanese leaders noted last week, "the recovery is heading in the right direction."
We warned here that the "Yes" vote for Scottish Independence was a "high risk" event, and as we noted earlier, with polls indicating its a high probability and 'English' leadership in full panic mode, it is perhaps not surprising that the British Pound opened down 160pips at 10-month lows... (a 500 pip drop in 3 days)... But, didn't the clever people on TV tell us 'it was priced in'?
The Bank Of Japan (BOJ) says it is looking for consumer spending to stay on a recovery path, focusing on the relatively small increase in nominal wages rather than the steep slide in real wages. Goldman believes the BOJ’s view is founded on money illusion; and crucially, expect the positive effects to be clearly outweighed by the negative impact of lower real wages, and on a net basis see consumption falling. Simply put, once people wake up to the illusion of money, its impact will also fade.
Things are getting a bit hotter for the Federal Reserve regarding the tradeoff between growth and inflation, according to JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest. For the last few years, he notes, a zero rate policy was put on autopilot given excess labor and industrial capacity. Both are shrinking now, and when looking at a broad range of variables, some are clearly mid-cycle. If so, in a few months Fed governors will have to jump out of the 0% interest rate pot and remove some of the liquidity that it has infused into the US economy; and, Cembalest warns, despite today's jobs print, they may have to do so at a quicker pace than what markets are pricing in.
Central bank stimulus is not leading to virtuous circles but to vicious ones. How can we get out? – Only by changing our attitudes to monetary interventions fundamentally. Only if we accept that interest rates are market prices, not policy levers. Only if we accept that the growth we generate through cheap credit and interest-rate suppression is always fleeting, and always comes at the price of new capital misallocations. The prospect for such a change looks dim at present. The near-term outlook is for more heavy-handed interventions everywhere, and the endgame is probably inflation. This will end badly.
The chart below shows the civilian employment to population ratio: a convenient indicator of the real state of the US labor market which does away with the labor force entirely, and the associated rhetoric of why it may or may not be plunging, and merely focuses on two simple things: total population and the total civilian population of the US. One thing is clear: the ratio crashed when the depression started and has flatlined since. Which, incidentally, may be all you, and the Fed, needs to know about the recovery.
Worst jobs data of the year? BTFATH. For the 9th day in a row, S&P 2,000 was all that mattered. Thanks to the standard Friday v-shaped recovery, the Dow scrambled back to green on the week and S&P 500 hit its Maginot 'retirement on' line - all on the back of USDJPY 105.00 pinning. Trannies and S&P hit new record highs and S&P had its best day in 2 weeks (led by exuberant growthy Staples & Utilities this week). Russell ended the week red as the late-day buying-panic sent Nasdaq just green with Dow and S&P. But, away from stocks, US Treasuries had their worst week in a year with 30Y +16bps (but 2Y only +2bps). The US dollar rose to new 14-month highs with its biggest week in 10 months. Despite the USD strength, Copper manage to close marginally higher even as PMs dropped 1.6% and oil plunged almost 3% (WTI under $93) in a very volatile week. High-yield credit markets closed with their worst week in the last 5. Bad news is great news still - just six years into the 'recovery'.
Back in 2011 we noted that while the market, and at the time, the Fed, have been focused exclusively on the quantity of jobs created each month, a far more important aspect of the US economic recovery is the quality of newly created jobs. It took the Fed about three years to catch up but it finally did, and Yellen no longer cares so much about the headline NFP print or the unemployment number but rather how good the newly created jobs are, manifesting in the quality of wages and earnings. So what was the quality of seasonally-adjusted job gains in August? In a word: disturbing. Of the 142K jobs created, just under half came from the lowest paying jobs possible: education and health; leisure and hospitality; and temp-help. The best paying jobs, finance and information, added a whopping 4K jobs between them. Finally, about that much delayed US manufacturing renaissance: stick a fork in it - in August the number of manufacturing jobs created was exactly 0.
August Jobs Tumble To Only 142K, Lowest Monthly Print Of 2014 And Below Lowest Forecast; Unemployment Rate 6.1%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/05/2014 08:34 -0400
So much for the latest recovery: with not a single analyst expecting a NFP print below 190K, the BLS just reported that August payrolls tumbled from a revised 212K to only 142K, which was not only below the lowest Wall Street estimate of 190K, but it was also the the lowest monthly jobs print in all of 2014 and the biggest miss to expectations since the "polar vortex"! The Unemployment rate dripped modestly from 6.2% to 6.1% confirming yet again it has become a completely meaningless metric.
Context is king. Week-in, week-out, we are reassured by whoever the next talking-head is that the recovery-meme is alive-and-well (despite consensus GDP expectations continued to slide for 2014), and that housing is back. The fact that mortage applications inched 0.2% higher on the week (as mortgage rates briefly dropped below 4% for a day - back at 4.20% now) is extrapolated into full recovery when the following chart perhaps provides a little clearer picture of just what has happened in this 'recovery'.
Market reversions, when the occur, are extremely rapid and tend to leave a rather brutal "scar" on investment portfolios. There is clear evidence that economic growth is being impacted by deflationary pressures on a global scale. This suggests that the sustainability of current and projected growth rates of profits is questionable given the magnitude to which leverage has been used to boost margins through share repurchases. Here are three things to consider that may help you question your faith.