August's regional Fed survey collapse was unanimous... Dallas, Richmond, New York, Philly, Chicago, and even Kansas City all flashing recessionary warnings. And so now we begin to see September's data and Dallas Fed prints -9.5 - the 9th negative (contractionary) print in a row. While a small beat (against -10 exp.) and rise from August's -15.8, under the surfacxe the data is a disaster with wages lower, employees contracting drastically, and average workweek collapsing. Having noted that "the quantitative easing hangover is starting" in August, it appears - judging by the biggest plunge in Capex in 5 years.
The real risk for the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates at zero and the deflationary feedback from the collapse in commodity prices, and the Chinese economy trips the U.S. into a recession. Given that "QE" programs have no real effect on boosting economic growth, the Fed would be left with virtually no "effective" monetary policy tools with which to stabilize the economy. For the Fed, this is the worse possible outcome.
This past week has seen a continuation of market volatility unlike anything witnessed over the last several years. Of course, this volatility all coincides at a time where market participants are struggling with a global economic slowdown, pressures from China, collapsing oil prices, a lack of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and the threat of rising interest rates. It is a brew of ingredients that would have already likely toppled previous bull markets, and it is only by a hairsbreadth the current one continues to breathe.
While Fisher, among others, believes that the recent fall in inflation is solely due to collapsing energy and crop prices, the issue of weakening economic data on a global scale, particularly that of China, may suggest much less transient nature. As we stated previously, we think the Fed realizes that we are likely closer to the next recession than not. While raising interest rates may accelerate the pace to the next recession, it is better than being caught with rates at zero when it does occur.
It's shaping up to be a rough year for CEOs at Europe's most notorious rate rigging, scandal laden investment banks. Just three months after Brady Dougan left Credit Suisse and barely 30 days since Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen tendered their resignations at Deutsche Bank, Barclays has shown CEO Antony Jenkins the door.
Spin revolving door, spin...
If the United States and China are supposed to be such “great friends”, why are both sides acting as if war is in our future? There were years of diplomatic troubles before Japan finally made the decision to launch a “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor. Right now, it appears we are moving into a similar period of diplomatic trouble with China.
Stanley Kubrick's highly-disturbing film-version of A Clockwork Orange takes place in a dystopian futuristic London and exposes the extreme battle of good versus evil. Extracting out the violence, we can’t help but notice the symbolic similarities of the motif-ridden story with the 2008 financial market fallout and subsequent attempts at economic rehabilitation. The film forces us to consider how much liberty we are willing to give up for order, and how much order we are willing to give up for liberty. The central idea of the film has to do with the freedom of the individual to make free choices, but free choice becomes problematic when it undermines the safety and stability of society. It reminds us of the markets price discovery mechanisms (or lack thereof).
For the second week in a row, initial claims were worse than expected and increased year-to-date, While still below the magic 300k levels, claims printed 295k against expectations of 288k confirming the stagnation of the job market since the end of QE3 and the government's fiscal year. California and New York saw the biggest rise in initial claims with only Illinois seeing a drop; notably Texas saw layoffs across various sectors as it seems it ius not as 'diverse' as Richard Fisher propagandized. After 4 straight weeks of decline, continuing claims rose this week by the most in almost 3 months (but remains close to 15 year lows).
With the Fed supposedly steeling itself at last to remove a little of its emergency ‘accommodation’, it has suddenly become fashionable to warn of the awful parallels with 1937 as an excuse The Fed must not act today. We strongly refute the analogy. Instead, the real Ghost of ’37 takes the form of mean-spirited and, counter-productive 'pitchfork populism' politics and the spectre should not be conjured up to excuse the central bank from further delaying its overdue embarkation on the long road back to normality and policy minimalism.
Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher had his credibility (whatever is left) crushed for the 4th month in a row. After explaining carefully to no lessor status quo glad hand than Steve Liesman that the Texas economy will see a net positive from low oil prices, Dallas Fed data has utterly collapsed - at its fastest pace since Lehman. Printing a stunning -17.5 (over twice as bad as expected -8.5), this is the 4th miss in a row (and increasingly worse misses). The Dallas Fed was last lower than this in Jun 2011. Across the board, the components were an utter disaster... employees contracted, prices paid and recoeved tumbled, production plunged, and new orders collapsed. More worryingly, furture capex tumbled once again.
In response to questions posed by Santelli, former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher made two points which were both salient if not downright prophetic. The first: “Well, what worries me is how totally lazy investors have gotten, totally dependent on the Federal Reserve and I find this to be a precarious situation.” The second: “Are we vulnerable in my opinion to a significant equity market correction? I believe we are. Not only has the Fed painted themselves into an even tighter corner – they’ve left no clear path as to now kick the empty can.