Unemployment

Eurozone Recovery Fades - Will The U.S. Follow?

It has been a "Summer of Recovery" for the U.S. economy with GDP growth rising from 1.1% in the first quarter to 2.5% in the second and manufacturing surveys showed sharp jumps in new orders and outlooks.  The same occurred in the Eurozone with Markit's PMI reports showing sharp bounces higher and hopes that the recession that has plagued the region was finally coming to an end.  The question of sustainability remains. The recent uptick in the Eurozone has now ended which most likely suggests that the recent pop in domestic production is likely ephemeral.  The next couple of months of data should be telling in the regard and also suggests why employment reports have been much weaker than anticipated. With hopes once again running high that the economy is set to regain "escape velocity" in the coming year there is plenty of margin for disappointment.

Goldman Pushes Back Forecast On First Taper To December, First Rate Hike To 2016: FOMC Q&A

For what it's worth, here is Goldman's Jan Hatzius with a Q&A on the Fed's announcement, which now sees the first tapering to start in December, QE to conclude (three months after their prior forecast), and expects the first rate hike to take place in 2016: 8 years after the start of the financial crisis: "We now expect the QE tapering process to start at the December 2013 FOMC meeting and to conclude in September 2014, three months later than before. Our baseline is that the first step will consist of a $10bn cut in Treasury purchases. These steps remain data dependent in all respects--timing, size, and composition. A change in the explicit forward guidance for the federal funds rate is also likely, probably at the same time as the first tapering step. Our baseline is an indication that the 6.5% unemployment threshold is conditional on a forecast of a near-term return of inflation to 2%, and that a lower threshold would apply otherwise. But there are also other options, such as an outright inflation floor or an outright reduction in the unemployment threshold. Our forecast for the first hike in the funds rate remains early 2016. The reasons are the large output gap, persistent below-target inflation, and some weight on "optimal control" considerations."

Fed Post-Mortem And Overnight Summary

Yes, yes, only the Fed matters. Still, there was some event flow overnight which while completely meaningless for the epic liquidity bubble, may have some implications eventually when the music finally stops. In thie regard, perhaps the best summary of the the lunacy coming out of the Marriner Eccles building is the following sentence from Bloomberg: "Bernanke said he was concerned that market interest rates, driven higher by his own suggestion he would scale back QE, would curb growth." One can't make this up.

Guest Post: Is The Fed Ready To Cut America’s Fiat Life Support?

It is undeniable that America is thoroughly addicted to fiat stimulus. Every aspect of our economy, from stocks, to bonds, to banks, and by indirect extension main street, is now utterly dependent on the continued 24/7 currency creation bonanza. The stock market no longer rallies to the tune of increased retail sales, growing export markets or improved employment expectations.  In fact, “good” economic news today is met with panic and market sell-offs! Why? Because investors and banks still playing equities understand full well that any sign of fiscal improvement might mean the end of the private Federal Reserve’s QE pajama party. They know that without the Fed’s opiate-laced lifeline, the economy dies a fast and painful death. All mainstream economic news currently revolves around the Fed, as pundits clamor to divine whether the latest signals mean the free money will flow, trickle, or dry up. At the edge of the Federal Reserve’s 100th anniversary, it is vital that we see the current developments for what they really are – history changing, in a fashion so violent they are apt to scar America forever.

As Bernanke Blows A Bigger Bubble, Everything Is Bought

"We have got to turn the page on this kind of bubble-and-bust mentality that helped to create this mess in the first place, we have got to build a housing system that’s durable and fair and rewards responsibility for generations to come.  That is what we have got to do."

- Barack Obama, August 6, 2013

Goldman Analyzes The Fed's "Unexpected" Decision

BOTTOM LINE: The FOMC unexpectedly decided not to taper the rate of its asset purchases at today's meeting, preferring to wait for further confirmation of improvement in the outlook. There was no change to the forward guidance on the federal funds rate. The Summary of Economic Projections showed a decline in the central tendency expectation for the year-end 2015 fed funds rate, and the 2016 rate suggested a cautious pace of rate hikes once they begin.

7 Reasons To Delay The Taper (And 4 Reasons Why They Can't)

With the FOMC set to announce the decision to taper or not taper, forward guide or not forward guide, cut thresholds or not cut thresholds, we thought a reminder of the seven reasons to delay the taper (following what BAML's Ethan Harris calls the recent "punch in the stomach for the economic recovery story") and the four crucial reasons why the Fed can't (or won't) delay the Taper.

The Complete FOMC Announcement Preview

  • Expectations for Fed to begin to taper asset purchases by USD 10-15bln
  • Ranges for pace of Treasury purchases: high USD 45bln, low USD 25bln
  • Ranges for pace of MBS purchases: high USD 45bln, low USD 30bln
  • Some see FOMC lowering unemployment threshold from current 6.5%
  • Summary of Economic Projections and Press Conference from Fed Chairman Bernanke follow the announcement

Summer Vacation Is Over: Greek Public Workers Begin Two-Day Strike

The (G)Reekovery, in which unemployment just rose to a new record high, must be so strong that the economy can easily afford another two days of lost output as virtually all public sector workers have decided to take another two day break from a grueling work schedule (one in which they used to get a week off for just using a computer) and go on strike. From WSJ: "Greek public servants began a two-day walkout Wednesday over plans to place government workers in a labor reserve that is widely seen as a step toward future layoffs. Teachers, hospital doctors and court officials, among others, participated in the walkout, leaving schools, courts and government offices closed across the country and hospitals operating on skeleton staff. On the streets of Athens, public sector unionists staged two separate demonstrations that brought about 10,000 protesters to the streets, according to police estimates."

T-Minus Seven Hours Till Taper

The day when the Fed will begin the unwind of its latest QE program (for the fourth time) has finally arrived (as has the day when an impeachment committee will vote whether to ban Berlusconi from public office, but understandably that is getting far less press). In a few short hours the answer to all those questions of whether and how much of the taper was priced in, will be revealed. But while the Taper discussions will dominate the airwaves, as they have for the past five months, there actually were some news in the world that had nothing to do with the US Politburo in charge of capital markets and the US economy, located in the Marriner Eccles building. Here is a brief summary.

Meet America's Growing "Lower Class"

The article below from the LA Times is both extremely interesting as well as depressing from a cultural standpoint. For four decades now, the General Social Survey has asked Americans how they identify themselves from a class perspective. While it was always quite common for less fortunate folks to identify themselves as “working class,” there has always been a reluctance to identify as “lower class.” Until last year that is, when a record amount of Americans identified as such.

European Car Sales In 2013 Drop To "Record", 23-Year Low

European recovery propaganda may be humming (for the latest proof see today's German ZEW sentiment index which soared from 42.0 to 49.0 matching the all time high in the Dax), but when it comes to the actual economy - that place where commerce is conducted and where supply and demand curves intersect, the situation has never been worse. And not only unemployment which is at a persistently record high for the Eurozone, but actual transactions, in this case in the form of car sales. As AP reports, for the first eight months of the year, passenger car sales in the European Union were off 5.2% to 7.84 million compared with the same period last year, the European Auto Manufacturers' Association said Tuesday. That's the lowest January-August figure since the group started keeping track in 1990.

Yet Another "Most Important FOMC Meeting Ever" Begins

Overnight trading started with Asian markets continuing where yesterday's S&P 500 fizzle ended, wishing Summers could withdraw from Fed running again, as both the Nikkei and SHCOMP were well lower by the close. Perhaps all the easy multiple-expanding, headline-driven money is made, or perhaps economic fundamentals will finally start having to justify a 17x multiple on the S&P (a good is good regime for those who may be too young, or old, to remember), but overnight US futures were dull, and no doubt anticipating today's start of the "Most important FOMC meeting ever", which concludes tomorrow with an announcement by the Fed of what and how much (if any) tapering it will commence with an eye toward halting QE next summer, although more realistically what will happen is an Untaper being announced before then. While the start of the FOMC meeting is the main event, today we get CPI, TIC flows and the NAHB housing market index. Today's POMO is another modest $1.25-$1.75 billion in the long-end sector.