For the first time ever, Italy's unemployment rate is more than twice that of its European Union (one region, one monetary policy) neighbor Germany. As Germany's jobless rate fell for the 3rd month in a row to 6.5% (the lowest level in records going back more than two decades), Italian unemployment unexpectedly rose to a record high at 13.4% (well above the euro-region rate of 11.5%). Of course, while these two nations 'economic' state diverges by the most on record, bond yields are at record lows in both - leaving us (and everyone else) questioning, just what it is that ECB QE will do to help Europe's economies?
While the vast majority of mainstream economists and analysts currently expect 2015 to be another robust year for the economy and the markets, there is a rising risk to that forecast. If oil prices, a reflection of global economic demand, remains depressed for a considerable period of time, the negative impacts of loss of employment, reductions in capital expenditures and declines in corporate profitability could outstrip any small economic benefit gained from lower oil prices. As we stated previously, for those who have lived in Texas long enough to remember the oil rout in the early 80's, the greatest fear in 2015 is that oil prices remain low.
The December FOMC statement revealed a lack of agreement among Fed officials over communication, BofAML explains, as evidenced by the complicated extension of the forward guidance language and the dissents from both sides of the hawk-dove spectrum. While Standard Chartered expects the Minutes to show The Fed in no rush to raise rates, UBS warns the Minutes “could upset market perceptions of what is important to the Fed’s decision-making process."
For the 4th month in a row (thanks to revisions revisions revisions), ADP Employment beat expectations. At 241k in December (above the 225k exp.) this is the highest print since June's peak (and occurs as both manufacturing and services PMIs showed faltering unemployment sub-indices). Small business appeared to add the most positions (less than 49 employees) as large businesses added the least with Services-producing firms dominant (even as Services PMI has plunged for 6 straight months). Will "good" news be bad news?
- Twelve shot dead in Paris (Reuters)
- Eurozone Consumer Prices Fall for First Time Since 2009 (NYT)
- Euro's Drop is a Turning Point for Central Banks Reserves (BBG)
- How $50 Oil Changes Almost Everything (BBG)
- Mercedes-Benz Moving U.S. Headquarters to Atlanta (WSJ)
- Greek 10-Year Bond Yields Exceed 10% for First Time Since 2013 (BBG)
- How Even Dairy Farmers Get Squeezed by Rigging in the $5.3 Trillion Currency Market (BBG)
- AirAsia jet tail found underwater, black box may be close (Reuters)
- Italy Unemployment Rises to New High (Bloomberg)
Things in risk land started off badly this morning, with the worst start to a year ever was set to worsen when European equities came under early selling pressure following news of German unemployment falling to record low, offset by a record high Italian jobless rate, with declining oil prices still the predominant theme as Brent crude briefly touched its lowest level since May 2009, this consequently saw the German 10yr yield print a fresh record low in a continuation of the move seen yesterday. However, after breaking USD 50.00 Brent prices have seen an aggressive bounce which has seen European equities move into positive territory with the energy names helping lift the sector which is now outperforming its peers. As a result fixed income futures have pared a large majority of the move higher at the EU open. But the punchline came several hours ago courtesy of Eurostat, when it was revealed that December was the first deflationary month for the Eurozone since the depths of the financial crisis more than five years ago, when prices dropped by -0.2% below the -0.1% expectation, and sharply lower than the 0.3% increase in November, driven by a collapse in Energy prices.
But the oil-price crash was supposed to goose consumer spending.
"Something Is Not Right" Jeff Gundlach Is "Concerned About Health Of The Economy & Financial System"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2015 20:30 -0500
Having warned of the "terrifying consequences" of oil prices staying this low, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach, in an extensive interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft, warns he is "beginning to see signs of investor concern around the edges about the health of the economy and about the financial system. Historically, when junk bonds give up the ghost and treasuries remain firm, it is a signal that something is not right." Touching on everything from a string dollar to Indian stocks, and from Oil to bonds, and The Fed, Gundlach concludes, "the only places where there is inflation is in places that are painful. Raising interest rates against that backdrop seems like a poor idea. So I just hope the Fed thinks carefully about what it is doing." Boxed-in much?
The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200% grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. But now, the year of consequences may have finally arrived.
Einstein advised “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. Yet that’s mostly what I see happening today on many levels.
The author of what Paul Krugman called "the most important economics book of the year - and maybe the decade," has turned down a prestigious award from the French government because, he does "not think it is the government's role to decide who is honorable." The irony of Thomas Piketty's revulsion at the Legion d'Honneur award is juxtaposed with his socialist epithets that government should decide everything else... like confiscatory taxes, big government, and, as Mish perfectly describes it, the "save the local bookstore mentality." Even more ironic though, Piketty's rejection of the award occurred on the same day that Hollande finbally gave up on his 75% supertax scheme (which has led to record unemployment).
Having exposed the 20+1 charts of China's demise previously, we move to Exhibit (a) in the "illusion of prosperity" that keeps the dream (looking) alive to the outside (mostly Western get-rich-quick fast-money) world - China's Zombie Factories...
The rash of “unexpected” declines in PMI’s this morning in the US, of all places, seems to have abraded at least somewhat the pervasive belief in the American “decoupling.” But... The FOMC sees 5% GDP and a serious workdown in the unemployment rate; credit markets are worried about how continued mistreatment of economic fundamentals may mean another disastrous trip like the one from the housing bust to the Great Recession. Worse than that, the treasury curve, in particular, may be going a step further by envisioning that we may already have replicated that period and are now very deep within it.
Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.
Wealth inequality isn't just a political issue - it's a survival issue. When a society hits a certain level of economic disparity, it is set on a path towards destruction. It happened to the Roman Empire, and it will happen to the United States.