A few weeks ago we commented that the Great Global Rig of 2012 was ending. Yesterday’s GDP print confirms this.
We noted in the second half of 2012 that the US Federal Government was engaging in a massive rig to make the economy look better than it really was in order to help the Obama re-election campaign. This showed up in the jobs data as well as the 3Q12 GDP print.
Now the election is over and we’re stuck with the hangover. The mainstream media likes to claim that the fourth quarter GDP number is the result of the Government cutting spending, but the truth is that Government outlays increased 12% in 4Q12.
Indeed, the sad truth is that the US economy is actually in far worse shape than the official data indicates. As we’ve noted before, the Feds dramatically understate inflation to make GDP growth look better.
Case in point, the GDP deflator today is a mere 0.6% when real inflation is closer to 8%. So even the -0.14% print is in fact overstating real growth dramatically. If you account for the real increases in the cost of living in the US, GDP shrank well over 1% in 4Q12.
The impact of this will be huge. Remember that the Fed only just announced QE 3 and QE 4 in the second half of 2012. The fact that we’ve got this terrible GDP print in spite of this doesn’t do much for the Fed’s claim that QE will stimulate growth.
As we noted in yesterday’s article, the Fed is already splintering on the benefits of QE. For the US to print such an ugly GDP number right after QE 3 and QE 4 were announced doesn’t bode well for more aggressive policy from the Fed. But then again, we are talking about the Fed here, so they could very easily claim that the bad GDP print is because QE 3 and QE 4 are not big enough.
Regardless of this, it’s clear the market is peaking out. The Russell 2000 has begun to diverge from the Dow and S&P 500. Former leaders like Apple and RIMM are tanking, while companies that are losing business rapidly (Amazon) continue to rally.
This is precisely the sort of action we saw going into the Tech top and the 2007 top. The Fed has managed to create a bubble in stocks and housing again… right as the US economy collapses (just like in 2000 and 2007). We all know what came next.
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Phoenix Capital Research