As a proxy for economic activity, the addition of US exports and imports provides a useful indication of 2-way trade underlying growth in the US. Following the collapse in 2008/9, 2-way trade surged by over 30% YoY providing the impetus for the initial 'recovery' off the lows. That 'growth' has now dissipated and for almost 2 years, 2-way trade has gone nowhere. The last 3 times that this activity indicator was so poor, very significant systemic events occurred. Will 4th time be the charm?
The question then is - where is the self-sustaining growth that will bring the renaissance? And, assuming the Fed is relatively capable of parsing the data, is using unemployment rates simply cover for the fact they are forced to taper due to the critical four factors we have explained (deficits, technicals, sentiment, and international ire)
(h/t Sean Corrigan of Diapason Commodities)