As happens at the end of every year, sellside analysts and economists, all predicted that this year would be different, and the long overdue capex spending would finally be unleashed. Apparently they had far greater visibility on this matter, than on the topic of snowfall in the winter, and its disastrous impact on a $17 trillion economy, whose Q1 GDP growth forecast has cratered from 3% at the start of the year, to barely half that number currently. One of the firms that preached that the CapEx recovery is imminent is none other than Goldman Sachs, the same firm that also year after year predicts a new golden age for the US, only to see its forecast crash and burn some 4-6 months later, couched in the tried (or is that now trite) and true scapegoatings: snow, unrest in Europe, inflation or deflation in Japan, the usual. However, this time may indeed be different, and the same Goldman has just released a piece wondering "Why no capex recovery?" (despite the firm's own forecasts to the contrary -just recall David Mericle's "Capex: The Fundamentals Remain Strong" which now in retrospect is completely wrong).
"The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled": A Walk Thru Of China's Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder ResetSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/21/2014 10:37 -0400
The die has been cast, and it appears that the world is finally on the path to the great "carry-trade unwind" endgame. If so, this is what it will look like...
With G10 Macro data the most negative in 8 months, it is perhaps unsurprising that Goldman's Advanced Global Leading Indicator dropped further - to its lowest in at least a year. Firmly in "slowdown" phase, Goldman remains adamant that "weather-related" inputs will mean this will all be fixed any day now (apart from the fact that the trend has been down for months now). None of the factors improved, as momentum also slowed notably.
In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations about the NSA's ubiquitous presence in everyday lives, and unconstitutional interception, eavesdropping and recording of every form of electronic communication, the logical assumption would be that the next step for the NSA would be its reduction instead of expansion, especially following the president's heartfelt reading from the TOTUS several months ago in which he promised to do all he could, to curb the spy agency. "Surprisingly" expansion is precisely what will happen to the NSA - as WSJ reports the "government is considering enlarging the National Security Agency's controversial collection of Americans' phone records—an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, according to officials." Unintended? It is very much intended now that Americans know that the concept of privacy is dead and buried and will instead seek other methods to communicate. Which simply means the NSA has to get even bigger in order to thwart the imminent, daily and "clear and present" danger that US citizen-cum-terrorists pose to the US despotic totalitarian state republic.
Is the Treasury's rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unfair to private shareholders? Yup. And they deserve it.
"Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again."
If you have been waiting for the "global economic crisis" to begin, just open up your eyes and look around. I know that most Americans tend to ignore what happens in the rest of the world because they consider it to be "irrelevant" to their daily lives, but the truth is that the massive economic problems that are currently sweeping across Europe, Asia and South America are going to be affecting all of us here in the U.S. very soon. Sadly, most of the big news organizations in this country seem to be more concerned about the fate of Justin Bieber's wax statue in Times Square than about the horrible financial nightmare that is gripping emerging markets all over the planet. After a brief period of relative calm, we are beginning to see signs of global financial instability that are unlike anything that we have witnessed since the financial crisis of 2008. As you will see below, the problems are not just isolated to a few countries. This is truly a global phenomenon.
Scratch one more bullish thesis for the housing recovery, and the economic recovery in general.
Having rallied yesterday and totally ignored the fact that Letta's 10-month-old government was about to collapse, Italian equity and sovereign bond markets are falling this morning by their most in two weeks. The main bone of contention for Renzi-Letta fight is jobs and growth - there is none of either - and while Prime Minister Letta assures that the Italian economy grew in Q4 (GDP data to be released tomorrow) for the first time in 10 quarters, as Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, real GDP is still smaller than it was in 2000. Letta has just canceled his UK visit (planned for 2/24) and did not take part in the Democratic Party meeting with a Renzi friend saying "[Letta] will resign." Italians are, of course, used to the farce that is politics - there have been 64 government since 1945.
Lured by the promise of jobs created by the oil and gas boom, unemployed people are flocking to North Dakota en masse. This is heralded by many in the mainstream media as great news - labor mobility at its best - however, there is a darker side: rents are surging and finding a place to live at any price is difficult. As Reuters reports, amid all the boomtime plenty, however, is a housing affordability crisis. North Dakota saw a 200% jump in homelessness last year, the biggest increase of any state - "people are coming because it's widely publicized that we have jobs, but it's not widely publicized that we don't have housing."
While loathed to admit it, US auto makers have done it again. As we have vociferously explained month after month (and has been vocally denied until now by the car makers themselves), much of the recovery in auto sales has been a massive channel-stuffing make-work program (mal-investment once again triggered by 'false' signals created by Fed intervention). Now, as the WSJ reports, Detroit's big 3 are trying to sweeten discounts to clear a massive inventory of unsold vehicles from dealer lots (desparate not to start a profit-killing price war). "We believe we can sell our way out," said GM, but as Morgan Stanley warns, "the best of the U.S. auto replacement cycle is over." Good luck...
As Deutsche Bank revealed in a note overnight, the GCC may have, quite deliberately, opened a Pandora's Box with its decision which according to Europe's largest bank, and the one whose derivatives exposure makes that of JPM pale by comparison, (i) made it clear it regards OMT as exceeding the competences granted to the ECB by the European Treaty and that (ii) would not consider itself bound by a positive ruling of the European Court of Justice. And while in DB's opinion this action does not have any immediate market consequences, the report's authors think that it "alters substantially the level of insurance we could expect from the ECB against any return of sovereign turmoil."
U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes. It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States. The question, then, is simply this: Can U.S. foreign policy be fixed? We propose a four-pronged solution from the following perspectives: Founding Fathers, military, congressional, libertarian.
Are fish from the Pacific safe to eat? What about the elevated background radiation readings detected in Japan, and recently in California? Are these harmful levels? Should we be worried? And if so, what should be done about these potential health threats? What steps should we take to protect ourselves? Fukushima-related fears have been both overblown as well as heavily downplayed by parties on each side of the discussion. Much of this stems from ignorance of the underlying science. But some of it, sadly, seems to be purposefully misleading. Again, on both sides. To assess the true risks accurately, you need to know about the difference between radiation and contamination. The distinction is vital and, unfortunately, one of the most glossed-over and misused facets of the reporting on nuclear energy.