Who could have seen that coming? It appears that for all the bluster that the US economy could somehow decouple from the rest of the world's demise (when as always it is simply and timing issue - lagged response), America's manufacturing renaissance is dying. Markit's US Manufacturing PMI printed 53.7 in January, missed expectations of 54.0 falling for the 5th month in a row to the lowest in 12 months. While day after day, investors are told that low oil prices are unambiguously good for America, Manufacturing PMI was last lower than this in October 2013 as survey respondents note clients operating in the oil and gas sector have weighed on new order volumes in January.
Our question is this: if indeed the shale boom is now turning to bust, and if indeed the vast majority of jobs created were thanks to the shale revolution (which is about to go in reverse), what happens to the primary source of high-paying jobs: the energy sector? Before you answer, take a look at the following chart, courtesy of the Dallas Fed.
"Some Folks Are Buying Cars..." President Obama Explains Why Subprime Auto Loans Are Great For America - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2015 16:27 -0500
This should be good... On the same day as the administration pushes through 3% down FHA loans for some insane reason, President Obama is in Michigan to discuss the renaissance of the US Autoo industry (or more correctly described- the rebirth of the subprime lending bubble)...
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
Reading headlines and social media commentary in last night's thin trading, one could have been excused for thinking the collapse of global crude oil prices was over and a new renaissance had begun as 'watchers' proclaimed WTI's spurt above $55 (for a nanosecond) as indicative of the lows being in. However, just hours later, following weak European data (and a recognition of massively offside speculative positioning), WTI has collapsed over $3 from the highs and is testing towards a $51 handle.
For all those who think the upcoming carnage to the shale industry will be "contained" we refer to the following research report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. For the impatient ones, here is the punchline: "The $300–$400 billion overall annual economic gain from the oil & gas boom has been greater than the average annual GDP growth of $200–$300 billion in recent years—in other words, the economy would have continued in recession if it were not for the unplanned expansion of the oil & gas sector."
Moments ago we learned that for all talk of a commodity "bottom", the "energetic" dead cat has resumed its inverse bounce. To wit:
- BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEX EXTENDS DROP TO LOWEST SINCE 2009
So what does that mean? The answer: it all depends on whose narrative one chooses to believe and/or which narrative the US Ministry of truth is promoting at any given day in order to boost confidence.
Fast forward to today when we are about to learn that Newton's third law of Keynesian economics states that every boom, has an equal and opposite bust. Which brings us to Texas, the one state that more than any other, has benefited over the past 5 years from the Shale miracle. And now with crude sinking by the day, it is time to unwind all those gains, and give back all those jobs. Did we mention: highly compensated, very well-paying jobs, not the restaurant, clerical, waiter, retail, part-time minimum-wage jobs the "recovery" has been flooded with. Here is JPM's Michael Feroli explaining why Houston suddenly has a very big problem.
The attention being brought to bear upon Greece highlights once again the hollow nature of the “recovery” in Greece, Europe and the western world. The crisis is far from resolved - merely to use the very true cliche - kicked down the road. Well we appear to be coming towards the end of the road in Greece and this could set the stage for the next stage of the Eurozone debt crisis.
Just a few short months ago, investors were "buy buy buy"-ing the fact that The Baltic Dry Index had resurged off multi-year lows 'proving' China's renaissance and that world economic growth will re-approach Nirvana. Simply put, with collapsing commodity prices (iron ore for instance) and massive fleets of credit-driven mal-investment-based vessels, it should surprise no one that the shipping index just plunged back below 1000, now at its lowest for this time of year since 2008. Furthermore, the seasonal bounce always seen in Q3 was among the weakest ever. But apart from that, buy stocks...
In the 16th century, Spain was, in fact, the greatest power in Europe during a significant chunk of the renaissance, and she had her overseas dominions to prove it. How times have changed. Today Spain is in financial straits, and most of her former colonies are in far better economic shape. And as the gloomy economic landscape in Europe has dried up opportunities for young Spaniards, many have started to look to South America to start new careers.
The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis. The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.
While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives.
The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go ExtinctSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2014 09:05 -0500
On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.