With all eyes and talking heads focused on the 'weather', it seems cold, wet, snowy, and frigid are the most GDP-destructive adjectives. However, as Bloomberg reports, the drought out West is starting to infiltrate U.S. housing data, according to the chief economist of a homebuilders' group, and weakening a major part of the nation's economy.
Sentiment in general remains poor and all the focus is on gold's weakness in dollar terms, despite gold's strong gains in euro terms in 2014 and so far in 2015. Poor sentiment is of course bullish from a contrarian perspective and suggests all the froth has been washed out of the gold market.
Moments ago the Department of Commerce reported March starts and permits data, which after the February collapse was expected by everyone to rebound strongly because, well, it didn't snow as much in March as it did in February. Apparently it did, because not only did Housing Starts miss massively, and just as bad as in February, printing at 926K, on expectations of a 1.040MM rebound from last month's revised 908K.
Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible. The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.
There were the usual trite, forgettable highlights in the just released beige snow book, which as summarized by Bloomberg, had the following highlights:
FED: ECONOMY EXPANDED IN MOST REGIONS MID-FEB. TO END-MARCH; HIGHER RETAIL SALES REPORTED BY MAJORITY OF REGIONAL FED BANKS; BEIGE BOOK: LABOR MARKETS STABLE OR SHOWED MODEST IMPROVEMENT; REGIONAL FEDS NOTED MODEST UPWARD WAGE AND PRICE PRESSURE;
One can ignore all of the above, because the only word that matters in the latest beige book was one: "Weather"
While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.
China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2015 06:55 -0400
If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v
A look ahead into next week's macro forces.
Today’s clueless Keynesian central bankers essentially believe that they can keep the pedal-to-the-metal until a 1970’s style inflationary spiral arises. But none is coming because the worldwide central bank money printing spree of the last two decades has generated massive excessive capacity and malinvestment all around the planet. What is coming, therefore, is not their father’s inflationary spiral, but an unprecedented and epochal global deflation. So the central banks just keep printing, thereby inflating the asset bubbles world-wide. What ultimately stops today’s new style central bank credit cycle, therefore, is bursting financial bubbles. That has already happened twice this century. A third proof of the case looks to be just around the corner.
Blogger Ben’s work is already done. In his very first substantive post as a civilian he gave away all the secrets of the monetary temple. The Bernank actually refuted the case for modern central banking in one blog. The truth is the real world of capitalism is far, far too complex and dynamic to be measured and assessed with the exactitude implied by Bernanke’s gobbledygook. In fact, what his purported necessity for choosing a rate “somewhere” actually involves is the age old problem of socialist calculation.
Weather-crushed January saw seasonally-adjusted Case-Shiller home prices - and as a reminder Case-Shiller expressly warns not to use seasonal data but opts for raw, unadjusted reporting - rise 0.87% MoM (better than expected), slower than the revised 0.91% gain in December. However, away from the 'make-everything-feel-better' adjustments, home prices slipped in January following December's brief interlude, leaving the index down 4 of the last 5 months. Of course, it goes witghout sayiung that weather was blamed, as they suggest, "unusually cold and wet weather may have weakened activity in some cities." What is more worrisome however, and farcical, is Case-Shiller's ominous warning against rate hikes, "home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback."
With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation’s growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.
Does it really take purportedly intelligent people six years to see that the macros are not responding? Better still, isn’t it time for the Fed to explain the exact channel by which its interest rate pegging and forward guidance is supposed to be transmitted to the main street economy? After all, if these channels are blocked or ineffective - then its flood of liquidity never leaves the canyons of Wall Street. In that event, the central bank actually functions as a financial doomsday machine, inflating the next financial bubble until it bursts. Then, apparently, its job is to rinse and repeat.
Energy accounts for 10% of Canadian GDP and around 25% of exports and the swift fall in oil prices is having a profound effect in the nation’s oil producing regions where home sales are collapsing by as much as 65%.