There is really no argument whether there will be a recession in our future — the only question is the timing and cause of it. The latter point is the most important. Recessions do not just happen — they need a push. In 2011 the economy was just a breath away from a recession due to the dual impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the European debt crisis. Had it not been for the combined efforts of the Fed through "Operation Twist" and the Long Term Refinancing Operations via the ECB, a drop in oil prices and a plunge in utility costs due to the warmest winter in 65 years, it is entirely likely that that we may have already been discussing a "recession." The ECRI launched a debate that was literally heard around the world with their recessionary call in 2011. The weight of evidence as shown by our composite economic output indicator index shows that the ECRI call was most likely correct. However, the restart of manufacturing, primarily automotive, after the crisis in Japan combined with an effective $90 billion tax credit due to lower oil and utility costs, turned the previously slowing growth rate of the economy around over the last couple of quarters. Sustainability is becoming the question now as weather patterns return to a more normal cycle and the effects of the lower energy costs began to dissipate. In a more normal post recessionary recovery the third year should be closer to a 6-8% economic growth rate versus 2%. While 2% growth is much better than zero — the current sub-par pace of growth leaves the economy standing on the edge of the pool with very little stability to offset any unexpected "push" into the cold waters of recession. The problem is identifying what that "push" could likely be.
In the early hours of the European session, continental markets opened higher, reacting to yesterday’s positive performance in the US. Sentiment quickly turned as continental Europe released its respective Manufacturing PMI figures, with even the core European nations recording declines in the sector and lower-than-expected readings. Despite the poor data, some major cash markets are clinging on to positive territory, as the CAC and DAX indices both trade higher. The Spanish and Italian markets, however, tell a different story. With both their respective PMIs recording significant declines, both now trade lower by around 2% apiece. Against the flow of bad Eurozone news, the UK has released an expectation-beating Construction PMI figure, going somewhat against last week’s breakdown of the official GDP statistics. Markit research cites strength in commercial work and new orders as the main driver for the growth. The downbeat data from Europe has taken its toll on EUR/USD, currently trading lower by over 90 pips, but the pair has come off the lows in recent trade. GBP/USD has mirrored the moves in the EUR and trades lower by over 40 pips, however some support has been gained from the strong Construction PMI.
- European Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest in Almost 15 Years (Bloomberg)
- Chinese Activist Leaves U.S. Embassy (WSJ)
- China April bank loans slide 30 pct from March-paper (Reuters)
- Moody's warns against lack of tax hike in Japan (Reuters)
- RIM CEO Bets on BlackBerry Without Keyboard to Challenge Apple (Bloomberg)
- European visits focus on boosting trade (China Daily)
- Martin Wolf- After the bonfire of the verities (FT)
- German Jobless Unexpectedly Up in April as Crisis Flared (Bloomberg)
- Romney Refuses to See China Progress on Yuan (Bloomberg)
- Bolivia Following Argentine Takeover Deepens Regional Divide (Bloomberg)
- Plosser Says Fed Must Guard Against Long-Term Inflation (Bloomberg)
All you need to read and some more.
Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,661.25, EUR 1,253.02, and GBP 1,024.70 per ounce. Yesterday's AM fix was USD 1,662.50, EUR 1,256.61 and GBP 1,021.44 per ounce.
Silver is trading at $30.85/oz, €23.37/oz and £19.10/oz. Platinum is trading at $1,570.00/oz, palladium at $677.60/oz and rhodium at $1,350/oz.
While cycle or wave analysis is often dismissed for its tough-to-utilize-going-forward nature, Charles Hugh-Smith and Gordon T. Long expertly and thoroughly discuss a myriad of critical processes that the world (and endogenously or exogenously human beings and markets) transitions through in this clip. The intersection of Hugh-Smith's four critical trends (generational (or Fourth Turning), wage-inflation/stagnation, credit expansion/contraction, and energy extraction/depletion) is where we find ourselves as he notes directly that the generational cycle (of four twenty-year cycles culminating in massive geopolitical upheaval) is due to climax in the not-too-distant future. This presentation, which builds on the idea of behavioral changes and the generational knowledge transfer that for instance is now missing from the last great depression (do we need to learn the lesson of "excess credit is bad" once again?), is akin to 'everything you wanted to know about long-waves in social, political, and economic cycles but were afraid to ask'.
Where the Heck is the Moolah?
This Is the First Time In History that All Central Banks Have Printed Money at the Same Time … And They’re Failing MiserablySubmitted by George Washington on 05/01/2012 18:44 -0400
Simultaneous Global Printing Is Failing Miserably
Hard landing, soft landing, civil unrest, dominant economic superpower – the forecasts flow freely regarding China. The fact that good data is hard to come by regarding China does not seem to inhibit many outside observers. In this piece I will look at China through the lens of economic structure, Chinese history and culture—concepts which a number of observers often overlook. My general conclusion is that Chinese GDP growth rates are about to undergo a gradual but nevertheless perceptible decline. But I now believe a hard landing crash is unlikely, assuming that Europe does not totally disintegrate and the US does not roll over into a full scale recession.
Google vs .GOV vs Apple vs Telcos: .GOV keeps old way of doing business alive for current broadband cos. Roads are expensive too, but we have found ways to build them without requiring tolls at the end of our driveways.
For the first time in what may be ages, a phenomenon that has become near and dear to anyone who trades gold, and which at best elicits a casual smirk from those who observe it several times daily, we find that the WSJ has finally picked up on the topic of the endless daily gold slam down, where the seller in complete disregard for market disruption (because in a normal world one wants to sell any given lot without notifying the market that one is selling so as to get a good price on the next lot... but not in the gold market where the seller slams the bid with reckless abandon) ignores market depth and in a demonstration of nothing but brute price manipulation force, slams every bid down just to demoralize further buying. Naturally, that this simply provides buyers with a more depressed price than is "fair" is lost on the seller, but not on the buyers who promptly bid up the metal as attempt to demoralize buying end in failure after failure. Yet it is peculiar that today, for the first time, the intraday gold slam down has finally made the MSM. To wit: "The CME Group Inc.’s Comex division recorded an unusually large transaction of 7,500 gold futures during one minute of trading at 8:31 a.m. EDT. The sale took out blocks of bids as large as 84 contracts in one fell swoop and cut prices down to $1,648.80 a troy ounce. The overall transaction was worth more than $1.24 billion... Gold traders buzzed with speculation that the transaction was an input error — a so-called “fat finger” trade. “Or a Gold Finger as it might be known in the bullion market,” traders at Citi joked in a note to clients." Well, no. It wasn't.
US Celllular Carriers Are At Risk Of Being Marginalized Into Nothingness Unless They Learn To Think Outside The Box... YesterdaySubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/30/2012 13:52 -0400
As creativity dies, so will the usefulness of the US cellular carrier.
It is amazing that so few cannot see the new millenium's Microsoft, potentially dominating mobile and desktop computing on a cloudy day!
All major European bourses are trading lower with the exception of the DAX, which holds just above the open by a modest margin. Adidas ranks among the top performers in the German index, following the report of a strong set of sales figures, contributing to the positive trade. Spanish concerns continue to build up as Standard & Poor’s took ratings action on 16 of the country’s banks, downgrading the notable names of Banco Santander and BBVA. Although the move was not a surprise as this is the usual procedure following a sovereign downgrade, both Santander and BBVA, along with the IBEX are in negative territory. The Bund is seen higher amid a generally risk-off theme to markets this morning. Volumes have been relatively light, however a slight pick-up has been observed in recent trade, grinding the security upwards in the last hour or so. EUR/USD continues to experience weakness and now trades close to a touted option expiry of 1.3200, as traders seek the safety of the USD across a number of currency crosses.
Hugh Hendry is back with a bang after a two year hiatus with what so many have been clamoring for, for so long - another must read letter from one of the true (if completely unsung) visionary investors of our time: "I have not written to you at any great length since the winter of 2010. This is largely because not much has happened to change our views. We still see the global economy as grotesquely distorted by the presence of fixed exchange rates, the unraveling of which is creating financial anarchy, just as it did in the 1920s and 1930s. Back then the relevant fixes were around the gold standard. Today it is the dual fixed pricing regimes of the euro countries and of the dollar/renminbi peg."