While US floor markets are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday (equity, rates and energy futures are open until 1pm Eastern), Europe and Asia (as well as US equity futures) were busy rebounding overnight on strength in the commodity complex following yesterday's news that China's metals producers have asked for a wholesale government bailout or the "QEmmodity" as we have dubbed it, for the first time since 2009, which together with news that China would soon start arresting "malicious metal sellers" has provided a push for commodity prices across the board.
If this data is accurate, and keep in mind the BEA has a habit of revising spending higher after it revises income, to "boost" GDP as we revealed last year, this means that the US consumer is hunkering down at an unprecedented pace, and the 5.6% savings rate is now the highest since 2012, suggesting not only are US consumer unwilling to spending much money, but are actively worried about what is coming just around the corner.
The investment thesis for gold has never been limited to popular relationships, such as CPI-type inflation, financial meltdown or political instability. We prefer to focus on the irretrievable gap between financial assets (claims on future output) and productive output (GDP). In essence, the most compelling reason to own gold is that financial assets have lost their underpinnings to sustainable productive output.
The mid-year bounce is over. Both Personal Income (+0.1% vs +0.2% exp) and Personal Spending (+0.1% vs +0.2% exp) missed expectations and slowed dramatically. This is the weakest spending growth since January and weakest income growth since March driving the savings rate to its highest since April.
Having government control over the levers of the economy can have advantages. For example, by taking prompt action, the Chinese government was able to pull the economy out of the recession remarkably fast, basically by fire-housing the stimulus package that was equivalent to 12% GDP. That’s the advantage. The only problem is that these kinds of short-term advantages come with long-term, painful consequences.
Personal income rose at 0.3% MoM in August, the weakest growth and biggest miss since March's tumble. At the same time spending rose 0.4% MoM, slightly more than expected. Of course this relative shift means the savings rate declined from 4.7% to 4.6%, which is to be cheered by economic models the emphasize spending over saving.
The negative feedback look between Brazil's political and economic crises is serving to make each day worse than the last. Tuesday was no exception...
Everything is so wonderful that a rate hike would equate to saying the Fed has won. Seven years of ZIRP and a few selling periods when the Fed stopped POMO’s and QE injections, we can easily say with extreme confidence that the Fed won. And by won we mean didn’t ruin the system entirely. Except they did.
When the bubble vision stock peddlers get desperate, they talk decoupling. So by the end of yesterday’s bloodbath you would have thought China was on another planet, and that “commodities” were some trinket-like collectibles gathered by people who don’t wear long pants, drink coca cola or jabber on their cell phones. On these fine shores, of course, its all awesome from sea to shinning sea. So don’t be troubled. Buy the dip.
While the headline spending and income data consists of marginal moves, personal spending missed expectations by the largest amount since the dismal weather-strewn days of January. Consumption rose 0.3% in July, less than the 0.4% expectation and flat from the 0.3% June print. Income rose 0.4% - in line with expectations - ticking up YoY to 4.3% 0 juiced by a $13 billion government transfer receipts print - the most since March. The savings rate ticked up once again as those darned consumers refuse to spend as the elite demand.
Here is an overview of next week's events and data placed in the larger context.
What if the assumptions about a U.S. economic recovery and Fed rate hikes were wrong? Could observers be mistaken now about the trajectory of the Dollar vs. the Euro as they were back in 2000? Confidence is the only thing that really undergirds modern fiat currencies. But confidence can be very ephemeral...disappearing as quickly as it arrives. The U.S. Dollar benefits from confidence that the Euro currency may just be unworkable, that the U.S. economy will continue to improve, and that the Fed will raise rates throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. If these expectations are unfulfilled, there could be a Euro reversal.
The good news, personal income rose a better than expected 0.4% MoM (flat to the previous month's revised lower growth). The 'meh' news, personal spending rose just 0.2% - meeting expectations - but slowing its growth dramatically from the 0.7% revised May data. And the bad news, real personal spending was unchanged in June, its weakest growth (or lack of it) since February. This means the savings rate rose from 4.6% in May to 4.8% in June - its second lowest in 2015 (but increasing just as The Fed hopes for excape velocity consumption confirmed by their rate hikes in a circular logic fallacy).
While slightly later than expected, a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program has now been reached. As Reuters reports, the agreement will be greeted with alarm in several quarters, both in Washington and Tehran and internationally too, and could yet unravel. Internationally, the deal will accelerate unease in some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, but it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who remains the fiercest public critic and has issued a warning that the accord will "inevitably lead to a nuclear war." The deal profoundly changes the balance of power in the region, but averts the conflict that was likely otherwise, but as ECStrat notes, Iran offers exceptional investment opportunities, but the near term impact will be to continue oil’s decline back to its lows, potentially taking energy stocks with it.
After 6 straight months of decline in annual spending growth, May saw YoY spending pop 3.6% (the most since Dec 2014). After an unchanged April, May expectations for spending were a 0.7% jump but the data blew that away, printing a 0.9% MoM jump - the biggest since August 2009 and biggest beat since Jan 2013. Personal Income only grew at 0.5% (still the highest MoM jump since March 2014) driving the savings rate down to 5.1% - the lowest since December. Before Steve Liesman and his buddies get too excited - spending was driven mainly by a 4.72% surge in spending on Energy goods & services - not exactly what the discretionary buying consumer-oriented society that is required to keep the dream alive was looking for. Spending Ex-Energy is the lowest since March 2011. Finally we note non-durable spending topped durables and this exuberant GDP-boosting spendfest (un-save-fest) provides more ammo for an earlier Fed rate hike.