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.
Just a few months ago, we warned Brazil's economy was on the verge of collapse as the fiscal situation was deteriorating rapidly. It appears, judging by the most recent data from the oil-rich nation, that we were right. Broad retail sales have now declined for five consecutive months with the seasonally adjusted broad retail sales index now at the same level as early 2012. Core retail sales declined 3.5% YoY during April (weakest print since Aug 2003) and broad retail sales declined by an even larger 8.5% YoY (lowest on record), and as Goldman warns, the outlook for private consumption and retail sales in the near term remains very weak.
Last week the government reported personal income and spending for April. After months of blaming non-existent consumer spending on cold weather, shockingly occurring during the Winter, the captured mainstream media pundits, Ivy League educated Wall Street economist lackeys, and Keynesian loving money printers at the Fed have run out of propaganda to explain why Americans are not spending money they don’t have. The corporate mainstream media is now visibly angry with the American people for not doing what the Ivy League propagated Keynesian academic models say they should be doing. An economy built upon the consumption of iGadgets, Cheetos, meat lovers stuffed crust pizza, and slave labor produced Chinese baubles, along with the production of enough arms to blow up the world ten times over, and the doling out of trillions to the non-productive class, is doomed to fail.
Although a slew of ‘experts’ say the darndest things (e.g.Bloomberg ‘Intelligence’s Carl Riccadonna: “You had equity markets benefit from QE, but eventually QE also jump-started the broader recovery.. Ultimately everyone’s benefiting.”), we can’t get rid of this one other nagging question: who needs an expert to tell them that today’s markets are riddled with bubbles, given that they are the size of obese gigantosauruses about to pump out quadruplets?
This is not what the American Dream is made of... US consumers got a generous 0.4% rise in incomes in April - better than the 0.3% expectation - but none of it was spent! Personal Spending was unchanged - missing expectations for the 5th month of last 6. What this means is obvious, Americans are saving more (savings rate surged from 5.2% to 5.6%) and spending less... this is not the wealth effect creating 70%-of-GDP-consuming world that The Fed's textbooks say it should be...
"...it is imperative that the data does turnaround during 2015h2 for the recent rise in yields to be sustained. It is quite surprising to us that there is so much focus on US employment data and Fed Funds normalization to the exclusion of global trade data or US demand let alone productivity. A case perhaps of the lunatics trying to run the asylum."
The myth of the resurgent US consumer, who was somehow supposed to benefit massively from the "unambiguously good" plunge in oil and gas prices, has been gutted and eviscerated, with the latest confirmation coming from the Personal Income and Spending data, in which we find that not only did personal income not grow in March, with wage growth the lowest in 2015 (with manufacturing workers' incomes coming flat and Trade and Transportation wages actually down), but because spending rose by a weaker than expected 0.4% in March, the 4th miss in the past 5 months, US personal savings have resumed declining and all those "gas savings" are finally being spent: just not where they should be spent, and not in the amounts hoped.
There is a $100 trillion bond market out there that has been priced by a handful of central bankers, not a planet teeming with exhuberant savers. The mad descent of the former into the whacky world of QE and ZIRP has caused a double whammy distortion in the bond markets of the world. So, no, there isn’t a savings glut in the world; there is an outbreak of destructive central bank bond buying and money market price pegging that is virtually destroying the world’s bond market. What we have is a fraud wrapped in a bogus theory. Only none dare call it that. At least, not on bubblevision.
We simply don’t see any time in the future that would see Americans start spending again at a rate anywhere near what would be required for an economic recovery. However, that is by no means a generally accepted point of view in the financial press; and so these issues must be addressed time and again until people begin to understand, and quit making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons. People have a right to know what’s truly happening to their lives, and their societies. And they’re not nearly getting enough of it through the ‘official’ press.
There are a host of signs as of late, including price momentum and internal deterioration in the financial markets, that suggests the risks are rising. For investors, this is critically important since the majority of major market reversions are coincident with economic recessions. While it is very likely that economic activity will bounce in the second quarter (data does not move in a straight line), it will likely be weaker than currently anticipated.