World Economic Outlook
In what Bloomberg's Richard Breslow calls "a sign of the times, and not a good one" the weekend has been dominated by politicians commenting on the ECB. Not only did Erdogan un-independently suggest Turkish policy action today (as we noted here), but now Merkel, Hollande, Noonan etc. are all telling you what the ECB should do or indeed will do and then telling you that, of course, the ECB is independent. Central Banks have essentially become enormous sovereign wealth funds manipulating the markets and very much in the thrall of geo-political events. This is a very problematic development which is an inevitable follow-on to the activism of central banks in their policy conduct.
Top ten things that investors will likely be watching in the week ahead.
It seems rather appropriate that just seven days after the US government hit a whopping $18 trillion in debt, mainstream financial media has picked up the IMF’s recent World Economic Outlook report, which puts the US economy as #2 in the world. China obviously has its own substantial problems, but over the last several decades one thing is for certain - China (and Asia in general) is a place where production and savings are valued. The universal law of wealth is to produce more than you consume. The West has completely broken that.
Of the last 150 years of developed market monetary policy, we suspect nothing will prepare market participants or Fed members for the twisted terms and double-speak the FOMC will try to unleash today as they attempt to 'end' the most extreme policy measures ever. Goldman Sachs' 'base-case' for today's FOMC is a "steady as she goes" message with few substantive changes in language and asset purchases ending on schedule... but Goldman warns, recent macro and market action might bias the Fed dovish.
"While monetary weapons can be a good first step to remedying an economic crisis, they are clearly not enough on a standalone basis to return an economy to stability and growth. My concern is that there has been an almost total academic capture of the mechanism of the Fed and other central banks around the world by neo-Keynesian thinking and hence policymaking, while the executive and legislative branches of the government have turned a blind eye to the necessary reforms. So while the plan has thus far worked brilliantly for Wall Street, what central bankers have succeeded in doing is preventing, or at least postponing, the hard choices and legislative actions necessary by our politicians to fully implement a sustainable and prosperous future for our children—and theirs...Today I view the world as “risk-uncertain,” and in these instances I recommend the armored vehicle."
One would think that after last week's market rout, the worst in years, that Goldman clients would have just one question: why just a month after you, chief Goldman strategist David Kostin said to "Buy Stocks Because Hedge Funds Suck; Also Chase Momentum And Beta", are stocks crashing? No really: this is literally what Kostin said in the first days of September: "investors should buy stocks which should benefit from a combination of beta, momentum, and popularity as funds attempt to remedy their weak YTD performance heading into late 2014." Turns out frontrunning the world's most overpaid money losers wasn't such a great strategy after all. In any event, that is not what Goldman's clients are asking. Instead as David Kostin informs us in his weekly letter to Jim Hanson's beloved creations, "every client inquiry focused on the same four topics: global growth, FX, oil, and small-caps."
Global Equities In "Sea Of Red" After German Industrial Data Horror, Hints Japan May Give Up On Weak YenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/07/2014 05:44 -0500
While the economic data, especially out of Europe, just keeps getting worse by the day, with the latest confirmation that Europe is now officially in a triple-dip recession coming out of Germany and the previously observed collapse in Industrial Production which tumbled the most since February 2009, it was once again the Dollar and especially the New Normal favorite currency, the Yen, that was in everyone's sights overnight, when it first jumped to 109.20 only to slide shortly after midnight eastern, when Abe repeated once again that a plunging Yen is hurting small companies and consumers - and to think it only took him 2 years to read what we said would happen in late 2012 - but also the BOJ minutes which did not reveal any addition easing, which apparently disappointed algos and triggered USDJPY slel programs, pushing the USDJPY 80 pips lower to 108.40.
While the biggest micro news of the weekend is certainly the report that Hewlett-Packard has finally thrown in the towel on organic growth (all those thousands laid off over the past ten years can finally breathe easily - they were not fired in vain), and has proceeded to do what so many said was its only real option: splitting into two separate companies, a personal-computer and printer business, and corporate hardware and services operations (which will certainly lead to even more stock buybacks only not at one but two companies) which in turn has sent its stock and futures higher, perhaps the most notable development in the macro world is Japan's realization finally that the weaker Yen is crushing domestic businesses, which has resulted in the USDJPY sliding to lows last seen at Friday's jobs report print, and also generally leading to across the board wekness for the dollar, whose relentless surge in the past 3 months is strongly reminiscent of the euphoria following the Plaza Accord, only in the other direction (and making some wonder if the Plaza Hotel caterer are about to see a rerun of September 22, 1985 in the coming weeks).
Today, high inflation seems so remote that many analysts treat it as little more than a theoretical curiosity. They are wrong to do so. No matter how much central banks may wish to present the level of inflation as a mere technocratic decision, it is ultimately a social choice. And some of the very pressures that helped to contain inflation for the past two decades have been retreating. Modern central banking has worked wonders to bring down inflation. Ultimately, however, a central bank's anti-inflation policies can work only within the context of a macroeconomic and political framework that is consistent with price stability. Inflation may be dormant, but it is certainly not dead.
Readers are familiar with our quarterly summary of the IMF's laughable forecasts, which we compile after every quarterly release of the fund's World Economic Outlook. Moments ago, the IMF released its latest update for world growth and trade for 2014 and 2015. Since we have said it all already, we will cut straight to the charts.
IMF Cuts US GDP From 2.0% To 1.7% As US Retail Sales Forecast Slashed From 4.1% To 3.6%: Winter BlamedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/23/2014 11:05 -0500
This is what happens when a priced to perfection global economy (and well beyond perfection based on the S&P 500) runs into the utterly and completely unpredictable and unforseeable "harsh winter weather."
The positive sentiment stemming from a positive close on Wall Street and saw Shanghai Comp (+0.33%), Hang Seng (+1.09%) trade higher, failed to support the Nikkei 225 (-2.10%), which underperformed its peers and finished in the red amid JPY strength as BoJ's Kuroda failed to hint on more easing. Stocks in Europe (Eurostoxx50 +0.32%) traded higher since the open, with Bunds also under pressure amid the reversal in sentiment.
Alcoa kicked off earnings season yesterday, with shares up 3% in after-market hours. Focus now turns to the release of the FOMC meeting minutes.
Another quarter, and another attempt at predicting the future by the people whose predictions have become the biggest butt of all economics jokes, even more so than Paul Krugman columns. We are talking, of course, about the IMF's World Economic Outlook update.
Some out there were waiting on the International Monetary Fund’s new World Economic Outlook report to be issued today. Some were waiting. Most didn’t care, since it was going to contain a tissue of inter-woven statements that probably say what we have already been thinking (at least we could have hoped that they might be that honest) about the dire straits of the world economy.
Markets have started the week on the back foot, despite a brief rally following a better-than-expected Q4 GDP print in China. Indeed, Asian equities recorded a small pop following the GDP report, but the gains were shortlived as the general negativity on China’s growth trajectory continues to weigh on Asian markets. In terms of the data itself, China’s Q4 GDP (7.7% YoY) was slightly ahead of expectations of 7.6% but it was slower than Q3’s 7.8%. DB’s China economist Jun Ma maintains his view that economic growth will likely accelerate in 2014 on stronger external demand and the benefits from deregulation. The slight slowdown was also evident in China’s December industrial production (9.7% YoY vs 10% previous), fixed asset investment (19.6% YoY vs 19.9% previous) and retail sales (13.6% vs 13.7% previous) data which were all released overnight. Gains in Chinese growth assets were quickly pared and as we type the Shanghai Composite (-0.8%), HSCEI (-1.1%) and AUDUSD (-0.1%) are all trading weaker on the day. On a more positive note, the stocks of mining companies BHP (+0.29%) and Rio Tinto (+0.26%) are trading flat to slightly firmer and LME copper is up 0.1%. Across the region, equities are generally trading lower paced by the Nikkei (-0.5%) and the Hang Seng (-0.7%). Staying in China, the 7 day repo rate is another 50bp higher to a three month high of 9.0% with many investors continuing to focus on the Chinese shadow banking system following the looming restructuring of a $500m trust product that was sold to ICBC’s customers.