With stock markets roller-coasting by the most on record, February pending home sales rose 3.5% MoM (seasonally-adjusted) dramatically beating expectations. In fact, sales spiked 29.5% MoM (non-seasonally-adjusted) - the best February spike ever. Price gains have slowed notably, which is being cheered by NAR's Larry Yun, but notably the majority of the sales surge in Feb was driven by an 11.4% spike in The Midwest (biggest since Dec 2008).
Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization and the source of most of the trends and bodies of knowledge that define modernity. The average European speaks several languages versus sometimes less than one for Americans. They are, in short, a well-schooled people with vast accumulated wisdom. So how do we explain this...
While the February personal consumption expenditures (aka personal spending) - that all important data about the well-being of the US consumer - was in line with expectations rising 0.1%, it was the January revision that was striking. From a 0.5% increase reported a month ago, it was now revised to a paltry 0.1%. In nominal dollar terms, this means that instead of US consumer spending a whopping $67.5 billion more in January, the increase was a paltry $14.7 billion, a delta of $52.8 billion!
Amid a post-holiday Asian open, gold futures were flash-crashed as someone decided it was an opportune time to trade over $275 million worth of the precious metal. Since hitting those China open lows at $1206, gold has rallied back to unchanged near $1223.
As this reality-check data shows, we never really had any sort of meaningful “economic recovery”, and now we have entered the early phases of the next major downturn. So where do we go from here? Unfortunately, our debt-fueled prosperity has provided us with a massively inflated standard of living that is not even close to sustainable. As this bubble bursts, the economic pain is going to be absolutely unprecedented.
Having spent a couple of days glad-handing (and watching baseball) with Raul Castro in Cuba, 89-year-old Fidel Castro has come out swinging against "the empire" with a bristling 1500-word open letter recounting the history of US aggression against Cuba suggesting Obama "reflects and doesn't try to develop theories about Cuban politics." Despite all of The White House's claims of progress, Castro rages "we don't need the empire to give us any presents."
Headline data for income modestly beat expectations (+0.2% MoM vs +0.1% MoM) and spending met expectations at +0.1% MoM respectively. Income growth YoY slowed to 4.0% however - near its weakest since Nov 2013. Spending growth also slowed to +3.8% YoY (from 2.9% in Jan) but the big story is the major downward revisions in spending. January's +0.5% 'surge' in spending was revised to a mere +0.1% trickle - the weakest in over a year.
"The meeting is turning more and more into a farce,” analysts at Commerzbank led by Eugen Weinberg said in a report. “It is hardly surprising that Libya is not interested in the Doha meeting. Like Iran, it first wants to increase output and then talk about a freeze."
Back in December, New York-based China Beige Book International released what they called a “disturbing” set of data that pointed to pronounced weakness in the Chinese economy. Things have not gotten any better since then and according to the CBB's latest quarterly survey, Chinese firms are now "allergic to hiring."
With European markets closed across the continent on Monday as the Easter holiday continues, overnight Asia was busy with China Shanghai Composite letting off some steam, and closing down 0.7% at session lows on concerns the Shanghai and Shenzhen home bubble have been popped by the politburo, Japan was a different story with the Yen sliding following a report by the Sankei newspaper that Abe will announce in May his intention to delay the planned levy hike, coupled with additional reports that Japan will unveil a major fiscal stimulus (and just on Friday Abe said he is "not thinking at all about supplemental budget" at this time).
Today law as a shield of the people has been lost. The loss was gradual over time and culminated in the George W. Bush and Obama regime assaults on habeas corpus and due process. Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy. By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.
Overnight, a mysterious tombstone on behalf of Donald J. Trump (the date of death is blank: 1946 - ...) was erected in Central Park. While plenty of people shared photos of the tombstone on social media, no one seems to know what it means, other than "being a prank of questionable taste"...
As TVIX, the double-levered long VIX ETF unleashed in Nov 2010, decays to record low prices, an unusual (and almost unprecedented) event has occurred. Just as we saw in Gold ETFs, and Oil ETFs, TVIX Shares Outstanding have exploded by a stunning 225% in the last 4 weeks with the largest inflows (bearish bets) on record in the last week. The entire VIX complex is perturbed as the huge bearish TVIX flows contrast with the complacency of the steepest term structure since Nov 2014 (post Bullard-Bounce) and net speculative positioning at its shortest VIX (most bullish) in 2016.
There is effectively no state in Ukraine. The authorities are busy ingratiating themselves with every available power figure — the US Embassy, local oligarchs, Right Sector, and various Mafia groups — seeing in those the only keys to the government’s own legitimacy and ability to hold on to power. But one point that they apparently do not understand is that any government lacking public support on the ground and dependent on exterior agents is more vulnerable than they could ever imagine.
"The escape options are a mixture of the ineffectual, the limited, the risky, the foolhardy or the excessively slow. As Japan’s recent experiments have demonstrated, upping the monetary dosage alone is not enough to cure the affliction. Indeed, to the extent that monetary stimulus only encourages a further wave of risk-taking within financial markets – often outside of the mainstream banking system - it may only perpetuate unstable deflationary stagnation."