When one strips away all the "double seasonal adjustments", all the non-GAAP masking tape, all the pro-forma addbacks, all the constant brainwashing propaganda where if one excludes all the bad things are great, and certainly the $22 trillion in central bank liquidity injections to keep crony capitalism as we know it alive in what is now a 7-year-old attempt to restore the post-crash confidence (which is failing thanks to the $57 trillion in debt added since then) what is one left with?
Well, the monthly retail sales of Caterpillar is a good place to start. Because far from confirming a "recovery" or ever stagnation, one look at the ongoing destruction in end demand for products of this industrial and heavy-machinery bellwether confirms nothing short of the second great depression.
And while in the past few months there had been some hope that the US was indeed decoupling from the rest of the world following a 5% Y/Y increase in retail sales in April, the tumble in May to just 1% for North America indicates that contrary to hopes that the US may pull the rest of the world up from its epic slump, it is the rest of the world (where China just posted a 17% drop in demand, while Latin America cratered by -50%) that is succeeding in dragging the US down into an upcoming global recession.
Actually did we say recession? That was the 19 month period following the Great Financial Crisis. The current interval, in which CAT retail sales have dropped for an unprecedented 30 months in a row (!) at an average monthly pace of -10% suggests that, when stripping away all the endless veneer and propaganda, there is nothing short of a Second Great Depression just below the surface.