Has The US Been Living In A 'Field-Of-Dreams' Since Mar09?

While the immensity of both fiscal and monetary stimulus in the US has been exponentially covered by any and all with some suggesting too much and some suggesting too little, we remain somewhat nonplussed by the disconnects we see from what seem 'sensible' and intuitive relationships of days gone by. We noted yesterday the retail sales vs confidence/sentiment disconnects continue to amaze but today's piece-de-resistance is the Inventory-to-Shipments ratio which continues to rise back towards Mar09 peak levels as GDP growth disconnects entirely. The 'if-we-build-it' mentality seems to have created nothing in terms of real demand and as we noted earlier this morning, absolute inventories continue to rise rapidly. Given, the empirical relationship between Inventories-to-Shipments and GDP growth, we would expect significantly weak economic performance (but we guess government-sponsored student lending or GM channel stuffing will continue to create the illusion of growth required for equity managers to pump).

The dislocation from the March 2009 lows is incredible as the Inventory-to-Shipments ratio (inverted in the chart) sends very different signals than the entirely goal-seeked GDP growth figure which appears to be back-stopped by transfer payments and band-aids.

Chart: Bloomberg

(hattip @andrewyorks)


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