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Analysis Topic: Economic Trends Analysis

The analysis published under this topic are as follows.

Economics

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bernanke's JEC Testimony - Fed Still Worried Most About Inflation, However ... / Economics / US Economy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Am I missing something? Has not the FOMC marginally moved toward - not all the way to - an agnostic position with regard to its next likely directional change in the federal funds rate? That's what I took away from Fed Chairman Bernanke's JEC testimony and Q & A today. Yes, the FOMC still sees higher inflation as the "predominant policy concern ...[h]owever, the uncertainties around the outlook have increased somewhat in recent weeks."

One of those uncertainties has to do with business capital spending. To wit, "the magnitude of the slowdown [in business equipment and software expenditures] has been somewhat greater than would be expected given the normal evolution of the business cycle."

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Economics

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Learning Curves - Yield Curve turns Positive, Recession ? / Economics / US Economy

By: Brady_Willett

Yesterday CBS's Mark Hulbert attacked bearish 'advisors' that neglected to announce that the U.S. yield curve was no longer inverted. Apparently Mr. Hulbert believes that those who pointed out that recession usually follows a curve inversion should have immediately ratcheted down their recession odds because the curve told them to do so.

"I'd be a very poor man if my wealth were dependent on getting a dollar for every one of those advisers who, since late last week, has even acknowledged that the yield curve has become positive again - much less conceded that, by the logic of their previous argument, a recession has become less likely.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to be truly objective in this business."

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Economics

Thursday, March 22, 2007

US Recession Imminent? Both the Leading Economic Indicators and the KRWI are Flashing Warning Signs / Economics / US Economy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Today the Conference Board reported that its index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for February declined by 0.5% on the heel's of January's downwardly revised 0.3% drop. The January-February LEI average is down 0.49% from its Q1:2006 average. If the January and February levels of the LEI are not changed after revisions, then in order for the first quarter's LEI average to equal that of Q1:2006, the March LEI would have to increase 1.7%.

The last time the month-to-month increase in the LEI even approached this magnitude was back in March 2004, when it increased 1.4%. So, as of right now, the odds favor the first quarterly average year-over-year contraction in the LEI of this current economic expansion.

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Economics

Thursday, March 22, 2007

UK: Interest Rate Hike Expectations Ease But Don't Rule Out Further Tightening / Economics / UK Interest Rates

By: Victoria_Marklew

The minutes of the March 8 meeting of the Bank of England's (BoE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) have caught the markets by surprise, with an unexpectedly-dovish 8-1 vote to leave rates on hold, and the one dissenter a vote for a rate cut. The members noted that "the upside risk to inflation from wage growth might have started to diminish," and "financial market volatility added to the case for holding rates." So, can we assume that the current 5.25% repo rate is the peak? Not yet.

Yesterday came the news that the EU-harmonized rate of inflation , HICP, hit 2.8% in February, up from 2.7% in January - still far above the BoE's 2.0% medium-term target. The Retail Prices Index (RPI), the basis for most wage negotiations, climbed to a 16-year high of 4.6%.

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Economics

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gordon Brown's Budget 2007 - Likely to be his Last and Green / Economics / UK Tax & Budget

By: Shahla_Walayat

Gordon Brown will later today deliver his 11th and last budget, given that Tony Blair is expected to make way for Gordon Browns premiership within the next 3 months.

The budget is likely to adopt many green initiatives following the conversion of the conservative party from blue torch to green tree. The chancellor is expected to appeal to home owners by giving incentives to install energy efficient products and possibly even home power generators such as solar panels and wind generators. The chancellor is expected to hit gas guzzling vehicles by raising the annual duty on 4X4's to as high as £400.

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Economics

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Root Cause Of Unemployment - Part 1: Destroying the Wage Fund / Economics / Money Making

By: Professor_Emeritus

A REVISIONIST THEORY AND HISTORY OF MONEY

Introduction
Economists have failed to find the root cause of unemployment. Keynesians have looked for it in the paucity of government debt. Friedmanites have tried to blame it on the inadequacy of central bank credit. Both orthodoxies were promoted, one after another, as state religion in the United States, with appalling results: destabilizing foreign exchanges, interest rates, prices; wiping out nine-tenth of the purchasing power of the dollar; even more of the value of bonds; not to mention the triggering of an avalanche of debt.

The Austrian school maintains that unemployment is the result of the high-wage policies of governments such as minimum-wage legislation and granting monopoly power to trade unions. However, this policy is more the effect than the cause. It prices less productive labor out of the market. We are looking for causes that hits the high-productivity end of the spectrum as well.

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Economics

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

US Recession Watch Perhaps, But Not Yet Warning / Economics / US Economy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Every recession commencing with the one in 1970 has been preceded by the combination of a negative spread between the Treasury 10-year yield and the federal funds rate and a year-over-year contraction in the CPI-adjusted monetary base (bank reserves plus currency). When both of these variables are calculated on a quarterly average basis, there have been no false recession alarms. To date, every recession has been preceded by at least two quarters of this combination. This is shown in Chart 1 in which the vertically-shaded areas represent recessionary periods.

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Economics

Monday, March 19, 2007

Forbidden Research - Re-emergence of the Gold Standard / Economics / Money Supply

By: Professor_Emeritus

In order to soften the coming blow of a credit collapse, a group of concerned citizens has decided to establish, in the year 2007, the Gold Standard University Live, home for the study of monetary issues placed under taboo by other institutions of higher learning. Here is a partial list of forbidden research topics.

1. What is a gold standard?
A gold standard is a mechanism whereby people exercise their God-given right to create or extinguish money, while denying monopoly power of money-creation to would-be crooks. The individual, if he thinks that money is scarce, or the rate of interest is too high, can do something about it.

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Economics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mortgage Foreclosures and Housing Bust to result in US Interest Rate Cuts / Economics / Financial Markets

By: Jim_Willie_CB

A preface is in order, to honor Sir Alan Greenspan. The housing bust and the mortgage finance debacle have his signature on them. So far he is still revered, for some odd reason, probably basic ignorance. Some called Clinton the “Teflon Man” which more deservedly belongs to Greenspan. Heck, they both earned the title; they can wear it with the ignominy it so justly is associated with.

GREENSPAN SIGNATURE - The current mess of mortgage defaults and foreclosures testifies to the venerable and highly acclaimed serial bubble inflation engineer Greenspan's leadership and counsel as destructive in high order. Alan must be shuddering and cringing at the extreme damage to banking balance sheets, the spate of lending institution collapses, and the contagion within banks. He urged millions of US homeowners to rush into adjustable rate mortgages, so as to reduce their monthly costs. Here is an actual quote from Greenspan, extolling the virtues (vultures) of innovative mortgages.

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Economics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What's Down With Nominal US Retail Sales Growth? / Economics / US Economy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Asha will do her usual excellent job of synthesizing the February retail sales report and highlighting the important implications of it. But I wanted to call your attention to an interesting trend change in retail sales.

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Economics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

World Liquidity Crisis Emerging as the Yen Carry Trade Unravels / Economics / Yen Carry Trade

By: Christopher_Laird

With the unraveling of the Yen carry trade, a sequence of events has been set in motion for a world liquidity crisis. Combining this with ongoing pressure from US sub prime deterioration will further harm confidence in US and consequently Asian stock markets.

As of this writing, Asian markets are again down 2 to 3%. I had written last week that confidence in financial markets were dealt a major blow in the first wave of Yen Carry unwinding a week or so ago in the article titled Damage Has Been Done.

This week, we are seeing the second phase of market declines, the US Dow down 230, and as I said Asian markets down 2 to 3% again. To say the least, market sentiment is getting crushed globally.

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Economics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

US Housing recession increasing risks of US Economic recession as growth continues to slow / Economics / US Economy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Three quarters of below potential growth and counting.
As everyone knows, the housing recession is the biggest drag on the pace of economic activity right now. But is the housing recession at its bottom? And more importantly, are there negative multiplier effects emanating from the housing recession? With regard to whether the housing recession has hit bottom; it is doubtful. In an average housing downturn, real residential investment expenditures decline by about 25% peak to trough.

Chart 1

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Economics

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

US and Global Economy Strong and inflation under control - Henry Paulson / Economics / Strategic News

By: Sarah_Jones

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson expressed confidence in the global economy - "We have a very strong global economy," Paulson said after a meeting with South Korean Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu. "We have a global economy with low inflation, high levels of liquidity and I feel very comfortable with the global economy."

US and Global Economy Strong and inflation under control - Henry Paulson

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Economics

Friday, March 02, 2007

Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse / Economics / Investing

By: Peter_Schiff

With the recent sharp decline in the stock market, the timing of the official release of my new book "Crash Proof" this Monday could not have been better. Ironically the media and Wall Street are assuring investors that the fundamentals have not change and that all is well. Of course what these market cheerleaders do not understand is that the fundamentals are just as lousy now as they have always been. In fact, they are about to get a whole lot worse!

Despite the upbeat tone coming out of Washington and Wall Street, the U.S. economy is only a shadow of its former self. The country has gone from being the world's largest creditor to its greatest debtor; the value of the dollar is sinking; domestic manufacturing is winding down -- and none of these trends seem to be slowing down.

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Economics

Friday, March 02, 2007

Yield Curve Inversion and Inflation - Consumer Price Index (CPI) / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Adam_Oliensis

While many argue that the Consumer Price Index is a flawed indicator (some claim it understates inflation and others claim it overstates inflation), it does generate heated debate and can act as a catalyst for stock-market activity. In the context of Fed Chairman Bernanke's relatively dovish comments before both houses of Congress last week, a surprise on the CPI data could easily spur market volatility this coming week.

Currently the consensus estimate is for a +0.1% M/M on the CPI, which is below trend, and would be bullish for stocks. The most recent Y/Y reading stands at +2.61%...

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Economics

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stock Market Shocks, Money Supply Liquidity and the US Dollar / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Jim_Willie_CB

Events in the last week have certainly caused a stir. Just what precipitated the broad global selloff. Was it the unwind of the Yen Carry Trade, a week delayed? Was it only attributable to the Chinese and their more stern stance against adolescent credit abuses in the Middle Kingdom?

Was it Al Greenspan's comments on an economic recession looming near on the horizon? Was it caution on risk pricing in view of the insane Iran vs USA posturing in the Persian Gulf? Was it Goldman Sachs orchestration with collusion from Beijing, after massive short positions were put in place? Were the GSax powers motivated by the alarms going off in the gold and silver markets, as gold neared $700 and silver passed $14? Methinks all the above, never just one factor in an increasingly complex financial world. The global markets have become a tangled web.

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Economics

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Inflation then Deflation? - Financial Markets Crash / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Christopher_Laird

With gold up at $680, it looks like $700 is around the corner. So then, if a big gold surge is around the corner, one may ask, what is a longer term prognosis for not only gold but financial markets? Answer: first inflation and then deflation.

Right now, the world is inflating like mad. Money growth in most of the major world economies is near or exceeding 10% a year, and China is the biggie at 18% plus. That, combined with historically low interest rates is causing huge finance and asset bubbles. Central banks are way behind the inflation/interest rate curve right now, and are basically stuck in that rut because if any of them combat inflation by raising interest rates, they find their currencies strengthen, and lose market share.

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Economics

Thursday, March 01, 2007

US Economy and Dollar Balancing Act / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Michael_Pento

Economists are now arguing over whether it will be a hard or soft landing for the U.S. economy. The fact that a landing will occur is no longer debatable. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the fragile U.S. economy is growing weaker with each passing piece of government data. Anemic GDP, durable goods, Chicago PMI, ISM-Manufacturing, and Factory orders, along with rising unemployment claims are suggesting that the Fed will stimulate the economy with yet more liquidity this year. The Fed and the economy/market may find itself in a box next year—a Bernanke Box—one that puts the economy squarely at odds with the dollar.

The Fed's mandate is to maintain dollar stability. However, they may have to decide whether to rescue a falling currency by hiking rates or to lower rates in order to stave off a recession. Which posture they take will have major ramifications for the bond, stock market and the economy. 

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Economics

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gross Analysis - How to create an even bigger mess of the US Economy / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Michael_Pento

When the most esteemed market strategists espouse questionable economic theories, they should not be able to do so without being exposed to critique. Recently, two revered men of finance, Bill Gross and John Rutledge, made some pretty extraordinary comments, remarks which haven't gotten the attention they deserve.

Let's Make Nothing!

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Economics

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

US Inflation - The Medical Care Component of Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index (PCE) / Economics / Analysis & Strategy

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Among the several economic reports due for publication this week -- new home sales, existing home sales, consumer confidence measures, durable goods orders, preliminary estimate of fourth quarter real GDP, and ISM manufacturing survey results for February, construction outlays for January, and the personal income and outlays report for January-- the Fed's preferred inflation measure will garner a great deal of attention.

The core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index, which excludes food and energy, advanced 2.22% in December, representing a deceleration from the 2.44% peak seen in August. This improvement is important because core inflation is heading in the direction of the FOMC's comfort zone of 1%-2%. However, after the January Consumer Price Index (CPI) was reported, there were concerns about the January core PCE price index because it is largely based on the CPI.

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