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Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Analysis Topic: Economic Trends Analysis

The analysis published under this topic are as follows.

Economics

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Root Cause Of Unemployment Part 2: Real Bills of Exchange and Employment / Economics / Money Supply

By: Professor_Emeritus

A REVISIONIST THEORY AND HISTORY OF MONEY

In Part I we elaborated on the thesis of the German economist Heinrich Rittershausen that the appalling world-wide unemployment of the 1930's was caused by the coercive legal tender laws of 1909. The chain of causation is as follows: the French and German governments, in preparation for the coming war, wanted to concentrate gold in their own coffers. They stopped paying civil servants in gold coin. To make this practice legal they had to enact legislation that gave bank notes legal tender status.

Scarcely did these governments realize that in doing so they set a slow process into motion which, in the end, destroyed the wage fund out of which workers could be paid even before merchandise has been sold to the ultimate consumer. In this second part we examine in greater detail how the wage fund was financed before 1909. We shall see that the bill market is just the clearing system of the gold standard. If disabled, sooner or later the gold standard will collapse as a result.

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Economics

Saturday, March 31, 2007

How the Fed Lost Control of Money Supply / Economics / Money Supply

By: Axel_Merk

The world is awash in money. This money has flown into all asset classes, from stocks to bonds, from real estate to commodities. In a world priced for perfection, should we enjoy the boom or prepare for a bust? Let us listen to Wall Street's adage and "follow the money."

After the tech bubble burst in 2000, policy makers in the U.S. and Asia set a train in motion they have now lost control over. In an effort to preserve U.S. consumer spending, the Federal Reserve (Fed) lowered interest rates; the Administration lowered taxes; and Asian policymakers kept their currencies artificially weak to subsidize exports to American consumers.

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Economics

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Random Walk Down The Path of Asset Price Deflation / Economics / Deflation

By: Steve_Moyer

One of the nice things about our series of Safehaven articles on Asset Deflation is that we have been on such a tiny island compared to the "All Markets Will Continue To Rise Forever and Ever Amen Because It Is Our Birthright And The Fed Will Surely Guarantee It" set, our small legion of open-minded and perceptive readers write in with increasing frequency and say things like, "Yo, Steve, isn't it time for another deflation update?"

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Economics

Friday, March 30, 2007

February Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Increases Inflation Risks / Economics / Inflation

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

In real terms, February Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) increased by 0.2% after January's 0.3% rise. It was a 0.5% increase in real service sector spending that yielded a positive change on overall real PCE. Real durable goods expenditures fell 0.1% and real nondurable goods expenditures fell 0.4%.

Real PCE services increased 0.5%, fueled by a 9.5% rise in expenditures for household utilities (electricity and gas). As you may recall, February was considerably colder than usual. In fact, in terms of heating degree days, February 2007 was the coldest February since that of 1979. March warmed up.

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Economics

Friday, March 30, 2007

US Economy, Bernanke's Big Battle with Stagflation / Economics / Inflation

By: Money_and_Markets

Mike Larson writes : Last week, I told you that our Federal Reserve Board Chairman was reaching for his “Bernanke put.” But today I want to talk about the major forces opposing his efforts.

In a nutshell, the Fed played too fast and too loose with monetary policy for too long. That allowed inflation to seep into virtually every corner of the U.S. economy and its capital and commodity markets.

At the same time, economic growth is slowing sharply due to the spreading impact of the housing and mortgage meltdown. I'll share some figures with you in a minute. Suffice it to say, they don't look good.

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Economics

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How Blind can they be? Poor state of the US Economy and Housing Slump being ignored / Economics / Credit Crunch

By: Peter_Schiff

As our phony economy begins to unravel before our eyes, it is amazing how few people can actually see it. The collective wisdom of stock market pundits, economists, and Federal Reserve officials gives the impression that everything is just fine.

Although some acknowledge that housing is slowing down a bit, that there are isolated problems with subprime mortgages, and that inflation is not moderating as quickly as they hoped it would (let's ignore surging oil prices), few can see any grave threats to continued economic expansion, or the bull market in stocks, bonds or real estate. 

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Economics

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Asset Deflation : The Death of Real Estate / Economics / Deflation

By: Steve_Moyer

"I had a stick of CareFree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality." ~ Mitch Hedberg

I sell investment real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Have been for 25 years. It's a nice business. I've enjoyed it, and I value my clients.

My pappy's a realtor. My grandpappy was a realtor. My uncle's a realtor; so is my brother. Heck, some of my best friends are realtors (and it takes a big man to admit that).

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Economics

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fed Jeopardizes US Dollar as it Neglects its Mandate / Economics / US Dollar

By: Axel_Merk

The U.S. dollar collapsed to two-year lows against the euro as the Federal Reserve (Fed) takes its focus away from fighting inflation. The Fed has a dual mandate: price stability as well as full employment. With unemployment hovering near historic lows, why does the Fed neglect its mandate to fight inflation, thereby jeopardizing the dollar?

Inflation has been creeping up throughout the economy, now showing up even in the "core inflation" statistics the Fed pays particular attention to. At the same time, the signs of an economic slowdown become ever more apparent. Fighting a slowing economy versus fighting rising inflation require diametrically opposed monetary policies. Given the low unemployment rate, rather serious reasons must exist for the Fed to deviate from its mandate to fight inflation. It is the Fed's role to take away the punchbowl when excesses are created in the economy. Over the past decade, the Fed has lost focus of its mission, blinded by misunderstood dynamics introduced by the internet and globalization. Let us examine why the Fed is shifting its focus to growth.

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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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