The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 40

Friday Morning Links

New Ways to Crash the Market – New Yorker
S&P 500 hits record close, Nasdaq tops 5000 – USA Today
Dollar still on the defensive after tough week – Reuters
ECB stimulus to stay ‘as long as needed’: Draghi – CNI
Draghi hits back at critics of QE as Greek woes continue – Telegraph
Greek Finance Minister Lashes Out at ECB Chief Draghi – NY Times
Just 38 Miles Apart, One Texas Oil Town Is Booming, the Other Is Dead – Bloomberg
No class action vs. Morgan Stanley alleging Detroit predatory lending – Reuters
Standard & Poor’s gives Chicago’s credit rating another hit – AP
Power To The People: Can We Privatize The Welfare State? – Forbes
Entitlements: Why the U.S. Can’t Keep Costs Down – Bloomberg
Fox News Is Angry That Obama Knows What’s on Fox News – NY Mag

Shares set for weekly gain as bonds stabilize – Reuters
Why Slow-Growth Economy Is OK for Stocks – Barron’s
Solving the $450 Billion Bond Rout Mystery – Bloomberg
European shares gain on ECB reassurance QE to persist – AP
Epic global bond rout is a QE success story – but it won’t last – Telegraph
New Breed of Endowment Managers Beats Harvard at Its Own Game – Bloomberg
Gold edges off 3-month high as dollar firms, eyes weekly gain – Reuters
Dalio: “If You Don’t Own Gold, You Don’t Know History or Economics” – Zero Hedge
India gold imports surpass 100 T for 2nd month – Mineweb
The Factor turns bullish on Silver – Factor

Americans Warm to Redistribution – Bloomberg
Why US economic growth has disappointed this year – AP
Look beyond retail sales for what’s happening in U.S. economy – FP
Once near equals, China and India have radically diverged – Quartz
Hong Kong economy tepid as Chinese tourism weakens – AP
China’s Record Boom Looking A Lot Like A Bust –
The Housing Market Finally Has Some Traction – Fiscal Times
Silicon Valley Homeowners Cash Out In Red-Hot Real Estate Market – CBS SF
Debt Traders to Fed: We Dare You to Try Raising Rates This Year – Bloomberg
The Federal Reserve Asset Bubble Machine – WSJ


A Recession Without Room to Cut Rates?

Just a few months ago, most in the financial media would have scoffed at the idea that the U.S. economy might enter a new recession sooner rather than later. After months of mostly disappointing economic data, they’re not scoffing any longer and this story at The Economist (replete with a Depression era black-and-white image) is a good example.

HOW strong is the American economy? Forecasters are pretty confident: the average prediction is for 2.6% GDP growth this year and for 2.8% in 2016. But actual growth was just an annualised 0.2% in the first quarter and, after disappointing retail sales numbers for April, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow model, which was pretty accurate about the first quarter, is going for just 0.7% annualised in the second. Citigroup’s economic surprise index (which shows whether data have been better or worse than forecasts) has been relentlessly negative since the start of the year.

Does this mean that America is heading towards recession? Not necessarily. Whether or not you call it “secular stagnation”, the developed economies are in an era where growth seems to be stuttering; last year’s first quarter dip in GDP was a case in point. However, as HSBC, a bank, points out in a new research note, it is now six years since the US economy was last in recession—a reasonably long cycle by pre-1980 standards. Suppose that developed economies did slip back into recession. What could the authorities do?

Of course, what makes the prospect of a new U.S. recession so scary is that interest rates have been stuck at zero for the last six years or so, taking away the “firepower” the Federal Reserve normally has to combat the slowdown, all of which reminds us of what Mark Twain may have once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.

Thursday Morning Links

Shale-Oil Producers to Raise Production – WSJ
Economic growth: Where’s the beef? – USA Today
How will we cope with another downturn? – Economist
The global economy has a ‘titanic problem’ – CNN/Money
The Recovery Itself Unravels; Consumer Recession – Alhambra Partners
Dollar Bulls Wonder What Went Wrong in Drop to Four-Month Low – Bloomberg
Dollar index slides to lowest level since January – MarketWatch
The Biggest Surprise of the Global Bond-Market Butchering – Bloomberg
Greece’s Varoufakis says debt swap fills Draghi’s ’soul with fear’ – Reuters
Why the Heck Is the Trucking Business Slowing Down? – Wolf Street
Food-Stamp Use Is Now the Lowest Since 2011 – WSJ
Australia Issues Death Threat to Johnny Depp’s Dogs – Vice News

Global stocks listless after retail sales – AP
It’s Official: The BoJ Has Broken The Japanese Stock Market – Zero Hedge
ETF Giants Aim to Sidestep Bond-Market Chaos With New Credit Lines – Barron’s
Buffett and Vanguard: Different paths to the same destination – Washington Post
Greenspan sees another taper tantrum once rates rise – MarketWatch
Gold hits 5-week high as soft U.S. data eased rate rise fears – Reuters
Russia continues to buy gold, China could cause a shake-up – Secular Investor
Germans pile into gold amid Greek eurozone default fears – Telegraph
Global gold demand drops 1%, but investments jump –
Scotia: Gold ‘cheap’ safe haven – Mineweb

An Economics to Fit the Facts – Project Syndicate
Facebook to Raise Minimum Wage, Benefits for Contractors – Wall Street OTC
Finland, Once a Eurozone Point of Pride, Is Now Faltering – NY Times
In China, Legal Status of Many Golf Courses Is Full of Holes – WSJ
Abe Vows to Limit Use of Force After Approval of Defense Bills – Bloomberg
China’s fiscal spending jumps 33.2 percent year-on-year in April – Reuters
Survey: More Millennials Renting, But Just As Many Want To Own – WSJ
China Housing Market Shows Signs of Turnaround – WSJ
HSBC: Central Banks Are Running Low on Ammunition – Bloomberg
We need the Fed to be credible – MarketWatch


April Retail Sales Disappoints

Markets will likely cheer the news from the Commerce Department that U.S. retail sales flat-lined in April (when most analysts were expecting solid gains) as this makes it less likely that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates anytime soon.

As shown above, the result for April was slightly negative, but rounded to zero and, when combined with the report on business inventories in the next hour or so should make for an exciting update to the Atlanta Fed’s closely watched GDPNow forecast at 10 AM.

Tagged with:  

Wednesday Morning Links

Oil glut worsens as OPEC market-share battle just beginning – Reuters
Greece Back in Recession as Bailout Impasse Drains Economy – Bloomberg
US considers military patrols of South China Sea – Guardian
Ruble-yuan settlements booming, set to reshape global finance – RT News
China April Economic Reports Signal PBOC Has More Work Ahead – Bloomberg
Chicago credit rating plummets to junk status following pension ruling – Chicago Tribune
An Incredible Time-Capsule View of One Downtown’s Development – Atlantic
Christians drop, ‘nones’ soar in new religion portrait – USA Today
American Religion: Complicated, Not Dead – The Atlantic
‘Many powerful people don’t want peace,’ Pope tells children – RT News
Rand Paul plans Patriot Act filibuster in Senate – Yahoo!
Paul Krugman’s Pretense of Economic Knowledge – National Review

Stocks: Get ready for a rebound – CNN/Money
When both bonds and equities sell off… – Economist
Fed Officials Tell Markets the Training Wheels Are Off – WSJ
Main Street Portfolios Are Investing in Unicorns – NY Times
Bears Beware: Rout Puts Investors on Wrong Side of Central Banks – Bloomberg
Why ‘rate rage’ may not be coming for this market after all – MarketWatch
Gold steadies on weaker dollar, higher shares limit gains – Reuters
Silver Bullion Buying Outstripping Supply As JP Morgan Buys – GoldCore
Goldmine cheaper than Sydney house as boom ends in fire sale – Mineweb

The U.S. economy has left behind 20 million Americans – MarketWatch
Wage growth may be on tap as more Americans quit jobs – Reuters
U.K. Election Isn’t a Win for Austerity – Bloomberg
Bank of England slashes its UK growth forecast – Standard
For the first time in five years, the euro zone’s largest economies are all growing – Quartz
Brazil’s $900 million World Cup stadium is now being used as a parking lot – Vox
Oil, Politics Pave Path Toward $9 Billion Default in Puerto Rico – Bloomberg
With Manhattan Luxury Property Hitting Highs, Some Fear Air Is Getting Thin – WSJ
Foreign Money Is Pouring Into U.S. Real Estate, and It’s Not Just Houses – Bloomberg
The Problem with Central Banks: They Become the Greater Fools/Bag-Holders – of two minds
Fed said to have emergency plan to intervene if U.S. defaulted on debt – Reuters

© 2010-2011 The Mess That Greenspan Made