Economische aanraders 16-10-2016
Veren of Lood biedt u op zondag wekelijks een inkijkje in (minstens) 10 belangrijke of informatieve artikelen en interviews die de voorafgaande 7 dagen op economisch terrein verschenen op onafhankelijke sites.
De kop is de link naar het oorspronkelijke artikel, waarvan de samenvatting of de eerste (twee) alinea’s hier gegeven worden.
Sinds december 2015 nemen we ook een paar extra links op naar artikelen die minder specialistische kennis vereisen. Deze met *** gemerkte artikelen zijn ons inziens ook interessant voor lezers met weinig basiskennis van economie.
Ungovernable Nation, Ungovernable Economy – Charles Hugh Smith
Not only will Fed policy not fix what’s broken, it will actively make the structural problems worse.
Yesterday I described the conditions that render the U.S. ungovernable. Here is a chart of why the U.S. economy will also be ungovernable. Longtime readers are acquainted with the S-curve model of expansion, maturity, stagnation and decline.
This is why the economy will be ungovernable: all the financial gambits that have been played to create the illusion of “prosperity” have reached stagnation/decline.
The key take-away is that the financial gambits–QE, zero interest rates, etc.–did not actually address the economy’s structural problems. All the Federal Reserve and fiscal stimulus policies accomplished was to prop up the corrupt, stagnant engine of debt-serfdom, rising inequality and financial fragility.
Canaries In Extremis – Robert Gore
Most people’s strongest memory of the last financial crisis was the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. However, thirteen months prior to that, August 2007, two Bear Stearns’ mortgage hedge funds went bankrupt. That was the bell tolling for the housing market, the mortgage securities market, and—because of the leverage and the interconnections—the global financial system itself. The Dow Jones Industrial Average would not make its high for another couple of months, but for those who knew what they were looking for, the Bear Stearns’ bankruptcies signaled the impending reversal in financial markets and the economy.
Sometimes one has to see the big picture, and sometimes looking at a host of smaller pictures is more worthwhile. While housing and mortgage finance were the epicenters of the last crisis, there will probably be no single identifiable catalyst for the next one. Not because there are no central-bank sponsored debt-driven bubbles out there, but because there are so many of them, all over the world. Multiple coal mine canaries are in extremis and they’re sending the same message as the Bear Stearns’ bankruptcies did.
*** Will Eliminating Cash Save the Economy? – Frank Shostak
Given the still-subdued economic growth many experts are of the view that the presence of cash has constrained central banks from setting negative rates to stimulate the subdued economic activity. In a future economic or financial crisis, current low rates would restrict the effectiveness of monetary policy, so it is held.
The presence of cash, it is argued, prevents the central banks from lowering policy rates to a level, which is going to meaningfully revive economic activity. What prevents the dramatic lowering of rates is that this is going to severely hurt savers who keep their cash in various bank accounts and so this is seen as politically unacceptable.
*** What the Heck’s Going on with the New Global Reserve Currency, the Chinese Yuan? – Wolf Richter
The Chinese yuan fell to 6.722 to the US dollar currently, the weakest since September 2010. It’s down 3.3% so far this year. OK, a squiggle compared to the wholesale drubbing the UK pound has been taking since the Brexit vote, but there’s a difference: the yuan gets managed with an iron fist.
Some folks interpret this to mean that the People’s Bank of China has been weakening the yuan to gain some trade advantages and revive the export boom and kick economic growth back into gear. But evidence is piling up that the PBOC instead has been trying to slow down the yuan’s descent.
And this happened just days after the yuan joined the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) basket of reserve currencies, a huge milestone for the Chinese government that has been laboring on the internationalization of the yuan for years, mostly in tiny baby steps.
*** Japanese Consumers Not Afraid of Deflation – Mark Thornton
It turns out that the Japanese people do not have the Apoplithorismosphobia that their government officials have.
According to the New York Times, instead of hoarding cash in the face of deflation (as predicted by mainstream economists and central bankers), the Japanese consumer is enjoying the new found purchasing power of the Japanese Yen:
But the dirty little secret here is that Japanese consumers are reveling in their newfound spending power, welcoming the chance to buy goods at prices similar to those they once found only on overseas shopping trips. ”The key thing about deflation is that it is popular,” said Robert A. Feldman, chief economist for Morgan Stanley Japan.
Rather than the cause of economic malaise, deflation can actually help cure the economy of malinvestments.
Please Assume Crash Positions – Charles Hugh Smith
That few believe Mr. Market can possibly stumble only increases the odds of a stumble.
You know how to get into crash positions, correct? Here’s your guide:
Very few punters expect a real downturn here in stocks. The reasons for confidence are many: the Fed has our back, buy the dip has worked great and will continue to work great, the Fed won’t raise rates until December (if ever), the Powers That Be will keep the market aloft lest a plunging market upset the election of the status quo candidate, and so on.
This confidence that the market will be on cruise control into the November post-election rally is the ideal set-up for a crash to SPX 1,850. While we can argue technicals all day, the fact is gaps get filled, usually sooner rather than later. There are two big open gaps in the S&P 500 around 2.040 and 1,860 that have been begging to get filled for months.
The question arises: after months of going unfilled, why not fill them now with a pleasantly unexpected little October crash? Technically, there are a couple of features that suggest the market would really, really like to plummet, if only the Plunge Protection Team would stand aside for a few days.
Restaurant Industry In Gloom As Number Of Americans Eating Out Tumbles – Tyler Durden
While the latest government retail spending data shows that while it is slowing down, consumer spending on “eating out” or retail and food service sales, hasn’t posted a sharp deterioration, secondary tracking sources beg to differ. A far more accurate tracker of real-time US Restaurant sales, that of the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant performance index, paints a far more disturbing picture.
As the Natl Restaurant Association reports for its latest data, August restaurant sales tumbled in August, sliding to the lowest level since the financial crisis. As the restaurant association reports, due in large part to declines in both same-store sales and customer traffic, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell below 100 in August. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 99.6 in August, down 1.0 percent from a level of 100.6 in July.
Restaurant operators reported net declines in both same-store sales and customer traffic in August, along with corresponding dips in the labor indicators. The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 98.6 in August – down 1.9 percent from a level of 100.4 in July. The August reading below 100 signifies contraction in the current situation indicators, and represented the the lowest
Reek of Desperation Surrounds EU Banks, Regulators Prepare for “Derivatives Clearing Crisis” – Don Quijones
The past week’s events in Europe were dominated by the pound sterling’s spectacular flash crash to its lowest point in 31 years. As is often the case with flash crashes, we will probably never know what exactly triggered the currency to free-fall by 6% during Asian trading hours, though the most cited cause, apart from a “fat finger,” is the gathering realization that a so-called “hard” Brexit is a very real possibility.
But it’s an eventuality that can be expected to play out in roughly two and a half years’ time, at the earliest, and in light of the powerful forces arrayed against it, it may never occur at all.
In the meantime, something far more dangerous is happening on the other side of the English Channel: the slow-motion meltdown of the Eurozone’s banking system.
In its Global Financial Stability Report, the IMF warned that banks in Europe were too weak to generate sustainable profits even if — and here’s the kicker — the region saw strong economic growth. That hasn’t happened for years.
The great normalisation of global trade – Alexander Al-Haschimi, Martin Gächter, David Lodge, Walter Steingress
Exceptionally weak global trade growth over recent years has presented a puzzle to academics and policymakers alike. This column presents a study by an expert network across European central banks which suggests that it may actually be the past strength of trade which was exceptional, rather than the subsequent slowdown. The recent deceleration of trade growth can thus be seen as a ‘great normalisation’. The important implication is that an upturn in aggregate demand will not necessarily lead to a significant recovery in global trade.
Thanks to Central Banks, Saving Rates Are Declining Worldwide – Ryan McMaken
The media has again begun focusing on the fact that most Americans surveyed have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. On Sunday, USAToday reported on “America’s spend-first mentality” and last week, CNBC suggested that 34% of Americans “have no savings at all.”
The statistic that most Americans have less than $1,000 in sort of liquid emergency fund stems from a 2015 study by GoBankingRates which concluded that 34% of Americans have zero dollars in a savings account while 35% have between one dollar and $1,000 dollars.
Switzerland seen backing down on supporting tax haven USA –
This concerns the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS,) a global scheme to share banking information. The United States isn’t a participating jurisdiction: it has its own FATCA project, which as we’ve remarked before, is good at ferreting out US taxpayers overseas, but provides relative little information in the other direction to help other countries enforce their own tax laws. Making the United States a giant tax and secrecy haven.
For a while, Luxembourg and Switzerland had been insisting that Tax Haven USA is a participating jurisdiction. In a nutshell, their financial industries wanted this because the CRS says that you are supposed to ‘look through’ certain investment entities and report their beneficial owners, if that entity is not in a ‘participating jurisdiction’ in the CRS. If the USA gets classified as a ‘participating jurisdiction’ then those Swiss financial players can chuck their tax-evading stuff into U.S. investment entities and the ‘look-through’ to the beneficial owners won’t happen.
The case for an active fiscal policy – Angel Ubide
The pre-crisis consensus was, and remains, very strong – the business cycle would be managed by monetary policy, while fiscal policy would focus solely on debt sustainability. In a world of zero interest rates, however, fiscal policy has to contribute to supporting aggregate demand and protecting against deflationary risks. This column outlines three ways in which a well-designed expansionary fiscal policy stance can contribute to better economic outcomes.
Five Books to Change Liberals’ MindsFive Books to Change Liberals’ Minds – Cass R. Sunstein
It can be easy and tempting, especially during a presidential campaign, to listen only to opinions that mirror and fortify one’s own. That’s not ideal, because it eliminates learning and makes it impossible for people to understand what they dismiss as “the other side.”
If you think that Barack Obama has been a terrific president (as I do) and that Hillary Clinton would be an excellent successor (as I also do), then you might want to consider the following books, to help you to understand why so many of your fellow citizens disagree with you:
Drowning In Debt: 35 Percent Of All Americans Have Debt That Is At Least 180 Days Past Due – Michael Snyder
More than a third of all Americans can’t pay their debts. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a shocking figure. As you will see below, 35 percent of the people living in this country have debt in collections. When a debt is in collections, it is at least 180 days past due. And this is happening during the “economic recovery” that the mainstream media keeps touting, although the truth is that Barack Obama is going to be the only president in United States history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent. But at least things are fairly stable for the moment, and if this many Americans are having trouble paying their bills right now, what are things going to look like when the economy becomes extremely unstable once again.
The 35 percent figure is a nugget that I discovered in a CNN article about Detroit that I was reading earlier today…
And the city’s troubles have left a mark on the financial stability of its residents in a big way, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
About 66% of residents have debt in collections — meaning more than 180 days past due — at a median amount of $1,847. Across the U.S., 35% of Americans have debt in collections.
It is hard to believe that 66 percent of the residents of one of our largest cities could have debt in collections, but without a doubt the city of Detroit is a complete and utter economic wasteland at this point.
But to me, the 35 percent figure for the nation as a whole is a much greater concern.
“Credit Squeeze” Planned in China to Deflate Housing Bubble? The governor of the People’s Bank of China chimes in. – Wolf Richter
All kinds of officials are fretting about the dangers of the housing bubble in China that has been fueled by easy credit that officials have made available last year to stop the implosion of the prior housing bubble.
City by city, they’re grappling with this problem, trying to put a lid on it. Caixin Online reports:
About 20 Chinese cities tightened home purchasing requirements in late September to cool an overheated market, with some prohibiting property developers from selling homes to residents who don’t have a local hukou, or residency registration, and to those who already own more than one home. Other cities have raised the minimum down payment required.
But easy credit still rules: Total new loans in August reached 948 billion yuan ($142 billion). Over 71% of this debt was taken out by households, mostly mortgages.
New mortgages skyrocketed from 2.2 trillion yuan in 2014, to 3 trillion in 2015, and already hit 3.6 trillion in 2016 through August, according to the Wall Street Journal. Medium and long-term household loans, mostly mortgages, are now up 27% from a year ago.
September Global Auto Sales Hit Record High Thanks To China’s New Car Bubble – Tyler Durden
In recent months the US auto industry has been bombarded with a barrage of bad news: starting with Ford’s disastrous August sales when the company admitted “sales have reached a plateau”, continuing to the surge in delinquent subprime auto borrowers hitting nearly a 7 year high as the marginal creditworthy car buyers disappears, then noting the record $4,000 in industry-wide new car incentives in September as preventing a plunge in last month’s auto sales, and recalling last week’s downgrade of the US auto sector by Goldman which said that the US “cycle has peaked”…
…one would think that global auto sale would follow a similar downward trajectory. One would be wrong.
According to data by JPM, global auto sales jumped 3.5%m/m in September on the back of strong gains in July and August. The pace of sales now stands at an all-time high of 78.0 million units per month, annualized. In whole, auto sales jumped 16.2%ar in 3Q (%3m/3m basis). On a %3m change basis, the move is an even more impressive 27% annualized through September.
Disclaimer: De VoL-redactie selecteert deze artikelen op interessante inzichten, of naar wij denken nuttige informatie. Wij kunnen echter geen enkele aansprakelijkheid aanvaarden voor de gevolgen van beslissingen die op grond hiervan door lezers zijn genomen, zakelijk zomin als privé.