Home » Posts tagged 'gdp'

Tag Archives: gdp

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase

Doug Duncan: Even US Government Economists Predict Trouble Ahead

Doug Duncan: Even US Government Economists Predict Trouble Ahead

Fannie Mae forecasts an economic slowdown by 2019

Doug Duncan is not your average beltway economist.

The chief economist for Fannie Mae is surprisingly outspoken about the troublesome outlook for the US economy. He’s worried about the rising cost of debt service as outstanding credit continues to mount at the same time interest rates are starting to ratchet higher, too.

He predicts the US will enter recession within a year, concurrent with a topping out of America’s real estate market. It wouldn’t surprise him to see the stock market falter, too, as central banks around the world begin a coordinated tightening of monetary policy and — similar to the thoughts recently expressed within our podcast with Axel Merk — Doug expects Jerome Powell to be much more reluctant to intervene in attempt to support asset prices. Having met personally with Powell, Doug thinks the Fed is now happy to see some of the air come out of the Everything Bubble (just not too much and not too fast) — a market change from past Fed administrations:

Our forecast definitely sees slowing economic activity, particularly in the second half of ’19. Part of it has to do with the length of the expansion. Just because an expansion is long doesn’t mean it’s going to end; but they all have eventually ended, and this one is getting pretty old. I think if it’s not the second longest, it’s getting to be the second longest that we’ve ever had shortly.

The tax bill was viewed differently by different parties, but the capital markets initially took that — plus the $300 billion agreement to get past the expiration of government funding plus the budget agreement — they took all those things as inflationary.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Debt Bubble Hits New All Time High – One Quadrillion Reasons To Buy Gold

Global Debt Bubble Hits New All Time High – One Quadrillion Reasons To Buy Gold

– Global debt bubble hits new all time high – over $237 trillion
– Global debt increased 10% or $21 tn in 2017 to nearly a quarter quadrillion USD
– Increase in debt equivalent to United States’ ballooning national debt
– Global debt up $50 trillion in decade & over 327% of global GDP
– $750 trillion of bank derivatives means global debt over $1 quadrillion
– Gold will be ‘store of value’ in coming economic contraction
– Global debt is the mother of all bubbles

Source: Bloomberg

Global debt has now reached over 327% of global GDP, $237 trillion. Prior to the financial crisis it was less that $150 trillion. The amount by which it has surged in just one year is the same amount as the ballooning national debt of the United States.

The response of our leaders, central bankers and financial thinkers to this latest data?

It was good news as it showed that thanks to global growth the ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product fell for the fifth consecutive quarter. No irony in the fact that the economic growth is entirely funded by debt itself – adding another shaky layer to the house of cards.

Christine Lagarde said earlier this week:

The bottom line is that high debt burdens have left governments, companies, and households more vulnerable to a sudden tightening of financial conditions. This potential shift could prompt market corrections, debt sustainability concerns, and capital flow reversals in emerging markets.

A sudden tightening of financial conditions is inevitable. The latest FOMC minutes released yesterday showed that members plan to increase interest rates at a faster rate than previously expected. This was inevitable given the loose monetary policy that central banks have been enjoying for the last decade.

As Jim Rickards summarises:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Jerome Is The New Janet: Tie, Trousers And Same Old Keynesian Jabberwocky

Jerome Is The New Janet: Tie, Trousers And Same Old Keynesian Jabberwocky

The election of 2016 was supposed to be the most disruptive break with the status quo in modern history, if ever. On the single most important decision of his tenure, however, the Donald has lined-up check-by-jowl with Barry and Dubya, too.

That is to say, Trump’s new Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, amounts to Janet Yellen in trousers and tie. In fact, you can make it a three-part composite by adding Bernanke with a full head of hair and Greenspan sans the mumble.

The overarching point here is that the great problems plaguing American society—scarcity of good jobs, punk GDP growth, faltering productivity, raging wealth mal-distribution, massive indebtedness, egregious speculative bubbles, fiscally incontinent government—-are overwhelmingly caused by our rogue central bank. They are the fetid fruits of massive and sustained financial repression and falsification of the most import prices in all of capitalism—–the prices of money, debt, equities and other financial assets.

Moreover, the worst of it is that the Fed is overwhelmingly the province of an unelected politburo that rules by the lights of its own Keynesian groupthink and by the hypnotic power of its Big Lie. So powerful is the latter that American democracy has meekly seconded vast, open-ended power to dominate the financial markets, and therefore the warp and woof of the nation’s $19 trillioneconomy, to a tiny priesthood possessing neither of the usual instruments of rule.

That is to say, never before in history has a people so completely and abjectly surrendered to an occupying power—even though its ostensibly democratic government already possessed all the votes and all the guns.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What a Hoot: Fed Chairman Powell Says “Growth Has Picked Up”

In his first non-FOMC speech, Jerome Powell stresses growth and jobs.

Inquiring minds are investigating Jerome Powell’s speech on his Outlook for the U.S. Economy presented today at the Economic Club of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Here are a few key quotes.

  • After what at times has been a slow recovery from the financial crisis and the Great Recession, growth has picked up. The labor market has been strong, and my colleagues and I on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) expect it to remain strong.
  • Trends in participation have been more pronounced in the United States than in other advanced economies.
  • There is no consensus about the reasons for the long-term decline in prime-age participation rates, and a variety of factors could have played a role. Research suggests that structurally-oriented measures–for example, improving education or fighting the opioid crisis–also will help raise labor force participation in this age group.
  • The balance sheet reduction process is going smoothly and is expected to contribute over time to a gradual tightening of financial conditions. Over the next few years, the size of our balance sheet is expected to shrink significantly.
  • The FOMC’s patient approach has paid dividends and contributed to the strong economy we have today.
  • My FOMC colleagues and I believe that, as long as the economy continues broadly on its current path, further gradual increases in the federal funds rate will best promote these goals
  • It remains the case that raising rates too slowly would make it necessary for monetary policy to tighten abruptly down the road, which could jeopardize the economic expansion. But raising rates too quickly would increase the risk that inflation would remain persistently below our 2 percent objective. Our path of gradual rate increases is intended to balance these two risks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Playing for All the Marbles

Playing for All the Marbles

Global Plunge Protection Teams must be ordering take-out food; every night is a long one now.

The current stocks/bonds game is for all the marbles, by which I mean the status quo now depends on valuations and interest rates remaining near their current levels for the system to function.

If interest rates soar and/or stocks plummet, the game is over: pension funds collapse, tax revenues drop, debt based on high asset valuations defaults, employment craters and the much-lauded “wealth effect” reverses into a “negative wealth effect” (i.e. everyone looking at their IRA or 401K statement feels poorer every month).

Let’s scan a few relevant charts to understand why this game is for all the marbles. Given the systemic fragility of the global economy, a crash in one asset class or a rise in interest rates trigger defaults, sell-offs, etc. that forcibly revalue other assets.

So the Powers That Be can’t afford to let any asset crash, as a crash will bring down the entire system. Why is this so? The resiliency of the system has been eroded by permanent central bank/central state intervention/stimulus. Withdrawing the stimulus means markets have to go cold turkey, and they’ve lost the ability to do so.

Permanent stimulus creates dependencies and distortions, and both the distortions and the dependencies introduce a host of unintended consequences. What’s the “market price” of assets? You must be joking: the “market” prices assets based on policies of permanent stimulus and asset purchases by central banks.

In effect, markets have been hijacked to function as signaling mechanisms(everything’s great because your IRA account balance keeps going up) and as floors supporting pensions, insurance companies, IRAs/401Ks, etc.: all these financial promises are only plausible if asset valuations keep rising.

Fly in the ointment #1: equity valuations have lost touch with the real economy, as measured (imperfectly) by GDP:

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

© Rangizzz | Dreamstime.com

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Looks like we’re in for a much rockier ride than many expect

This marks our our 10th year of doing this.  And by “this”, we mean using data, logic and reason to support the very basic conclusion that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. 

Surprisingly, this simple, rational idea — despite its huge and fast-growing pile of corroborating evidence — still encounters tremendous pushback from society. Why? Because it runs afoul of most people’s deep-seated belief systems.

Our decade of experience delivering this message has hammered home what behavioral scientists have been telling us for years — that, with rare exceptions, we humans are not rational. We’re rationalizers. We try to force our perception of reality to fit our beliefs; rather than the other way around.

Which is why the vast amount of grief, angst and encroaching dread that most people feel in western cultures today is likely due to the fact that, deep down, whether we’re willing to admit it to ourselves or not, everybody already knows the truth: Our way of life is unsustainable.

In our hearts, we fear that someday, possibly soon, our comfy way of life will be ripped away; like a warm blanket snatched off of our sleeping bodies on a cold night.

The simple reality is that society’s hopes for a “modern consumer-class lifestyle for all” are incompatible with the accelerating imbalance between the (still growing) human population and the (increasingly depleting) planet’s natural resources. Basic math and physics tell us that the Earth’s ecosystems can’t handle the load for much longer.

The only remaining question concerns how fast the adjustment happens. Will the future be defined by a “slow burn”, one that steadily degrades our living standards over generations? Or will we experience a sudden series of sharp shocks that plunge the world into chaos and conflict?

It’s hard to say. As Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”  So, it’s left to us to remain open-minded and flexible as we draw up our plans for how we’ll personally persevere through the coming years of change.

But even while the specifics about the future elude us today, “predicting” the macro trends most likely to influence the coming decades is very doable:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: There’s A BIG Problem With The Economy, ‘Americans Are BROKE’

Peter Schiff: There’s A BIG Problem With The Economy, ‘Americans Are BROKE’

Financial analyst Peter Schiff says there’s a big problem with the economy even though the mainstream media is reporting that rising interest rates are a good thing.  The problem, however, is that Americans are broke, and those interest rates could have a major impact on some of our wallets.

“The bad news is, we are going to live through another Great Depression and it’s going to be very different. This will be in many ways, much much worse, than what people had to endure during the Great Depression,” Schiff says. “This is going to be a dollar crisis.”

“When you are talking about the magnitude of the debt we have, that extra money [raising interest rates] is big. That’s going to be a big drain on the economy to the extent that we have to pay higher interest to international creditors…a lot of this phony GDP is coming from consumption, while the average American who is consuming is deeply in debt and they are going to impacted dramatically in the increase in the cost of servicing that debt…given how much debt we have, and how much debt is going to be marketed the massive increase in supply will argue for interest rates that are higher.” –Peter Schiff

Retail sales “unexpectedly” fell again in February even though most media outlets are touting a booming economy that can support raising the interest rates. It was the third straight monthly drop and the first time the US economy has seen three straight months of declining retail sales since 2012.

Sales fell 0.1% in February even though analysts had expected an uptick of 0.3%.According to CNBC,households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles and other big-ticket items, pointing to a slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter. But Peter Schiff won’t sugarcoat this one for us: Americans are broke.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Global Economy’s Wile E. Coyote Moment

The Global Economy’s Wile E. Coyote Moment

Economies and markets may already be plunging off a cliff.
Always behind.
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Our prediction last year of a global growth downturn was based on our 20-Country Long Leading Index, which, in 2016, foresaw the synchronized global growth upturn that the consensus only started to recognize around the spring of 2017.

With the synchronized global growth upturn in the rearview mirror, the downturn is no longer a forecast, but is now a fact.

The chart below shows that quarter-over-quarter annualized gross domestic product growth rates in the three largest advanced economies — the U.S., the euro zone, and Japan — have turned down. In all three, GDP growth peaked in the second or third quarter of 2017, and fell in the fourth quarter. This is what the start of a synchronized global growth downswing looks like.

Still, the groupthink on the synchronized global growth upturn is so pervasive that nobody seemed to notice that South Korea’s GDP contracted in the fourth quarter of 2017, partly due to the biggest drop in its exports in 33 years. And that news came as the country was in the spotlight as host of the winter Olympics.

Because it’s so export-dependent, South Korea is often a canary in the coal mine of global growth. So, when the Asian nation experiences slower growth — let alone negative growth — it’s a yellow flag for the global economy.

The international slowdown is becoming increasingly obvious from the widely followed economic indicators. The most popular U.S. measures seem to present more of a mixed bag. Yet, as we pointed out late last year, the bond market, following the U.S. Short Leading Index, started sniffing out the U.S. slowdown months ago. Specifically, the quality spread — the difference between the yields on junk bonds and investment-grade corporate bonds — has been widening for several months.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 3

An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 3

“During the 1980s and 1990s, most industrial-country central banks were able to cage, if not entirely tame, the inflation dragon.”
—Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke began his oft-cited “helicopter speech” in 2002 with a few kind words about his peers, including the excerpt above. Speaking for central bankers, he took a large share of the credit for the low inflation of the 1980s and 1990s. Central bankers had gained a “heightened understanding” of inflation, he said, and he expected the future to bring even more inflation-taming success.

Of course, Bernanke’s cohorts took a few knocks in the boom–bust cycle that followed his speech, but their reputations as masters of inflation (and deflation) only grew. Today, the picture he painted seems even more firmly planted in the public mind than it was in 2002, notwithstanding recent data showing inflation creeping higher.

Public perceptions aren’t always accurate, though, and public figures aren’t the most reliable arbiters of credit and blame. In this 3-part article, I’m proposing a theory that challenges Bernanke’s narrative, and I’ll back the theory with data in Part 3. I’ll show that it leads to an inflation indicator with an excellent historical record.

But first, let’s recap a few points I’ve already discussed.

The Endless Tug-of-War

In Part 2, I said inflation depends on a tug-of-war between purchasing power (on the demand side) and capacity (on the supply side), and the war takes place within the circular flow, in which spending flows into income and income flows back to spending. Two circular-flow patterns and their causes demand particular attention:

  1. When banks inject money into the circular flow in the process of making loans, they can boost spending above the prior period’s income, thereby fattening the flow (or the opposite in the case of a deleveraging).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Broken Promises

Demanding More Debt

Consumer debt, corporate debt, and government debt are all going up.  But that’s not all.  Margin debt – debt that investors borrow against their portfolio to buy more stocks – has hit a record of $642.8 billion.  What in the world are people thinking?

A blow-off in margin debt mirroring the blow-off in stock prices. Since February of 2016 alone it has soared by ~$170 billion – this is an entirely new level insanity. The current total of 643 billion is more than double the level of margin debt at the tech mania peak and 15.4 times the amount of margin debt just before the crash of 1987. [PT]

Clearly, they’re not thinking.  Because thinking takes work.  Most people don’t like to work.  They like to pretend to work.

Similarly, people may say they care about debt.  But, based on their actions, they really don’t.  When it comes to the national debt, the overarching philosophy is that it doesn’t matter. Government debt certainly doesn’t matter to Congress.  Nor does it matter to the President.  In fact, their actions demonstrate they want more of it.

Big corporations with big government contracts want more government debt too. Their businesses demand it. They’ve staked their success on the expectation that the debt slop will continue flowing down the trough where they consume it like rapacious pigs.

The higher education bubble is also based on a faulty foundation of debt. The business model generally requires signing credulous 18 year-olds up for massive amounts of government backed student loans. From what we gather, federal student loan debt is closing in on $1.4 trillion.

 

Total student loans outstanding (red line – the data are only available from 2007 onward) and total federal government-owned student loans (black line). The former figure was closing in on $1.5 trillion as of Q4 2017. [PT]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Status Quo Will Reign

This month’s stock market correction is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Many have even begun to wonder if the era of dark money was truly over.

How will the recent correction affect the Fed’s dark money policies?

The consensus explanation for the correction was that inflation was rising and that would precipitate faster rate increases. The Feb. 2 unemployment report gave the impression that higher worker wages could lead to a higher inflationary trend.

I don’t buy this at all. I believe these fears of inflation are overblown.

As my colleague Jim Rickards has explained, the Feb. 2 report revealed that total weekly wages were actually declining and that labor force participation was unchanged. And the year-over-year gain in wages only seemed impressive compared with the extremely weak wage growth of recent years.

After accounting for existing inflation, Jim argued, the real gain was only 0.9%. That’s weak relative to the 3% or even 4% real wage gains typically associated with economic expansions since the end of World War II.

In short, Jim concludes, “the story about the “hot” economy with inflation right around the corner does not hold water.”

I agree.

Meanwhile, the latest report on U.S Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2017 was nothing to write home about. At 2.6% annual growth, it was 0.3% lower than expectations. That’s not the sign of an overheating economy. But those in the financial media considered it positive because it showed 2.80% growth in real personal consumption.

But if you look beneath the surface, what you’d see is that consumers aren’t actually doing well across three core areas that “govern the ability of individuals to spend.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 1

An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 1

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”
—Milton Friedman

Have you ever questioned Milton Friedman’s famous claim about inflation?

Ever heard anyone else question it?

Unless you read obscure stuff written for the academic community, you’re probably not used to Friedman’s quote being challenged. And that’s despite a lousy forecasting record by economists who bought into his Monetarist methods.

Consider the following:

  • When Friedman’s strict Monetarism fizzled in the 1980s, it was doomed partly by his own forecasts. Instead of the disinflation the decade delivered, he expected inflation to reach 1970s levels, publicizingthat prediction in 1983 and then again in 1984, 1985 and 1986. Of course, years earlier he foresaw the 1970s jump in inflation, but the errant forecasts that came later left him wide open to a “clock twice a day” dismissal.
  • Monetarists suffered an even harsher blow in 2012, when the Conference Board finally threw in the towel on Friedman’s favorite indicator, removing M2 from its Leading Economic Index (LEI). Generally speaking, forecasters who put M2 in their models are like bachelors who put “live with mom” in their dating profiles—they haven’t been successful.
  • The many economists who expected quantitative easing (QE) to wreak havoc on inflation are, of course, on the defensive. Nine years after QE began, core inflation remains below the Fed’s 2% target, defying their Monetarist beliefs.

When it comes to explaining inflation, Monetarism hasn’t exactly nailed it. Then again, neither has Keynesianism, whose Phillips Curve confounds those who rely on it. You can toss inflation onto the bonfire of major events that mainstream theories fail to explain.

But I’ll argue there might be a better way.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Public Debt Surges By $175 Billion In One Day

U.S. Public Debt Surges By $175 Billion In One Day

After the U.S. Government passed the new budget and debt increase, with the President’s signature and blessing, happy days are here again.  Or are they?  As long as the U.S. Government can add debt, then the Global Financial and Economic Ponzi Scheme can continue a bit longer.  However, the days of adding one Dollar of debt to increase the GDP by two-three Dollars are gone forever.  Now, we are adding three-four Dollars of debt to create an additional Dollar in GDP.  This monetary hocus-pocus isn’t sustainable.

Well, it didn’t take long for the U.S. Government to increase the total debt once the debt ceiling limit was lifted.  As we can see in the table below from the treasurydirect.gov site, the U.S. public debt increased by a whopping $175 billion in just one day:

I gather it’s true that Americans like to do everything… BIG.  In the highlighted yellow part of the table, it shows that the total U.S. public debt outstanding increased from $20.49 trillion on Feb 8th to $20.69 trillion on Feb 9th.  Again, that was a cool $175 billion increase in one day.  Not bad.  If the U.S. Government took that $175 billion and purchased the average median home price of roughly $250,000, they could have purchased nearly three-quarter of a million homes.  Yes, in just one day.  The actual figure would be 700,000 homes.

Regardless, we are now off to the races when it comes to adding GOBS of DEBT to continue a Ponzi Scheme that would make Bernie Madoff jealous.

There is so much that I want to write about and put into videos, but there is only so much time in the day.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Debt Crisis II Cometh

Global Debt Crisis II Cometh

– Global debt ‘area of weakness’ and could ‘induce financial panic’ – King warns
– Global debt to GDP now 40 per cent higher than it was a decade ago – BIS warn
– Global non-financial corporate debt grew by 15% to 96% of GDP in the past six years

– US mortgage rates hit highest level since May 2014

– US student loans near $1.4 trillion, 40% expected to default in next 5 years
– UK consumer debt hit £200b, highest level in 30 years, 25% of households behind on repayments

The ducks are beginning to line up for yet another global debt crisis. US mortgage rates are hinting at another crash, student debt crises loom in both the US and UK, consumer and corporate debt is at record levels and global debt to GDP ratio is higher than it was during the financial crisis.

When you look at the figures you realise there is an air of inevitability of what is around the corner. If the last week has taught us anything, it is that markets are unprepared for the fallout that is destined to come after a decade of easy monetary policies.

Global debt is more than three times the size of the global economy, the highest it has ever been. This is primarily made up of three groups: non financial corporates, governments and households. Each similarly indebted as one another. Debt is something that has sadly run the world for a very long time, often without problems. But when that debt becomes excessive it is unmanageable. The terms change and repayments can no longer be met.

This sends financial markets into a spiral. The house of cards is collapsing and suddenly it is revealed that life isn’t so hunky-day after all. Rates are set to rise and as they do they will spark more financial shocks, as we have seen this week.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Conflict between Fiscal & Monetary Policy

We are moving into a crisis of monumental proportions. There has been a serious fundamental problem infecting economic policy on a global scale. This conflict has been between monetary and fiscal policy. While central banks engaged in Quantitative Easing, governments have done nothing but reap the benefits of low-interest rates. This is the problem we have with career politicians who people vote for because they are a woman, black, or smile nicely. There is never any emphasis upon qualification. Every other job in life you must be qualified to get it. Would you put someone in charge of a hospital with life and death decisions because they smile nicely?

Economic growth has been declining year-over-year and we are in the middle of a situation involving low-productivity expansion with high and rapidly rising budget deficits that benefit nobody but government employees.  Once upon a time, 8% growth was average, then 6%, and 4% before 2015.75. Now 3% is considered to be fantastic. Private debt at least must be backed by something whereas escalating public debt is completely unsecured. The ECB wanted to increase the criteria for bad loans, yet if those same criteria were applied to government, nobody would lend them a dime.

Monetary policy, after too long a phase of low-interest rates and quantitative easing, has created governments addicted to low-interest rates. They have expanded their spending and deficits for the central banks were simply keeping the government on life-support – not actually stimulating the private sector. Governments have pursued higher taxes and more efficient tax collection. They have attacked the global economy assuming anyone doing business offshore was just an excuse to hide taxes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase