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Tag Archives: Recession

The Real Diseased Body

Another day, another new Federal Reserve “bailout.” As these things go by, quickly, the details become less important. What is the central bank doing today? Does it really matter? For me, twice was enough. All the way back in 2010 I had expected other people to react as I did to QE2. If you have to do it twice, it doesn’t work. And if Ben Bernanke grew so concerned he felt a second dose was required… Put another way, if a central bank keeps doing “bigger” things,...

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Stagnation Never Looked So Good: A Peak Ahead

Forward-looking data is starting to trickle in. Germany has been a main area of interest for us right from the beginning, and by beginning I mean Euro$ #4 rather than just COVID-19. What has happened to the German economy has ended up happening everywhere else, a true bellwether especially manufacturing and industry. The latest sentiment figures from ZEW as well as IFO are sobering. Taking the former first, it had been quite buoyant last year on the false...

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Schaetze To That

When Mario Draghi sat down for his scheduled press conference on April 4, 2012, it was a key moment and he knew it. The ECB had finished up the second of its “massive” LTRO auctions only weeks before. Draghi was still relatively new to the job, having taken over for Jean-Claude Trichet the prior November amidst substantial turmoil. The non-standard “flood of liquidity” was an about-face from his predecessor (who had been raising rates in 2011 before the wheels...

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European Data: Much More In Store For Number Four

It’s just Germany. It’s just industry. The excuses pile up as long as the downturn. Over across the Atlantic the situation has only now become truly serious. The European part of this globally synchronized downturn is already two years long and just recently is it becoming too much for the catcalls to ignore. Central bankers are trying their best to, obviously, but the numbers just aren’t stacking up their way. We’ve seen all this before, repeatedly. Part of the...

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US Sales and Production Remain Virus-Free, But Still Aren’t Headwind-Free

The lull in US consumer spending on goods has reached a fifth month. The annual comparisons aren’t good, yet they somewhat mask the more recent problems appearing in the figures. According to the Census Bureau, total retail sales in January rose 4.58% year-over-year (unadjusted). Not a good number, but better, seemingly, than early on in 2019 when the series was putting out 3s and 2s. As has been the pattern in these things, global synchronized downturns, the...

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History Shows You Should Infer Nothing From Powell’s Pause

Jay Powell says that three’s not a crowd, at least not for his rate cuts, but four would be. As usual, central bankers like him always hedge and say that “should conditions warrant” the FOMC will be more than happy to indulge (the NYSE). But what he means in his heart of hearts is that there probably won’t be any need. Three should do the trick nicely. And a lot of people, from what I can tell, believe him if not simply because he’s already stopped. The last two...

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With No Second Half Rebound, Confirming The Squeeze

It’s a palpable impatience. Having learned absolutely nothing from the most recent German example, there’s this pervasive belief that if the economy hasn’t fallen apart by now it must be going the other way. The right way. Those are the only two options for mainstream analysis (which means it isn’t analysis). You can see it in how everything is framed. When first presented with this “unexpected” globally synchronized downturn early on in 2019 (they ignored all the...

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Very Rough Shape, And That’s With The Payroll Data We Have Now

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has begun the process of updating its annual benchmarks. Actually, the process began last year and what’s happening now is that the government is releasing its findings to the public. Up first is the Household Survey, the less-watched, more volatile measure which comes at employment from the other direction. As the name implies, the BLS asks households who in them is working whereas the more closely scrutinized Establishment...

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Not Abating, Not By A Longshot

Since I advertised the release last week, here’s Mexico’s update to Industrial Production in November 2019. The level of production was estimated to have fallen by 1.8% from November 2018. It was up marginally on a seasonally-adjusted basis from its low in October. That doesn’t sound like much, -1.8%, but apart from recent months this would’ve been the third worst result since 2009. Mexico has rarely experienced that kind of seemingly mild contraction. It signals...

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You Will Never Bring It Back Up If You Have No Idea Why It Falls Down And Stays Down

It wasn’t actually Keynes who coined the term “pump priming”, though he became famous largely for advocating for it. Instead, it was Herbert Hoover, of all people, who began using it to describe (or try to) his Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Hardly the do-nothing Roosevelt accused Hoover of being, as President, FDR’s predecessor was the most aggressive in American history to that point, economically speaking. Roosevelt just took it a step (or seven) further....

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