A tale of two Christmas’

The 2016 Christmas run up saw the shares of retailers ( tracked by XRT, first chart ) rise an anaemic 1%, while in 2017 the same stocks BOOMED, soaring some 5.17 during the last two weeks of December. Why?

Well, MasterCard reports record Christmas spending of some $800B this year. In fact, this was [...]

So who is lying then?

Last week Mr Obama went on what some might call a victory lap, crowing about his Administration’s economic accomplishments, all but calling those who criticise the current state of the American economy “liars”. Hmmm. Why not stop with the name calling, please?

Sure, GDP is positive, but eager to distribute the Happy News Mr [...]

No New Deal for America

Lots of excitement in The United States about upcoming elections. Many of the most enthusiastic are backing what might be called “outsider candidates” — Trump on the (far) right and Sanders on the (far) left. As usual, from my perspective of an ex-patriate Investment Banker-cum-University Lecturer, I tend to see things differently from my stateside [...]

Depression era crisis in farming?

In spite of stereotypes about the scale and pervasiveness of factory farming, in The United States some 99% of all working farms are family farms, and most farms have annual incomes of less than $350K.

Incomes that are rapidly collapsing, by as much as 50% according to some sources.

Why? The chart below [...]

Not a taper tantrum but something

Properly used, Corporate Bond ratings are effective tools helping marketing participants to understand risk and return. Simply put, as riskier assets will have lower ratings, and must provide an increase return to investors to entice them to purchase the assets. In other words, “the higher the risk the higher the return”.

The chart [...]

Memo to Bernanke – its not working!

Capital Goods Orders are carefully studied by market analysts since this metric provides critical information about the state of the manufacturing sector.

The chart above shows Capital Goods Orders received by nondefense, non aircraft manufacturers (NEWORDER, monthly), measured as percent change year on year for the period May, 2003 to May, 2013. In [...]

A trillion dollars lost

The chart above shows US Gross Domestic Product for the period 1973 to 2013 (GDP, thick black line), with recessions indicated by vertical gray bars. For each period of economic expansion I’ve added a flat trend line, essentially identifying the level of US GDP as if the recession had never happened. You’ll notice that [...]

Increasing debt, slowing growth

A combination of the latest US GDP numbers failing to inspire and The Fed’s waffling on further stimulus (seriously, if the economy were on track they should be talking about decreasing further debt purchases) has led people to begin to question the current policy of relentlessly increasing debt.

Just to clarify things I [...]

Will US states default again?

The Federal Government isn’t the only US entity with excessive debt. While US states are obliged to balance their budget every year that doesn’t stop them from issuing debt to address budgetary shortfalls. The chart above shows two series: first, state and local government current tax receipts (black line, W070RC1Q027SBEA) compared to the debt [...]

US Money Supply: Ad Astra

The chart above shows St. Louis Adjusted Monetary Base (AMBSL, black line, measured monthly) for the period January 2003 to March 2013. We can see that until the depths of The Great Recession growth in the supply of money was relatively benign; in fact the money supply increased, on average, by roughly 3% per [...]