This is the first time I am doing this, so let’s see how much value it adds. I thought I would quickly run through a number of countries in the news and give my perspective on the macro picture in each. I am just going to give a summary here of the key points of interest and will do a deep dive on some at a later date. Let’s start with the US.
Last week, the ECB announced that it would begin purchasing securities backed by bank lending to households and firms. Whereas markets and the media have generally greeted this announcement with enthusiasm, this column identifies reasons for caution. Other central banks’ quantitative easing programmes have involved purchasing fixed amounts of securities according to a published schedule. In contrast, the ECB’s new policy is demand-driven, and will only be effective if it breaks the vicious circle of recession and negative credit growth.
Britain faces a crisis of monumental proportions as the Scottish electorate decides whether to leave the Union and make Scotland a fully independent country for the first time since 1707 when it first entered into political union with England. This vote has all sorts of ramifications for the currency, monetary policy, fiscal policy and the banking system within the UK and Scotland. But it also has far-reaching implications for the whole of the EU. I have a few thoughts on how to frame the issue below as well as a model for how to secede if it comes to that.
There is now a provisional date for that woeful collision to occur: the 9 November this year, the date chosen by the Catalan parliament for the holding a popular (non binding, not a referendum) consultation under a new law which will receive parliamentary approval on 19 September. The original intention of the Catalan parliament was to hold a referendum on the region’s future authorized by Madrid. With that intent parliamentary representatives took a proposal last spring to the Spanish parliament. The reply was a polite but near unanimous “no” since Spain’s parliamentarians took the view any such vote could be considered “unconstitutional”.
I have always thought that the soft landing/hard landing debate wholly misses the point when it comes to China’s economic prospects. It confuses the kinds of market-based adjustments we are likely to see in the US or Europe with the much more controlled process we see in China. Instead of a hard landing or a soft landing, the Chinese economy faces two very different options, and these will be largely determined by the policies Beijing chooses over the next two years.
What I am going to discuss today is financial gimmickry and wage growth. This piece is an outgrowth of a piece I am writing for the New York Times on corporate buybacks and capital investment plus a segment I recently did on Boom Bust at RT about inversions. The video is attached here.
The big news today was the ECB’s decision to lower interest rates 10 basis points to 0.05% and its simultaneous decision to engage in a form of quantitative easing using the asset-backed market as a vehicle. While these measures are welcome, they will almost certainly not be enough on their own. But it will give some respite to a euro area on the brink of outright deflation.I have a few brief comments below.
The gist of the piece here is that, while I see a cyclical recovery that is gathering pace, the Achilles heel of the recovery from a sustainability perspective is wage growth. To the degree the Fed normalizes policy now before wage growth has a chance to make up for its really weak post-recession trajectory, the US will find itself in the same sort of weak stall speed scenario that we now see in Europe. My worry now is that the cyclical recovery has been artificial, fake – goosed up by temporary monetary stimulus. I think that when that stimulus is removed, there will be nothing to support continued growth, and that the US economy will weaken. Here’s how I put it below.
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Labor Day is behind us now and I intend to have a much more regular posting schedule going forward. But the lack of posts has given me some time to reflect on the global macro situation without the need to write about it on a daily basis. […]
Despite the title, this is not a mono-themed post but more of a highlight of recent news and data and their importance in interpreting the direction of the economy and potential effect on markets. I do want to concentrate on European and US data but I also have some data points from elsewhere. Full commentary at Credit Writedowns Pro
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Before I get into the details today, I want to note that going forward, I may not have the bandwidth to be able to post on a daily basis. I am going to try. But there are definitely going to be weekdays going forward where I won’t […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Today is the time to update you on how my 2014 surprises are faring and why. Just to remind you, the surprise list is based on Byron Wien’s list of ten surprises which he has been conducting for the last thirty years. Surprises are events to which […]