Tag: consumers

Back in the US, what are the data telling us?

Back in the US, what are the data telling us?

Today’s ADP employment report came out with a figure of 139,000 jobs added to the US economy in February. This number is low and comes with downward revisions to past numbers. The ADP data are the last big numbers we will see except weekly initial claims before the jobs report come out. I think the numbers point to a tepid pace of underlying growth in the 2% range, not yet susceptible to recession due to exogenous shocks, but weaker than generally perceived.

Economic and market themes: 2014-02-14

Economic and market themes: 2014-02-14

Themes for today:

Commodities: soybean prices could fall due to increased supply. This would be troublesome for Argentina.
Emerging markets: Of the fragile five, India is looking better, Brazil is still a big concern.
Developed Markets: House price inflation makes France, the UK, Australia and Canada vulnerable to real economy shocks.
US: Consumers are only supporting 1-2% growth. Q1 will be weak. Inventory builds are still the big story.

Stephen Roach: US consumers are still in a balance sheet recession

Stephen Roach: US consumers are still in a balance sheet recession

Former Morgan Stanley Chief Economist Stephen Roach isn’t buying the US recovery. The economist, now a Senior Fellow at Yale University, talked to Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance” earlier today to discuss the US economy, as well as emerging markets, Apple’s stock repurchase and his new book “Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China.”. Roach told Tom Keene: “the American consumer remains […]

Walbucks: Bitcoin for Walmart

Walbucks: Bitcoin for Walmart

This post is about three different topics, Bitcoin and e-Payments, the Minimum Wage, and consumer spending and Walmart. There has been a lot of discussion about all three and I believe I have an innovative way to attack all three issues that will satisfy most reasonable people. The idea is simply to for Walmart to conduct a de facto minimum wage increase of all of its minimum wage workers’ salary by giving them extra salary in e-payments usable only at Walmart and transferable securely via a payment algorithm similar to Bitcoin’s.

The unintended consequences of Abenomics on consumers

The unintended consequences of Abenomics on consumers

The danger of Japan’s current policy (Abenomics) is that the outcome could turn out to be the exact opposite of what was originally intended. With wages stagnant, these import-driven price increases are hitting the Japanese consumer quite hard. As a result, spending on domestically produced goods and services could end up falling, constraining domestic prices instead of increasing them.

Do the US GDP figures point to a bullish outlook in the global economy?

Do the US GDP figures point to a bullish outlook in the global economy?

I am not a bull, largely because I have concerns about the long-term sustainability of today’s policy mix in Europe and the United States and the rise in equity multiples. But it is undeniable that we are seeing a more bullish outlook for the global economy at present. Below are some thoughts about the outlook in the context of today’s upward revision in US GDP figures.

The US retail outlook remains weak

The US retail outlook remains weak

A number of indicators seem to point to a relatively weak holiday shopping season in the US. In particular, the Gallup survey index that estimates holiday spending has turned lower. And consumer sentiment peaked this summer and has been declining since.

US retail sales are slowing

US retail sales are slowing

The recent downturns in consumer confidence and spending are likely being exacerbated by the controversy in Washington; but it is clear that the consumer was already feeling the pressure of the surge in interest rates, higher energy and food costs and stagnant wages.