201801.15
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: A Weak Dollar Stirs A Toxic Stew

Economic Reports Employment We received several employment related reports in the first two weeks of the year. The rate of growth in employment has been slowing for some time – slowly – and these reports continue that trend. The JOLTS report showed a drop in job openings, hires and quits. The Fed has been talking…

201801.12
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The Dea(r)th of Economic Momentum

For the fourth quarter as a whole, Chinese exports rose by just less than 10% year-over-year. That’s the highest quarterly rate in more than three years, up from 6.3% and 6.0% in Q2 2017 and Q3, respectively. That acceleration is, predictably, being celebrated as a meaningful leap in global economic fortunes. Instead, it highlights China’s…

201801.12
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Good or Bad, But Surely Not Transitory

When Federal Reserve officials first started last year to mention wireless network data plans as a possible explanation for a fifth year of “transitory” factors holding back consumer price inflation, it seemed a bit transparent. One of the reasons for immediately doubting their sincerity was the history of that particular piece of the CPI (or…

201801.12
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Retail Sales, Consumer Sentiment, And The Aftermath Of Hurricanes

Consumer confidence has been sky-high for some time now, with the major indices tracking various definitions of it at or just near highs not seen since the dot-com era. Economists place a lot of emphasis on confidence in all its forms, including that of consumers, and there is good reason for them to do so;…

201801.11
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COT Black: All The Trades Are Crowded Here

Watching the crude oil market over the past few months has been a study in winding a rubber band, or a game of chicken. Each week it has been largely the same thing repeated: oil prices gently rise, backwardation in the futures curve keeps deepening, Money Managers in the futures market bet on higher oil,…

201801.10
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Inflation Correlations and China’s Brief, Disappointing Porcine Nightmare

Two years ago, China was gripped by what was described as an epic pig problem. For most Chinese people, pork is a main staple so rapidly rising pig prices could have presented a serious challenge to an economy already at that time besieged by massive negative forces. It was another headache officials in that country…

201801.10
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China Doesn’t Want UST’s? I’ve Heard That Somewhere Before

For quite a long time I obsessed over November 20, 2013. It was a day that for the vast majority of humanity was like any other, nothing too far out of normal and certainly nothing that would seem to mark it for remembrance. But in my realm of yield curves and interest rate swaps, the…

201801.10
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No, No, This 2% Is Different From All Those Others

The TIPS market corollary to interest rate case impatience is overhyping any round number that might in isolation appear to confirm the bias. To reiterate the mistaken assumption: if you believe that economic growth just happens, then given how much time has passed since that was true or apparent you have to believe each long…

201801.10
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No, No, This Time They Mean It

I thought he might wait awhile longer given how things have played out. I guess not. Bill Gross, the former “bond king” at PIMCO, was back to advertising his position that the great bond bull market of the past quarter century is finished. In a tweet from his new employer Janus (h/t ZeroHedge) it seems…

201801.10
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Which One Really Belonged On Yellen’s Dashboard?

The latest JOLTS survey from the BLS suggests nothing much has changed from that particular view of the labor market. The level of estimated Job Openings (JO) while down slightly over the last few months remains exceedingly high. By contrast, the rate of monthly Hires (HI) continues to be subdued, if at the high end…