201806.15
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4

There Isn’t Supposed To Be The Two Directions of IP

US Industrial Production dipped in May 2018. It was the first monthly drop since January. Year-over-year, IP was up just 3.5% from May 2017, down from 3.6% in each of prior three months. The reason for the soft spot was that American industry is being pulled in different directions by the two most important sectors:…

201806.15
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1

A Lot Underneath Retail Sales

The retail sales report for the month of May 2018 was generally positive on the headline, which is to say it was one of the better months of recent years. Total sales growth was 6.35% year-over-year (unadjusted). A big part of it was due to an 18% year-over-year gain in retail sales at gasoline stations….

201806.14
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8

China’s Hatches Further Battened

The problem with global growth, synchronized or not, is that it isn’t really a thing. It is a made-up concept that accompanies confusion. Why is the economy about to pick up when there is no evidence for that expectation? Global growth. It’s a nonspecific bogeyman that anyone can point to and expect little or often…

201806.05
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: As Good As It Gets?

In the last update I wondered if growth expectations – and growth – were breaking out to the upside. 10 year Treasury yields were well over the 3% threshold that seemed so ominous and TIPS yields were nearing 1%, a level not seen since early 2011. It looked like we might finally move to a…

201805.15
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3

Tax Cuts And (Less) Spending

After being rumored and talked about for over a year, at the end of last year the tax cuts were finally delivered. The idea had captured much market attention during that often anxious period of political flirtation. Prices would rise or fall by turn based on whether or not it seemed a realistic possibility. Public…

201805.07
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2

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Oil, Interest Rates & Economic Growth

The yield on the 10 year Treasury note briefly surpassed the supposedly important 3% barrier and then….nothing. So, maybe, contrary to all the commentary that placed such importance on that level, it was just another line on a chart and the bond bear market fear mongering told us a lot about the commentators and not…

201804.30
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Doubleplusgood Boom

In 1967, the US Personal Savings Rate averaged just a little more than 12%. That was pretty consistent with consumer behavior observed throughout the decades before, and the one that followed. What that meant, in terms of economic theory, was that if you as a central bank intended to accelerate the economy via the manipulation…

201804.27 5

The Longest Falling Expansion

The current expansion is already one of the longest on record. With another quarter entering the BEA’s books, it has been 35 since the last declared recession. At +2.3% for the current one, there won’t be another considered anytime soon putting this economy within reach. Yet, out of those 35 quarters only 10 have contained…

201804.16
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The Retail Sales Shortage

Retail sales rose (seasonally adjusted) in March 2018 for the first time in four months. Related to last year’s big hurricanes and the distortions they produced, retail sales had surged in the three months following their immediate aftermath and now appear to be mean reverting toward what looks like the same weak pre-storm baseline. Exactly…

201804.10
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2

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Investing Is Not A Game of Perfect

The market volatility this year has been blamed on a lot of factors. The initial selloff was blamed on a hotter than expected wage number in the January employment report that supposedly sparked concerns about inflation – although a similar number this month wasn’t mentioned as a cause of last Friday’s selling. The unwinding of…