201711.06 5

Europe Is Booming, Except It’s Not

European GDP rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter in Q3 2017, the eighteenth consecutive increase for the Continental (EA 19) economy. That latter result is being heralded as some sort of achievement, though the 0.6% is also to a lesser degree. The truth is that neither is meaningful, and that Europe’s economy continues toward instead the abyss. At…

201710.16
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Global Inflation Continues To Underwhelm

Chinese producer prices accelerated in September 2017, while consumer price increases slowed. The National Bureau of Statistics reported this weekend that China’s PPI was up 6.9% year-over-year, a quicker pace than the 6.3% estimated for August and a 5.5% rate in July. Earlier in the year producer prices were driven mostly by 2016’s oil rebound,…

201709.08
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The Real Euro Watch

Everyone is now a euro watcher. The European common currency’s exchange value against the dollar has been on the rise, to put it mildly. Despite decades of declaring floating currencies the optimal framework, it really is quite entertaining to watch the furor when these things actually float one way or the other. This recent trend…

201708.14
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Data Dependent: Interest Rates Have Nowhere To Go

In October 2015, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Bill Dudley admitted that the US economy might be slowing. In the typically understated fashion befitting the usual clownshow, he merely was acknowledging what was by then pretty obvious to anyone outside the economics profession. Dudley was at that moment, however, undaunted. His eye was cast toward the…

201708.07
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Irreführende Statistiken

Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (DeStatis) reported today disappointing figures for Industrial Production. The seasonally-adjusted series fell in June 2017 month-over-month for the first time this year, last declining in December 2016. The index had been on a tear, rising nearly 5% in the first five months of this year. The move was considered by many…

201707.31
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Policy From Behind

When the Mario Draghi as head of the ECB first introduced negative rates in early June 2014, his reasoning was very clear. As he said in the opening of his statement imposing NIRP on Europe, “Today, we decided on a combination of measures to provide additional monetary policy accommodation and to support lending to the…

201707.31
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Islands In The Sun: European Inflation & Unemployment

Inflation in Europe was in July 2017 once again underwhelming. Eurostat’s HICP inflation index grew at a 1.3% annual rate for the second straight month. Other than for February 2017, the inflation rate has been less than the ECB’s 2% target for four and a half years. During that time, Europe’s central bank has vastly…

201707.26 1

Draghi Did Not Keep His Promise

It is like a great many things forgotten now, but five years ago today the head of the ECB compared Europe to a bumblebee. That’s not quite right, however, as Mario Draghi really said the euro was like a bumblebee, but you’d be forgiven for mixing the two up. The purpose of his folksy analogy…

201707.03
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Some Global Odd & Ends

When it comes to central bank experimentation, Japan is always at the forefront. If something new is being done, Bank of Japan is where it happens. In May for the first time in human history, that central bank’s balance sheet passed the half quadrillion mark. It should be unsettling where a trillion is a rounding…

201706.14
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Repeat 2014; Praying Again To The God of ‘Global Growth’

One of the more troubling aspects of mainstream commentary in 2014 was its blandness. Statements were made with a purpose but also purposefully avoiding specifics. It was common to hear or read “the economy is improving” without being shown why or how in convincing fashion. After suffering a second bout of weakness in 2012 and…