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…

201801.08
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The Conspicuous Rush To Import

According to the Census Bureau, US companies have been importing foreign goods at a relentless pace. In estimates released last week, seasonally-adjusted US imports jumped to $204 billion in November 2017. That’s a record high finally surpassing the $200 billion mark for the first time, as well as the peaks for both 2014 and 2007….

201712.08
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Revisiting Once More The True Worst Case

As weird as it may seem at first, the primary economic problem right now is that the global economy looks like it is growing again. There is no doubt that it continues on an upturn, but the mere fact that whatever economic statistic has a positive sign in front of it ends up being classified…

201712.05
4
1

Reduced Trade Terms Salute The Flattened Curve

The Census Bureau reported earlier today that US imports of foreign goods jumped 9.9% year-over-year in October. That is the second largest increase since February 2012, just less than the 12% import growth recorded for January earlier this year. In both monthly cases, however, the almost normal rates of increase which would have at least…

201711.08
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Full(er) Appreciation of the Geographical ‘Dollar’ Dimension

The American view of the “rising dollar” period is one of truly understated appreciation. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of us didn’t realize there was ever a downturn to begin with, let alone one that flirted with proportions reaching recession. After all, the most widely felt effects didn’t manifest and really sting until the…

201711.03
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Synchronized Global Not Quite Growth

Going back to 2014, it was common for whenever whatever economic data point disappointed that whomever optimistic economist or policymaker would overrule it by pointing to “global growth.” It was the equivalent of shutting down an uncomfortable debate with ad hominem attacks. You can’t falsify “global growth” because you can’t really define what it is. Japan…

201710.13
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4

Enforcing A Global Speed Limit

Chinese imports rose 18.7% in September 2017 year-over-year. That’s up from 13.5% growth in August. While near-20% expansion sounds good if not exhilarating, it isn’t materially different from 13.5% or 8% for that matter. In addition, Chinese trade statistics tend to vary month to month. What is becoming very clear is that China’s economy is…

201710.05
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Factory Orders, Too

It stands to reason that if US demand for foreign goods is weak because of high inventory levels, then demand for domestic goods will be, too. As noted earlier, US imports are down this year after being substantially higher during the last half of last year. The same pattern to a varying degree is unsurprisingly…

201710.05
4
2

The Damage Started Months Before Harvey And Irma

Ahead of tomorrow’s payroll report the narrative is being set that it will be weak because of Harvey and Irma. Historically, major storms have had a negative effect on the labor market. Just as auto sales were up sharply in September very likely because of the hurricane(s) and could remain that way for several months,…

201709.06
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‘Something’ Is Still Out There

In January 2016, just as the wave of “global turmoil” was cresting on domestic as well as foreign shores, retired Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was giving a series of lectures for the IMF. His topic wasn’t really the so-called taper tantrum of 2013 but it really was. Even ideologically blinded economists like Bernanke could…