201802.22
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Blaming The Boom Basis

Once the sick man of the global economy, Europe’s system had roared back in 2017. According to the narrative, everything is right right now on the Continent. Manufacturing couldn’t possibly be any better, and the ECB forced into “emergency” monetary measures for longer than almost anyone else (except, as always, Japan) is talking confidently about…

201802.21 5

Independence, At Some Point

The Federal Reserve is ostensibly an independent agency of the government. Already it is beset by a contradiction. How can it be independent if it is otherwise an arm of the federal structure? It’s a problem beyond mere perception that officials have struggled to overcome since its inception. Between the Banking Act of 1935 that…

201802.14
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So, Where Is It?

The Fed in its Beige Book as well as in the speeches of several of its officials has referenced a labor shortage for years now. On the one hand, that is understandable given the trajectory of the unemployment rate. All the way back in 2013, during the so-called taper tantrum, it was the rapid drop…

201802.13
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Velocity Of Irrelevancy

One less mainstream piece of this inflation hysteria boom is the velocity of money. In case you haven’t yet heard, monetary velocity is rising. From that we are supposed to infer all the usual – wages, inflation, higher rates, and utter destruction in bonds if not the whole Western economic structure. The first part is…

201802.13
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3

Bi-Weekly Economic Review

Economic Reports Economic Growth & Income Personal income for December was better than expected at up 0.4% on the month and 4.11% year over year. Wages and salaries were up 0.5%. Unfortunately, that rate of rise is not even up to the lower end of the range we’ve seen in past expansions when 5% income…

201802.13
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A Boom Of Hysteria

It’s always been easy to lose perspective. In the modern social media age, maybe it has become even easier. Conventional wisdom rarely seems to get challenged anymore, particularly given the assignment of “what everybody knows.” Big Data is, for example, predicated on a very good theory, the wisdom of crowds. It hasn’t yet lived up…

201802.09
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Inflation? Not Even Reflation

The conventional interpretation of “reflation” in the second half of 2016 was that it was simply the opening act, the first step in the long-awaiting global recovery. That is what reflation technically means as distinct from recovery; something falls off, and to get back on track first there has to be acceleration to make up…

201802.07
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Global Asset Allocation Update:

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor the allocation to bonds is 50%, risk assets 45% and cash 5%. Despite the selloff of the last week I don’t believe any portfolio action is warranted. While the overbought condition has largely been corrected now, the S&P 500 is…

201802.06
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US Imports: A Little Inflation For Yellen, A Little More Bastiat

US imports rocketed higher once again in December, according to just-released estimates from the Census Bureau. Since August 2017, the US economy has been adding foreign goods at an impressive pace. Year-over-year (SA), imports are up just 10.4% (only 9% unadjusted) but 9.3% was in just those last four months. For most of 2017, imports…