201706.23
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No Backing Sentiment

When the price of oil first collapsed at the end of 2014, it was characterized widely as a “supply glut.” It wasn’t something to be concerned about because it was believed attributable to success, and American success no less. Lower oil prices would be another benefit to consumers on top of the “best jobs market…

201706.20
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Fading Further and Further Back Toward 2016

Earlier this month, the BEA estimated that Disposable Personal Income in the US was $14.4 trillion (SAAR) for April 2017. If the unemployment rate were truly 4.3% as the BLS says, there is no way DPI would be anywhere near to that low level. It would instead total closer to the pre-crisis baseline which in…

201706.16
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Oil Price is Oil Inventory is Reflation is Economy

Drillers are going to drill. What else can they do? OPEC can discuss cuts and maybe even stick to them for a while, but the rest of the world isn’t bound by those tactics. That is what they are, PR aimed at firming up prices. In the end, this story, as it has been from…

201706.07
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All About Inventory

Andy Hall has been called the God of Oil. As chief of Astenbeck Capital, he has proven at times that even gods can be mortal. In the “rising dollar” period, for example, after making money on the way down Mr. Hall went bullish. That was March 2015: We suspect their projection of current prices into…

201706.01
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Dollars And Sent(iment)s

Both US manufacturing PMI’s underwhelmed just as those from China did. The IHS Markit Index was lower than the flash reading and the lowest level since last September. For May 2017, it registered 52.7, down from 52.8 in April and a high of 55.0 in January. Just by description alone you can appreciate exactly what…

201706.01
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Pay No Attention To 50

China’s PMI’s were uniformly disappointing with respect to what Moody’s was on about last week. Chinese authorities expended great effort and resources to get the economy moving forward again after several years of “dollar”-driven deceleration. There was a massive “stimulus” spending program where State-owned FAI expenditures of about 2% of GDP were elicited to make…

201705.31
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Systemic Blindness

MF Global failed on a trade that would have made it enormously profitable. AIG’s portfolios of “toxic waste” ended up making money – for the Federal Reserve. Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were ended like the others by liquidity, not losses. SemGroup was another firm that went into bankruptcy during that period, but one that…

201705.30
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Appropriately Rewriting History According To Price Stability

The Federal Reserve defines price stability in terms of consumer prices rather than a stable currency. Up until 2012, any inflation target was implicit in monetary policy behavior rather than explicitly stated as an incorporated aspect. Everyone knew, of course, that the Fed had throughout the 1990’s sought a stable regime of around 2% growth…

201705.30
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Not A Cycle; Weakness Produces Further Weakness No Matter How Confident

If economists are hoping for more than signs of wage acceleration, revisions to the Personal Income data series are going to make it that much harder to justify still seeing them. Income was revised lower across-the-board. The base effect of oil prices that had been supporting “reflation” may have had the opposite effect on consumers….