201608.18
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Maybe Economists Should Just Throw Darts Rather Than Keep Searching For The Magic Number

One of the primary points of emphasis with regard to Japan’s QQE was the yen itself. Pushing the value down, even by misconceptions about what central banks do, was supposed to simultaneously increase inflation pressures via the currency translation while also stimulating the export sector to a sufficient degree that Japan Inc. would be reborn…

201608.17
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Cisco And Target Are Not Really About Cisco Or Target

The words of the day are apparently “sluggish” and “challenging.” Overnight both Target and Cisco, bellwethers in retail and tech, respectively, were both the subject of intense scrutiny. Target released earnings that “beat” while revenues and really same store comps were particularly weak. Year-over-year, sales declined 7.2% total (revenues from Q2 2015 include Target’s pharmacy…

201608.16
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Broader Alarm And Business Cycles

The NBER does not define a recession as two consecutive quarters of contracting GDP. That is the mainstream definition that largely survives as a coping mechanism to deny what might otherwise be quite apparent. That was certainly true in 2008, as only Q1 GDP declined and it wasn’t until Q4 2008 that this mythical “technical”…

201608.16
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Housing Starting To Suggest Where Autos Already Are?

In yet another data point that identifies depression rather than a Great Recession, the Wall Street Journal reported last week what most people outside the economics profession had realized a long time ago. Janet Yellen likes to say that the housing market is recovering, highlighting the economic sector as one of the few bright spots…

201608.16
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US Industrial Production Without Autos & Oil

Industrial production declined for the eleventh consecutive month in July, down 0.5% from July 2015. Though the slope of the contraction continues to be unusually shallow, the fact that it has lasted for nearly a year now is significant particularly in the context of the “rising dollar” period. On a monthly basis, IP is up…

201608.15
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Japan GDP Demonstrates QE’s Flaws Where It Actually Does Have An Effect

In June 2015, Japan’s Cabinet Office, the section of the government charged with tabulating and publishing gross domestic product estimates, revised Q1 2015 GDP significantly higher to 3.9% from its preliminary 2.7% figure. Not only was that the second straight quarter of positive growth, the acceleration indicated seemed to confirm that the Japanese economy had…

201608.12
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Retail Sales Slow Sharply (Again)

For the most part in 2016 retail sales had been better. “Better” is, of course, a relative term, and despite intentional colorization with respect to these types of economic accounts doesn’t automatically equate to “good.” Consumer spending data throughout 2015 was simply atrocious, not just on par with past recessions but among some of the…

201608.11
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Long Run Expectations After So Many Years Of Doubt

On Wednesday, October 8, 2008, the FOMC voted for an emergency 50 bps cut in the federal funds rate, bringing it down to 1.50%. The day prior, the Fed announced that it would be buying short-term debt from businesses after suggesting the day before that it would fund up to $300 billion for “bad” assets….

201608.09
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Wholesalers Cautious On Inventory For Good Reason

Wholesale sales for June 2016 declined slightly, -0.6%, year-over-year. Since February, sales have flattened out in unadjusted terms. Seasonally-adjusted, wholesales sales rose nearly 2% from May 2016, and are up $17 billion from February. Of that increase, however, $11.5 billion was petroleum alone. Taking out the volatile swings in oil and oil prices, wholesale sales…

201608.09
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Productivity Circularity

On June 6, Janet Yellen spoke to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia in what were highly scrutinized comments. The occasion was just a weekend in between the May payroll report that clearly unnerved her and the rest of the FOMC. Prior to that BLS publication, it was believed that a rate hike in June…