F-I-C-C Spells Money

How many little pieces of conventional wisdom never hold up to scrutiny? Things get repeated over and over until they are so common that no one ever stops and thinks about them. It isn’t really nefarious like the Big Lie, more just shorthand that may have made perfect sense at one time but has become…


2017 Is Two-Thirds Done And Still No Payroll Pickup

The payroll report for August 2017 thoroughly disappointed. The monthly change for the headline Establishment Survey was just +156k. The BLS also revised lower the headline estimate in each of the previous two months, estimating for July a gain of only +189k. The 6-month average, which matters more given the noisiness of the statistic, is…


Deja Vu

According to orthodox theory, if interest rates are falling because of term premiums then that equates to stimulus. Term premiums are what economists have invented so as to undertake Fisherian decomposition of interest rates (so that they can try to understand the bond market; as you might guess it doesn’t work any better). It is,…


If 2014 Was Ultimately a Letdown, What Might 2017 Be?

Today’s topic du jour isn’t even a word but an abbreviated name. Whereas yesterday markets were somewhat spooked by a relatively obscure British firm, Provident, today they are again by still another. This time it’s WPP Plc, an advertising aggregation firm that owns a sizable portfolio of ad agencies located all around the world. Given…


Commitment of Traders: Crude Confounding Confusion

The price of oil can’t seem to climb out of the $40’s despite a lot going for it at the moment. Oil prices matter right now as much as three years ago when they signaled serious trouble ahead. For them to get above $50 and then continue on would indicate for a lot of important…


GDP (and Revisions) Confirms The Curves

Real Gross Domestic Product expanded by 2.54% in Q2 2017, below most estimates including the final one from the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model. That latter method was close once again in its final days (+2.8%), but earlier in the quarter was predicting GDP growth of 4.3%. That would have been like what many people were…


Copper And The Upside

Copper prices are up very sharply today, igniting across markets a reborn “reflation.” Treasuries along with eurodollar futures have been stuck in anti-“reflation” for quite some time. Copper, on the other hand, is not just now breaking from the pack. Going back to May 9, this important economic indication has been so far steadily bucking…


When You Stop Reading After The Second Sentence

On June 27, ECB President Mario Draghi opened that central bank’s international conference in Sintra, Portugal. Most media never made it past the first two sentences of his prepared remarks. For them, the verdict was already delivered in those few lines. They declared that Draghi declared monetary policy was working and the world was on…


Retail Sales Conundrum

Retail sales were thoroughly disappointing in June. Whereas other accounts such as imports or durable goods had at least delivered a split decision between adjusted and unadjusted versions, for retail sales both views of them were ugly. Seasonally-adjusted first, spending last month was down for the second straight time. Worse than that, estimated sales were…

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Chart of the Week; Marathon, Not A Sprint

After the 2013 “reflation” selloff, it took just about two years for the treasury market to revisit (10s) the 2013 lows (rates). In all that time, each and every bond selloff was met by the same assurances that “rates had nowhere to go but up” when instead the underlying fundamentals (economy as well as money/liquidity)…