201804.17
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No Suggestion of Growth, Only L

In 1979, Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping designated four areas as Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Three were located in Guangdong Province, the southeastern region that wraps around the city of Hong Kong. One of those, situated just on the other side of the water from the then-British controlled jurisdiction, Shenzhen would be transformed from a sleepy…

201804.16
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The Retail Sales Shortage

Retail sales rose (seasonally adjusted) in March 2018 for the first time in four months. Related to last year’s big hurricanes and the distortions they produced, retail sales had surged in the three months following their immediate aftermath and now appear to be mean reverting toward what looks like the same weak pre-storm baseline. Exactly…

201803.27
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Embrace The Uncertainty

There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting…

201803.14
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China’s Questionable Start to 2018

The Chinese government reported estimates for Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) for both January and February 2018. The National Bureau of Statistics prepares and calculates China’s major economic statistics in this manner at the beginning of each year due to the difficulties created by calendar effects (New Year Golden Week). Despite…

201803.14 5

Three Months Now of After-Harvey Retail Sales; or, The Boom Narrative Goes Boom

If indeed this inflation hysteria has passed, its peak was surely late January. Even the stock market liquidations that showed up at that time were classified under that narrative. The economy was so good, it was bad; the Fed would be forced by rapid economic acceleration to speed themselves up before that acceleration got out…

201802.27
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: One Down, Three To Go

Economic Reports Economic Growth & Investment We pay particular attention to broad based indicators of growth. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators are examples. We watch them because we are mostly interested in identifying inflection points in the broad economy and aren’t as interested in the details.  Why?…

201802.14
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The Other Side of Harvey and Irma

Retail Sales in January 2018 rose by a little over 5% year-over-year. That followed sharp downward revisions to December, where in the biggest retail month of any calendar sales are now thought to have gained just 3.7%. Both of those rates are concerning, particularly the latter, given that almost all the gain was registered during…

201802.05
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The Brazilian Side of Symmetry

Brazilian stocks closed out January on an impressive run. Like stock markets all over the rest of the emerging market economies, Brazil’s has been on fire. The Sao Paolo Bovespa stock index had stumbled a bit in the middle of December, coinciding with a drop in the real against the dollar in that fit of…

201801.18 4

The Blatant Dishonesty of the ‘Boom’

Why do humans tend to behave in herds? It’s a fundamental question that only recently have researchers been able to better understand. On the one hand, it doesn’t take an advanced degree in some neurological science to see the basis behind it; survival for our ancestors often meant getting along with the crowd. There are…

201801.15
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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: A Weak Dollar Stirs A Toxic Stew

Economic Reports Employment We received several employment related reports in the first two weeks of the year. The rate of growth in employment has been slowing for some time – slowly – and these reports continue that trend. The JOLTS report showed a drop in job openings, hires and quits. The Fed has been talking…