US Trade Settles Down Again

US trade is further leveling off after several months of artificial intrusions. On the import side, in particular, first was a very large and obvious boost following last year’s big hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Starting in September 2017, for four months the value of imported goods jumped by an enormous 8.3% (revised, seasonally-adjusted). Most…


Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Investing Is Not A Game of Perfect

The market volatility this year has been blamed on a lot of factors. The initial selloff was blamed on a hotter than expected wage number in the January employment report that supposedly sparked concerns about inflation – although a similar number this month wasn’t mentioned as a cause of last Friday’s selling. The unwinding of…


China Exports: Trump Tariffs, Booming Growth, or Tainted Trade?

China’s General Administration of Customs reported that Chinese exports to all other countries were in February 2018 an incredible 44.5% more than they were in February 2017. Such a massive growth rate coming now has served to intensify the economic boom narrative. A strengthening U.S. recovery is helping underpin China’s outlook as Asia’s biggest economy…


Global Asset Allocation Update: Tariffs Don’t Warrant A Change…Yet

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%. We have had continued volatility since the last update but the market action so far is pretty mundane. The initial selloff halted at the 200 day moving average…

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A Trade War Off These Import Figures?

After an incredible run, up nearly 10% in just four months, imports took a break in January 2018. Year-over-year, not seasonally-adjusted, imports gained 9.5%, a rate that is better than experienced during the similar upturn in 2014 but still well short of what the rest of the world requires for global growth. The fact that…

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Pump It Up

She’s been a bad girl. She’s like a chemical. Though you try to stop it, she’s like a narcotic. You wanna torture her. You wanna talk to her. All the things you bought for her, putting up your temp’rature. Pump it up until you can feel it. Pump it up when you don’t really need…


Bi-Weekly Economic Review

Economic Reports Scorecard Well it’s time to get back in the habit of doing this every two weeks. The schedule was interrupted over the holidays and then again by my annual outlook piece.  The economic data released over the last two weeks was not particularly inspiring, not that hard data is what has been egging…


Protectionism Breaking Out All Over

From MSNBC: WASHINGTON – Only a few weeks after world leaders vowed at a Washington summit to reject trade protectionism and adhere to free-market principles as they combat the global financial crisis, a host of nations are already breaking that promise. Moving to shield battered domestic manufacturers from foreign imports, Indonesia is slapping restrictions on…