Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Bush threw auto makers a $13.4 billion lifeline from the U.S. bank-bailout program.

  • YoY Canada’s consumer prices rose 2.0% in November.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

London Banker: “The market has failed, and officialdom is perpetuating that failure
The problem isn’t just money either, but how quickly the money is turned over.

Consumers Get Important New Credit Card Protections While praising the new protections, Consumers Union criticized the 18 month delay before consumers finally get relief.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims were down 21,000 to 554,000 last week

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing improved from -39.3 to -32.9

  • U.S. leading indicators fell 0.4% in November

  • U.K. retail sales rose 0.3% MoM and 1.5% YoY

  • (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Japan cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.1 percent and introduced new ways of pumping money into the banking system to bolster the ailing economy.

  • German business confidence (IFO) fell to its lowest level ever in December amid concerns of a prolonged recession.

  • Canada’s retail sales fell 0.9% in October.
    Canada’s leading indicators fell 0.7% in November.

  • (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s debt ratings outlook and those of its GE Capital finance arm were changed to negative from stable by Standard & Poor’s, reflecting concern earnings could deteriorate further than previously thought.

  • Bush is looking at "orderly" bankruptcy as a way to deal with the U.S. auto industry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

South African central bank gold sales dry up .. Demby also pointed out that demand for gold coins and bullion now exceeded supply by a huge margin as investors were seeking a safe haven from the prospective fallout in the wake of mammoth money supply creation by the United States government.

Quick Overview

  • U.K. unemployment rate was 6.0, up from 5.8% MoM.

  • Construction output in the Euro area rose 0.1% in October, but down 4.0 YoY
  • YoY Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 2.1%

  • Canada wholesale sales fell 1.8% in October

  • Norway cut its interest rate from 4.75% to 3.00%

  • OPEC will be cutting oil production by 2.2 million barrels a day as of January 1.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 500,000 barrels to 321.3 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.3 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies rose 600,000 barrels.
    Refinery use dropped from 87.4% to 84.1% of capacity
    Gasoline demand fell 2.7%
    Distillate demand fell 4.5%.

  • Russia's central bank allowed the ruble to slide for the second time this week, speeding up the gradual depreciation policy

  • French antitrust authorities ruled that Apple must allow other operators other than France Telecom to sell its iPhone, saying the exclusive deal was unfair for competition.

  • Morgan Stanley reported a wider-than-expected $2.2 billion quarterly loss.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The Fed cut the fed funds rate from 1.00% to .125%, and signaled they will keep rates "exceptionally low" for some time amid rapidly waning price pressures.

  • U.S. housing starts were at a record (since 1959) low annual rate of 625,000 in November, down 18.9% MoM.
    Building permits fell 15.6% MoM.

  • The U.S. consumer price index fell 1.7% in November rose 1.1% YoY

  • YoY U.K. consumer prices rose 4.1% in November

  • Manufacturing and services index in the Euro area fell from 38.9 to 38.3

  • China’s November steel output fell by 12.4% YoY

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bush Shoe Tosser Signed By The Seattle Mariners SEATTLE, Washington - The Seattle Mariners who in 2008, had the worst record in the American League (61-101) have just signed Muntazer al-Zaidi to a three year, $3 million pitching contract.

Our Updated Take on Gold Prices
The last era of any significant period of deflation was in the 1930s. Although gold was fixed for a long time at $20.67 per ounce, in 1934 a massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar saw its fixed price jump to $35 per ounce. During this period of entrenched deflation, and in spite of the fixed price of the metal, gold proxies saw a dramatic rise in price. The NYSE-listed shares of Homestake Mining Company rose from about $4 to $500 from 1929 to 1935; the company operated for some 120 years until its flagship Homestake mine in Lead, S.D., ran out of economic reserves a few years ago and the company ceased to exist.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. industrial production fell 0.6% in November and 5.5% YoY

  • Japan's Tankan fell from -3 to -24

  • China's industrial output rose 5.4% YoY
    China’s November iron ore imports rose 6% MoM

  • The Supreme Court ruled that cigarette companies can be sued by smokers who claim they were deceived by advertisements promoting “light” cigarettes.
Madoff and the Global Economy
The big unanswered question, for years, was why this money flow persisted. Why the heck were foreign investors willing to lend the U.S. such large amounts of money on such good terms? Economists and journalists spun out hypothesis after hypothesis (we'll see more below), but there was no agreement on why.
At Last, A Date
Around 2020. That casts the issue in quite a different light. Mr Birol’s date, if correct, gives us about 11 years to prepare. If the Hirsch report is right, we have already missed the boat. Birol says we need a “global energy revolution” to avoid an oil crunch, including (disastrously for the environment) a massive global drive to exploit unconventional oils, such as the Canadian tar sands. But nothing on this scale has yet happened, and Hirsch suggests that even if it began today, the necessary investments and infrastructure changes could not be made in time. Fatih Birol told me “I think time is not on our side here.”

Shipping charter rates soar One of the world’s key shipping markets has begun to recover from a slump, with a revival in Chinese demand for iron ore and coal pushing some average charter prices up almost threefold in the past week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fear triggers gold shortage, drives US treasury yields below zero
The investor search for a safe places to store wealth as the financial crisis shakes faith in the system has caused extraordinary moves in global markets over recent days, driving the yield on 3-month US Treasuries below zero and causing a rush for physical holdings of gold

Friday, December 12, 2008

Capitalist Fools by Prof. Joseph E. Stiglitz
Behind the debate over remaking U.S. financial policy will be a debate over who’s to blame. It’s crucial to get the history right, writes a Nobel-laureate economist, identifying five key mistakes—under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II—and one national delusion.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. retail sales fell 1.8% in November

  • U.S. producer price index fell 2.2% in November and up 0.4% YoY

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment rose from 55.3 to 59.1

  • Industrial output in the Euro area fell 1.2% in October and 5.3% YoY

  • The EU will spend 200 billion Euros, 1.5% of GDP, to help the economy.

  • Japan will spend 23 trillion yen ($255 billion) to help the economy.

  • Bush dropped his opposition to using the $700 billion bank bailout to provide help for U.S. automakers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- Senate negotiations for a U.S. automaker bailout plan collapsed, in a blow to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which may run out of cash early next year.
    “It’s over with,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

  • U.S. jobless claims rose 58,000 last week to 573,000, the most in 26 years.

  • The U.S. trade deficit widened in October 1.1 % to $57.2 billion from a revised $56.6 billion in September

  • Switzerland lowered its interest rate target from 1.00% to .50%.

  • Korea reduced its interest rate from 4.0% to a record low 3.0%

  • Australia's unemployment rate increased from 4.3% to 4.4%

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was raised from 1.124 to 1.474 million bushels, more than expected.
    Soybeans unchanged at 205 million bushels.
    Wheat was raised from 603 to 623 million bushels.
    Sugar was raised from 907,000 to 961,000 tons.
    Cotton was raised from 6.2 to 7.1 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was raised from 110 to 124 million tons.
    Soybeans unchanged at 54 million tons.
    Wheat was raised from 145 to 147 million tons.
    Cotton was raised from 57 to 59 million tons.

  • USDA lowered its estimate of the 2008-2009 Florida orange juice crop from 166 to 165 million boxes. The projected juice yield was also reduced, from 1.59 to 1.58 gallons per box.

  • India said war is no solution to stop Pakistan based militants from launching anti-India attacks.

Foreclosure Storm Will Hit U.S. in 2009 as Loan Changes Fail
Rising unemployment, expiring foreclosure moratoriums and state efforts that “run out of steam” will push monthly filings toward the record of more than 303,000 set in August, Sharga said. The number of homes that revert to lenders, the last stage of foreclosure and known as “real estate owned” or REO properties, will increase to 1 million from as many as 880,000 this year, he said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Commodity crash tests faith in supercycle
There is no such thing as consensus in the commodity world, but most experts still think that the economic arrival of two billion people in Asia is a "game-changer" that will underpin prices for years to come..

Quick Overview

  • U.S. wholesale sales totaled $377.4 billion in October, down 4.1% MoM, but up 2.7% YoY. Inventories fell 1.1%.

  • U.S. foreclosure activity dipped 7% MoM, but jumped 28% YoY RealtyTrac said.

  • YoY Chinese exports fell 2.2% in November

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 400,000 barrels to 320.8 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 3.8 million barrels to 202.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.7 million barrels.
    Refinery use increased from 84.3% to 87.4% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand fell 3.2% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 4.0% YoY.

  • Bloomberg reported that world’s largest iron ore consumer China may ask global iron ore majors to accept an 82% price cut for iron.

  • Bloomberg reported that BHP Billiton Ltd shipped the least amount of iron ore from Australia in 9 months amid plunging demand from China.

  • Rio Tinto is cutting 14,000 jobs.

  • Chinas President Hu reiterated the government’s commitment to use all tools at its disposal to maintain economic growth at 8% in 2009.

  • (Reuters) - A prominent team of U.S.-based researchers predicted 14 tropical storms in the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season on Wednesday and said seven would develop into hurricanes.

  • China’s November iron ore imports rose by 6% MoM.
    China's producer price decelerated to an annual rise of 2%.

  • American Iron & Steel Industries said US weekly raw steel production fell by 44% YoY

Q Ratio Signals ‘Horrific’ Market Bottom, CLSA Says (Update1)
At the end of the four largest U.S. bear markets in 1921, 1932, 1949 and 1982, the Q ratio fell to 0.3 or lower, and history is likely to repeat, said Napier. From the 1982 trough, the S&P 500 grew more than 14-fold to the middle of 2000, when Napier says the last bull market ended.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Asian trade in 'Free-Fall' The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates for bulk goods began to collapse in June, dropping 96pc over the five months in the most dramatic fall in shipping fees ever recorded. It was a leading indicator of what we are now seeing in Asian trade

Global demand for oil to plummet
“The increasing likelihood of a prolonged global economic downturn continues to dominate market perceptions, putting downward pressure on oil prices,” it said, forecasting that demand would drop 50,000 barrels a day this year and a hefty 450,000 b/d in 2009. US oil demand will drop next year to the lowest level in 11 years.

Quick Overview

  • Economic sentiment in Germany rose from -53.5 to -45.2

  • White House, Congress reach 15 billion auto bailout deal.

  • Japan machinery orders fall 4.4% in October

  • U.K.'s manufacturing output fell 1.4%.

  • Canada reduce its interest rate from 2.25% to 1.50

  • Japan's GDP fell 0.5% QoQ and 0.4% YoY.

  • YoY South Africa's gold production fell 14.4% in October

  • Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, responding to evaporating profits and public ire, won't pay bonuses this year to their chief executives.

  • (Reuters) - The United States and other rich nations must pledge by the end of next year specific targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to win agreement on a U.N. climate pact, the U.N.'s top climate official said.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Cisco Systems Inc., General Electric Co. and Emcor Group Inc. may be winners as President-elect Barack Obama seeks to revive the U.S. economy by rewiring classrooms and libraries for high-speed Internet service and repairing bridges and highways.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Stocks are up on signs that the automakers will be able to avoid bankruptcy and Obama’s proposed stimulus plan.

  • Housing starts in Canada’s fell 19% MoM.

  • The USDA estimates 2008-2009 world ending stocks of coffee at 39.6 million bags -- 29% of use.
  • (Bloomberg) -- World coffee consumption may outstrip production by as much as 8 million bags in 2009-10 because of the smaller crop in Brazil,

  • More than half of all homeowners who had their loans modified to make the payments more affordable in the first half of the year are already in default again, banking regulators said.
Bulk shipping cos may benefit from early ore price resolution "Should China Iron and Steel Association successfully achieve an early reduction in contracted iron ore prices, the dry bulk market could experience a revival as iron ore shipments to more profitable steel mills resume", Nokta said in a report published on Friday

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Deflation virus is moving the policy test beyond the 1930s extremes
His point was that central banks never run out of ammunition. They have an inexhaustible arsenal. The world’s fate now hangs on whether he was right (which is probable), or wrong (which is possible).

Oil Contango Pays Most in Decade as Shell Holds Crude in Ships
Stockpiling crude may provide higher returns than commodities, stocks and Treasuries as the U.S., Japan and Europe endure simultaneous recessions for the first time since World War II.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. unemployment rate rose from 6.5% to 6.7%

  • The percentage of U.S. mortgage holders who were behind in their payments rose to 6.99%.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate rose from 6.2% to 6.3%

  • Germany's manufacturing orders fell 6.1% in October.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims fell 21,000 last week to 509,000,
  • U.S. factory orders dropped 5.1% in October.

  • The European Central Bank reduced its interest rate from 3.25% to 2.50%,

  • Australia reduced its interest rate from 6.5% to 5.0

  • Britain reduced its interest rate from 3.00% to 2.00%,

  • Sweden reduced its interest from 3.75% to 2.00%.

  • GDP in the Euro area fell 0.2% QoQ, but up rose 0.6% YoY.

  • (WSJ) Harvard University's endowment has investment losses of 22%, or about $8 billion, since the end of the school's fiscal year.

  • Bernanke called on government to ramp up efforts to stem home foreclosures.

Recession: When the money goes, so does the toxic wife
The Toxic Wife, first identified in these pages almost two years ago, is a particular and terrifying species.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Defaults May Beat Great Depression, Junk Bonds Say
Defaults and bankruptcies are accelerating as financing options for high-yield companies dwindle amid the longest U.S. economic recession in at least 26 years. The U.S. default rate rose to 3.3 percent in October, according to Moody’s, which forecasts the rate to increase to 4.9 percent in December and 11.2 percent by November 2009.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. nonfarm productivity rose 1.1% QoQ

  • U.S. Unit labor costs rose 2.8% QoQ

  • The ISM index of services fell from 44.4 to 37.3 -- new record low.

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said U.S. mortgage applications rose 51% WoW -- helped by a 30-year fixed rate at 5.47%.

  • Retail sales in the Euro area fell 0.8% MoM and 2.1% YoY

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 400,000 barrels to 320.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline fell 1.6 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 2.1 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 86.2% to 84.3% of capacity last week.
    Gasoline demand fell 3.2%

  • More than 100 countries sign cluster bomb ban. The U.S., China, India, Israel, Pakistan and Russia are among countries refusing to sign the ban.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

World stability hangs by a thread as economies continue to unravel
The working assumption of the "Great Boom" is – or was – that we live in a benign era where most societies are converging towards some form of market liberalism; where trade and capital flows are unrestricted; where governments have enough legitimacy to keep order by light touch; where a major war is unthinkable.

Quick Overview

  • Australia reduced its interest rate from 5.25% to 4.25%,

  • Producer prices in the Euro area fell 0.8% in October, but rose 6.3% YoY.

  • Thailand reduced its interest rate by 1% to 2.75%

  • November U.S. vehicle sales for:
    Ford fell 31% YoY
    GM fell 41% YoY
    Chrysler fell 47% YoY
    Toyota were down 34% YoY
    Honda were down 32% YoY.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in the U.S. and Europe will withstand a “full-blown” global recession to surge in 2009, UBS AG said.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Bernanke said the Fed could directly buy securities and backstop markets as interest rates approach zero.

  • The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index fell from 38.9 to 36.2 in November.

  • U.S. construction spending fell 1.2% MoM.

  • Manufacturing in the U.K. fell from 40.7 to a record low of 34.4 in November.

  • Euro zone manufacturing fell from 41.1 to a record low of 35.6 in November.

  • OPEC members met but did not announce any production cuts.

  • The International Cocoa Organization estimated that world consumption exceeded production by 77,000 tons in 2007-2008.

  • Retailers got off to a better than expected start for the holiday shopping season, with consumers spending an estimated 7.2% more this year than last.

  • Ford may sell Volvo

Friday, November 28, 2008

Citigroup says gold could rise above $2,000 next year as world unravels
This gamble was likely to end in one of two extreme ways: with either a resurgence of inflation; or a downward spiral into depression, civil disorder, and possibly wars. Both outcomes will cause a rush for gold.

Quick Overview

  • Euro area unemployment rate rose from 7.6% to 7.7% in October, the highest in two years.

  • YoY Japan’s consumer prices rose 1.7% in October
    Japan’s industrial production fell 3.1%
    Japans’ household spending fell 3.8% in October.
    Japan’s unemployment rate improved from 4.0% to 3.7% in October

  • NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man working for Wal-Mart was killed on Friday when a throng of shoppers surged into a Long Island, New York, store and physically broke down the doors, a police spokesman said.

  • MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's military said on Friday it had intensified efforts to develop new ballistic missiles in response to U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile system in Europe and Russia's navy test fired a new generation rocket.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Possible Geopolitical Consequences of the Mumbai Attacks (Stratfor)
It is not clear the degree to which the Pakistani government can control the situation. But the Indians will have no choice but to be assertive, and the United States will move along the same line. Whether it is the current government in India that reacts, or one that succeeds doesn’t matter. Either way, India is under enormous pressure to respond. Therefore the events point to a serious crisis not simply between Pakistan and India, but within Pakistan as well, with the government caught between foreign powers and domestic realities. Given the circumstances, massive destabilization is possible — never a good thing with a nuclear power.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. orders for durable goods fell 6.2% in October, weaker than expected. Excluding transportation, orders fell 4.4%.

  • U.S. New home sales fell 5.3% MoM. YoY new home sales are down 37%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell from 57.6 to 55.3.

  • U.S. personal incomes rose 0.3% in October

  • U.S. Consumer spending fell 1.0%.

  • The Chicago index of purchasing managers fell from 37.8 to 33.8 in November.

  • The European Union is plotting a 200 billion euro stimulus plan.

  • Australia's construction activity rose 4.4% in September

  • China cut its interest rate from 6.66% to 5.58%,

  • Ports in China registered a 6% per YoY volume growth in October.

  • The World Bank expects China's economy to expand 7.5% in 2009 - down from its earlier forecast of 9.2%

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 7.3 million barrels to 320.8 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.9 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 400,000 barrels.
    Refinery use rose from 84.9% to 86.2% of capacity last week.
    Gasoline demand fell 2.8% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 2.2% YoY.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is Britain going bankrupt?
Today they reached 86 basis points, near Portuguese debt in the league table. For good reason. Alistair Darling has had to admit that the British economy faces the most sudden economic collapse since World War Two, and the worst budget deficit of any major country in the world.
Ok, this is a lot lower than Iceland, Ukraine, Hungary, and other clients of the IMF, but is significantly higher than Germany (35), USA (43), and France (49).

Quick Overview

  • Helicopter Ben is working hard. The Fed threw a massive $800 billion life-line to consumers with two new programs aimed at making it easier for them to obtain loans for homes, cars and on credit cards.

  • U.S. GDP shrunk at an annual rate of -0.5% in the third quarter, down from the previous estimate of -0.3%.

  • The U.S. GDP price index rose 2.7%.

  • YoY U.S. Corporate profits fell 9.0%.

  • The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose from 38.8 to 44.9 in November,

  • YoY S&P/Case-Shiller national index fell 17% in September.

  • The World Bank predicted real GDP in China will be up 7.5% in 2009,

  • Canada’s retail sales rose 1.1% in September.

  • BHP Billiton scrapped its hostile bid for Rio Tinto because of slumping commodity prices.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Government agreed to stabilize Citigroup by guaranteeing $306 billion in troublesome assets. It also gave Citi $20 billion in exchange for preferred stock.

  • The National Association of Realtors said Home resale’s fell to a 4.98 million annual rate, a 3.1% decrease from September's revised figure.
    The median-sales price declined to $183,300.

  • Industrial new orders in the Euro area fell 3.9% in September. YoY orders fell 1.1%.

  • Consumer confidence in Canada dropped further in November to a fresh 26-year low, the Conference Board of Canada said.

  • Hungarian central bank cut its base rate by 50 bps to 11%

  • The USDA said there were 10.97 million head of cattle on feed as of November 1st, down 6.8% YoY.

  • The USDA said frozen pork supplies at the end of October were up 4% YoY

  • The terminal operator of China's Cosco Group, said throughput increased 14.1 % in October, but fell 8.5 % at its Cosco-HIT facility in Hong Kong.

  • In the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine, Bernanke has recognized he was wrong to believe there would be limited fallout to financial markets from the US housing market's collapse.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recession’s Grip Forces U.S. to Flood World With More Dollars
Investors, shell-shocked by the turmoil, are piling into super-safe Treasury securities, even as the U.S. government ships more supply out the door. Three-month bill rates dropped last week to 0.01 percent, the lowest since at least January 1940, and yields on Treasuries maturing in two through 30 years all fell to the least since the government began regular sales of the securities.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Geithner could slow bank-stock assault
But even analysts who have long been skeptical of Citi says its recent trading price understates the firm's true worth. "We believe that there is fundamental value at Citigroup that justifies a $9 price target," Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Mayo wrote Friday

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Asian markets defied the big U.S. slump overnight and ended higher. Japan's Nikkei rose 2.7%, South Korea's Kospi rose 5.8%.

  • Japan kept the interest rate at 0.30%
    Japan's Finance Minister said he may consider intervention to bring the yen down from "undesirable" levels.

  • Manufacturing and services index in the Euro area dropped from 43.6 to 39.7

  • YoY Canada’s consumer prices rose 2.6%

  • Consumer spending in France fell 0.4% in October.

  • The World Gold Council said world gold demand was 1,133 tons in the third quarter of 2008, up 18% YoY.

  • The International Copper Study Group said that world copper production exceeded use by 125,000 tons in August.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Markets wary of Irish debt as fresh rescue looms
This is a disturbing pattern across Europe as the global credit crisis drags on, with extreme cases in Iceland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary and Latvia. There are fears that investors could start to shun sovereign debt in Western states where banks have outgrown the underlying economy.

Quick Overview

  • Citigroup began weighing the possibility of auctioning off pieces of the company or even selling itself outright. Shares fell a further 26%.

  • U.S. Jobless claims rose 27,000 last week to 542,000, the most in 16 years. The Senate is voting today on extending unemployment benefits by at least seven weeks. Bush is for it.

  • The Philadelphia Feds regional index of manufacturing dropped from -37.5 to -39.3 in November,

  • The Conference Board's index of leading indicators fell 0.8% in October.

  • U.K. retail sales fell 0.1% in October.

  • Canada’s wholesale trade rose 1.5% in September

  • Fifteen CEOs of large home-building and financial-services firms each earned more than $100 million during the past five years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bank fears over home loan aid Under the plans, which could be a model for other efforts, homeowners are eligible for help if they are behind on payments for 90 days and pay more than 38 per cent of their income on mortgage payments.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. housing starts were at an annual rate of 791,000 in October, down 4.5% MoM, and down 31% YoY.

  • Canada’s index of leading indicators fell 0.4% in October

  • Construction output in the Euro area fell 1.3% in September.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 1.6 million barrels last week to 313.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 500,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were up 400,000 barrels
    Refinery use rose from 84.6% to 84.9%
    Gasoline demand fell 2.2% YoY.
    Distillate demand fell 3.3% YoY.

  • The USDA said that world ending stocks of sugar will be 24% in 2008-2009

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. producer price index fell 2.8% in October, the biggest monthly decline on record.

  • U.K. consumer prices rose 4.5% in October.

  • Asia's two largest economies offered financial aid to needy nations: Japan promised $100 billion in loans to the IMF; China offered Pakistan a $500 million aid package.

  • YoY the median price of a U.S. home fell 9%, the Chicago- based National Association of Realtors said today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When It's a Clear Day and You Can't See GM
Generally, when countries acquire more debt than they can service, they inflate away the debt. If foreign creditors do not save the Obama administration, the Treasury will print bonds and give them to the Federal Reserve, which will issue money.

Japan's `Least Ugly' Economy May Beat U.S., Europe in Crisis
Even after a 10 percent drop in wages since 1997, Japan's households still managed to save about 3 percent of their incomes last year, according to OECD figures. In the U.S., where falling sales sent electronics-retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. into bankruptcy this month, the savings rate is 0.4 percent.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. industrial production rose 1.3% in October, up from a revised 3.7% decline in September.

  • The New York Feds regional index of manufacturing fell from -24.6 to -25.4

  • Japan’s GDP fell 0.1% in the third quarter.

  • (Reuters) - Japan became the latest major economy to fall into recession on Monday and Citigroup said it would cut 52,000 jobs, one of the largest layoffs in history.

  • Australia's retail sales fell 0.1% in the third quarter

  • OPEC's Monthly Oil Report said they expect world oil demand to average 86.2 million barrels per day in 2008 and 86.7 in 2009.

  • Hong Kong Marine Department said the port handled 2.001 million TEU in October, down 2.9% YoY.
    YoY Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority reported a 4.9% increase in October.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

G-20 Calls for Action on Growth, Regulatory Changes (Update2)
The leaders endorsed the use of clearinghouses for financial derivatives to back trades and absorb losses in case of a dealer failure. The first central clearinghouse for the $33 trillion credit-default swap market should be in operation by year-end in the U.S., under an agreement signed yesterday by three U.S. financial regulators.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S retail sales fell 2.8% in October --the largest monthly drop on record. Excluding autos, sales fell 2.2%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose from 57.6 to 57.9, stronger than expected.

  • GDP in the Euro area fell 0.2% in the third quarter of 2008, but rose 0.7% YoY
    YoY Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 3.2% in October.

  • Canada manufacturing sales rose 0.1% in September.
  • China posted its first decline in monthly electricity output in four years

  • Russia's central bank increases its key interest rate to 12% from 11% in an attempt to reduce an outflow of capital.

  • Bernanke said central bankers around the world were ready to do more to ease severe credit market strains and support faltering economic growth.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims rose 32,000 to 516,000, the most in seven years.

  • U.S. Exports fell from $165.3 to $155.4 billion in September while imports fell from $224.4 to $211.9 billion – resulting in $56.5 billion of net imports.

  • Canada’s exports fell 1.0% to C$42.5 billion in September while imports rose 1.9% to C$38.0 billion

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil are unchanged at 311.9 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 2.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.3 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 85.3% to 84.6%
    YoY gasoline demand fell 1.9%
    YoY distillate demand fell 4.6%

  • The International Energy Agency lowered its forecast of 2009 world oil demand by 670,000 barrels per day to 86.5 million barrels per day.

  • Recession confirmed in Germany Q3 GDP contracts by -0.5% after -0.4% in Q2

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Abandon all hope once you enter deflation
The curse of deflation is that it increases the burden of debts. Incomes fall: debts stay the same. This way lies suffocation. It was bad enough in the early 1930s when US farmers faced a Sisyphean Task trying to meet mortgage payments on their land as crop prices kept sliding. They suffered mass foreclosure and fled West, as recounted in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.

Quick Overview

  • The U.K.'s unemployment rate rose to 5.8%, up from 5.7% MoM.

  • Industrial production in the Euro area fell 1.6% in September.

  • (Reuters) - Home values in the United States posted their seventh consecutive quarterly decline, with nearly one-third of Americans who sold in the past year losing money, real estate website said on Wednesday.

  • (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson plans to use the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue program to help relieve pressures on consumer credit, scrapping an effort to buy devalued mortgage assets.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Economic sentiment in Germany increased from a record low -63.0 to -53.5

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick Overview

  • China approved stimulus plan worth nearly $600 billion through 2010 to boost domestic demand.

  • Japan's machinery orders rose 5.5% in September.

  • U.K.'s producer prices fell 1.0% in October

  • Canada's new home starts fell 3% MoM.

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 1.088 to 1.124 billion bushels.
    Soybeans unchanged at 205 million bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 601 to 603 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 656,000 to 907,000 tons.
    Cotton unchanged at 6.20 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 106 to 110 million tons.
    Soybeans were reduced, from 54.3 to 54.1 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 144 to 145 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 55 to 57 million tons.

  • The USDA estimates Brazil’s and Argentina's soybean production up 3%, down from last month's estimate of up 5%.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bottom months away: Greenspan
It was only when global demand for U.S. mortgage-backed instruments began to boom in 2005 did the quality of mortgage products begin to deteriorate, he said.
“We hadn't the slightest inclination at the time that the securitization problems would become so large,” he said.

Barack Obama will bring step-change to US economic policy Mr Obama inherits an almighty mess. It is the result of pushing US domestic debt from 130pc of GDP to over 220pc in a half a century of rising leverage. This game has run its course. There will be a slow, painful purge over coming years.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. unemployment rate rose from 6.1% to 6.5% in October -- the highest rate in 14 years. Non-farm payrolls declined 240,000. The Labor Department also revised September's numbers from minus 159,000 to minus 284,000.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate rose from 6.1% to 6.2%.

  • U.S. wholesale sales were down 1.5% in September ,inventories were fell 0.1%.

  • The National Association of Realtors said U.S. pending home sales fell 4.6%

  • Korea reduced its interest rate from 4.25% to 4.00%.

  • General Motors used $6.9 billion in cash in Q3 and may fall below the minimum it needs to operate before the end of this year.

  • Ford burns $7.7 billion in the quarter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Non-farm productivity rose an annual rate of 1.1% in the third quarter, down from plus 3.6% in the second quarter.

  • (AP) The Labor Department reported Thursday the number of people continuing to draw unemployment benefits jumped by 122,000 to 3.84 million in late October. It was the highest level since late February 1983..

  • The BoE lowered rates from 4.50% to 3.00%.

  • The European Central Bank cut its rate from 3.75% to 3.25%

  • Australia's unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 4.3%,.

  • Canada’s building permitsrose 13.4%.

  • Inflation in India rose to 10.72 %

  • The USDA said that, as of last week, 2008-2009 exports of:
    Corn fell from down 30% to down 34% YoY.
    Soybeans improved from down 18% to down 3% YoY.
    Wheat fell from down 11% to down 13% YoY.
    Cotton improved from down 10% to down 9% YoY.

  • Brazil's Ag Ministry dropped their projection for their 2008/09 (Oct/Sept) soybean crop to 58.4-59.3 million tonness from October's forecast of 60.10-61.27 million tonnes.

  • F.O. Licht lowered their projection for Argentina's 2008/09 wheat crop to 11.5 mmt from 15.4. This compares with their September forecast of 13.0 mmt.

  • F.O. Licht raised their estimate of Russia’s wheat crop to 62.5 million tonnes from 56.0 mmt forecast previously and 49.2 million harvested last year.
    Ukraine's harvest is estimated at 24.5 million tonnes up from last year's 13.7 million tonnes.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America's companies reconquer the world
The oil group Exxon Mobil is once again the global leader with a market value of $390bn. PetroChina briefly had a theoretical paper value of over $1,000bn at the height of the Shanghai bubble but has since crashed to $299bn.
Wal-Mart ($222bn), Microsoft ($207bn). and General Electric ($206) have moved briskly up the ladder, claiming the third, fourth, and fifth slots, with Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway close behind.

Quick Overview

  • Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States. Good Luck, Barack!

  • The Institute of Supply Managements' index of services fell from 50.2 to 44.4 -- a record low.

  • Retail sales volume in the Euro area fell 0.2% MoM and down 1.6% YoY.

  • U.K.'s factory output fell 0.8% in September.

  • An index of services in the U.K. fell from 46.0 to 42.4 in October.

  • An index of services in the Euro zone fell from 48.4 to 45.6 in October.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil unchanged last week at 311.9 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.1 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.7 million barrels.
    Refinery use remained at 85.3% .
    Gasoline demand fell 2.3% YoY.
    Distillate demand fell 4.8% YoY.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said there were 100.19 million gallons of frozen orange juice concentrate in inventory in October, up 104% YoY.

  • Australia reduced its estimated wheat crop from 22.5 to 19.9 million tons.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. factory orders fell 2.5% in September, weaker than expected.

  • YoY producer prices in the Euro area rose 7.9% in September.

  • China’s Manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showed that factory activity fell to 45.2 from 47.7. (50 and below indicates contraction)

  • Spain’s unemployment rate reached a 12-year high of 11.3%, the worst in the EU.

  • The USDA said 55% of the corn crop was harvested, down from the five-year average of 79%.
    86% of the soybean crop was harvested, at its regular pace.

  • The cost of production for Brazilian soybeans, produced in Mato Grosso, is estimates in a range of $8.27 to 9.19 with transportation costs adding $2.50-3.25 per bushel. This means farmers will need to see a board price north of $11.00 per bushel in the May 09 forward futures in order to lock in a positive return.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Recession hits Europe as Club Med debt worries grow
The Spanish government said yesterday it would step in directly to pay half the mortgage costs for those who lose their jobs in order to pre-empt a self-feeding spiral of defaults. The package covers mortgages up to €170,000 for the next two years.

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Managements' index of manufacturing fell from 43.5 to 38.9 in October -- the lowest in 26 years.

  • U.S. construction spending was at an annual rate of $1.0601 trillion in September, down 0.3% MoM

  • Euro zone manufacturing fell from 45.0 to 41.1 in October.

  • U.K. Manufacturing increased from 41.2 to 41.5 in October

  • Australia's retail sales fell 1.1% in October.
  • Australia cuts key interest rate by 0.75 %

  • The largest ethanol producer in the U.S., Verasun, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • Ford Motor reported a 30% drop in U.S. vehicle sales for October, while Toyota's fell 23%. Car companies from Japan to Italy to Detroit said October sales were the weakest in about 20 years.

  • World container trade is expected to grow 4.5% in 2008 compared to 9.5% in 2007, said a Global Insight Report. In 2009, US container imports are projected to grow marginally at a rate of 1.6 per cent.

Deflation Now…Inflation Later
Our Trade of the Decade was meant to capture the early stages of this - but only a bit of it: the relationship between gold and stock prices. In 1982, briefly, you could have bought every one of the stocks in the Dow index for a single ounce of gold. But by the time the stock market finished its epic rise, in January 2000, (while gold was doing an epic fall!) you would have needed 44 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. Now, that ratio has come down considerably. You only need about 13 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. And as stocks come down, the ratio is likely to fall below 5…and eventually back to 1 to 1 (at which time, remember, it will be time to sell gold and buy shares).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. employment cost index rose 0.7% in the third quarter.

  • YoY the core rate of personal consumption expenditures rose 2.4% in September.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 57.6 from 57.5

  • Canada’s GDP fell 0.3% in August rose 0.6% YoY.

  • Unemployment rate in the Euro area remained at 7.5% in September.

  • Japan reduced its interest rate from 0.50% to 0.30%
    Japan’s consumer prices rose 2.1% YoY.
    Japan’s unemployment rate improved from 4.2% to 4.0%.

  • F.O. Licht estimates world sugar consumption up 1.8% in 2008-2009 outpacing production by 472,300 tons.

  • Fortis Bank estimates world coco production to exceed consumption by 52,000 tons in 2008-2009.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP shrank 0.3% in the third quarter.

  • U.S. jobless claims were unchanged last week.

  • China lowered interest rates from 6.93% to 6.66%.

  • Canada's industrial prices fell 1.2% in September, but rose 8.0% YoY.

  • Japan proposed a new stimulus package by giving $600 to every family household.

  • Unemployment in Germany fell under the 3m, the lowest in 16 years.

  • (Reuters) - U.S. state leaders, trade groups and economists descended on the House of Representatives on Wednesday to help work out a second economic stimulus bill that one influential Congressional member said would be introduced on November 17.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World will struggle to meet oil demand Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1 per cent, the International Energy Agency says in its annual report, the World Energy Outlook, a draft of which has been obtained by the Financial Times.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. durable goods orders rose 0.8% in September. Excluding transportation orders fell 1.1%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 500,000 barrels
    Supplies of gasoline fell 1.5 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 400,000 barrels.
    Refinery use increased last week from 84.8% to 85.3% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand fell 3.4%YoY
    Distillate demand fell 5.2% YoY.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities fell 1.0% in August and 16.6% YoY. YoY prices fell more than 30% in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Prices in Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego all fell more than 25%.

  • The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell from 61.4 to a record low 38.0 in October.

  • Iceland’s raised interest rates to 18% to prop up its frozen currency and markets.

  • Because of a computer error the USDA issued new supply and demand estimates for 2008-2009 corn and soybeans.
    Corn was reduced from 1.154 to 1.088 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 220 to 205 million bushels.

  • Canada had 12.8 million hogs in inventory on October 1st, down 10.9% YoY.

  • (Reuters) - Iraq's government denounced on Tuesday a U.S. air strike on a Syrian border village in an unexpected rebuke of Washington.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sales of ships for scrap being 'suffocated'
"All the issues that will help the recovery are probably coming faster than people expect," Mr Soanes said.

IMF may need to "print money" as crisis spreads
"The IMF can in theory create liquidity like a central bank," said an informed source. "There are a lot of ideas kicking around."

Forecasters Race to Call the Bottom to the Market Even in normal times, forecasters have a strong incentive to make extreme predictions, which is why those “Dow 1,000!” reports persist. “It’s eye-popping. It’s relevant. It seems exciting,” Mr. Lamont said. Such predictions attract publicity, name recognition and a bigger client base in a business where investors pay thousands, if not millions, for stock advice and investment guidance.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. new home sales were at an annual rate of 464,000 in September, up 2.7% MoM and down 36% YoY.

  • Australia intervened on Friday and bought Australian dollars.

  • Japan's retail sales fell 0.4% YoY

  • The Group of Seven expressed concern about the soaring Japanese yen – are they next to intervene?
Farm-Credit Squeeze May Cut Crops, Spur Food Crisis (Update1)
(Bloomberg) -- The credit crunch is compounding a profit squeeze for farmers that may curb global harvests and worsen a food crisis for developing countries.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Europe on the brink of currency crisis meltdown
Experts fear the mayhem may soon trigger a chain reaction within the eurozone itself. The risk is a surge in capital flight from Austria – the country, as it happens, that set off the global banking collapse of May 1931 when Credit-Anstalt went down – and from a string of Club Med countries that rely on foreign funding to cover huge current account deficits.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales were at an annual rate of 5.18 million units, up 5.5% in September.

  • U.K.'s GDP fell 0.5% in the third quarter.

  • YoY Canada’s consumer prices rose 3.4%.

  • OPEC wants to cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels a day

  • The port of Rotterdam announced that throughput during the first nine months of the year rose by 6.1% YoY. Most types of cargo showed a positive trend, with agribulk up 26% YoY, liquid bulk up 16%, ores and scrap up 11%, coal up 9%, crude oil up 7%, containers up 6%.

  • The IMF is aiding Iceland with about $2.1bn.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tough to believe Greenspan's disbelief .."those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief."
Cue up Casablanca, and the "I'm shocked, shocked, to find gambling here," line from the Captain Renault character.
The truth is that the executives at financial institutions had very little interest in protecting shareholder's equity.

GLG's Roman, NYU's Roubini Predict Hedge Fund Failures, Panic
Nouriel Roubini, the New York University Professor who spoke at the same conference, said hundreds of hedge funds will fail as the crisis forces investors to dump assets. ``We've reached a situation of sheer panic,'' said Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis in 2006. ``Don't be surprised if policy makers need to close down markets for a week or two in coming days.''

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims were up 15,000 last week to 478,000, more than expected.

  • Sweden cut its interest rate from 4.25% to 3.75%

  • U.K.'s retail sales volume fell 0.4% in September.

  • Industrial new orders in the Euro area fell 1.2% in August

  • RealtyTrac said 765,558 foreclosure filings were made on U.S. properties in the third quarter of this year - up 3% from the second quarter and 71% YoY.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Greenspan Urges Tighter Regulation After `Breakdown' (Update1)
(Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called for tighter regulation of financial companies, distancing himself from the free-market culture that he helped to create.

Credit-Rating Companies `Sold Our Soul' for Pay, Employees Said
(Bloomberg) -- Employees at Moody's Investors Service told executives that issuing dubious creditworthy ratings to mortgage-backed securities made it appear they were incompetent or ``sold our soul to the devil for revenue,'' according to e-mails obtained by U.S. House investigators.

Quick Overview

  • Canada’s retail sales fell 0.3%. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.4%
    Canada’s index of leading indicators fell 0.2% in September

  • New Zealand's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by a record 1% to 6.5%

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 3.2 million barrels to 311.4 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline rose 2.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 800,000 barrels.
    Refinery use increased from 82.2% to 84.8% of capacity
    Gasoline demand fell 4.3% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 5.8% YoY

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't make a drama out of this financial crisis
The scale of what has happened is breath-taking. The oil price has halved since July. Wheat prices have halved since spring. Rice prices are down by a third. Remember that early this year there were riots in many developing countries – not over the antics of Wall Street investment bankers but over the price of food. And in many countries, until recently anyway, the forces pushing towards recession have been more about the squeeze on real incomes than about the credit crunch. What will happen now is that, thanks to the fall in commodity prices, the squeeze will go into reverse, thereby handing purchasing power back to the consumers.

Spreading the wealth
And there is a lot of spreading potential: income distribution in America is the widest of the 30 countries of the OECD. The top 10% (or decile) of earners have an average $87,257 of disposable income, while those in the bottom decile have $5,819, among the very lowest of any country.