Economy Post-'Jobs’ Report; Real or Memorex?

Now it gets interesting because early in the bailout process the Fed talked about achieving certain employment milestones before hiking interest rates.  Here we are at the 10th consecutive month with 200,000+ job gains (321,000 in November) and the jobless rate down to 5.8% and still there is a question on when or whether ZIRP will be withdrawn?

Well I am a visual learner so I for one can never get enough pictures to inform my thinking.  Pardon the redundancy in this chart’s frequent appearances in NFTRH

sp500
Source: SlopeCharts

The rectangular red box is zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), which is 6 years old this month.  If we play it straight we would be expected to believe what the mainstream believes, that the “Great Recession” is a thing of the past and that something built of abnormal policy can proceed per normal metrics and assumptions when abnormal policy is removed.  I don’t buy it. Continue reading "Economy Post-'Jobs’ Report; Real or Memorex?"

Goldzilla

"History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man" – Blue Oyster Cult, Godzilla

I would have written off the gold sector long ago in its ongoing bear market had I thought for one moment that gold's utility as insurance against the acts of monetary madmen/women in high places had been compromised in any way. On the contrary, the monetary metal is simply having its price marked down in a bear market while its value, especially given its current price and all that has gone on in the financial system over the last 3 years remains just fine.

Indeed gold, an element dug out of the ground for centuries, once as money and now as a marker to sound money systems will one day be shown to be a calm oasis from the fallout to global monetary shenanigans currently ongoing. At least it would be an oasis to those who have valued it as such. It is going to feel like a giant dinosaur (minus the kitsch value) ripping through a city built on paper to the multitudes who have taken the bait on the current too big to fail global inflationary operations. They will fail. Timing is the only question. Continue reading "Goldzilla"

A Closer Look at the US Dollar

Using the standard weekly currency chart we followed along for months as the Euro found resistance at the long-term downtrend line as expected, the commodity currencies long ago lost major support and non-confirmed the commodity complex and the US dollar moved from a hold of critical support, to a trend line breakout, to its current impulsive and over bought status.  It is time now for a closer look at Uncle Buck since this reserve currency is key to so many asset markets the world over.

As the charts below show, USD is over bought on both daily and weekly time frames.  But the monthly is interesting because its big picture view is that of a basing/bottoming pattern, and it is bullish.  That is a long-term director, so regardless of what happens in the short-term, a process of unwinding the hyper-inflationist ‘Dollar Collapse’ cult is ongoing.  Signs point to disinflation toward deflation.

We’ll start with a daily chart and then ascend right through the weekly and then the monthly to take the pulse of USD.

As noted, the daily chart below is very over bought.  It is currently consolidating the big jerk upward that has come against Euro-negative policy from the ECB and an increasing drum beat about an eventual rise in the Fed Funds rate in the US.  People are finally catching on to the fact that the US economy has been strengthening since early 2013 and that the Fed is looking out of touch holding ZIRP despite this strength.

So the dollar is getting bid up.  The question the chart asks is whether the current consolidation will work-off of another over bought situation, or is a prelude to a reversal?  The answer is going to be key to the bounce potential in many asset markets, but especially commodities, which are generally tanking and precious metals, with gold eventually due to firm after it finishes its bear market and its fundamentals come in line.

usd.daily

You will recognize the weekly chart as it is the top panel of our long-running multi-currency chart.  RSI has been added to this view to show the over bought level.  Note that the weekly has joined the daily in over bought status on this most recent drive, whereas it was merely healthy – and not over bought – the last time the daily registered an over bought reading in July. Continue reading "A Closer Look at the US Dollar"

ZIRP Gains More Attention

We have been talking about how there had been no bubble in US stocks and how the economy is doing just fine.  We have also been talking about how the bubble is in policy and that the economy and stock bull market have been created – yes, like Frankenstein’s monster once again – out of this policy bubble.

Enter economist Joseph LaVorgna of Deutche Bank…  Fed needs to start raising rates, top forecaster says.

Will wonders never cease?  As you may know, I read the financial MSM to get a feel for what the casual market participant is reading, what the majority is being told is the truth.  Usually it is some combo of self-promoters and agenda (sometimes political) driven bulls and bears.

“The economy is improving much faster than the Fed is willing to acknowledge, LaVorgna said in an interview. At the current rate of hiring, more jobs will be created this year than in any year since 1999.”

Exactly, and still they inflate.  He correctly puts the focus on the financial (and national) disgrace called ZIRP as opposed to the theater surrounding QE’s long term bond purchases.

“In six months, the unemployment rate will be below 6% and the core inflation rate will be at 2%,” he said. “We are way ahead of schedule. We’re going to get to 5.2% or 5.4% a year ahead of schedule.”

“The Fed is behind the proverbial curve,” he said. “The Fed should be raising rates.”

It’s all that this corner of the interwebs has been hammering on for over a year now.  If the economy is at all real, get rid of QE and end ZIRP. Continue reading "ZIRP Gains More Attention"

Yellen's Wand Is Running Low on Magic

By Doug French, Contributing Editor

How important is housing to the American economy?

If a 2011 SMU paper entitled "Housing's Contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)" is right, nothing moves the economic needle like housing. It accounts for 17% to 18% of GDP.

And don't forget that home buyers fill their homes with all manner of stuff—and that homeowners have more skin in insurance on what's likely to be their family's most important asset.

All claims to the contrary, the disappointing first-quarter housing numbers expose the Federal Reserve as impotent at influencing GDP's most important component.

The Fed: Housing's Best Friend

No wonder every modern Fed chairman has lowered rates to try to crank up housing activity, rationalizing that low rates make mortgage payments more affordable. Back when he was chair, Ben Bernanke wrote in the Washington Post, "Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance."

In her first public speech, new Fed Chair Janet Yellen said one of the benefits to keeping interest rates low is to "make homes more affordable and revive the housing market." Continue reading "Yellen's Wand Is Running Low on Magic"