The economic reports released yesterday morning added to the near-continuous flow of information reflecting a U.S. economy that is likely contracting, for the most part. Perhaps the only “fundamental” variable not contracting is the hot air coming from the Fed.
In yesterday’s release of its “services” PMI, Markit explains: “The US economy is going through its worst growth spell for three and a half years…and the worst may be to come as the greatest concern is the near-stalling of new business growth.”
The core durable goods new orders index released today dropped for the 13th month in a row – Zerohedge points out that it is the longest “non-recessionary” stretch of consecutive monthly drops in 70 years.
In fact, a good argument can be made that if a bona fide rate of inflation was applied to the Government’s GDP calculations, the U.S. economy has not produced real, inflation-adjusted economic growth since 2006. Review the work of John Williams’ Shadowstats.com for evidence of this fact.
The Swiss National Bank admitted that it has spent $470 billion on currency manipulation since 2010. Given the Fed’s refusal to disclose any information about its currency swap programs – including denying all FOIA requests on this matter – there can be no doubt that the Fed has been actively funding the SNB’s endeavors. The same goes for the SNB’s huge U.S. stock portfolio, which includes insanely overvalued gems like AAPL and AMZN.
We are witnessing the western Central Banks’ last gasp at preventing total systemic collapse. The Fed et al were able to defer this event in 2008 with many trillions of direct money printing – deceptively marketed as “Quantitative Easing” – and many more trillions of direct Government income and spending subsidization. After all, a Government willing to underwrite and guarantee 3% down payment, subprime credit mortgages is creating nothing more than a form of “helicopter money” dressed in drag.
A reader who is a self-professed real estate expert took issue with my blog post the other day in which I stated that the housing market is tipping over now. He said: “Until proven otherwise, the U.S. housing market is still alive and well right now – and Denver is still doing very well too!”
Quite an assertion given that his opinion is based almost solely on the corrupted data produced by the National Association of Realtors (I refer you to one of several blog posts in the past in which I demonstrate in detail why the NAR data is highly flawed, if not intentionally fraudulent to some degree). To which I responded:
We’ll have to agree to disagree. Despite the propaganda, prices have been falling in Denver since last summer. Inventory is going through the roof. The “bubble” neighborhoods everywhere in metro-Denver are starting to look like they did in 2008, littered with for sale and for rent signs. I’m not sure where your “Denver” data is coming from but I conduct actual “boots on the ground” due diligence. I am getting emails from readers in Florida, DC/Virginia, NY and other regions describing the same thing I’m seeing in Denver.
The NAR data is highly manipulated. Yr over yr SAAR is useless as is the NAR data collection methodology. The “seasonal adjustment” regression program is the same program the Government uses in its data manipulation scheme.
At the lower end of the spectrum, we are seeing the last fumes of a regenerated subprime mortgage bubble sponsored by FNM/FRE/FHA/VHA/USDA. Yes, the USDA, which sponsors 0% down pmt mortgages in “rural” areas where “rural” turns out be the outermost suburban band of most MSA’s. Were you even aware of that? There’s also been a “last gasp” surge in investor/flipper volume. They will be stuck holding the bag on homes they can’t sell or rent, just like in 2008.
My point in all of this is that the only “trick” left in the Fed’s bag right now is direct intervention in the stock market. It’s a last gasp effort in an attempt to generate a “confidence” and “wealth effect” dynamic. Hey, if the stock market isn’t going down things can’t be that bad, right?
The problem is that, for the most part, the world can no longer absorb any more credit expansion. We’re seeing this in the U.S. with the rapidly rising delinquency rates for auto and student loans, soon to be followed by another round of mortgage delinquency/defaults.
The Fed knows this and that’s why it continues to defer raising rates despite the constant barrage of threats to do just that at “the next meeting.” Even the boy who cried “wolf” is blushing on behalf of the Fed. I believe that the Fed’s inability to inflict a meaningful price take-down of gold and silver – especially silver – may be an indication that the Fed’s manipulative powers are beginning to atrophy.
It’s likely that this latest bear market bounce in stocks – the one for which Jim Cramer has ceremoniously proclaimed “a new bull market” – is going to start tipping over. It won’t happen all at once but it will likely lead to yet another “waterfall” drop in the S&P 500. Incredibly, the last two times around witnessed an incredible amount of screaming from the “peanut gallery” for the Fed to do something in response to just a 10-15% drop in stocks. Bear markets typically don’t end until stocks have dropped 60-90%.
The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of EMerging Equity.