Posts Tagged ‘American consumer’

The Vanishing American Consumer and the Coming Trade War

The Vanishing American Consumer and the Coming Trade War

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

President Obama has vowed to double U.S. exports within the next five years. That’s because exports are critical for rebooting the American economy. It’s clear American consumers can’t get the economy going on their own. They can’t restart the jobs machine. They’ve run out of money and credit.

It’s not just that one out of four Americans is unemployed or underemployed (working part-time, overqualified, or at a lower wage than before). More significantly, the Great Recession burst the housing bubble that had let American consumers turn their homes into ATMs. Now the cash machines are closed.

So the Administration figures foreign consumers will have to fill the gap.

Problem is, most other economies also relied on American consumers. Remember the trade gap? Americans used to be the world’s biggest and most reliable customers – sucking in high-tech gadgets assembled in China, car parts from Japan, shirts and shoes from Southeast Asia, and precision instruments from Germany.

With American consumers pulling back, these other economies have also been slowing down. Their unemployment is rising.

Last week I attended a conference with global business executives. When I asked them where they expected to find new customers to replace Americans who are pulling back, they all said China and India and quoted me the same number: 800 million new middle-class consumers from these and other fast-developing countries over the next decade.

Yes, but. As of now China and India are still relying on net exports to fuel their growth. Even if you think their middle classes will eventually become so big and rich they can buy everything these nations will be able to produce, that doesn’t mean they’ll also buy what the rest of the world produces. 

Yes, global companies will do wonderfully well. General Motors is well on the way to selling more cars in China than it does in the U.S. But American workers won’t get the jobs, and nor will workers in Europe, Japan, or the rest of the world. GM makes the cars it sells to Chinese consumers in China. 

Meanwhile, the productive capacities of China and India will continue to grow: More workers, more factories, more high-tech equipment, more offices. The buying power of their middle classes will have to expand rapidly just to catch up with what these nations will be able…
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Adjusting, Adjusting, and Adjusting

Adjusting, Adjusting, and Adjusting

Courtesy of Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon 

Young couple in front of a shop

Even though the recession is allegedly "over," Americans continue to adjust their spending habits:

"Consumers to Continue Food, Beverage Thriftiness" (Food Product Design)

After two years of cutting corners, consumers have learned to get by with less and say they will continue to practice thriftiness at least for the next six to 12 months and perhaps well beyond that, according to a food and beverage market research report from the NPD Group.

The “The What’s Next on the Road to Recovery” report, which explores how consumers’ habits related to food and beverage purchasing and usage have been affected by the recession, finds that nearly one in five consumers expect to be worse off 12 months from now than they are today, and half of all consumers expect their financial situation to be the same as it is today. Looking ahead nine out of 10 consumers say they will plan and watch their spending on food and beverages outside the home.

Among the thriftier behaviors consumers say they will do more often than now over the next six months are decreasing spending on groceries, especially those with household incomes under $35,000; using coupons for food and beverage items from newspapers or magazines; stocking up on foods and beverages when they are on sale; searching store circulars for low prices on food or beverages that are on sale; buying less expensive brands of foods and beverages, and searching for manufacturer coupons online.

As a result, manufacturers are doing the same:

"Procter & Gamble Says It Plans to Expand Gain to Dish Washing, Affirms Earlier forecasts" (Bloomberg)

Procter & Gamble Co. said Tuesday that it will expand its Gain brand from the laundry to the kitchen sink, the latest move by the world’s largest consumer products company to market its megabrands in new ways and new places.

At a Jefferies investor conference in Nantucket, Mass., the company also affirmed forecasts on sales and earnings it offered earlier this year.

After slipping during the recession, P&G’s revenue is rising again because the company is offering new versions of its most popular products at lower prices that reach new consumers.

Gain is among 22 P&G brands with $1 billion in annual sales. The new Gain dishwashing liquid will debut within a year, according to the Cincinnati-based company’s chief


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Weak consumer spending will last for years

This is an excellent overview of our economic situation.  Edward goes beyond consumer spending and discusses debt, capacity, a "balance sheet recession," inflation, deflation, retail sales, commercial real estate, government policy, a statistical recovery and the new normal. - Ilene  

Weak consumer spending will last for years

consumer spendingCourtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

It has been my thesis for some time that we are seeing a secular change in consumption patterns in the United States.  This will have grave implications for a world economy used to seeing the American consumer as an economic growth engine and consumer of first choice. Retail sales in the United States have fallen 10% since peaking in November 2007. Much of this decline represents a permanent fall in consumption by overly indebted American consumers.

Having finally had a chance to dissect the retail sales data from last week, I wanted to show you a few graphs which indicate how much consumption has fallen in the present downturn and what the implication is for the future global economy. But, first, I want to start with a broader discussion as to why the fall in US consumption is a longer-term change and not a cyclical one.

The Balance Sheet Recession

Numerous economies seem on there way to recovery: Germany and France, Singapore, and Hong Kong, to name a few, have all posted positive economic growth.  China looks likely to hit its 2009 growth target of 8%. But, the U.S., generally assumed to be a leader in recovery, is looking like a laggard.  Mind you, there are other laggards like Spain and Ireland too.  Why are these countries lagging?  The Balance Sheet Recession.

debtNomura’s Chief Economist Richard Koo wrote a book last year called “The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics” which introduced the concept of a balance sheet recession, which explains economic behaviour in the United States during the Great Depression and Japan during its Lost Decade.  He explains the factor connecting those two episodes was a consistent desire of economic agents (in this case, businesses) to reduce debt even in the face of massive monetary accommodation.

When debt levels are enormous, as they are right now in the United States, an economic downturn becomes existential for a great many forcing people to reduce debt.…
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Zero Hedge

Ron Paul And Lew Rockwell Discuss "War And Peace In The Age Of Trump" - Live Feed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With the new Administration just over a month old, we are seeing both hopeful and discouraging signs of how the Trump foreign policy is playing out.

Mises Institute Founder Lew Rockwell joins Ron Paul in today's program to take a look at Trump thus far...

...

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ValueWalk

Warren Buffett and Solar Energy

By Gregory Silberman. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Warren Buffett has made headlines in the last few years regarding his involvement in the solar industry via Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership of MidAmerican Energy (now a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy).  Most notably, the company’s subsidiary NV Energy battled the rooftop solar industry in Nevada, including Elon Musk’s SolarCity (now owned by Tesla).  Buffett strongly supports renewable energy with Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) and noted in his 2015 ...



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Phil's Favorites

Pending Home Sales Unexpectedly Dive: NAR Blames Tight Supply

Courtesy of Mish.

Fresh on the heels of a glowing existing homes sales report comes news of an unexpected plunge in pending home sales. Economists in the Econoday survey expected a 1.1% increase. Instead, the pending home sales index plunged 2.8%.

Just when existing home sales seemed to be showing lift the pending home sales index, which tracks initial contract signings, is down 2.8 percent in the January report. This points to weakness for final resales in February and March.

The West is the culprit in January’s data, with contract signings down 9.8 percent in the month for year-on-year contract...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Feb 26, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Before we begin please check out our sister site’s highly popular annual broker review!  This is an elegantly designed site with completely unbiased reviews of brokers – simply a must read.

To narrow down your choice of a broker best suited to you, you can start with the “Best in Class” category lists below where you can see recommended brokers based on aspects that matter most to you. Then read a full-length review and compare your favorites side by side, using the comparison tool to finalize your selection.

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 27th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

The story of the week is Trump, Russia and the FBI. The rest is a distraction (The Guardian)

Narrative switching. That is what the Trump administration is desperately trying to do around Russia right now. The White House reportedly interfered with the FBI in the middle of an active investigation involving counter-intelligence. This was not only foolhardy but also suspicious, as it directly undermined their apparent objective: distracting us.

On 14 February, the New York Times reported that advisers and associates of Donald Trump may have been in direct and cont...



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Mapping The Market

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

Courtesy of Jean Luc

Good article about facts and why we reject them:

WHY FACTS DON’T CHANGE OUR MINDS

New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous. Of course, what’s hazardous is not being vaccinated; that’s why vaccines were created in the first place. “Immunization is one of the triumphs of modern medicine,” the Gormans no...



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Digital Currencies

As Bitcoin Surges To Record High, China Prepares Its Own Digital Currency

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock (Mish)

Bitcoin hit an all-time high over $1200 today.

Traders are happy because the SEC is expected to rule on a Bitcoin ETF by March 11.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports China Is Developing its Own Digital Currency.
 

After assembling a research team in 2014, the People’s Bank of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That’s taking it a step closer to becoming one of the first major central...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil; Energy stocks suggesting its about to fall, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below takes a look at the price action of Crude Oil, Energy ETF (XLE) and Oil & Gas Exploration ETF (XOP) over the past three years.

Could Energy stocks be suggesting the next big move in Crude Oil again? Which direction are they suggesting?

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

At this time the intermediate trend in Cru...



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Members' Corner

The Manchurian President

 

The Manchurian President

Courtesy of  at BillMoyers.com

As the Trump presidency unravels, unraveling the country along with it, there is no real political antecedent, no lessons from American history on which to draw and provide guidance. We are in entirely uncharted waters.

But there is an antecedent in our popular culture that provides a prism through which to view the contemporary calamity, especially the alleged collusion between Trump’s henchmen and Russian intelligence to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency. I am not the first observer who has ...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

Learn option strategies and how to be the house and not the gambler. That's especially apropos since we'll be in Vegas....

Join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017            

Beginning Time:  9:30 to 10:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Notes

Caesars has offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night but rooms are limited at that price.

So, if you are planning on being in Vegas (Highly Recommended!), please sign up as soon as possible by sending...



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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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