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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Financial Markets and Economy

GOLDMAN SACHS: Hedge funds are betting billions that these 18 stocks are doomed (Business Insider)

Hedge funds have had a great year picking stocks. But there's a dark underbelly to their investment activity that involves betting on companies to falter.

Moody's downgrades Hong Kong credit rating after China cut (Fox News World)

Moody's decision to cut its credit rating for Hong Kong soon after downgrading its ...



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Zero Hedge

Has The Drug War Incentivized Police To Treat Citizens Like Terrorists?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

A video of a Florida Sheriff making a promo video to scare has been making the rounds recently.  Casey Research recently covered the affair, noting the following quote f...



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ValueWalk

Boost Your Retirement Savings

By The Sovereign Investor. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Kids don’t understand money. They don’t understand how to save it, how to spend it or how to stay out of money trouble.

According to data released by the Program for International Student Assessment, more than a fifth of U.S. teens lack basic financial literary skills.

Photo by stevepb (Pixabay)

In fact, Chinese students are ranked as the most financially literate teens, followed by Belgium and Canada. American teens ranked seventh overall in the assessment of science, reading and mathematics.

This lack of knowledge is go...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrency Chaos: Bitcoin Bounces Back After Crashing As Asian Fever Re-Emerges

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

After crashing $500 from its intraday highs today, Bitcoin has bounced back $300 off its intraday lows extending gains into what is likely to be another frenetic Asian session. While there are numerous drivers of the recent action, 'scaling' and 'asian fever' are the greatest factors with Japanese and Korean premia exploding.

Of course in context today's intraday drop is de minimus...

...

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Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Market News

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Financial Markets and Economy

OPEC Boss Embraces Shift to Top Diplomat (The Wall Street Journal)

During a turbulent year for oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ top official, Mohammad Barkindo, has embraced a role as the global energy industry’s chief diplomat.

Eurozone ‘still fragile’ despite growth spurt, warns European Central Bank (The Telegraph)

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis might seem like a distant memory as the eurozone economy ...



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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 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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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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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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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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