The U.S. economy is being slowly but surely destroyed and many Americans have no idea that it is happening. That is at least partially due to the fact that most financial news is entirely focused on the short-term. Whenever a key economic statistic goes up the financial markets surge and analysts rejoice. Whenever a key economic statistic goes down the financial markets decline and analysts speak of the potential for a "double-dip" recession. You could literally get whiplash as you watch the financial ping pong ball bounce back and forth between good news and bad news. But focusing on short-term statistics is not the correct way to analyze the U.S. economy. It is the long-term trends that reveal the truth. The reality is that there are certain underlying foundational problems that are destroying the U.S. economy a little bit more every single day.
11 of those foundational problems are discussed below. They are undeniable and they are constantly getting worse. If they are not corrected (and there is no indication that they will be) they will destroy not only our economy but also our entire way of life. The sad truth is that it would be hard to understate just how desperate the situation is for the U.S. economy.
Long-Term Trend #1: The Deindustrialization Of America
The United States is being deindustrialized at a pace that is almost impossible to believe. But now that millions upon millions of people have lost their jobs, more Americans than ever are starting to wake up and believe it.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 69 percent of Americans now believe that free trade agreements have cost America jobs. Ten years ago the majority of Americans had great faith in the new "global economy" that we were all being merged into, but now the tide has turned.…
Patience of US legislators regarding the value of the Yuan has finally given out. Last Friday, Congress jumped into the fray after exceptionally harsh statements from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who up until now had always preached diplomacy. Here is a brief sequence of events.
Sept. 15, 2010
Patience appears to have run out in Washington for the standard White House approach that favors quiet diplomacy for dealing with China over the dispute over the value of its currency.
In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, a wide array of experts said that quiet diplomacy has essentially been a failure. The only debate at the hearing was what new approach should be tried.
Sept. 16, 2010
“China needs to allow significant, sustained appreciation over time to correct this undervaluation and allow the exchange rate to fully reflect market forces,” Geithner said in testimony prepared for the Senate Banking Committee. Geithner will also talk about the yuan with the House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon.
“It is past time for China to move,” Geithner said.
An undervalued yuan has helped China to boost exports and encouraged U.S. companies to outsource manufacturing to China from the U.S., Geithner said. He added that the yuan is held at a undervalued level by “heavy intervention” even as Chinese officials have pledged to allow the yuan’s value to be guided more by market forces.
Sept. 20, 2010
China pledged not to repeat Japan’s mistake and allow its currency to rise in response to foreign pressure, countering criticism from U.S. lawmakers that the yuan is undervalued amid a growing cross-Pacific row over Beijing’s currency regime.
“China will not go down the path that Japan did and give in to foreign pressure on the yuan’s exchange rate,” Li Daokui, an economist and member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, was cited as saying in a report by the state-run China Daily.
Li’s comments appeared to reference to the 1985 Plaza Accord that resulted in coordinated government
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner indicated U.S. patience on China’s currency policy was wearing thin on Thursday as a key lawmaker warned that he would move soon on legislation that would penalize Chinese goods.
Striking his toughest tone on the yuan since delaying a decision in early April on whether to name China a currency manipulator, Geithner told a U.S. Senate hearing Chinese policies had a harmful worldwide impact.
"A stronger renminbi would benefit China because it would boost the purchasing power of households and encourage firms to shift production for domestic demand, rather than for export," he told the Senate Finance Committee.
"The time is long past for any Treasury Department to admit publicly what everyone else already knows, that China is manipulating the value of its currency in order to gain an unfair advantage in international trade," said Charles Grassley, the senior Republican Senator on the committee.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer told Geithner to "be prepared" because lawmakers would move forward soon with legislation that would slap anti-dumping penalties and countervailing duties on goods from China and other countries with a "fundamentally misaligned" currency.
Senator Graham Threatens Veto-Proof Currency Legislation
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said legislation aimed at getting China to raise the value of its currency has “huge” support in Congress, and President Barack Obama “runs the risk” of being overridden if he vetoes it.
“The frustrations with China’s trade practices are growing by the moment,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.
He called the measure a “test” of the administration because Obama “campaigned that he would stand up to China currency manipulation.” Graham has joined Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, in sponsoring legislation targeting China’s yuan.
The U.S. International Trade Commission sided with U.S. steelmakers in a case over Chinese steel Wednesday, voting that U.S. industry has been damaged by a flood of imports of subsidized steel from China.
In the ITC’s largest-ever steel case, all six commissioners voted in the affirmative that imports of so-called oil country tubular goods from China have injured U.S. manufacturers. The commission will provide details of its decision later Wednesday.
The ruling, which will likely result in duties on future imports of Chinese steel pipes, adds more tension to the U.S.-China trade relationship. Ties between Washington and Beijing are already frayed by the Obama administration’s imposition of duties on Chinese tire imports and China’s criticism of U.S. moves as protectionist.
Last month, the Commerce Department imposed countervailing duties on the steel pipes ranging from 10.4% to 15.8%. The ITC’s decision Wednesday allows the government to finalize those duties. The commission will make a separate decision on antidumping duties next spring.
In the case, brought by U.S. steel manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union, the domestic industry has framed its case in terms of potential job losses — thousands of steel workers have been laid off or had their mills closed. In China, job losses have been few, as Chinese mills continue to operate despite weakened world demand.
The case was filed by Maverick Tube Corp.; United States Steel Corp.; TMK IPSCO; V&M Star LP; Wheatland Tube Corp.; Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel; and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.
The US Commerce Department said on Tuesday that it has set preliminary anti-dumping duties (AD) on imports of steel grating from China, a move that might escalate trade disputes between the two countries.
The department said it "preliminarily determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold steel grating in the United States at 14.36 to 145.18 percent less than normal value."
As a result of this preliminary determination, Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection
The downward spiral in global trade volumes has abated, and the most recent month for which we have data (June) shows a modest uptick. Nonetheless, the collapse of global trade, even now, remains dramatic by the standards of the Great Depression.
Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — China announced dumping and subsidy probes of chicken and auto products from the U.S., two days after President Barack Obama imposed tariffs on tires from the Asian nation.
Chinese industries complain that they’re being hurt by “unfair trade practices,” the nation’s Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site yesterday. The dumping investigation relates to poultry alone, a spokesman said in Beijing today. The ministry didn’t specify the value of imports of the products.
Rising protectionism may hamper world trade and undermine the global economy’s recovery from recession, the European Central Bank ( see end of the post for details )said last week.
The U.S. placed tariffs starting at 35 percent on $1.8 billion of tire imports from China, backing a United Steelworkers union complaint against the second-largest U.S. trading partner.
China Reacts Quickly and Badly to Tire Tariffs Naked Capitalism
It would be better if we were not proven correct on this one, but when the US imposed stiff tariffs on imported tires from China late on Friday, we noted, “This could get interesting in a bad way.” The Chinese responded quickly over the weekend to announce they were investigating US auto parts and chicken, which together account for roughly as much as the disputed tires ($1.2 billion versus $1.3 billion for tires).
But protectionism is driven by the desire to protect jobs. Unemployment has not peaked in the US, and some analysts suggest that China’s job
Obama is slapping tariffs on Chinese tires. The Chinese are furious.
Is this finally the beginning of a trade war?
In today’s globalized economy, protectionism is generally a terrible idea. It hinders trade and is full of unintended consequences. Politically, however, it’s wildly popular, so politicians can’t resist it.
Hopefully this is just a shot across China’s bow and not the beginning of a war. If it’s the latter, get ready more hard times ahead.
Jonathan Weisman, WSJ: The Obama administration will put steep import duties on Chinese passenger and light truck tires, responding to what the U.S. International Trade Commission determined to be a surge of Chinese tire exports that has rocked the domestic U.S. tire industry and displaced thousands of jobs, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced Friday night.
China’s government responded quickly to the announcement, saying in a statement that it "strongly opposes" what it called "a serious act of trade protectionism." China "reserves the right to make further response," the Ministry of Commerce statement said.
The U.S. announcement of 35% import tariffs, which would decline to 30% in the second year and 25% in the third, comes at a sensitive time. The heads of state of the 20 largest economies arrive in Pittsburgh in less than two weeks for a summit of the Group of 20, amid rising trade tensions and looming economic disputes. The United States needs China to help float a U.S. deficit expected to reach $1.56 trillion this year. President Barack Obama is also likely to seek new sanctions against Iran to combat its nuclear program, and China’s vote on the United Nations Security Council is pivotal.
First the US and now China ( the country with the biggest surplusses ) …… Just what the doctor ordered…… Now combine this with the following chart ( for more more "depressing" charts see A Tale of Two Depressions ) and we all can only hope that this kind of "cancer" isn´t spreading…. But i have some serious doubts…..
Nachdem die USA ja bereits trotz einmal mehr großer Worte von Obama die "Buy American" Klausel in Ihrem Konjunkturpaket haben festschreiben lassen kommt jetzt der nächste Tiefschlag…… Wenn die Weltkonjunktur eines nicht gebrauchen kann dann ist es eine Ausuferung des Protektionismus. Das jetzt ausgerechnet China ( das Land mit den größten Handelsüberschüssen ) genau in diese Richtung marschiert ist mehr als bedenklich und läßt einem bei dem nachfolgenden Chart ( mehr depressive Charts via A Tale of Two Depressions ) noch pessimistischer in die Zukunft blicken…….
China has introduced an explicit “Buy Chinese” policy as part of its economic stimulus programme in a move that will amplify tensions with trade partners and increase the likelihood of protectionism around the world.
In an edict released jointly by nine government departments, Beijing said government procurement must use only Chinese products or services unless they were not available within the country or could not be bought on reasonable commercial or legal terms.
The government also said it was launching an investigation in response to complaints from domestic industry associations which accuse local governments of favouring foreign suppliers in procurement related to the country’s Rmb4,000bn ($585bn, €421bn, £356bn) economic stimulus package.
Just a few months ago Beijing was raging against a proposed “Buy American” clause included in the US economic rescue package.
“Some countries raised clauses to prioritise the purchase of products of their own countries in their economic stimulus packages,” Yao Jian, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, told reporters in February. “We express deep concern about these [measures] … under the current financial crisis, measures issued by all countries should not cause negative impacts, and especially they should not send out wrong messages.”
Most economists agree China’s economy is starting to recover as a result of its aggressive
This is discouraging. There seems to be a prevailing attitude, even among very intelligent people (personal observation), that science is just another subject of equivalence to religion, or apparently astrology, in explaining life in the big universe. Or, subjects that are not within the realm of science are imagined to be a science based on a misunderstanding of what science is.
This misunderstanding of science may reflect a failed education system, and unfortunately, we may be traveling backwards. The highest percent of non-skeptics were in the youngest age group where a majority of people think astrology is at least "sort of" scientific.
In China, in contrast, 92% of people polled said they do not believe "in horoscopes." The exact question the researchers asked may in part explain the discrepant results. And I wonder, did some Americans get Astrology confused with Astronomy? Also not good.
After the high-level EU summit on the migrant issue, hastily convened after close to a thousand people drowned last weekend off the Lybian coast, Dutch PM Mark Rutte was quoted by ‘his’ domestic press as saying ‘Our first priority is saving human lives’. That sounds commendable, and it also sounds just like what everybody knows everybody else wants to hear. One can be forgiven, therefore, for thinking that it’s somewhat unfortunate that the one person tasked by Brussels with executing the noble ‘saving lives’ strategy, doesn’t ...
Seven of the eight indexes on our world watch list traded higher this week, with China's Shanghai Composite as the top performer, up 2.48%. India's SENSEX was the outlier to the south, with a -3.53% contraction. In fact, the average of the seven gainers was an impressive 1.52%. But the SENSEX pulls the overall average down to 0.89%.
The Shanghai Composite looks to be in bubble mode, up 92% from its interim trough in late October.
Here is an overlay of the eight for a sense of their comparative performance so far in 2015.
Here is a table of the 2015 data performance, sorted from high to low, along with the interim highs for the eight indexes. All eight indexes are in the green, with the top five gains ranging 14.72% to 35.83%. Not bad for a mid-April checkpoint.
King Dollar has been on a role since last summer, up over 20% in less than a year. When looking back on the US$, the rally has been rare and nearly historic. Majority of the rally took place inside the steep rising channel above. Over the past month the US$ might have put in a double top. Over the past few days, the US$ has slipped a little below rising support at red arrow above.
Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
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As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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