Posts Tagged ‘cost of living’

Speculative fervour

Speculative fervour – shadow boxing the Fed

Courtesy of Data Diary

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: A sign saying ' Peace and love be with you all' is displayed at the peace camp in Parliament Square on June 30, 2010 in London, England. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has won a High Court order to evict the protesters who have been camping in the square since May 1, 2010. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

There is something of a speaking-in-tongues fervour about the place recently. Bring back big hair, smelly armpits and the Doobie Brothers I say. We all need a little peace, love and skyrocketing oil prices. (If you want a 1973 vintage backtrack to this post – Jesus is Just Alright here.)

To distil a few themes from the cacophony:

1) When money is cheap, speculation is abundant. And it doesn’t get any cheaper than when the government is giving it away. The end is nigh when the suspension of disbelief can’t be sustained.  That is when investors will want out – it’s every Ponzi scheme’s dilemma. We aren’t there yet.

2) Inflation is the destination, we just don’t know whether we will get there. The Fed will stop at nothing in their pursuit of inflation, but they can’t control where liquidity flows. They want wage inflation. They think by spurring asset price inflation it will lead to rising inflation expectations and then onto real incomes. The problem is that consumables may just explode in the meantime – what good is a few dollars saved on mortgage repayments when your cost of living has gone through the roof.

3) Corporate margin expansion has reached its peak. The majority of margin expansion since 2000 has come via the wage bill. Absent productivity gains, this is a finite trend. The Fed says they want wages to increase relative to everything. Labour winning over capital is not multiple friendly.

4) Last chance to buy cheap goods from China. It’s revalue the Yuan or cop tariffs.  Either which way, the days of ridiculously cheap goods from China are near an end.

5) Commodities supercycle is likely to go parabolic. The flight from paper money to real assets has been gathering steam. With the financialisation of commodity derivatives, this trend can run to unprecedented extremes (for those not familiar with the term, it means ‘hasn’t happened before’). Should China ease credit again – which is a fair bet given the impending hit they will take on exports – capital investment will be sucking at the physical market at the same time. That sounds like a recipe for a party.

Data Diary.


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Where’s the Land of Opportunity These Days?

Where’s the Land of Opportunity These Days?

By Doug Hornig, Casey Research 

Surging Oil Industry Brings Opportunity To Rural California

Recent decades have witnessed an amazing shrinkage of the American manufacturing sector, from #1 in the world to virtual non-existence. Companies, taking advantage of cheaper labor costs abroad, have either outsourced some portion of the workforce or relocated their entire operations offshore. Remember the “great sucking sound” that Ross Perot claimed he could hear? 

Well, today, if you listen, there’s a different, almost opposite sound in the air. Instead of American jobs going to lower-paid foreign workers, foreign workers are leaving America for better jobs. It’s happening, increasingly, among professionals who expatriated to the U.S. in search of the good life and have begun seeing better prospects back in their countries of origin. 

In a worldwide survey by HSBC Bank International, conducted among 3,100 expats in the first quarter of 2009, more than 1 in 5 (22%) working and living in the U.S. said they were considering pulling up stakes and returning home. That’s 50% higher than the overall average of expats everywhere. 

This may seem strange to residents of the traditional land of opportunity. We’re much more accustomed to foreign graduates of American colleges doing whatever it takes to get that green card. But it’s in keeping with numbers noted by other observers. 

And it’s all about the career prospects.

Those studying the trend say that foreign professionals are becoming frustrated with their lack of advancement in the U.S., citing widespread salary and promotion freezes, not to mention layoffs. As our unemployment rate has ballooned to an “official” 10% and everyone is downsizing, people with advanced degrees have not been spared. Competition for the best jobs is more intense than ever, and switching employers no longer results in an automatic step up the ladder.

In addition, employees holding H-1B skilled worker visas often get the short end of the stick from employers. No one with a hard-to-obtain H-1B is going to complain about unfair treatment – or so the thinking goes – because termination most often results in a quick plane ride back home.

But that may not be much of a sword to hold over someone’s head as home begins to look more and more attractive. People who came here from India and China, even as recently as a decade ago, are well aware of the explosion in opportunity that’s transpired way…
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Why the Austrian, Keynesian, Marxist, Monetarist, and Neo-Liberal Economists Are All Wrong

Fantastic dish served up at Jesse’s Cafe.  Highly recommended – especially if you’re a normally intelligent person who can’t understand economics. It has nothing to do with you! Imagine being an inquisitive medical student at the time when blood-letting was used to treat all ills… I loved this: 

"The ugly truth is that economics is a science in the way that medicine was a profession while it still used leeches to balance a person’s vapours. Yes, some are always better than others, and certainly more entertaining, but they all tended to kill their patients."

- Ilene

Why the Austrian, Keynesian, Marxist, Monetarist, and Neo-Liberal Economists Are All Wrong

jesse's cafe, consumersServed by Jesse of Le Café Américain

US Personal Income has taken its worst annual decline since 1950.

This is why it is an improbable fantasy to think that the consumer will be able to pull this economy out of recession using the normal ‘print and trickle down’ approach. In the 1950′s the solution was huge public works projects like the Interstate Highway System and of course the Korean War.

Until the median wage improves relative to the cost of living, there will be no recovery. And by cost of living we do not mean the chimerical US Consumer Price Index.

The classic Austrian prescription is to allow prices to decline until the median wage becomes adequate. Given the risk of a deflationary wage-price spiral, which is desired by no one except for the cash rich, the political risks of such an approach are enormous.

On paper it is obvious that a market can ‘clear’ at a variety of levels, if wages and prices are allowed to move freely. After all, if profits are diminished, income can obviously be diminished by a proportional amount, and nothing has really changed in terms of viable consumption.

The Supply side idealists (cash rich bosses, Austrians, Marxist, monetarist, and deflationist theorists) would like to see this happen at a lower level through a deflationary spiral. The Keynesians and neo-liberals wish to see it driven through the Demand side, with higher wages rising to meet the demands of profit in an inflationary expansion. Both believe that market forces alone can achieve this equilibrium. Across both groups runs a sub-category of statism vs. individualism.

all wrongUnfortunately both groups are wrong.

Both approaches require an ideal, almost frictionless, objectively rational, and honest economy in…
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Phil's Favorites

Can vaccinated people still spread the coronavirus?

 

Can vaccinated people still spread the coronavirus?

Vaccinated people are wondering whether they can ease social distancing and mask-wearing. AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Courtesy of Deborah Fuller, University of Washington

Editor’s note: So you’ve gotten your coronavirus vaccine, waited the two weeks for your immune system to respond to the shot and are now fully vaccinated. Does this mean you can make your way through ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Can vaccinated people still spread the coronavirus?

 

Can vaccinated people still spread the coronavirus?

Vaccinated people are wondering whether they can ease social distancing and mask-wearing. AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Courtesy of Deborah Fuller, University of Washington

Editor’s note: So you’ve gotten your coronavirus vaccine, waited the two weeks for your immune system to respond to the shot and are now fully vaccinated. Does this mean you can make your way through ...



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Zero Hedge

For Bonds, This Is Now The Second Worst Bear Market In 40 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last December, we predicted that the US was heading for a "titanic taper tantrum" in 2021, to an extent as a result of a sharp drop in bond demand as a result of reduced bond purchases by the Fed but also due to a spike in inflation which would lead to a sharp drop in demand for duration.

So fast forward to this week when the crash in US Treasurys, and especially the belly of the curve led by a plunge in 5Y prices...

...

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ValueWalk

There's A "Chip" Shortage: And TSM Holds All The Cards

By Mauldin Economics. Originally published at ValueWalk.

“You drove 1,000 miles just for this game?” Christmas 1988 was a stressful time for many American parents. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 2 was the must-have toy that year. But copies of the hit videogame were as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

ABC News ran a 20/20 special on the shortage called “Nuts for Nintendo.” They chatted to one dad who drove 1,000 miles from Indiana to NYC in the hopes of grabbing a copy.

“I’ve tried 7 stores a day for 3 weeks and sti...



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Politics

What is fascism?

 

What is fascism?

A Donald Trump supporter wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Since before Donald Trump took office, historians have debated whether he is a fascist.

As a teacher of World War II history...



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Chart School

The Fastest Money

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The fast money happens near the end of the long trend.

Securities which attract a popular following by both the public and professionals investors tend to repeat the same sentiment over their bull phase. The chart below is the map of said sentiment.







Video on the subject.







Charts in the video


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Digital Currencies

Bridgewater Explains When It Will Invest In Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Two weeks ago, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio called Bitcoin "one hell of an invention" adding that:

"I expect Bridgewater to soon offer an alt-cash fund and a storehold of wealth fund in order to better deal with the devaluation of money and credit that we consider to be a major risk and opportunity, and Bitcoin won’t escape our scrutiny.”

And now, after significant attention that his comments received, Senior Portfolio Strategist Jim Haskel sits dow...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Rising Inflation About To Hit U.S. Economy In Big Way?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Inflation seems to be a thing of the past… but current trading in bond and commodity markets tell us that it could become a thing of the future!

Inflation hasn’t been an issue, or even on our radar, since the 1980s. Sure, the 2007 surge in oil prices offered some concern but the financial crisis killed any thoughts of inflation.

So what’s got us concerned about inflation in 2021?

Today we take a look at long-term charts of two potential inflation indicators: Crude Oil ...



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Mapping The Market

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

 

The Countries With The Most COVID-19 Cases

By Martin Armstrong, Statista, Jan 12, 2021

This regularly updated infographic keeps track of the countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases. The United States is still at the top of the list, with a total now exceeding the 22 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. The total global figure is now over 85 million, while there have been more than 1.9 million deaths.

You will find more infographics at ...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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