Treasury Forecasts Tax Reform Will Lead To Longest Period Without Recession In History

One week ago, in its latest assessment of the current state of tax reform in the aftermath of the Senate’s passage of the tax bill, Goldman analysts calculated that while growth impact from tax reform had increased fractionally to around 0.3% in 2018 and 2019 “reflecting the slightly larger amount of tax cuts in the Senate plan following revisions, and our expectations regarding the eventual compromise”, it expected a very modest – if any – boost to US economic growth from tax reform.
Today, in a report prepared by the US Treasury – which as reminder is run by former Goldmanite Steven Mnuchin – and which was meant to bolster the case for the economic growth to be unleashed by the Trump tax cuts, and distract from the spike in deficit funding, the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy (OTP) calculated that – somehow – the Senate’s version of tax cuts will result in 2.9% real GDP growth rate over 10 years.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

No Risk Of Recession?

Review
I have been traveling a lot the last couple of weeks, so a big ‘Thank You’ goes to Michael Lebowitz for ‘pinch hitting’ for me. This week, I just want to review a couple of things as we begin to wrap up 2017.
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece called ‘This Is Nuts.’ If you haven’t got a chance to read it, I suggest you do. It outlines my view on the current market extension in the short-term and the potential for a mean-reverting correction at some point in the future. To wit:
‘More importantly, a decline of such magnitude will threaten to trigger ‘margin calls’ which, as discussed previously, is the ‘time bomb’ waiting to happen.
Here is the point. The ‘excuses’ driving the rally are just that. The election of President Trump has had no material effect on the market outside of the liquidity injections which have exceeded $2 Trillion.
Importantly, on a weekly basis, the market has pushed into the highest level of overbought conditions on record since 2005. I have marked on the chart below each previous peak above 80 which has correlated to a subsequent decline in the near future.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.

Bank of America: “We’ve Seen This Movie Before: It Ends With A Recession”

In a merciful transition from Wall Street’s endless daily discussions and more often than not- monologues – of why vol is record low, and why a financial cataclysm will ensue once vol finally surges, lately the main topic preoccupying financial strategists has been the yield curve’s ongoing collapse – with the 2s10s sliding and trading at levels last seen in April 2015, and with curve inversion predicted by BMO to take place as soon as March 2018. And, according to at least one other metric, the yield curve should already be some -25bps inverted. This is shown in the following chart from Bank of America which lays out the correlation between the US unemployment rate and the 2s10s curve, and which suggests that the latter should be 80 bps lower, or some 25 basis points in negative territory.
Here is some additional context from BofA’s head of securitization Chris Flanagan, who views “the recent sharp flattening of the yield curve, which has seen the 2y10y spread go from 80 bps to almost 50 bps since late October, as the natural course of events at this stage of the economic cycle. Unemployment is low, and probably headed lower, and the Fed is intent on raising rates to stave off future inflation; we’ve seen this movie before and it typically ends with a flat or inverted yield curve. Based on history (and gravity), we think the most likely path forward is that the 2y10y spread reaches zero or inverts sometime over the next year or so and that recession of some kind follows in 2020 or 2021. (Given that the curve has flattened 30 bps in just over a month, projecting an additional 50 bps flattening over the next year is not really too bold.) Of course, much can happen along the way to change that outcome, but for now that seems to us to be the most likely course of events to us.”
Here Flanagan openly disagrees with the BofA’s “house call” of a steepening yield curve, and explains why:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.

Weekend Reading: Recession Risk Hidden In Tax Bill

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,
Since the election, equity bulls have been pinning their hopes on ‘tax cuts’ as the needed injection to support currently elevated stock prices. Stocks have advanced sharply since the election on these expectations, and while earnings have recovered, primarily due to the rise in oil prices, whatever economic growth was to come from tax reform has likely already been priced in.
For some background on our views, both Michael Lebowitz and I have been discussing the tax bills as they are currently proposed since May of this year.
The Spurious Math Of A Tax Cut Rally Corporate Tax Cuts – The Seen & Unseen 3-Myths About Tax Cuts Bull Trap: The False Promise Of Tax Cuts The Conundrum Of Debt, Tax Cuts & The Economy Tax Cuts – The Economic Cure-All Buy The Rumor – Sell The News
We are currently in the second longest economic expansion since WWII. While Republican lawmakers are betting on jump-starting economic growth, the problem becomes the length of the current liquidity-driven expansion. All economic cycles end, and we are already closer to the end of the current expansion than not.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.

Are Economic Crises Inherent to Market Economies?

It is interesting to note that Marx, in his analysis of the capitalist economic system, basically concentrates on the study of the imbalances and maladjustments which occur in the market.
This accounts for the fact that Marxist theory is primarily a theory of market disequilibrium and that occasionally it even coincides remarkably with the dynamic analysis of market processes which was developed by economists of the Austrian School, and particularly by Mises and Hayek themselves. One of the more curious points on which a certain agreement exists relates precisely to the theory of the crises and recessions which systematically ravage the capitalist system. Thus it is interesting to observe that certain authors of the Marxist tradition, such as the Ukrainian Mijail Ivanovich Tugan-Baranovsky (1865 – 1919), reached the conclusion that economic crises originate from a tendency toward a lack of proportion among the different branches of production, a lack Tugan-Baranovsky believed inherent in the capitalist system.1 According to Baranovsky, crises occur because
the distribution of production ceases to be proportional: the machines, tools, tiles and wood used in construction are requested less than before, given that new companies are less numerous. However the producers of the means of production cannot withdraw their capital from their companies, and in addition, the importance of the capital involved in the form of buildings, machines, etc., obliges producers to continue producing (if not, the idle capital would not bear interest). Thus there is excessive production of the means of production.2

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/07/2017.

Middle or Late Innings of Economic Expansion?

Each year of this enduring slow-growth expansion cycle starting in 2009 has had a growing chorus of doomsayers looking for the next recession. The evidence in forecasting the next economic peak resembles a litany of what if’s to justify a visceral conclusion. Rising interest rates or simply the ‘feeling’ that this expansion is just too darn long are the most popular ‘reasons’ proffered for toil and trouble bubbling around the corner. For years we have heard the sky is falling with regards to the ‘bond bubble’. Yet interest rates have actually fallen in 2017 despite accelerating economic growth. The yield curve is flattening, yet current yield curve spreads have always been positive for the economy for at least the next 2 years.
The current 8 and a half year long economic expansion is also branded as long in the tooth – a quirky expression emanating from the practice of examining the length of a horse’s tooth to determine its ‘age’. Just as popular of a caption is the assertion this cycle is in the late innings of the ball game. Since 1945 the average economic growth phase has lasted just under 5 years and the longest expansions in history were the 9 to just under 10-year expansions of the 1960’s and 1990’s. Thus the current growth phase must clearly run out of steam between mid-2018 and early 2019 at the latest, right? Such logic is a bit irrational.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/07/2017.

Finally, An Honest Inflation Index – Guess What It Shows

Central bankers keep lamenting the fact that record low interest rates and record high currency creation haven’t generated enough inflation (because remember, for these guys inflation is a good thing rather than a dangerous disease).
To which the sound money community keeps responding, ‘You’re looking in the wrong place! Include the prices of stocks, bonds and real estate in your models and you’ll see that inflation is high and rising.’
Well it appears that someone at the Fed has finally decided to see what would happen if the CPI included those assets, and surprise! the result is inflation of 3%, or half again as high as the Fed’s target rate.
New York Fed Inflation Gauge is Bad News for Bulls (Bloomberg) – More than 20 years ago, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan asked an important question ‘what prices are important for the conduct of monetary policy?’ The query was directly related to asset prices and whether their stability was essential for economic stability and good performance. No one has ever offered a coherent answer even though the recessions of 2001 and 2008-2009 were primarily due to a sharp correction in asset prices.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on DECEMBER 6, 2017.

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.
It’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll see the GOP tax bill pass in the near future. Prepped for signing by the end of this year, the bill is sure to have sweeping effects on all taxpayers, especially those in high tax states.
Consider Dan White at Moody’s: Taxation Shift Spells Trouble for Underfunded States
‘(Eliminating the state and local tax deduction) could help on the margins to drive people from those states to lower tax states because their burdens are going to increase significantly,’ White said. ‘What’s more, it’s going to make it more difficult during the next recession for states to increase taxes without being burdensome to the underlying economy.’
Many of the Rich Will Pay Under New Tax Plan
If we take the example of a high-net-worth individual living in California and making $1 million a year, that person’s state taxes amount to $102,000. If that person owns a $1.5 million home, property taxes would be around $27,000. As the new plan eliminates mortgage interest deduction above $500,000, this person would lose the ability to deduct roughly $20,000 in interest expenses.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/05/2017.

Giant Sucking Sound Sucks (Far) More Than US Industry Now

There are two possibilities with regard to stubbornly weak US imports in 2017. The first is the more obvious, meaning that the domestic goods economy despite its upturn last year isn’t actually doing anything positive other than no longer being in contraction. The second would be tremendously helpful given the circumstances of American labor in the whole 21st century so far. In other words, perhaps US consumers really are buying at a healthy pace, just not with the same eagerness from China and the rest anymore.
It was during the dot-com recession of 2001 that Ross Perot’s ‘giant sucking sound’ finally materialized. Between then and the bottom of the Great ‘Recession’, one third of US manufacturing jobs disappeared. With imports stuck, especially those from China, could production be moving back onshore? The unemployment rate at 4.1% would seem to suggest a burgeoning economy where that might be the case for US consumers.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening according to any data. Despite it being a Trump campaign promise, there just isn’t any indication that the loss of manufacturing capacity is anything other than permanent. Then again, we don’t really know for sure because there just isn’t any growth in the demand of US consumers regardless of where the goods are produced.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 5, 2017.

How Tax Cuts Will Trigger Recession

According to the more cynical pundits, government programs usually achieve the opposite of their intended goal. And sometimes they do.
For example, Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ is still in progress, but the drugs are definitely winning.
***
Some government programs, however, are more effective. Firefighters are doing a pretty good job extinguishing fires. The US Coast Guard saves lives every day. Public school teachers educate students who would rather be elsewhere.
And then there’s our increasingly dysfunctional Congress. Where to begin?
I’ve written recently how Congress’s new tax plan misses a chance to boost economic growth. Now I think it may be even worse. Instead of merely failing to stimulate growth, the tax changes could actually launch a recession. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 5, 2017.

Heartache Tonight! Bank C&I Lending Falls To 1.2% YoY (Auto Loans Fall To 2.1% YoY, Real Estate Loans Fall To 5.1% YoY)

We’ve got a heartache tonight … in terms of bank lending. Particularly commercial and industrial lending (C&I) and auto loans. Particularly since bank lending is the primary transmission vehicle for Federal Reserve policies.
C&I lending growth fell to 1.2% YoY, which has historically meant that a recession is close at hand.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 4, 2017.

Trump Tax Plan Greatest Gift Establishment Ever Got

As soon as President Trump put his Goldman boys, Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, in charge of his tax plan, I knew Trump’s tax plan would never fulfill his and his henchmen’s promises of helping the middle class and of not giving additional tax breaks to the rich. The Trump Tax plan, as it now exists, proves those conjoined promises to be the greatest lie Trump ever told.
After two decades with Goldman Sachs, Munchkin (as he shall hereinafter be known for he lives on the Goldman-bricked road) bought his own bank, IndyMac. He renamed it OneWest and turned it into a mega repo machine in 2009, whirring out hyuuge amounts of crash cash during the Great Recession. His revamped bank set a speed record for putting homeowners out on the street, foreclosing one home every thirty seconds. A vice president of OneWest even admitted in court she shortened her signature so that she could spend less than thirty seconds processing each foreclosure. As a result of this rush to foreclose, the court found the bank had frequently mishandled documents because it did not even read many of them before foreclosing.
Munchkin’s grim reaper of a bank closed its greedy grip on a whopping 35,000 homes during the Great Recession. The bank was even so unscrupulous as to instruct homeowners to stop making payments, ostensibly because it was going to modify the loans, but in reality in order to purify its argument for repossession. (For more on the Munchkin’s greed, read ‘U. S. Treasury Becomes a Laughing Stock.’)

This post was published at GoldSeek on 4 December 2017.

Rig For Stormy Weather

What storm? The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) reached another all-time high. Interest rates in the U. S. are yielding multi-decade lows, some say multi-century lows. Trillions of dollars in global sovereign debt have negative yield and European junk bonds yield less than 10 year U. S. treasuries. ‘Official’ unemployment is low. Borrowing is inexpensive. Things are good, so they say!
I Doubt It!
Do you believe the above is a fair and accurate representation of our economic world? If so, how do you explain the following?
Global debt exceeds $200 trillion and is rising rapidly. This massive debt will NOT be paid back in currencies with 2017 purchasing power. Debt MUST be rolled over in continually DEVALUING dollars, euros, yen and pounds. The financial system rolls over maturing debt, adds more, and pretends repayment will not be problematic. Those who hope this will remain true ignore the lessons of history, including sky-high interest rates in the late 1970s, the Asian and Long Term Capital crises in the late 1990s, many defaults and hyperinflations in the last century and the credit-crunch-recession-market-crash of 2008.

This post was published at Deviant Investor on Dec 4, 2017.

The Venture Capital Bubble Is Imploding! (The Beginning Of The Great Bubble Deflation?)

Following The Great Recession and The Fed’s extraordinary response, there was a lot of money available that we seeking risky assets, such as equities, housing and apartments.
Venture capital, the darling of business schools (that rarely look at the data, but focus on the snake oil-aspect of VC), has been in decline since 2014 after a meteoric rise after 2007.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B Sanders – December 1, 2017.

3/12/17: Russian and BRICS debt dynamics since 2012

Back in 2014, Russia entered a period of recessionary economic dynamics, coupled with the diminishing access to foreign debt markets. Ever since, I occasionally wrote about the positive impact of the economy’s deleveraging from debt. Here is the latest evidence from the BIS on the subject, positing Russia in comparative to the rest of the BRICS economies:

This post was published at True Economics on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

BMO Sees Risk Of Curve Inverting “As Early As March 2018”

Over the weekend, we published an analysis from Citigroup looking at how long after the yield curve inverts do investors “have to worry.” The results were interesting: as Citi wrote, while sometimes inversion provides a timely signal for the economic cycle a la 2000, “where Professor Curve predicted almost the ding-dong high in the SPX”, other times, like the 2006 inversion, dished up 7 months of pain for equity bears, with 18% further upside for the SPX. The same occurred for the 1989 episode where equities continued to rally 22% into the 1990 recession.

Whatever the timeframe between inversion and subsequent events, however, the curve first has to invert. So when will that happen. One bank provided a surprising answer earlier this week, when Morgan Stanley forecast a “completely flat” yield curve around the time of the FOMC’s September meeting.
Now, in its 2018 rates outlook, BMO’s Ian Lyngen and Aaron Kohli have unveiled a far more aggressive forecast, warning that there is a “risk of an inverted 2s/10s curve as early as the March meeting – if not, then by June.”
Here are the details, as excerpted from the report:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.

Goldman: The Last Time This Happened Was Just Months Before The Start Of The Great Depression

Ah Goldman, never change.
One week after Goldman’s chief equity strategist David Kostin predicted a three-year bull market of “rational exuberance“, lifting his 2018 S&P price target from 2,500 to 2,850 rising to 3,100 in 2020, and stating that should the exuberance turn “irrational”, the S&P could rise as high as 5,300 by the end of 2020, another Goldman strategist, Christian Mueller-Glissmann, has decided it may be a good idea to play bad cop and cover all bases.
And so, in a report released on Tuesday “The Balanced Bear – Part 1: Low(er) returns and latent drawdown risk” this now bearish Goldmanite warns that in the medium-term, the two likely scenarios are either i) a “slow pain” deflation scenario of low yields and high valuations “which persist as macro is stable but there are less windfall gains from rising valuations and less carry – as a result, returns are likely to be lower across assets”, or ii) a “fast pain” drawdown scenario in which there is “either a material negative growth or inflation/rate shock, or a combination of both, which drives a drawdown in 60/40 portfolios.”
For those confused, don’t worry – you read it right. While on one hand Goldman is predicting nothing but blue skies for the “medium-term” of the next three years, predicting no recession and double digit equity upside, at the very same time, the very same Goldman is also forecasting either a “slow” or “fast” pain scenario, which while different, share one thing in common (as the name implies): “pain.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

JPMorgan’s Outlook For 2018: “Eat, Drink And Be Merry, For In 2019…”

While the prevailing outlook by the big banks for 2018 and onward has been predominantly optimsitic and in a few euphoric cases, “rationally exuberant“, with most banks forecasting year-end S&P price targets around 2800 or higher, and a P/E of roughly 20x as follows…
Bank of Montreal, Brian Belski, 2,950, EPS $145.00, P/E 20.3x UBS, Keith Parker, 2,900, EPS $141.00, P/E 20.6x Canaccord, Tony Dwyer, 2,800, EPS $140.00, P/E 20.0x Credit Suisse, Jonathan Golub, 2,875, EPS $139.00, P/E 20.7x Deutsche Bank, Binky Chadha, 2,850, EPS $140.00, P/E 20.4x Goldman Sachs, David Kostin, 2,850, EPS $150.00, P/E 19x Citigroup, Tobias Levkovich, 2,675, EPS $141.00, P/E 19.0x HSBC, Ben Laidler, 2,650, EPS $142.00, P/E 18.7x … there have been a small handful of analysts, SocGen and BofA’s Michael Hartnett most notably, who have dared to suggest that contrary to conventional wisdom, next year will be a recessionary, bear market rollercoaster.
And then, there are those inbetween who expect a good 2018, but then all bets are off in 2019. Among them is JPM’s chief economist Michael Feroli who has published a special report, aptly titled “US outlook 2018: Eat, drink, and be merry, for in 2019…”
Here are the seven main reasons why JPM believes that the party will continue until December 31, 2018 or thereabouts:
Growth momentum at the end of 2017 is solid and global headwinds are unusually mild

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.

The Flattening Yield Curve Is Not a Threat to US Equities

Summary: On its own, a flattening yield curve is not an imminent threat to US equities. Under similar circumstances over the past 40 years, the S&P has continued to rise and a recession has been a year or more in the future. Investors should expect the yield curve to flatten further in the months ahead.
Investors are concerned about the flattening yield curve. Enlarge any image by clicking on it.
The yield curve measures the gap between long and short-term treasuries. The curve “flattens” when either short-term rates rise faster than long-term rates, or when long-term rates fall faster than short-term rates. The standard interpretation is that a flattening curve means that the bond market is pessimistic about future growth (low long rates) while the Federal Reserve is overly worried about inflation (rising short rates). The bond market’s view is typically more relevant.
Our monthly macro updates (here) start with the latest yield curve, with the note that the yield curve has ‘inverted’ a year ahead of every recession in the past 40 years (arrows). With the yield curve still 60 basis points away from inversion, the current expansion will probably last well into 2018, at a minimum. In short, the risk of an imminent recession is low.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/27/2017.