The other day we explored Federal Withholding Tax collections that suggested that the US economy is beginning to overheat. Data on other tax collections in June from the US Daily Treasury Statement also is leaning that way. It takes a month or two for the economic data to catch up with the reality of what is happening in real time.
The tax collections data has no lag. It tells us what is going on in real time, with no manipulation whatsoever. We merely need to track it to know what’s coming in the lagging economic data reports. That gives us an edge enabling us to stay ahead of the crowd to take advantage of, or protect ourselves from, what’s coming.
In this case, strong economic data will encourage the Fed to begin its promised course of balance sheet reductions. That will be a real tightening, as opposed to the sham tightening of increasing the interest the Fed pays the bank on the excess reserves at the Fed.
Jim Rickards refers to this coming balance sheet reduction as Quantitative Tightening. I think that’s an apt monicker. Just as Quantitative Easing, QE, or money printing, pumped money into the markets and drove the asset bubbles that are still raging today (see yesterday’s price data on new home sales), QT will drain money from the markets and starve those bubbles.
This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on July 10, 2017.