Holiday Edition: Here Are the Top 6 Frank Talk Posts of 2016

This year has been one for the history books. Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States, gold had its best quarter in a generation, Warren Buffett decided he likes airlines again and voters in the United Kingdom elected to leave the European Union. Loyal readers of the Investor Alert newsletter and my CEO blog Frank Talkknow that we covered it all, too.
As we head into the New Year, I want to share with you the six most popular Frank Talk posts of 2016. Before I do that, however, I think it’s important to note one recurring theme I write about that continues to help our investment team and shareholders better understand the movement in commodities and energy: the purchasing managers’ index (PMI).
Using PMI as a Guide
As I explain in this January Frank Talk, our research has shown that PMI performance is strongly correlated with the movement in commodities and energy three and six months out. PMI forecasts future manufacturing conditions and activity by assessing forward-looking factors such as new orders and production levels.
When a PMI ‘cross-above’ occurs – that is, when the monthly reading crosses above the three-month moving average – it has historically signaled a possible uptrend in crude oil, copper and other commodities. The reverse is also true. When the monthly reading crosses below the three-month moving average, the same commodities and materials have in the past retreated three months later.
In the three months following a ‘cross-above,’ oil rose about 7 percent, 75 percent of the time, based on 10 years’ worth of data. Copper, meanwhile, rose more than 9 percent most of the time.
In November, the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI reading clocked in at 52.1, a 27-month high. This shows that sector expansion has extended for a sixth straight month, which is very encouraging news. Following OPEC’s recent production cut, we believe the decision is constructive for energy in the near-term, while a rising PMI is good news for the long term.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 December 2016.

Here’s What Oil Did the Last Time OPEC Cut Production

It finally happened. For the first time since 2008, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to a crude oil production cut last week, renewing hope among producers and investors that prices can begin to recover in earnest after a protracted two-year slump, one of the worst in living memory.
The last three times the cartel agreed to trim output – in 2008, 2001 and 1998 – oil rallied in the following weeks and months. Of course, there’s no guarantee the same will happen this time around, as other market forces are at play, but it’s helpful to look at the historical precedent.
OPEC’s decision follows a strong endorsement from Goldman Sachs, which upgraded its rating on basic materials to overweight for the first time in four years. Analysts see commodities gaining 9 percent on average over the next three months, 11 percent over the next six months.
As reported by TheStreet’s Paul Whitfield, Goldman’s change of heart was prompted by ‘the recent acceleration in global PMIs (purchasing managers’ indexes),’ which ‘suggests commodity markets are entering a cyclically stronger environment.’
The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI rose slightly in November to a 27-month high of 52.1, extending sector expansion for the sixth straight month – very encouraging news.
As I’ve shared with you many times before, our own research has shown a strong correlation between PMI performance and commodity prices three and six months out. I’m thrilled to see Wall Street and media outlets coming around to this realization as well.
In short, OPEC’s production cut is constructive for energy in the near term, while a rising PMI is good news for the long term.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 6 December 2016.

Manufacturing Activity in China Just Shifted into Overdrive

A wave of positive economic data suggests the Chinese economy is stabilizing and that business confidence is improving. The country’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures the health of its manufacturing industry, rose to 51.2 in October, handily beating economists’ estimates of 50.3.
Expanding at its fastest pace since July 2014, the industry was stimulated by a strong rebound in new orders and higher commodity prices. Output rose to an incredible five-and-a-half-year high. And with backlogs of work beginning to pile up, manufacturers trimmed employees at the slowest pace in 17 months.
I’ve previously written about the importance of tracking the PMI, which you can read here.
Also encouraging is the country’s third-quarter gross domestic product growth, which came in at 6.7 percent for the third straight quarter, all but assuring investors that the economy can achieve the government’s earlier guidance of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent. Higher business confidence helped maintain steady growth, ‘as proved by the rebound of medium to long-term corporate loans and reacceleration of private investment growth,’ according to Singapore-based OCBC Bank.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.

Upbeat China Economic Data Lifts Asian Markets; Europe Equities Down on Weak Corporate Earnings

Kitco News) – Global stock markets were mixed Tuesday. European stocks were pressured in part from weaker-than-expected corporate earnings reports and by slumping crude oil prices. Asian stocks were supported by some upbeat economic data coming out of China, the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s official purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 51.2 in October from 50.4 in September. The October number was higher than market expectations. U. S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly higher openings when the New York day session begins.
Gold prices are posting decent gains in early U. S. trading, on some chart-related buying interest, the weaker U. S. dollar index on this day, and on perceived bargain hunting.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on November 1, 2016.

Subdued Global Growth and Flat Inflation Confront Central Banks

The European Central Bank (ECB) met on September 8. The US Federal Reserve Bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets on September 21, and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) holds its next Monetary Policy Meeting on September 20 – 21. To varying degrees these key central banks face sluggish economic growth, with current and projected inflation levels that languish far below stated objectives, despite extended periods of massive quantitative easing and policy interest rates near or below zero. Markets nervously await the banks’ next moves.
The latest indicators of economic performance suggest that momentum, which was sluggish through the summer months, has slowed further. The OECD’s leading indicators now point to stable growth at a slow rate. The JPMorgan Global/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) global economy readings for July and August together indicate that the global economy is stuck in ‘the slowest growth phase for over three years.’ A decline in the August PMI for the US suggests third-quarter GDP growth may be close to 1%, contrary to earlier projections of 2 %. The Nikkei Japan PMI also declined in August, signaling continuing stagnation in the Japanese economy.
For the current year, GDP growth in the US now appears likely to be only about 1.5% (as opposed to last year’s 2.6% advance), with 2.3% expected in 2017. The ECB now projects the euro area’s growth at 1.7% this year, easing to 1.6% in 2017. Japan’s GDP growth this year looks likely to be similar to last year’s 0.5% but is projected to be somewhat faster next year, approaching 1%. While the risk of recession in these advanced economies is low, their performance is not sufficient to lift the pace of inflation to the levels sought by central banks. The advance in the US Consumer Price Index is projected to be 1.2% this year, possibly rising to 2.2% next year. In the eurozone the advance is projected by the ECB to be only 0.2% this year and 1.7% in 2017. In Japan consumer prices appear likely to register a decline of 0.3% this year and perhaps to pick up to a still-too-modest 0.7% next year.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/12/2016.

Incompetent But Not Weak: “The Fed Doesn’t Know Whether To Shit Or Go Blind”

The outlook for the US economy is deteriorating, yet the Fed is trying to raise overnight rates to keep unseen inflation from rising. Success in its strategy could force consumption lower, unemployment higher, and exacerbate real output contraction. But, as ‘s Paul Brodsky explains, we should not mistake apparent incompetence for weakness.
The August Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in at 49.4 last week, a level that signals contraction, not just slower growth. Within the PMI, new orders fell 7.8%, production fell 5.8%, and employment dropped 1.1% from July. Only six of eighteen industries reported an increase in new orders while only eight reported an increase in production. The report followed PMI plunges in Chicago (to 51.5 from 55.8), Richmond (to a 3-year low of -11.0 from 10.0), Dallas (to -6.2 from a 19 month high of -1.3), and New York (to -4.21 from 0.55). The weak manufacturing report follows a weaker than expected service sector report in August, which now hovers only slightly above the level of contraction.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 10, 2016.

Small Business Defaults Rise, Borrowing Drops: “What Scares Us Is The Rise In Delinquencies”

Yesterday, we pointed out something disturbing when we looked at the latest NACM Credit Manager Index report: over the past year it had declined steadily, hitting the lowest print since 2009, or as the National Asscoiation of Credit Managers’ economist Chris Kuehl said ‘Overall, it was fun while it lasted – the trends had been up and now they aren’t” adding that ‘the best that can be said about the decline is that it was bad and hasn’t gotten much worse…. The sales collapse is consistent with what has been appearing in the Purchasing Managers’ Index and other statistics, so it is unlikely to be an anomaly, not good timing as far as the retail community is concerned.’
Today, we got a validating, and equally concerning, perspective on how small businesses are doing, courtesy of the latest Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which fell to 121.5 in July, the lowest level since January and down from an upwardly revised 139.2 in June.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 2, 2016.

Global Stocks Rise, Metals Jump On Strong Chinese Data; Pound Surges On Record UK Mfg Spike

After a muted end to August, September started off on the strong foot overnight following a surprising beat in China’s official manufacturing PMI print, which rose above 50 to the highest level in almost two years. That, together with a record rebound in the UK PMI, bolstered investor confidence, fueling gains in stocks and industrial metals. The dollar advanced against most of its peers while bonds retreated before Friday’s payrolls report.
In Asia, Chinese shares in Hong Kong climbed to a two-week high after China’s official factory gauge unexpectedly rose to the highest since 2014 even as China’s head state planner Xu Shaoshi said that China is facing “great difficulties remain in meeting goals for investment and trade,” with the economy expected to be under continued pressure in the second half of the year. Also troubling was the latest Uwin real estate news according to which the Tier 1 city bubble shows no signs of abating after Shanghai’s new home sales rose to 30.1% to 1.71m square meters in August, with the average new home price rising 12.6% in August from the previous month to 42,204 yuan per square meter, suggesting China will have to crack down further on what even it admits is a housing bubble. For now, however, markets focused on the positive as miners rebounded in Europe and S&P 500 futures signaled a two-day drop in U. S. stocks will end. Lead, tin and zinc reached the highest levels in more than a year.
“The PMI data were positive for China’s risky assets,’ Tim Condon, head of Asian research at ING in Singapore, told Bloomberg. Even so, investors are ‘cautious about a September rate hike and tomorrow’s payrolls report could push the Fed to follow through.”
Even more impressive than China’s “economic rebound” was the surge in the UK, where instead of a post-Brexit collapse, U. K. factory activity soared by a record in August, and reached a 10-month high as the weaker pound helped manufacturing bounce back from a post-Brexit slump. IHS Markit said its Purchasing Managers Index, which dropped below the key 50 level in July, jumped by a record to 53.3. That was far better than economists had forecast; the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was for a reading of 49.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 1, 2016.

Whither Texas: Boom or Bust or Both?

‘The only word to describe the Dallas housing market is ‘frenzy.” At Houston auto dealers, new vehicle sales in June plunged 22% from a year ago, with new truck sales down 18% and new car sales down 29%, according to TexAuto Facts via Greater Houston Partnership. It’s not a blip: Year-to-date new vehicles sales dropped 19%, with trucks down 13% and cars down 27%.
Those are scary numbers for car dealers. They’re highly leveraged, and a sudden, prolonged plunge like this is causing a lot of gnashing of teeth.
Houston’s total retail sales, including auto sales, dropped 9.8% in June and 10.3% year-to-date.
The Houston Purchasing Managers Index for June plunged 6.4% from the already crummy level a year ago, to 43.7. Below 50 = contraction.
In the construction sector, total building contracts plunged 32% in May and 23% for the first five months. Nonresidential contracts plummeted 55% in May and 23% for the first five months. Residential contracts fell 10% in May and 22% for the first five months.

This post was published at Wolf Street on July 23, 2016.

July 26-27 – The Fed Will Put Us on Notice for a September 20-21 Rate Hike

The Fed was cocked and primed to deliver a 25 basis point increase in the federal funds rate on June 15. But on June 3, the BLS announced that nonfarm payrolls increased a paltry 38,000 in May. This monthly random number prompted the Fed to stand down on its interest rate increase. Then on June 23, the UK voters surprised the smart money by voting to have the UK leave the EU. Globally, the prices of risk assets swooned for a couple of days. The FOMC was thanking its lucky stars that the May nonfarm payroll report caused it to hold off on its planned rate increase for June 15.
But my bet is that in the announcement immediately following the July 26-27 FOMC meeting, the Fed will put us on notice that an interest rate hike is on the agenda for the next FOMC meeting, September 20-21. One reason for my Fed policy expectation is that the pace of U. S. economic activity has picked up in recent months. June nonfarm payrolls rebounded by 287,000. Nominal retail sales surged at an annualized rate of 5.9% in the second quarter after having contracted 0.2% annualized in the first quarter. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) increased in both May and June with the June level of 53.2 being the highest reading since February 2015. Corroborating the behavior of the manufacturing PMI was the 0.4% rebound in the Fed’s measure of manufacturing production for June. At 1.160 million units, average second quarter housing starts were the highest since Q4:2007. Too be sure, the U. S. economy is not hitting on all cylinders. ‘Compression’ is low in business capital spending, in part due to the relatively low energy prices and previously weak consumer demand. Exports have weakened because of the slowdown in the pace of economic activity in developing economies. But about 80% of the economy is doing reasonably well.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 07/22/2016.

Schrute Bucks: Inflation and 10 Year Treasury Yields Rising – What Is Holding Back The Fed?

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Confounded Interest. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Core inflation is above 2% and the 10 year Treasury yield has been gradually rising recently.
Bear in mind that US bank deposit rates are virtually zero, yet inflation is running at 2.3%. That means that US bank deposit rates are earning a NEGATIVE REAL RATE.
And this morning, the preliminary Markit Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for July posted another gain and seems on an upward path.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ July 22, 2016.

Market Talk – July 22, 2016

We saw a bit of a wobble today in Asian cash markets after BOJ governor Kuroda dismissed the idea of helicopter money and following a weak US session resulting in 1% declines for the Nikkei, Shanghai, and a small loss (-0.2%) in the Hang Seng. Oil didn’t help sentiment having lost 2% yesterday and no sign of recovery today as we head into the weekend.
In what is normally low sensitivity data this morning we had the PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) in Europe and the UK. Europe was almost as expected (small miss) but the UK PMI for Services was a wake-up call! Services are estimated around 75% of the UK economy came in at 47.4 whilst the expected was 49.2 and previous month was 52.3; this points to contraction. Immediately, this hit GBP but also the Euro and as a balance what were negative equity markets bounced as the currencies fell. In afternoon trading the mood continued and the lower currencies drifted the bid appeared for equities. By the close it was only the DAX that finished lower with FTSE, CAC and IBEX all in positive territory.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 22, 2016.

Is India the New China?

A ‘slow-growth trap.’ That’s how the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) described the global economy last week in its latest Global Economic Outlook. The group sees world GDP advancing only 3 percent in 2016, the same as last year, with a slight bump up to 3.3 percent in 2017.
Catherine Mann, the OECD’s chief economist, urged policymakers around the world to prioritize structural reforms that ‘enhance market competition, innovation and dynamism,’ as monetary policy has been used alone as the main tool for far too long. The longer the global economy remains in this ‘slow-growth trap,’ Mann said, the harder it will become to revive market forces.
This is precisely in-line with what I, and many of my colleagues, have stressed for months now. To push the economy on a high-growth path, we need structural fiscal reforms, both here and abroad. One need only look at the global purchasing managers’ index (PMI) to see that manufacturing conditions have been slowing for the past several years since the financial crisis. The PMI in May registered a 50.0, which Markit Economics describes as ‘lethargic’ and ‘low gear.’

U. S. manufacturing also saw further weakness in May, with its PMI reading falling to 50.7, more than a six-year low. The eurozone’s PMI fell to 51.5, a three-month low. Meanwhile, the Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI came in at 49.2, still below the neutral 50 threshold.
It’s clear that policymakers need to address slow growth with smarter fiscal policies, lower taxes and streamlined regulations. Zero and negative interest rate policies are taking their final gasp as far as what they can accomplish.
One of the bright spots continues to be India, whose own manufacturing sector expanded for the fifth straight month in May. The country’s GDP advanced an impressive 7.9 percent in the first quarter, following 7.3 percent year-over-year growth in 2015. This helps it retain its position as the world’s fastest growing major economy. Credit Suisse ranked India first in April’s Emerging Consumer Survey 2016, noting that ‘Indian consumers stand out among their emerging market peers with higher confidence about their current and future finances and relatively lower inflation expectations.’

This post was published at GoldSeek on 7 June 2016.

Euro-Area Manufacturing Near Stagnation Signals Slowdown Ahead

Manufacturing in the 19-nation euro area barely grew in May, damping confidence in the strength of the region’s economic recovery, according to Markit Economics.
A Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 51.5 from 51.7, the London-based company said on Wednesday. The reading is in line with a May 23 estimate and just above the 50 threshold that divides expansion from contraction.
The euro area’s economic health will be under review on Thursday when European Central Bank officials gather in Vienna to set monetary policy. After President Mario Draghi announced a fresh round of stimulus in March and the economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter, analysts predict interest rates and asset purchases will remain unchanged this time.
‘The disappointing performance of manufacturing adds to suspicions that the pace of euro-zone economic growth in the second quarter has cooled after a surprisingly brisk start to the year,’ said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

This post was published at bloomberg

SWOT Analysis: Global Demand for Gold Is Highest Ever For a First Quarter

The best performing precious metal this week was silver, down 1.82 percent. According to data from the Commerce Department on Thursday, orders for U. S. capital goods declined unexpectedly in April for a third straight month, reports Bloomberg. With American manufacturers continuing to pull back, this could indicate a lesser chance for the Federal Reserve to raise rates in June. This week the World Gold Council reported that in the first quarter of 2016 global demand for gold was 1,290 tons – the highest ever for a first quarter – as investors seek safe haven investments in a time of economic fragility and uncertainty caused by negative interest rates, reports China Daily. The article continues by pointing out that buying U. S. Treasuries or other sovereign debt from Western countries has also become a ‘less attractive option for central banks because of their low yields.’ The global manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) is on track to decline in May, reports Cornerstone Macro. The research group believes this is a likely outcome given declines in the May Japanese and eurozone manufacturing PMIs, as well as a probable decline in the U. S. manufacturing PMI. Cornerstone points out a handful of important global tailwinds in its report including low interest rates and healthy U. S. growth, but says there are even more headwinds that include a China slowdown, excess emerging market debt and a Brexit risk, to name a few Weaknesses
The worst performing precious metal for the week was platinum, down 4.40 percent. Gold traders are bearish for a second week – the first successive week since mid-April – as bets increase on an interest rate move from the Fed, reports Bloomberg. The Fed Funds futures show the odds of a rate increase by July seen at 52 percent, up from 48 percent at the end of last week.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 31 May 2016.

Plunging Manufacturing Numbers Mean That It Is Time To Hit The Panic Button For The Global Economy

We haven’t seen numbers like these since the last global recession. I recently wrote about how global trade is imploding all over the planet, and the same thing is true when it comes to manufacturing. We just learned that manufacturing in China has now been contracting for seven months in a row, and as you will see below, U. S. manufacturing is facing ‘its toughest period since the global financial crisis’. Yes, global stocks have bounced back a bit after experiencing dramatic declines during January and the first part of February, and this is something that investors are very happy about. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. All bear markets have their ups and downs, and this one will not be any different. Meanwhile, the cold, hard economic numbers that keep coming in are absolutely screaming that a new global recession is here.
Just consider what is happening in China. Manufacturing activity continues to implode, and factories are shedding jobs at the fastest pace since the last financial crisis…
Chinese manufacturing suffered a seventh straight month of contraction in February.
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 49.0 in February, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.4 and below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
A private survey also showed China’s factories shed jobs at the fastest rate in seven years in February, raising doubts about the government’s ability to reduce industry overcapacity this year without triggering a sharp jump in unemployment.

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on March 1st, 2016.

Markets Surge On Chinese Debt Flood; Worst European PMI In Over A Year; Crashing Pound

The overnight news was decidedly downcast, with first London mayor Boris Johnson voicing his support for Brexit leading to a collapse in the pound, validating our Saturday warning and then some, resulting in the biggest drop in cable in over a year over fears that the EU will lose one of its most critical members…
… then followed by a surprising loss, the first in 5 years, by HSBC – the bank that makes money laundering for criminals around the globe a breeze – as revenue dropped and loans to oil and gas companies drove a jump in impairment charges, leading to a 5% drop in its share price, but more concerning is that HSBC said bad loan impairments and provisions soared 32% to $1.62BN driven by the oil and gas sector. In other words banks are concealing far more energy losses on their books than they have so far admitted.
Finally, we got yet another indication that the global slowdown is spreading to Europe, when first French composite PMI printed at 49.8 missing expectations, then Germany’s PMI likewise missed at 50.2, which meant that the Markit composite Purchasing Managers Index for the euro zone fell to 52.7, the lowest since January 2015, from 53.6. In Germany, manufacturing took a hit from falling overseas demand, while the composite gauge for France signaled ‘sluggish’ economic growth.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 02/22/2016.

Pump ‘n Dump: OPEC Pumps As Japanese (Yields) Dump (US Rig Count Declining)

(Bloomberg) – Metals and oil prices declined with currencies of commodity-producing nations, and stocks fell after a gauge of Chinese manufacturing missed economists’ estimates.

China’s equities extended their worst monthly rout since 2008 after the official purchasing managers index for manufacturing dropped to a three-year low. Crude halted the longest winning run this year and copper erased some of the previous two weeks’ gains, while South Africa’s rand led declines among developed nations’ currencies. Stocks fell in Europe along with U. S. equity-index futures. Gains in sovereign bonds around the world sent yields to the lowest in a year.
The Caixan (China) manufacturing index keeps signalling contraction (or slowdown).

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Anthony B. Sanders ‘ February 1, 2016.

One Weird Trick to Forecast Commodity Trends

If you want to know about the past, a good place to start is by looking at GDP. It tells you the dollar value of a country or region’s goods and services over a specific time period. But GDP’s like looking in the rearview mirror, in that it shows you where you’ve been and little more. It’s ‘blind’ to what’s ahead of you.
For that you need another indicator, and if you’re a regular reader of the Investor Alert or Frank Talk, my CEO blog, you probably know which one I’m referring to: the purchasing managers’ index (PMI).
Unlike GDP, the PMI forecasts future manufacturing conditions and activity by assessing forward-looking factors such as production levels, new orders and supplier deliveries. PMI, then, is like the high beams that help guide you at night through the twists and turns of a mountain road.
Several times in the past, we’ve shown that there’s a high correlation between the global PMI reading and the performance of commodities and energy three months later. When a PMI ‘cross-above’ occurs – that is, when the monthly reading crosses above the three-month moving average – it has historically signaled a possible uptrend in crude oil, copper and other commodities. Our research shows that between January 1998 and June 2015, copper had an 81 percent probability of rising 7 percent, while crude jumped the same amount three-quarters of the time.

But the reverse is also true. When the monthly reading crosses below the three-month moving average, the same commodities and materials have in the past retreated three months later. And as I mentioned last week, the global PMI fell in December, from 51.2 in November to 50.9. The reading also crossed below the moving average.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 20 January 2016.

This is Where Industrial Production Normally Meets a Recession

The only exceptions were in the early 1950s
Painful – that’s how you can describe the slew of recent US economic data. And today’s data dump was even worse.
On a regional level, there was the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The Current Activity Index plunged to the lowest level since March 2009. The last time it had squeaked into positive territory was in July 2015. The Expectations Index plummeted by an unprecedented 29 points, also to the worst level since March 2009.
Thank God it’s only regional. But wait…. California’s Inland Empire Purchasing Managers Index, which tracks manufacturing in the Inland Empire, started losing its grip in August and in December plunged to the lowest level since the dark days of February 2009.
The report pointed to the link between the index and the overall economy in the region: Historically, when the PMI drops below a certain level, as it did in December, and stays there for three months, it coincides with a recession in the region’s overall economy [‘The Sky is Falling’ on California Manufacturing, Worst since February 2009, Might Kick Regional Economy into Recession].
Then retail sales for December dropped. Turns out, holiday sales brought no respite to the beleaguered brick-and-mortar retailers [read… Wal-Mart Rubs Salt on Deepening Retail Wounds].

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ January 15, 2016.