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448 matches for "capex":
Yesterday's EZ construction data confirmed that capex in the building sector plunged in the second quarter. Construction output fell 0.5% month-to-month in May, pushing the year-over-year rate up trivially to -0.8%, from a revised -1.0% in April. Our forecast for construction investment in Q2 is not pretty, even after including our assumption that production rebounded by 0.5% month-to-month in June.
We're pretty sure our forecast of a levelling-off in capital spending in the oil sector will prove correct. Unless you think the U.S. oil business is going to disappear, capex has fallen so far already that it must now be approaching the incompressible minimum required for replacement parts and equipment needed to keep production going.
We have been arguing for some time that the drag on growth from falling capital spending in the oil sector would fade to nothing in the third quarter, and would then likely be followed by a small increase in the fourth quarter. But we seem to have been too cautious. It now seems much more likely that oil capex will rebound strongly as soon as the third quarter, following the clear upturn in the rig count data produced by Baker Hughes, Inc.
If we had known back in June 2014 that oil prices would drop to about $30, the collapse in capital spending in the oil sector would not have been a surprise. Spending on well-drilling, which accounts for about three quarters of oil capex, has dropped in line with the fall in prices, after a short lag, as our first chart shows. We think spending on equipment has tracked the fall in oil prices, too.
If you had asked us in the spring where the action would be in capital spending over the summer, we would have said that the housing component was the best bet. Right now, though, the opposite seems more likely, with housing likely to be the weakest component of capex.
The newly-revised data on capital goods orders, released on Friday, support our view that sustained strength in business capex remains a good bet for this year.
Nowhere is the gap between sentiment and activity wider than in the NFIB survey of small businesses. The economic expectations component leaped by an astonishing 57 points between October and December, but the capex intentions index rose by only two points over the same period, and it has since slipped back. In February, the capex intentions index stood at 26, compared to an average of 27.3 in the three months to October.
China's capex growth faces renewed challenges this year, as PPI inflation slows.
Data released yesterday showed that gross fixed investment in Mexico started Q4 on a decent note, increasing on the back of healthy purchases of imported machinery and equipment and construction spending.
Japan's PPI inflation was unchanged, at 3.0%, in August.
Oil and gas extraction, and the drilling of wells to facilitate extraction, accounts for only 2.0% of GDP, but it punches far above its weight when it comes to capital spending.
As we're writing, the price of U.S. crude oil is only about 50 cents per barrel lower than on Thursday, when markets began to anticipate an OPEC deal to cut production over the weekend. The failure of the Doha talks generated an initial sharp drop in oil prices, but the damage now is very limited, as our first chart shows.
We are intrigued by the idea that the rollover in oil firms' capital spending on equipment might already be over, even as spending on new well-drilling--captured by the still-falling weekly operating rigs data--continues to decline. The evidence to suggest equipment spending has fallen far enough is straightforward.
A round of recent conversations with investors suggests to us that markets remain quite skeptical of the idea that the recent upturn in capital spending will be sustained.
The minutes of the September 19/20 FOMC meeting record that "...it was noted that the National Federation of Independent Business reported that greater optimism among small businesses had contributed to a sharp increase in the proportion of small firms planning increases in their capital expenditures."
The only way to read the December NFIB survey and not be alarmed is to look at the headline, which fell by less than expected, and ignore the details.
To the extent that markets bother with the NFIB survey at all, most of the attention falls on the labor market numbers. But these data--hiring, compensation, jobs hard-to-fill--haven't changed much in recent months, and in any event most of them are released the week before the main survey, which appeared yesterday. The message from the labor data is unambiguous: Hiring remains very strong, employers are finding it very difficult to fill open positions, and compensation costs are accelerating.
If you had only the NFIB survey of small businesses as your guide to the state of the business sector, you'd be blissfully unaware that the economic commentariat right now is obsessed with the potential hit from the trade tariffs, actual and threatened.
Under normal circumstances, we can predict movements in the headline NFIB index from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released a day ahead of the official employment report, and, hence, about 10 days before the full NFIB survey appears.
The key labor market numbers from today's August NFIB survey of small businesses have already been released--they appear a day or two before the employment report--but they will be reported as though they are news. The headline hiring intentions reading dipped to nine from 12, leaving it near the bottom of the range of the past couple of years.
The January durable goods numbers, viewed in isolation, were not terrible.
Small businesses remain extremely positive about the economy, but some of the post-election gloss appears to be wearing off. To be clear, the headline composite index of small business sentiment and activity in February, due this morning, will be much higher than immediately before the election, but a modest correction seems likely after January's 12- year high.
We already know that the month-to-month movements in the key labor market components of the December NFIB small business survey were mixed; the data were released last week, ahead the official employment report, as usual.
Real GDP in Germany grew 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, thanks mainly to a 0.4% contribution from private consumption, and a 0.2% boost from net trade. Household consumption grew 2.2% annualised in 2014, the best year for German consumers since 2006.
We argued in the Monitor yesterday that the very low and declining level of jobless claims is a good indicator that businesses were not much bothered by the slowdown in the pace of economic growth in the first quarter. The numbers also help illustrate another key point when thinking about the current state of the economy and, in particular, the rollover in the oil business.
The headline durable goods orders number for October, due today, likely will be depressed by falling aircraft orders, both civilian and military. Boeing reported orders for 55 civilian aircraft in September, compared to only three in August, but a hefty adverse swing in the seasonal factor will translate that into a small seasonally adjusted decline.
We have been waiting a long time to see signs that business investment spending is becoming less reliant on movements in oil prices.
The summer usually is a quiet time for business, but seemingly not for CFOs this year. Yesterday's money and credit figures from the Bank of England showed that borrowing by private non-financial corporations has rocketed. Net finance raised by PNFC's from all sources increased by £8.9B in July, compared to an average increase of just £2.5B in the previous 12 months.
While we were out, most of the core domestic economic data were quite strong, with the exception of the soft July home sales numbers and the Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
Private non-financial corporations' profits have held up well over the last two years, despite the net negative impact of sterling's depreciation and modest increases in Bank Rate.
The flat trend in core capital goods orders continued through May, according to yesterday's durable goods orders report. We are not surprised.
The NFIB survey of small businesses today will show that July hiring intentions jumped by four points to +19, the highest level since November 2006. The NFIB survey has been running since 1973, and the hiring intentions index has never been sustained above 20.
OPEC's decision at the weekend to turn the oil market into a free-for-all means that the rebound in headline inflation over the next few months will be less dramatic than we had been expecting. Falling retail gas prices look set to subtract 0.2% from the headline index in both November and December, and by a further 0.1% in January. These declines are much smaller than in the same three months a year ago, so the headline rate will still rise sharply, to about 1.3% by January from 0.2% in October, but it won't approach 2% until the end of next year or early 2017,
After three straight 1.3% month-to-month increases in core capital goods orders, we are becoming increasingly confident that the upturn in business investment signalled by the NFIB survey is now materializing.
We would like to be able to argue with confidence that today's December durable goods orders report will show core capital goods orders rebounding after three straight declines, totalling 3.4%.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been relatively positive.
The recovery in small business sentiment since the fourth quarter rollover has been extremely modest, so far.
The September consumption data were a bit better than median expectations, with real spending rebounding by 0.6%, led by an 15.1% leap in the new vehicle component.
The renewed slide in oil prices in recent weeks will crimp capital spending, at the margin, but it is not a macroeconomic threat on the scale of the 2014-to-16 hit.
For some time now, we have puzzled over the softness of small firms' capital spending intentions, as measured by the monthly NFIB survey.
The pitiful 0.7% expansion of the economy in the fourth quarter is not, in our view, a sign of things to come. It is also not, by any means, a definitive verdict on what happened in the fourth quarter; the data are subject to indefinite revision. As they stand, the numbers are impossible to square with the 2.0% annualized increase in payroll employment over the quarter, so our base case has to be that these data will be revised upwards.
Just two components of first quarter GDP were weak enough together to depress growth by 2.0 percentage points. Net foreign trade subtracted 1.25 percentage points, while falling investment in non-residential structures reduced growth by 0.75pp.
For some time now we have argued that the forces which have depressed business capex--the collapse in oil prices, the strong dollar, and slower growth in China--are now fading, and will soon become neutral at worst. As these forces dissipate, the year-over-year rate of growth of capex will revert to the prior trend, about 4-to-6%. We have made this point in the context of our forecast of faster GDP growth, but it also matters if you're thinking about the likely performance of the stock market.
Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.
Data released last week confirm that Brazil's recovery has continued over the second half of the year, supported by steady household consumption and rebounding capex.
We have argued for some time that the revival in nonoil capex represents clear upside risk for GDP growth next year, but it's now time to make this our base case.
Mexico's underlying inflation pressures and financial conditions are gradually stabilizing. Eventually, this will open the door for rate cuts in order to ease the stress on the domestic economy, particularly capex.
Chile's Q4 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy accelerated at the end of last year, supported by rising capex and solid consumption.
...Third quarter growth was revised up sharply and the prospects for fourth quarter consumption improved substantially. Less positively, the first signs of faltering capex in the wake of the plunge in oil prices emerged in the macro data, and the ISM manufacturing index began to reverse its run of absurd, seasonally-assisted, "strength".
A core element of our relatively upbeat macro view before the implementation of fiscal stimulus under the new administration is that the ending of the drag from falling capex in the oil sector will have quite wide, positive implications for growth. The recovery in direct oil sector spending is clear enough; it will just track the rising rig count, as usual.
The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector last year was the biggest single drag on the manufacturing sector, by far. The strong dollar hurt too, as did the slowdown in growth in China, but most companies don't export anything. Capex has fallen in proportion to the drop in oil prices, so our first chart strongly suggests that the bottom of the cycle is now very near.
The big story in global macro over the past 18 months or so has been the gigantic transfer of income from oil producers to oil consumers. The final verdict on the net impact of this shift--worth nearly $2T at an annualized rate--is not yet clear, because the boost to consumption takes longer than the hit to oil firms ' capex, which began to collapse just a few months after prices began to fall sharply. But our first chart, which shows oil production by country as a share of oil consumption, plotted against the change in real year-over-year GDP growth between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015, tells a clear story.
The obvious answer to the question posed in our title is that it's far too early to tell what will happen to first quarter growth. More than half the quarter hasn't even happened yet, and data for January are still extremely patchy, with no official reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing, capex, inventories or international trade yet available. For what it's worth, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model signals growth of 3.4%, though we note that it substantially overstated the first estimate of growth in the fourth quarter.
The durable goods numbers were among the first short-term indicators to warn clearly of the hit to manufacturing from the rollover in oil sector capex, which began last fall. The trend in core capital goods orders was rising strongly before oil firms began to cut back, with the year-over-year rate peaking at 11.9% in September. Leading capex indicators in the small business sector remained quite robust, but just nine months later, core capex orders were down 6.4% year-over-year, following annualized declines of more than 14% in both the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year.
The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.
The pressures on U.S. manufacturers are changing. For most of this year to date, the problem has been the collapse in capital spending in the oil business, which has depressed overall investment spending, manufacturing output and employment. Oil exploration is extremely capital-intensive, so the only way for companies in the sector to save themselves when the oil prices collapsed was to slash capex very quickly.
Capex data by industry are available only on an annual basis, with a very long lag, so we can't directly observe the impact the collapse in the oil sector has had on total equipment spending. But we can make the simple observation that orders for non-defense capital goods were rising strongly and quite steadily-- allowing for the considerable noise in the data--from mid-2013 through mid-2014, before crashing by 9% between their September peak and the February low. It cannot be a coincidence that this followed a 55% plunge in oil prices.
The headline NFIB index of small business activity and sentiment in July likely will be little changed from June--we expect a half-point dip, while the consensus forecast is for a repeat of June's 94.5--but what we really care about is the capex intentions componen
The Fed is on course to hike again in December, with 12 of the 16 FOMC forecasters expecting rates to end the year 25bp higher than the current 2-to-21⁄4%; back in June, just eight expected four or more hikes for the year.
Whatever number the BEA publishes this morning for first quarter GDP growth -- we expect zero -- you probably should add about one percentage point to correct for the persistent seasonal adjustment problem which has plagued the data for many years. Reported first quarter growth has been weaker than the average for the preceding three quarters in 21 of the 31 years since 1985 -- and in eight of the past 10 years.
Net foreign trade made a positive contribution of 0.2 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter, matching the Q1 performance.
French business sentiment cooled marginally at the end of Q3. The headline manufacturing confidence index dipped to 110 in September, from 111 in August, though the overall business sentiment gauge was unchanged at 110.
Guo Shuqing, head of the newly formed China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, has been named as Party Secretary for the PBoC.
After a busy week of data, and a holiday weekend ahead, it's worth stepping back a bit and evaluating the arguments over the timing of the next Fed hike. The first question, though, is whether the data will support action, on the Fed's own terms. The April FOMC minutes said: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".
The last time oil prices fell sharply, from mid-2014, when WTI peaked at $107, through early 2016, when the price reached just $26, the U.S. economy slowed dramatically.
Improving fundamentals have supported private spending in Mexico during the current cycle.
We are happy to report that the laws of gravity have been temporarily suspended in the German survey data.
Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, consumers' spending is growing much more slowly than is implied by an array of confidence surveys.
Last week's detailed Q3 GDP data in Germany verified that GDP fell 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, down from a 0.5% rise in Q2, a number which all but confirms the key story for the economy over the year as a whole.
It's hard to imagine that Fed Vice-Chair Dudley would choose to say yesterday that he finds the case for a September rate hike "less compelling than it was a few weeks ago" without having had a chat beforehand with Chair Yellen. Mr. Dudley pointed out that the case "could become more compelling by the time of the meeting", depending on the data and the markets, but he also argued that developments in markets and overseas economies can "impinge" on the U.S., and that there "...still appears to be excess slack in the labor market". These ideas, especially on the labor market but also on the impact of events overseas, are not shared by the hawks, but we can't imagine Mr. Dudley disagreeing in public with Dr. Yellen. We have to assume these are her views too.
Mexico's economic picture remains positive, although the outlook for 2019 is growing cloudy as the economy likely will lose momentum if AMLO's populist approach continues next year.
Korea's GDP growth in Q3 was a miss. Quarter- on-quarter growth was unchanged at 0.6%, below the consensus for a 0.8% rise.
Yesterday's IFO offered a rare upside surprise in the German survey data.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath: This is not 1930, and Smoot-Hawley all over again.
The rollover in core capital goods orders in recent months has been startling. In the three months to February, compared to the previous three months, orders for non-defense capital goods fell at a 7.6% annualized rate.
Yesterday's barrage of French business sentiment data was mixed.
We're still no nearer to a definitive answer to the question of what went wrong in the manufacturing sector over the summer, when we expected to see things improving on the back of the rebound in activity in the mining sector, rising export orders and an end to the domestic inventory correction. Instead, the August surveys dropped, and September reports so far are, if anything, a bit worse.
We were wrong about headline durable goods orders in April, because the civilian aircraft component behaved very strangely.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 1.7% rate in the fourth quarter. At least, that's our forecast, based on incomplete data, and revisions over time could easily push growth significantly away from this estimate. The inherent unreliability of the GDP numbers, which can be revised forever--literally--explains why the Fed puts so much more emphasis on the labor market data, which are volatile month-to-month but more trustworthy over longer periods and subject to much smaller revisions.
The solid 0.2% increase in January's core CPI, coupled with the small upward revision to December, ought to offer a degree of comfort to anyone worried about European-style deflation pressures in the U.S.
Fed Chair Powell sounded a lot like Janet Yellen yesterday, at least in terms of substance.
It has been difficult to be an optimist about U.S. international trade performance in recent years. The year-over-year growth rate of real exports of goods and services hasn't breached 2% in a single quarter for two years.
The definition of "yesbutism": Noun, meaning the practice of dismissing or seeking to diminish the importance of data on the grounds that the next iteration will tell the opposite story.
It is fair to say that the economic debate on fiscal policy has shifted dramatically in the last 12-to-18 months.
Don't expect a pretty picture when Korea's Q1 GDP report appears in the last week of April.
The Eurozone manufacturing sector finished 2017 on a strong note. The headline PMI increased to a cyclical high of 60.6 in December, from 60.1 in November, in line with the initial estimate.
Yesterday's sole economic report in the Eurozone confirmed that the economy slowed further at the end of 2018.
Economic data released on Friday underscored our view that bolder rate cuts in Brazil are looming. The BCB's latest BCB's inflation report, released on Thursday, showed that policymakers now see conditions in place to increase the pace of easing "moderately" .
Mr. Draghi snubbed investors looking for hints on policy and the euro in his Jackson Hole address--see here--on Friday.
It doesn'tt matter if third quarter GDP growth is revised up a couple of tenths in today's third estimate of the data, in line with the consensus forecast.
We have to hand it to Italy's politicians. In an economy with a current account surplus of 3% of GDP, a nearly balanced net foreign asset position and with the majority of government debt held by domestic investors, the leading parties have managed to prompt markets to flatten the yield curve via a jump in shortterm interest rates.
We want to revisit remarks from Fed Vice-Chair Clarida last week.
The verdict from the German business surveys is in; economic growth probably slowed further in Q2.
Survey data point to a very strong headline, 0.6%-to-0.7% quarter-on-quarter, in today's Q1 advance Eurozone GDP report. But the hard data have been less ebullient than the surveys. A GDP regression using retail sales, industrial production and construction points to a more modest 0.4% increase, implying a slowdown from the upwardly-revised 0.5% gain in Q4.
The Fed pretty clearly wanted to tell markets yesterday that inflation is likely to nudge above the target over the next few months, but that this will not prompt any sort of knee-jerk policy response beyond the continued "gradual" tightening.
The decline in headline durable goods orders in May, reported yesterday, doesn't matter.
Judging by the survey data, German business sentiment remained depressed at the start of the year.
We are pretty confident that the reported 3.4% drop in durable goods orders in December, which so spooked the markets yesterday, didn't actually happen.
We expect to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, slowing from 3.4% in the third.
Two entirely separate factors point to significant upside risk to the first estimate of third quarter GDP growth, due today. First, we think it likely that farm inventories will not fall far enough to offset the unprecedented surge in exports of soybeans, which will add some 0.9 percentage points to headline GDP growth.
It seems reasonable to think that manufacturing should be doing better in the U.S. than other major economies.
Inflation and growth paths remain diverse across LatAm, but in the Andes, the broad picture is one of modest inflationary pressures and gradual economic recovery.
A robust April payroll number today is a good bet, but a gain in line with the 275K ADP reading probably is out of reach.
The BoJ until last week had been in wait-and-see mode over China's slowdown, but they finally folded with Thursday's decision.
A third outright decline in the past four months seems a decent bet for today's August durable goods orders, thanks to the malign influence of the downward trend in orders for civilian aircraft. The global airline cycle is maturing, and orders for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft have been slowing for some time.
Yesterday's January EZ money supply data offered support for investors betting on a further dovish shift by the ECB at next month's meeting.
Orders for core capital goods began to fall outright in September last year; we can't blame the severe winter for the 11.1% annualized decline in the fourth quarter of last year. Indeed, the drop in orders in the first quarter will be rather smaller than in the fourth, unless today's March report reveals a catastrophic collapse.
The woes of the manufacturing sector are likely to intensify over the next few months, even if--as we expect--overall economic growth picks up. The core problem is the strong dollar, which is hammering exporters, as our first chart shows. The slowdown in growth in China and other emerging markets is hurting too, but this is part of the reason why the dollar is strong in the first place.
The recent plunge in oil prices is another positive development, alongside looser fiscal policy and the striking of a Brexit deal with the E.U., pointing to scope for GDP growth to pick up next year.
Yesterday's barrage of survey data in France, tentatively suggest that business sentiment is stabilising following a string of declines since the start of the year.
The EZ national accounts were updated and rebased in 2015--from ESA 1995 to ESA 2010--in the name of timeliness and precision.
All the regional PMIs and Fed business surveys are volatile in the short-term, so observations for single months need to be viewed with due skepticism.
Manufacturers in the Eurozone are still suffering, but yesterday's final PMI data for April offered a few bright spots.
The nominal value of orders for non-defense capital equipment, excluding aircraft, fell by 3.4% last year. This was less terrible than 2015, when orders plunged by 8.4%, but both years were grim when compared to the average 7.5% increase over the previous five years.
The third estimate of first quarter GDP growth, due today, will not be the final word. The BEA will revise the data again on July 30, when it will also release its first estimate for the second quarter and the results of its annual revision exercise. Quarterly estimates back to 2012 will be revised. The revisions are of greater interest than usual this year because the new data will incorporate the first results of the BEA's review of the seasonal problems.
Yesterday's detailed German GDP report raised more questions than it answered. The headline confirmed that growth accelerated to 0.4% quarteron- quarter in Q4, from 0.1% in Q3, leaving the year-over- year rate unchanged at 1.7%.
We expect today's second estimate of Q2 GDP to confirm that the U.K. has been the slowest growing G7 economy this year.
Yesterday's detailed Mexican GDP report confirmed that growth was resilient in Q1, despite external and domestic headwinds. GDP rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q1, in line with our expectation, but marginally above the first estimate, 0.6%.
The recovery in the French economy since the sovereign debt crisis has been lukewarm. Growth in domestic demand, excluding inventories, has averaged 0.4% quarter-on-quarter since 2012. This comp ares with 0.8%-to-1.1% in the two major business cycle upturns in the 1990s and from 2000s before the crisis.
The economic data in Brazil were poor while we were away.
For now, we're happy with our base-case forecast that growth will be nearer 3% than 2% this year, and that most of the rise in core inflation this year will come as a result of unfavorable base effects, rather than a serious increase in the month-to-month trend.
Today brings a wave of data, some brought forward because of Thanksgiving. We are most interested in the durable goods orders report for October, which we expect will show the upward trend in core capital goods orders continues.
The Spanish economy has been living a quiet life recently, amid markets' focus on political risks in Italy and manufacturing slowdowns in Germany and France.
Yesterday's detailed Mexican GDP report confirmed that growth was relatively resilient in Q2, despite the lagged effect of external and domestic headwinds.
The knee-jerk reaction of the stock market to the unexpectedly high hourly earnings growth number for January was predicated on two connected ideas.
The recent deceleration in households' real spending means that either business investment or net exports will have to pickup if the economy is to avoid a severe slowdown this year.
The June batch of the French statistical office's business surveys continues to signal a firming cyclical recovery. The aggregate business index rose to cyclical high of 106 in June from a revised 105 in May, continuing an uptrend that began in the middle of 2016.
Back on May 14, we argued--see here--that the stars were aligned to generate very strong second quarter GDP growth, perhaps even reaching 5%.
We expect the Mexican economy to continue growing close to 2% year-over-year in 2019, driven mainly by consumption, but constrained by weak investment, due to prolonged uncertainty related to trade.
Yesterday's second estimate of Q3 GDP confirmed that the U.K. economy has underperformed this year.
The PMIs are telling an increasingly upbeat story for the EZ economy in Q4. The composite PMI in the euro area rose to an 11-month high of 54.1 in November, from 53.3 in October. The uptick was driven by strong new business growth across all private sectors, and employment also increased in response to higher work backlogs.
The IFO survey signals that markets shouldn't be too downbeat on the German economy, even as it faces uncertainty from global trade tensions.
The speed of sterling's rally this month has caught us by surprise.
The Eurozone economy ended the third quarter on a strong note, according to the PMIs.
Fed Chair Yellen set out a robust and detailed defense of the orthodox approach to monetary policy in her speech in Amherst, MA, yesterday afternoon. Her core argument could have come straight from the textbook: As the labor market tightens, cost pressures will build. Monetary policy operates with a "substantial" lag, so waiting too long is dangerous; the "...prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace".
We're expecting to learn today that the economy expanded at a 2.6% annualized rate in the first quarter, rather better than we expected at the turn of the year--our initial assumption was 1-to-2%--and above the consensus, 2.3%.
Chair Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole at 10am Eastern time today has the potential to move markets substantially, but that's not our core expectation. It's more likely, we think, that Dr. Yellen will stick to the core FOMC view, which remains that "only gradual increases" in rates will be required, and that rates are "likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run".
The German statistical office will supply a confidential estimate to Eurostat for this week's advance euro area Q2 GDP data. Our analysis suggests this number will be grim, and weigh on the aggregate EZ estimate. Our GDP model, which includes data for retail sales, industrial production and net exports, forecasts that real GDP in Germany contracted 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, after a 0.7% jump in Q1.
We're braced for a hefty downside surprise in today's durable goods orders numbers, thanks to a technicality.
need to add docMea culpa: We failed to spot the press release from the Commerce Department announcing the delay of the release of the advance December trade and inventory data, due to the government shutdown.
Data released yesterday confirmed that the Mexican economy ended Q4 poorly; policymakers will take note.
We have been very encouraged in recent months to see core capital goods orders breaking to the upside, relative to the trend implied by the path of oil prices.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany confirmed that the economy slowed in Q3, but also added to the evidence that growth will rebound in Q4. The second estimate for Q3 showed that real GDP rose 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, slowing from a 0.4% gain in Q2.
Today's headline durable goods orders number for January is likely to blast through the consensus forecast, +2.7%. We expect a 6.5% jump, comfortably reversing December's 5.0% drop.
Yesterday's barrage of French business surveys contains hundreds of indicators, but its central story is comfortably simple.
If you wanted to be charitable, you could argue that the downturn in the rate of growth of core durable goods orders in recent months has not been as bad as implied by the ISM manufacturing survey.
We are revising our forecast for Fed action this year, taking out two of the four hikes we had previously expected. We now look for the Fed to hike by 25bp in September and December, so the funds rate ends the year at 0.875%. The Fed's current forecast is also 0.875%, but the fed funds future shows 0.6%.
Last week's data added yet more weight to our view that manufacturing is in deep trouble, and that the bottom has not yet been reached.
Friday's economic data in Germany left markets with a confused picture of the Eurozone's largest economy.
The headline in yesterday's detailed Q1 German GDP data was old news, confirming that growth in the euro area's largest economy slowed at the start of the year.
We see significant upside risk to today's headline durable goods orders numbers for April.
Argentina's Q4 GDP report, released last week, underscored the severity of the recession, due to the currency crisis and the subsequent tighter fiscal and monetary policies.
On the face of it, the potential for a tangible boost to GDP growth from a revival in business investment after a no-deal Brexit has been averted appears modest.
Data released last week confirm that the Argentinian economy was resilient at the start of the year, but downside risks to growth have increased.
China's Caixin manufacturing PMI edged down to 50.6 in August, from July's 50.8. This clashed with the increase in the official PMI, though the moves in both indexes were modest.
Recently released data in Mexico are sending weak signals for the business outlook, and the Texcoco airport saga won't help.
A plunge in imports saved the EZ economy from a contraction in second quarter GDP. Yesterday's final data showed that real GDP growth rose 0.3% quarter- on-quarter, slowing from a 0.5% jump in Q1. A 0.4 percentage points boost from net exports was the key driving force.
We're expecting to learn this morning that productivity rose by a respectable 1.7% in the year to the fourth quarter, the best performance in nearly four years.
Today's consumer credit report for April likely will show that the stock of debt rose by about $15B, a bit below the recent trend. The monthly numbers are volatile, but the underlying trend rate of increase has eased over the past year-and-a-half, as our first chart shows. The slowdown has been concentrated in the non-revolving component, though the rate of growth of the stock of revolving credit--mostly credit cards--has dipped recently, perhaps because of weather effects and the late Easter.
The startling November international trade numbers, released yesterday, greatly improve the chance that the fourth quarter saw a third straight quarter of 3%- plus GDP growth.
Fears of a Chinese hard landing have roiled financial and commodity markets this past year and have constrained the economic recovery of major raw material exporters in LatAm.
Industrial production in Germany stumbled at the end of Q4. Data yesterday showed that output fell 0.6 month-to-month in December, though this drop has to be seen in light of the downwardly-revised 3.1% jump in November.
Business investment held up surprisingly well last year.
Japan's services sector PMI last week was disappointing.
Survey data have been signalling a relatively resilient Brazilian economy in the last few months, despite intensified political risk, and hard data are beginning to confirm this story.
The verdict is in.
Chile's central bank, the BCCh, held its reference rate unchanged at 2.75% on Tuesday, in line with the majority of analysts' forecasts.
According to the official data presented in the JOLTS report, the number of job openings across the U.S. rose gently from 2011-to 13, rocketed in 2014, trended upwards much more slowly from 2015-to-17, and then, finally, unexpectedly jumped to record highs in the spring of this year.
The ADP private sector employment number was a bit weaker than we expected in May, and the undershoot relative to our forecast has pulled down our model's estimate for today's official number
Taken at face value, the retail sales data in the euro area suggest that consumers' spending hit a brick wall at the end of 2018.
Yesterday's news that the business activity index of the Markit/CIPS services survey fell again in January, to just 50.1--its lowest level since July 2016--has created a downbeat backdrop to the MPC meeting; the minutes and Q1 Inflation Report will be published on Thursday.
We are not concerned by the very modest tightening in business lending standards reported in the Fed's quarterly survey of senior loan officers, published on Monday.
Revisions to the first quarter productivity numbers, due today, likely will be trivial, given the minimal 0.1 percentage point downward revision to GDP growth reported last week.
Brazil's interim government has been trying to put the kibosh on the vicious circle of recession, capital outflows, and political pandering that has dogged the country for so long. In his first few weeks at the helm, despite the political turmoil, Mr. Temer has started to tackle Brazil's fiscal mess, the country's biggest headache.
While we were out, Brazil's economic and political situation continued to improve, allowing the BCB to cut the Selic rate by 100bp to 9.25% at its July 26th meeting, matching expectations.
Sentiment has been improving gradually in Mexico in recent weeks, reversing some of the severe deterioration immediately after the U.S. presidential election. Year-to-date, the MXN has risen 10.3% against the USD and the stock market is up by almost 8%. We think that less protectionist U.S. trade policy rhetoric than expected immediately after the election explains the turnaround.
If the current rate of contraction continues, the U.S. onshore oil industry will cease to exist in the third week of January next year. Over the past six weeks, the number of operating rigs has dropped by an average of 8.5, and 362 rigs were running last week. At the peak, in early October 2014--just 18 months ago--the rig count reached 1,609.
Chile's IMACEC economic activity index rose 2.4% year-over-year in January, down from 2.6% in December, and 3.3% on average in Q4, thanks mostly to weak mining production.
If you need more evidence that the U.S. economy is bifurcating, look at the spread between the ISM non- manufacturing and manufacturing indexes, which has risen to 3.5 points, the widest gap since September 2016.
Yesterday's Nikkei services PMI report completed Japan's set of surveys for the fourth quarter of 2018.
We just can't get away from the deeply vexed question of wages; specifically, why the rate of growth of nominal hourly earnings has risen only to just over 2.5%, even though the historical relationship between wage gains and the tightness of the labor market points to increases of 4%-plus.
If the Redbook chain store sales survey moved consistently in line with the official core retail sales numbers, it would attract a good deal more attention in the markets. We appreciate that brick-and-mortar retailers are losing market share to online sellers, but the rate at which sales are moving to the web is quite steady and easy to accommodate when comparing the Redbook with the official data.
We expected a consensus-beating ADP employment number for February, but the 298K leap was much better than our forecast, 210K. The error now becomes an input into our payroll model, shifting our estimate for tomorrow's official number to 250K; our initial forecast was 210K.
The rollover in bank lending to commercial and industrial companies probably is over. On the face of it, the slowdown has been alarming, with year-over-year growth in the stock of lending slowing to just 2.6% in April, from a sustained peak of more than 10% in the early part of last year.
Industrial production data in Germany continued to defy the signal of doom and gloom from leading indicators.
The recent surge in the oil price has added to the headwinds set to batter the economy over the next year. The price of Brent crude has jumped by $10 since September to $64, its highest level since June 2015.
Ian Shepherdson, Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist, discusses his outlook on the U.S. economy and the long-lasting bull market.
Final Q2 GDP data yesterday indicate the euro area economy was stronger than initially estimated in the first half of the year. Real GDP rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, slightly higher than the initial estimate of 0.3, following an upwardly revised 0.5% increase in Q1. Upward revisions to GDP in Italy were the key driver of the more upbeat growth picture. The revisions mean that annualised Eurozone growth is now estimated at 1.8% in the first six months of the year, up from the previous 1.4%, consistent with the bullish message from real M1 growth and the composite PMI.
Yesterday's industrial production data in Germany were better than we feared. Output slipped 0.3% month-to-month in August, depressing the year- over-rate to -0.4% from 1.6% in July, a minor fall given evidence of a big hit from weakness in the auto sector ahead of the EU emissions tests.
Convention dictates that we lead with yesterday's Fed meeting, but it's hard to argue that it really deserves top billing.
Total real inventories rose at a $48.7B annualized rate in the fourth quarter, contributing 1.0 percentage points to headline GDP growth. Wholesale durable goods accounted for $34B of the aggregate increase, following startling 1.0% month-to-month nominal increases in both November and December. The November jump was lead by a 3.2% leap in the auto sector, but inventories rose sharply across a broad and diverse range of other durables, including lumber, professional equipment, electricals and miscellaneous.
We are a bit more optimistic than the consensus on the question of second quarter productivity growth, but the data are so unreliable and erratic that the difference between our 1.2% forecast and the 0.7% consensus estimate doesn't mean much.
India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, yesterday held his last cabinet meeting before the general election.
Consumer sentiment in Mexico continues to improve, consistent with tailwinds from the relatively strong labour market and the president's rising approval ratings.
With the FOMC decision now just seven days away, the forcefulness of recent Fed speakers has led many analysts to argue that only a spectacularly bad payroll report, or an external shock, can prevent a rate hike next week. External shocks are unpredictable, by definition, and we think the chance of a startlingly terrible employment report is low, though substantial sampling error does occasionally throw the numbers off-track.
New orders data increasingly suggest that German manufacturers all but shut their production lines at the start of the year.
LatAm assets have done well in recent weeks on the back of upbeat investor risk sentiment, low volatility in developed markets and a relatively benign USD. A less confrontational approach from the U.S. administration to trade policy has helped too.
We're looking forward to today's April NFIB survey of activity and sentiment in the small business sector with some trepidation.
Colombia and Chile faced similar broad trends through most of 2018.
The Fed today will do nothing to rates and won't materially change the language of the post-meeting statement.
Recent economic indicators in Mexico have been mixed, distorted by temporary factors, including the effect of the natural disasters in late Q3. Private consumption has lost some momentum, hit by the lagged effect of high interest rates and inflation, as well as the earthquakes.
Economic growth in Chile slowed in Q1, despite a relatively strong end to the quarter, and the chances of an accelerating recovery remains disappointingly low, due to both global and domestic headwinds.
The jump in the Caixin services PMI in the past two months looks erratic, with holiday effects playing a role, though there could be more going on here.
The record 1,178-point drop in the Dow will garner all the headlines today, but a sense of perspetive is in order, despite the chaos. The 113-point, or 4.1%, fall in the S&P 500 was very startling, but it merely returned the index to its early December level; it has given up the gains only of the past nine weeks.
The outlook for Argentina is improving. We expect economic growth to remain quite strong over the next year, despite a relatively soft start to 2017 and increasing external threats in recent weeks. The INDEC index of economic activity--a monthly proxy for GDP--is volatile, rising 1.9% month-to-month in March after a 2.6% drop in February, but the underlying trend is improving.
Japan's June retail sales data add to the run of numbers suggesting a strong rebound in real GDP growth in Q2, after the 0.2% contraction in activity in Q1.
Japan's headline jobless rate edged up to 2.8% in December, from 2.7% in November, but the increase was negligible, with the rate moving to 2.76% from 2.74%.
Yesterday's advance Eurozone Q4 GDP report conformed to expectations. Headline GDP increased 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, slowing trivially from an upwardly-revised 0.7% rise in Q3, and nudging the year-over-year rate down marginally to 2.7%.
Mexico's financial markets and risk metrics plunged early this week, following the AMLO government's decision to cancel the construction of the new airport in Mexico City, after a public consultation held in the previous four days.
We are struggling to make sense of the third quarter GDP numbers. The reality is that the massive surge in soybean exports--which we estimate contributed 0.9 percentage points, gross, to GDP growth--mostly came from falling inventory, because the soybean harvest mostly takes place in Q4.
It's not our job to pontificate on the merits, or otherwise, of the tax cut bill from a political perspective.
The upside to manufacturing survey data in the Eurozone appears endless.
The Tankan survey--published on Monday--points to still buoyant sentiment, a further tightening of the labour market, and building inflation pressures.
The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.
Cast your mind forward to late October 2018. The Fed is preparing to meet next week. What will the economy look like? The key number is three.
Further political wrangling yesterday distracted from data showing that the risk of no -deal Brexit is placing increasing strain on the economy.
Japan's Q1 is coming more sharply into focus.
We already have a pretty good idea of what happened to consumers' spending in March, following Friday's GDP release, so the single most important number in today's monthly personal income and spending report, in our view, is the hospital services component of the deflator.
The Brazilian economy enjoyed a decent Q2, with GDP rising 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, despite the disruptions caused by the truck drivers' strike, after a 0.1% decline in Q1.
One of the more disheartening aspects of the Q2 national accounts, released last week, was the downward revision to business investment. Quarteron-quarter growth was revised to -0.7%, from +0.5% previously.
Yesterday's data in the French economy provided the final confirmation that growth remained sluggish in Q2, and showed that households had a slow start to the third quarter.
We were nervous ahead of the GDP numbers on Friday, wondering if our forecast of a 1.5 percentage point hit from foreign trade was too aggressive. In the event, though, the trade hit was a huge 1.7pp, so domestic demand rose at a 3.5% pace.
October's money and credit report indicates that the economy had little momentum at the start of the fourth quarter.
Mexico's central bank left its main interest rate unchanged last week, citing the need for cautious monetary policy as the economy has lost some momentum during the first months of the year, despite the risk of inflation pass-though effects from the weaker MXN.
The biggest single surprise in the second quarter GDP report was the unexpected $28B real-terms drop in inventories.
Today's barrage of data kicks off a couple of busy days in the Eurozone economic calendar.
The Caixin manufacturing headline was unremarkable, but the input price index signals that PPI inflation is set to rise again in May, to 4.0%-plus, from 3.4% in April.
Rising political risks and NAFTA-related threats have put the MXN under pressure last month, driving it down 4.9% against the USD, as shown in our first chart.
In recent months we've been thinking more deeply about the themes for the next economic cycle for China, and its impact on the world.
February's Markit/CIPS construction survey brought further evidence that the economy is being weighed down by Brexit uncertainty.
The outlook for Argentina is gradually improving, after a long and painful recession.
Japan's monetary base growth showed further signs of stabilisation in May, at 8.1% year-over-year, edging up trivially from 7.8% in April.
News last week increased our conviction that the economy will struggle over the coming months, but then will have a spring in its step next year.
Colombia's Central Bank is about to face a short-term dilemma. The recent fall in inflation will be interrupted while economic growth, particularly private spending, will struggle to build momentum over the second half.
The final EZ PMI data for November yesterday confirmed that the composite index in the Eurozone rose to an 11-month high of 53.9, from 53.3 in October. The key driver was an improvement in services, boosted by stronger data in all the major economies. Manufacturing activity also improved, though, and the details showed that new business growth was robust in both sectors.
Brazilian data strengthened early in Q4, supporting the case for the COPOM to slow the pace of rate cuts. We expect the SELIC policy rate to be lowered by 50bp today, to 7.0%.
Readers have asked us about the availability of flow-of-funds data in the Eurozone similar to the detailed U.S. reports. The ECB's sector accounts come close and cover a lot of ground, but are also released with a lag. We can't cover all sectors in one Monitor, but the investment data for non-financial firms, excluding construction, suggest that investment growth slowed last year.
August's 14-year high in the ISM manufacturing index, reported yesterday, clearly is a noteworthy event from a numerology perspective, but we doubt it marks the start of a renewed upward trend.
Brazil's external position continue to improve, but we are sticking to our view that further significant gains are unlikely in the second half, given the stronger BRL. For now, though, we still see some momentum, with the unadjusted trade surplus increasing to USD7.2B in June, up from USD4.0B a year earlier. Exports surged 24% year-over-year but imports rose only 3%.
The majority of headlines from last week's advance Q4 GDP data in the Eurozone--see here--were negative.
Brazil's economy likely will bounce back during the second half of this year and into 2018, after the second quarter was marred by political risk.
Eurozone manufacturing boosted GDP growth in the first half of the year, and survey data suggest that momentum will be maintained in Q3.
Japan's real GDP seems unlikely to have risen in Q3, and could even have edge down quarter-on- quarter, after the 0.7% leap in Q2.
April payroll growth likely will be reported at close to 200K. Overall, the survey evidence points to a stronger performance, but they don't take account of weather effects, and April was a bit colder and snowier than usual. We're not expecting a big weather hit, but some impact seems a reasonable bet.
In recent years only one event has made a material difference to the growth path of the U.S. economy, namely, the plunge in oil prices which began in the summer of 2014. The ensuing collapse in capital spending in the mining sector and everything connected to it, pulled GDP growth down from 2½% in both 2014 and 2015 to just 1.6% in 2016.
Inflation pressures in the Eurozone edged higher last month, reversing weakness at the start of the year.
Colombia's BanRep stuck to the script on Thursday by leaving the policy rate on hold at 4.25%.
Data last Friday showed Japan's labour market trends deteriorating.
Brazil's key data flow started Q4 on a soft note, but we still believe that the economic recovery will gather strength over the next three-to-six months.
We have been telling an upbeat story about the EZ economy in recent Monitors, emphasizing solid services and consumers' spending data.
Producer price inflation in the euro area almost surely peaked over the summer.
The U.S. reached a trade agreement with Canada on Sunday, adding its northern neighbour to the pact sealed a month ago with Mexico.
Today's February CPI report is very unlikely to repeat January's surprise, when the core index was reported up 0.3%, a tenth more than expected.
In recent years we have argued consistently that investors and the commentariat overstate the importance of the dollar as a driver of U.S. inflation. Only about 15% of the core CPI is meaningfully affected by shifts in the value of the dollar, because the index is dominated by domestic non-tradable services.
French manufacturing cooled at the end of 2016. Industrial production slipped 0.9% month-to-month in December, partially reversing an upwardly revised 2.4% jump in November. The main hits came from declines in oil refining and manufacturing of cars and other transport equipment.
The falling unemployment rate and the threat it poses to the inflation outlook mean that the labor market numbers in the NFIB small business survey attract more attention than the other data in the report.
Last week's detailed GDP data in the Eurozone confirmed that the economy is benefiting from an investment cycle for the first time since before the financial crisis.
Our default position for core durable goods orders over the next few months is that they will fall, sharply.
What should we make of the view of Fed hawks, set out with admirable clarity in the September FOMC minutes, that higher rates "might spur rather than restrain economic activity"? The core story behind this counter-intuitive proposal is the idea that zero rates send a signal to the private sector that the Fed is deeply worried about the state of the economy.
The outlook for private investment in the Eurozone has deteriorated this year, especially in manufacturing.
In the olden days, by which we mean the 15 years or so leading up to the financial crisis, a 100bp rise in long yields would be enough to slow GDP growth by about three percentage points, other things equal, after a lag of about one year.
External and domestic shocks in Mexico over the last two years, including the "gasolinazo", NAFTA renegotiation and the presidential election, have put the country's financial metrics under severe stress and pushed inflation to cyclical highs.
Japan's PPI inflation edged up further in November to 3.5%, from October's 3.4%. Energy was the main driver, with petroleum and coal contributing 0.8 percentage points to the year-over-year rate, up from a 0.7pp contribution in October.
The headline March retail sales numbers probably will look horrible, thanks to the unexpected drop in auto sales reported by the manufacturers earlier this month. Their unit sales data don't always move exactly in line with the dollar value numbers in the retail sales report, as our first chart shows, but it's hard to imagine anything other than a clear decline today.
We continue to expect core CPI inflation to drift up further over the course of this year, partly because of adverse base effects running through November, but it's hard to expect a serious acceleration in the monthly run rate when the rate of increase of unit labor costs is so low.
Chair Yellen has become quite good at not giving much away at her semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony.
Mark Carney emphasised in his Mansion House speech last month that he wants wage growth to "begin to firm" from recent "anaemic" rates before voting to raise interest rates.
The combination of astounding fourth quarter payroll numbers and weak GDP growth has prompted a good deal of bemused head-scratching among investors and the commentariat. The contrast is startling, with Q4 private payrolls averaging 276K, a 2.4% annualized rate of increase, while the initial estimate for growth seems likely close to 1%. Even on a year-over-year basis, stepping back from the quarterly noise, Q4 growth is likely to be only 2% or so.
Consumers' spending in the second quarter is still set to be less than great, thanks in part to unfavorable base effects from the first quarter, but a respectable showing of about 2¾% now seems likely. The core May retail sales numbers were a bit stronger than we expected, with gains in most sectors, and the upward revisions to April and March were substantial.
Yesterday marked President AMLO's first 100 days in office, with skyrocketing approval ratings and improving consumer confidence.
This week brings a wave of data on all aspects of the economy, bar housing. By the end o f the week, we'll have a better idea of the shape of consumers' spending, the industrial sector and the inflation picture, and estimates of third quarter GDP growth will start to mean something.
Today's FOMC minutes will add flesh to the bones of the three dissents on September 21. The FOMC statement merely said that each of the three--Loretta Mester, Esther George and Eric Rosengren--preferred to raise rates by a quarter-point.
Oil prices remain sticky, poised to hover close to a four-year high for the rest of the year.
Turkey has all the problems you don't want to see in an emerging market when the U.S. is raising interest rates.
The Brazilian central bank left its benchmark Selic interest rate on hold at 6.5% on Wednesday night and confirmed our view that policymakers will stand pat for the foreseeable future, provided the BRL remains stable and Mr. Bolsonaro is able to push forward his reform agenda.
Last week's horrible manufacturing data in the major EZ economies had already warned investors that yesterday's industrial production report for the zone as a whole would be one to forget.
Japan's 0.3% quarter-on quarter increase in Q4 GDP was disappointing, on the face of it, after a downwardly-revised 0.7% fall in Q3.
Existing home sales peaked last February, and the news since then has been almost unremittingly gloomy.
Japanese real Q2 GDP growth surprised analysts, increasing sharply to a quarterly annualised rate of 4.0%, up from 1.0% in Q1 and much higher than the consensus, 2.5%. But its no coincidence that the jump in Japanese growth follows strong growth in China in Q1.
Brazil's industrial sector keeps losing momentum, despite interest rates at record lows and improving confidence.
The Chinese activity data published yesterday were a mixed bag, with headline retail sales and production weakening, while FAI growth was stable. We compile our own indices for all three, to crosscheck the official versions.
Japanese leading indicators point to a slowdown, and the trend over this volatile year is emerging as firmly downward.
Yesterday's second estimate of GDP confirmed that Eurozone growth slowed significantly in Q3.
Consumption accounts for almost 70% of GDP, and retail sales account for about 45% of consumption.
We were right about the below-consensus inflation numbers for June, but wrong about the explanation. We thought the core would be constrained by a drop in used car prices, while apparel and medical costs would rebound after their July declines.
After recent interventionist moves and plans in Mexico from AMLO's incoming administration and his political party, uncertainty and soured sentiment are the name of the game.
A huge wave of data will break over markets this week, along with the FOMC meeting, new dot plots and Chair Yellen's press conference. But today is calm, with no significant data releases and no Fed speeches; policymakers are in purdah ahead of the meeting.
Data today likely will show that manufacturing in the Eurozone was off to a strong start to the second quarter. Advance country data suggest that industrial production jumped 1.1% month-to-month in April, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 1.9% from 0.1% in March. The rise in output was driven mainly by Germany and France, but decent month-to-month gains in Ireland, Portugal and Greece also helped.
Construction accounted for the entire 1.1% quarter-to- quarter expansion of the Korean economy in Q1, but the sector is now set to slow.
Today's Eurozone data will provide further details on what happened in Q4. Advance data suggest that industrial production rose a modest 0.1% month- to-month, lifting the year-over-year rate to 4.3% in December, from 3.9% in November.
A significant minority of investors were betting on a repeat of January's outsized 0.349% increase in the core, judging from the immediate market reaction to the release of the February CPI report.
Unemployment in France remains high, but the trend is turning. The mainland rate of joblessness fell to a five-year low of 8.6% in Q4, and yesterday's employment report continued the good news.
Chile and Peru faced similar growth trends in 2018, namely, a solid first half, followed by a poor second half, particularly Q3.
Yesterday, China finally retaliated against Mr. Trump's Friday tariff hikes, promising to increase tariffs on around $60B-worth of U.S. goods.
To answer the question: Yes, growth could hit 5% in the second quarter.
We're very interested in the detail of today's January NFIB survey; the headline index, not so much.
Japan's preliminary GDP report for Q4 is out on Thursday, and we expect to see a punchy number.
On the heels of yesterday's benign Q3 employment costs data--wages rebounded but benefit costs slowed, and a 2.9% year-over-year rate is unthreatening--today brings the first estimates of productivity growth and unit labor costs.
Yesterday was a nearly perfect day for investors in the Eurozone. The Q3 GDP data were robust, unemployment fell, and core inflation dipped slightly, vindicating markets' dovish outlook for the ECB.
Yesterday's first estimate of Q1 GDP in Mexico confirmed that growth was under severe pressure at the start of the year.
Brazil's GDP growth slowed to just 0.1% quarter- on-quarter in Q4, from a downwardly-revised 0.5% in Q3.
You might want a strong coffee before you read today's Monitor, because we're going deep inside the relationship between the ADP employment report and the official numbers. We have long argued that ADP's headline reading is not a useful indicator of payrolls, because the numbers are heavily influenced by the official payroll data for the previous month, which are inputs to the ADP model. To be clear, ADP's employment number is not generated solely from hard data from companies which use the company for payroll processing; that information is just one input to their model.
A firmer picture is emerging of how Japan's economy fared in Q3, in light of the latest slew of data for August.
For some time now we have argued that collapse in capital spending in the oil sector was the source of most of the softening of activity in the manufacturing and wholesaling sectors last year.
Friday was a busy day in the Eurozone. The final and detailed GDP report confirmed that growth in the euro area slowed to 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, from 0.4% in Q2, with the year-over-year rate slipping by 0.6 percentage points to 1.6%, just 0.1pp below the first estimate.
Brazil's economic activity data have disappointed in recent months, firming expectations that the Q1 GDP report will show another relatively meagre expansion.
It's probably too soon to expect to see a meaningful reaction in the NFIB small business survey to the drop in stock prices, but it likely is coming, and a hit in today's March report can't be ruled out entirely.
A quick rebound in growth, after the slowdown to a reported 2.6% in the fourth quarter, is unlikely.
The manufacturing sector is much more exposed to external forces--the dollar, and global growth--than the rest of the economy. But much of the slowdown in the sector over the past year-and-a-half, we think, can be traced back to the impact of plunging oil prices on capital spending in the sector.
The headline number in today's NFIB survey of small businesses probably will look soft. The index is sensitive to the swings in the stock market and we'd be surprised to see no response to the volatility of recent weeks. We also know already that the hiring intentions number dropped by four points, reversing December's gain, because the key labor market numbers are released in advance, the day before the official payroll report.
The outlook for Brazil's industrial economy is better than at any time since before the crisis. But data released this week highlighted that the recovery will be slow and bumpy.
The substantial, though incomplete, rebound in the September ISM manufacturing survey is consistent with our view that the outlook for the industrial economy right now is better than at any time since before the crash in oil prices
Yesterday's survey data tell a story of resilient manufacturing in the Eurozone. The headline EZ PMI rose to 52.6 in September, from 51.7 in August, lifted by a rise in new orders to a three-month high.
The easiest way to track the impact of the rising dollar on real economic activity is via the export orders component of the ISM manufacturing survey. We have been profoundly skeptical of the value of the ISM headline index, because it suffers from substantial seasonal adjustment problems, but the export orders index seems not to be similarly afflicted.
The Prime Minister is in a position on Brexit all chess players dread: zugzwang.
Yesterday was a good day for headline EZ economic data. GDP growth accelerated, inflation rose and unemployment fell further. Advance Q4 data showed that real GDP in the Eurozone rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q4, marginally faster than the upwardly revised 0.4% in Q3. Full-year growth in 2016 slowed slightly to 1.7% from 2.0% in 2015.
All the regional PMI and Fed business surveys we follow suggest that today's national ISM manufacturing report for November will be weaker than in October
The latest money and credit data highlight that the financial fortunes of firms and households have begun to differ markedly. Private non- financial corporations--PNFCs--are enjoying strong growth in their broad money holdings. The 1.2% month-to-month increase in PNFC's M4 was the largest rise since August 2016, and it lifted the year- over-year growth rate to 9.3%, from 9.0% in May.
Survey data have been signalling a stronger German economy in the last few months, and hard data are beginning to confirm this story. Data yesterday showed that industrial production rose 0.4% month-to-month in November, pushing the year-over-year rate up to 2.2%, from an upwardly-revised 1.6% in October. The headline was boosted mainly by a 1.5% month-to-month jump in construction and a 0.9% rise in intermediate goods production.
Judging from our inbox, the idea that the Fed might switch to some form of price level targeting, replacing its current 2% inflation target, is the big new idea for 2018.
We fully expect to learn today that import prices rose in March for the first time since June last year. Our forecast for a 1% increase is in line with the consensus, but the margin of error is probably about plus or minus half a percent, and an increase of more than 1.2% would be the biggest in a single month in four years. Most, if not all, of the jump will be due to the rebound in oil prices.
The single most startling development in the labor market data in recent months is acceleration in labor force growth. The participation rate has risen only marginally, because employment has continued to climb too, but the absolute size of the labor force is now expanding at its fastest pace in nine years, up 1.9% in the year to September.
Today's JOLTS survey covers August, which seems like a long time ago. But the report is worth your attention nonetheless.
Before last November's election, movements in the headline NFIB index of activity and sentiment among small businesses could be predicted quite reliably from shifts in the key labor market components, which are released in advance of the main survey.
Friday's weekly report on the assets and liabilities of U.S. commercial banks will complete the picture or March and, hence, the first quarter. It won't be pretty. With most of the March data already released, a month-to-month decline in lending to commercial and industrial companies of about 0.7% is a done deal. That would be the biggest drop since May 2010, and it would complete a 1% annualized fall for the first quarter, the worst performance since Q3 2010. The year-over-year rate of growth slowed to just 5.0% in Q1, from 8.0% in the fourth quarter and 10.3% in the first quarter of last year.
The E.U.'s decision to grant the U.K. a Brexit extension until October 31 does not extinguish the possibility that the MPC will raise Bank Rate before the end of the year.
Chinese CPI inflation trends point to diminishing wage growth, as the services sector begins to struggle with the influx of labour displaced by the industrial productivity drive.
In yesterday's Monitor, we lamented the lack of growth in the French economy. The outlook is not much brighter in Italy. We think Italian GDP was unchanged quarter-on-quarter in Q4, slightly better than the -0.1% consensus but still very soft.
The sudden downshift in core inflation at the consumer level since March, clearly visible in the CPI and the PCE, and shown in our first chart, has been accompanied by a steady increase in core producer price inflation.
On the face of it, the slowdown in bank loan growth to commercial and industrial companies over the past two years looks alarming. In the year to November, the stock of loans outstanding rose by 8.0%, the smallest gain since January 2014. A further decline in the year-over-year rate, taking it below the rate of growth of nominal GDP--we expect 4.7% in the first quarter--for the first time in six years, is now a fair bet. The three- and six-month annualized growth rates of C&I lending in November were just 6.2% and 4.7% respectively, and still falling.
China's trade surplus appears modestly to be rebuilding, edging up to $34.0B in November, on our adjustment, from $33.3B in October. The recent trough was $24.B, in March.
Our hopes of a hefty rebound in payrolls in October, following the hurricane-hit September number, have been dashed by the imminent landfall of Hurricane Michael in Florida panhandle.
Brazil's economy remains mired in a renewed slowdown, and low--albeit temporarily rising-- inflation, which is allowing the BCB to keep interest rates on hold, at historic lows.
Market participants and analysts have gradually softened their cautious stance towards Mexico, as concerns about the new U.S. administration's trade and immigration policies have eased, and risks of a credit rating downgrade have lessened.
Yesterday's economic data in Germany cemented the story of a strong start to the year, despite the disappointing headlines. Industrial production slipped 0.4% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-year rate down to +1.9% from a revised +2.0% in February.
Friday was a busy day in the Eurozone economy. The third detailed GDP estimate confirmed that growth was unchanged at 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, pushing the year-over-year rate down by 0.4 percentage points to 2.1%, marginally below the first estimate,2.2%.
A reader sent us last week a series of five simple feedback loops, all of which ended with the Fed remaining "cautious". For example, in a scenario in which the dollar strengthens--perhaps because of stronger U.S. economic data--markets see an increased risk of a Chinese devaluation, which then pummels EM assets, making the Fed nervous about global growth risks to the domestic economy.
Japan's Q3 real GDP growth was revised up substantially to 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the final read, compared with 0.3% in the preliminary report.
Korea's labour market took an overdue breather in March after an extremely volatile start to the year.
Today's March CPI ought to provide further support for the idea that the trend rate of increase in the core index is running at about 0.2% per month, an annualized rate, if sustained, of about 2.5%.
Mexico's latest industrial production data were worse than we expected. Output rose just 0.1% month-to-month in September, pushing the year- over-year rate down to -1.3%, from a downwardly revised +0.2% in August.
The first wave of domestic third quarter data crashes ashore this morning.
Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.
Brazil's GDP growth slowed to just 0.1% quarter- on-quarter in Q4, from an upwardly-revised 0.2% in Q3. This pushed the year-over-year rate up to 2.1%, from 1.4%, but this was weaker than market expectations.
This week has seen a huge wave of data releases for both January and February, but the calendar today is empty save for the final Michigan consumer sentiment numbers; the preliminary index rose to a very strong 99.9 from 95.7, and we expect no significant change in the final reading.
China's manufacturing PMI posted a surprise, albeit trivial, increase in February, to 51.6 up from 51.5 in January.
The Fed won't raise rates today, or substantively change the wording of the post-meeting statement. In September, the FOMC said that "The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives."
Yesterday's final EZ PMIs imply that growth in manufacturing slowed marginally in August. The PMI fell to 51.7, from 52.0 in July, trivially below the initial estimate, 51.8. Output and new orders growth declined, pushing down the pace of new job growth. But we think the hard data for industrial production in Q3 as a whole will be decent.
Peru's economic recovery gathered strength late last year.
Construction in the euro area stumbled at the end of last year. Output fell 0.2% month-to-month in December, but the year-over-year rose to 2.4%, from a revised 1.6% in November.
Argentina's government continues to show signs of reining in fiscal policy, with the primary budget balance improving steadily over the last year.
Mexico's election results are not available as we go to press, but we're expecting a comfortable win for the left-wing populist candidate, AMLO.
Markets now think the Fed is done.
The Fed's strategic view of the economy and policy has not changed since last December, when it first said that "The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.
Mr. Trump laid out plans yesterday to impose a new 10% tariff on a further $200B-worth of imports from China, to be levied from next week.
Sunday 28th will bring closure to an extraordinary presidential election campaign in Brazil.
The upturn in the Eurozone construction sector likely paused in Q3. Yesterday's August report showed that output fell 0.2% month-to-month, pushing the year-over-year rate down to +1.6%, from a revised +2.8% in July.
On the face of it, British manufacturers are weathering the global slowdown well. The Markit/CIPS PMI jumped to 55.1 in March, from 52.1 in February, and now comfortably exceeds those for the Eurozone, U.S. and Japan.
We were happy to see the small increase in the March ISM manufacturing index yesterday, following better news from China's PMIs, but none of these reports constitute definitive evidence that the manufacturing slowdown is over.
Our payroll model, which incorporates survey data as well as the error term from our ADP forecast, points to a hefty 225K increase in November employment. We have tweaked the forecast to the upside because of the tendency in recent years for the fourth quarter numbers to be stronger than the prior trend, as our first chart shows.
Outside the U.S., global oil production is dominated by national oil companies, which are effectively arms of their states. State actors respond differently to private oil producers when prices fall, especially in states where oil revenues are the key element of government cashflow.
Industrial sector activity in the euro area was broadly stable at the beginning of the third quarter, despite the headline dip in the July manufacturing PMI. The Eurozone index fell to 52.0 in July, from 52.8 in June, but if it holds at this level it will be unchanged in Q3 compared with the second quarter.
After three straight lower-than-expected jobless claims numbers, we have to consider, at least, the idea that maybe the trend is falling again. This would be a remarkable development, given that claims already are at their lowest level ever, when adjusted for population growth, and at their lowest absolute level since the early 1970s.
The euro area's trade advantage with the rest of the world slipped at the start of the year.
Exports rebounded sharply in Q3 so far, after the Q2 weakness. This will be a useful boost to GDP growth in Q3, as domestic demand likely will soften.
It has become pretty clear over the past couple of weeks that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, so it's now worth thinking about how fiscal policy will evolve over the next couple of years.
Chile's central bank left rates unchanged at 3.5% last Thursday, as expected, and maintained its neutral tone. Inflation pressures are easing, economic activity remains sluggish and global risks have increased.
The sharp downtrend in commodity prices in recent months is alarming from a LatAm perspective.
A classic indicator of impending recession is the emergence of excessive levels of inventory across the economy. The pace of businesses inventory accumulation typically lags sales growth, so when activity slows, usually in response to higher interest rates, firms are left with unsold goods.
This is the final U.S. Economic Monitor of 2017, a year which has seen the economy strengthen, the labor market tighten substantially, and the Fed raise rates three times, with zero deleterious effect on growth.
Yesterday's barrage of French business sentiment data suggest that confidence in the industrial sector was a little stronger than expected in Q2.
The chance of a zero GDP print for the first quarter diminished--but did not die--last week when the president signed a bill granting full back pay to about 300K government workers currently furloughed.
As we reach our Sunday afternoon deadline, no deal has been reached to re-open the federal government.
Japan's official adjusted surplus rose in October but we think the September figure was an understatement. On our adjustment, the surplus was little unchanged at ¥360B in October.
Incoming data confirm our view that the Chilean economy to rebound steadily in the second half of the year, with real GDP increasing 1.5% quarter-on-quarter in Q3, after a relatively modest 0.9% increase in Q2 and a meagre 0.1% in Q1.
Chile's Q2 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy gathered strength in the first half of the year, consolidating a strong recovery that started in Q3 2017.
Chile's Q2 GDP report, released on Friday, confirmed that the economy gathered momentum in recent months, following an alarmingly weak start to the year.
Mexico's recent rebound in inflation and a more volatile financial environment, due to increasing global trade tensions, forced Banxico to keep its policy rate unchanged at 8.25% last Thursday.
Construction in the EZ stumbled at the start of the year.
We see no compelling reason to expect a significant revision to the third quarter GDP numbers today, so our base case is that the second estimate, 3.3%, will still stand.
Data released on Friday confirmed that Colombian activity remained strong in Q4.
Chile's Q1 GDP report, released yesterday, confirmed that the economy weakened sharply at the beginning of the year, due mainly to temporary shocks, including adverse weather conditions.
Oil prices have risen by about $20 per barrel since last fall.
As promised, Mr. Trump retaliated earlier this week against China's weekend retaliation, after his refusal to back down on the initial tariffs on $50B-worth of imports of Chinese goods, on top of the steel and aluminium tariffs first announced back in March.
The plunge in oil prices in recent weeks is not a threat to the overall U.S. economic growth story in the near term--we have always expected growth to slow, but remain decent, once the boost from the tax cuts fades--but it will make a difference, at the margin.
Copom's meeting was the focal point this week in Brazil. The committee eased by 25bp for the second straight meeting, leaving the Selic rate at 13.75%, and it opened the door for larger cuts in Q1. Rates sat at 14.25% for 15 months before the first cut, in October. In this week's post-meeting statement, policymakers identified weak economic activity data, the disinflation process--actual and expectations--and progress on the fiscal front as the forces that prompted the rate cut.
After four straight sub-consensus core CPI readings, we think the odds now favor reversion to the prior trend, 0.2%, over the next few months.
Political risk in Brazil has increased substantially, following reports that President Temer was taped in an alleged cover-up scheme involving the jailed former Speaker of the House. If the tapes are verified, calls for Mr. Temer to face impeachment will mount.
We had expected the batch of Chinese data released at the end of last week to disappoint.
Output in EZ construction rebounded sharply in February, erasing a slip at the start of the year.
External conditions are becoming more demanding for LatAm economies, with global trade tensions intensifying in recent weeks.
The Chancellor chose in his Budget to increase the total size of the forthcoming fiscal consolidation, to ensure that the Office for Budget Responsibility continues to forecast that a budget surplus will be obtained in 2019/20.
The winds of global politics are changing, and the major Eurozone countries could be forced to take heed. Donald Trump's foreign policy position remains highly uncertain. Our Chief Economist, Ian Shepherdson, expects the U.S. to increase defence spending next year; see the U.S. Monitor of October 20.
The spectacular 1.3% rebound in manufacturing output last month -- the biggest jump in seven years, apart from an Easter-distorted April gain -- does not change our core view that activity in the sector is no longer accelerating.
Japan's economic data have been very volatile in the last 18 months.
The Japanese GDP report yesterday contained substantial revisions to Q4. We had expected the Q1 contraction, but the revisions recast the health of the recovery, making the domestic demand performance look much less impressive recently, with the economy struggling since the burst of growth in the first half last year.
Over the past 18 months, the year-over-year rate of growth of manufacturing output has swung from minus 2.1% to plus 2.5%.
We have not been expecting the Fed to raise rates next week, and yesterday's data made a hike even less likely. The September Philly Fed and Empire State surveys were alarmingly weak everywhere except the headline level, and the official August production data were grim.
Growth in new EZ car sales slipped last month, following a strong start to the year. New registrations rose 4.4% year-over-year in February, slowing from a 8.7% rise in January.
Last week's packed political agenda in Europe confirmed that political relations between the U.S. and the major Eurozone economies remain difficult.
We can see no hard evidence, yet, that the expanding trade war with China and other U.S. trading partners is hitting business investment.
The latest data from the Energy Department show that the feared collapse in U.S. oil production in the wake of the plunge in crude prices has no t started yet. The number of rigs in operation is falling sharply, but our first chart shows it is not yet approaching the collapse seen after the financial crash.
Yesterday's data in the EZ provided a little more evidence on what happened in Q1.
Japanese GDP growth in the third quarter corrected the imbalances of the second. Domestic demand took a breather after unsustainable growth in Q2, while net exports rebounded.
We aren't going to pretend for a minute that the manufacturing sector is anything other than weak, but the 0.5% drop in output in August--the worst month since January 2014--hugely overstates the extent of industry's struggles. All the decline was due to a 6.4% plunge in auto output, but a glance at the recent path of production in this sector makes it very clear that its short-term swings aren't to be taken seriously. Auto production fell by 4.5% in June, rocketed by 10.6% in July, and then dropped sharply in August.
China's official real GDP growth is absurdly stable, but the risks in Q3 are tilted to the downside.
Yesterday's GDP reports confirmed that growth was stable at 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the Eurozone, leaving the year-over-year rate unchanged at 1.5%. Rebounding growth outside Germany, which has been a main driver of EZ GDP growth in this cycle, was the key story.
As warned--see our Monitor April 7--economic data in the Eurozone disappointed while we were away. Industrial production, ex-construction, in the euro area slipped 0.3% month-to-month in February, and the January month-to-month gain was revised down by 0.6 percentage point to +0.3%.
This week brings the third anniversary of the first rate hike in this cycle, on December 16, 2015.
Brazil's December economic activity index, released last week, showed that the economy ended the year on a relatively soft footing.
Yesterday's IFO data in Germany heaped more misery on the Eurozone economy.
Brazil is back on global investors' radar screens. Financial market metrics capture a relatively robust bullish tone, especially since the presidential election.
If clarity is the first test of written English, the FOMC failed miserably yesterday. "Considerable time" is gone, but the new formulation--"the Committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy"--was not clearly defined, though the FOMC did say it is "consistent with its previous statement".
Judging by the monthly production data, construction in the Eurozone slowed sharply in the second half of 2018.
Yesterday's ECB bank lending survey suggests that credit conditions remain favourable for the EZ economy. Credit standards eased slightly for business and mortgage lending and were unchanged for consumer credit.
We doubt that this week will see the MPC joining the list of other major central banks that have abandoned plans to raise interest rates this year.
Mortgage applications appear to have recovered from their reported February drop, which was due mostly to a very long-standing seasonal adjustment problem
We can't finalize our forecast for residential investment in the second quarter until we see the June home sales reports, due next week, but in the wake of yesterday's housing starts numbers we can be pretty sure that our estimate will be a bit below zero.
In September last year, headline CPI inflation stood at exactly zero. Today, we expect to see a 1.5% print, thanks mostly to the fading impact of falling energy prices.
Today's construction data in the Eurozone will inject a dose of optimism amid the series of poor economic reports at the start of Q2.
Economic data in Brazil over the second quarter were relatively positive, and June reports released in recent weeks, coupled with leading indicators for July, are encouraging.
Japan's July adjusted trade surplus rebounded to ¥337.4B from ¥87.3B in June, far above consensus. On our seasonal adjustment, the rebound is slightly smaller but only because we saw less of a drop in June.
Today's economic data will add to the evidence that construction in the Eurozone slowed in the first quarter.
Hard data on Mexico's industrial sector for the last couple of months have highlighted major divergences across sectors.
The latest model-based third quarter GDP forecast from the Atlanta Fed is 3.6%, well above the 2.5% consensus forecast reported by Bloomberg. We are profoundly skeptical of so-called "tracking models" of GDP growth, because they are based mostly on forecasts and assumptions until very close to the actual GDP release.
Data over the past week give a near-complete picture of how India's economy fared in the fourth quarter.
Yesterday's November EZ construction data offered little respite to the gloomy outlook for the Q4 GDP headline.
Colombia's December activity reports confirmed that quite strong retail sales last year were less accompanied by local production, which became only a minor driver of the economic recovery, as shown in our first chart.
The incidence of the phrase "since the early nineties" has increased sharply in our Japan reports this year.
The most important number released yesterday was hidden well behind the headline inflation, production and housing construction data. We have been waiting to see how quickly the upturn in the number of rigs in operation would translate into rising oil and gas well-drilling, and now we know: In July, well-drilling jumped by 4.7%
The alarming-looking decline in core capital goods orders since late 2014 has been substantially due, in our view, to the rollover in investment in the mining sector. But the 29% jump in the number of oil rigs in operation, since the mid-May low, makes it clear that the collapse is over.
More evidence emerged yesterday of the fading impact of the severe winter on the data, in the form of the strength of the NAHB survey and the weakness of the headline industrial production number.
After 29 straight weekly declines, the number of oil rigs in operation in the U.S. rose to 640 in the week ended July 2, from 628 the previous week, according to oil services firm Baker Hughes, Inc. If today's report for the week ended July 9 shows the rig count steady or up again, it will b e much easier to argue that the plunge in activity since the peak--1,601 rigs, in mid-September--is now over.
Our view that households will continue to spend more in the first half of this year, preventing the economy from slipping into a capex-led recession, was not seriously challenged yesterday by the BRC's Retail Sales Monitor.
Rates On Hold Until After the Brexit Deadline...But Two Hikes Likely in 2019, When Capex Rebounds
Reviving Capex and Fiscal Policy to Lift Growth...Provided Parliament Averts a No-Deal Brexit
Brexit risk currently is only depressing Capex....Rates need to rise to contain wage cost pressures
If the collapse in oil sector capex and the strong dollar were going to push the industrial economy into recession, it probably would have started by now
Japan's GDP growth came roaring back in Q2, thanks to a strong rebound in private consumption, and an acceleration in business capex.
Don't fret over the slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter. The quarterly GDP data are volatile even after several rounds of revisions, and the advance numbers are full of assumptions about missing trade, inventory and capex data, which often turn out to be wrong.
Brexit Risk Currently Is Only Depressing Capex...Rates Will Rise Soon To Contain Wage Cost Pressures
Business investment has punched above its weight in the economic recovery from the crash of 2008; annual real growth in capex has averaged 5% over the last five years, greatly exceeding GDP growth of 2%. This recovery is unlikely to grind to a halt soon, since profit margins are still high and borrowing costs will remain low. But corporate balance sheets are not quite as robust as they seem, while capex in the investment-intensive oil sector still has a lot further to fall.
The plunge in capital spending in the oil business appears to be over, at least for now. Orders for non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft, fell by 8.9% from their September peak to their February low, but they have since rebounded, as our first chart shows. We can't be certain that the sudden drop in core capex orders late last year was triggered by a rollover in oil companies' spending, but it is the most likely explanation, by far.
If our inbox is any guide, a significant proportion of investors remain far from convinced that the slowdown in the economy in the first quarter is largely the consequence of the severe weather, with an additional temporary hit to capex from the rollover in the oil sector.
Are there any signs that the U.S. tax cuts and/or regulatory relaxation are stimulating increased non-residential fixed investment?
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