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Wednesday January 10, 2007 - 09:47:58 GMT
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Global growth waning, or temporary correction?

Key News
• Australian consumer confidence jumped to a 17-month high in January. (Bloomberg)
• D.R. Horton Inc.'s orders fell 23% and cancellations remained high in the fiscal first quarter as the home-building giant continued to struggle with a deteriorating housing market. (WSJ)
• Japan's economic growth in the fiscal year to March will likely undershoot the forecast laid out in the Bank of Japan's economic outlook report in October, the central bank's chief economist said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
7:45a.m. MBA Refinancing Index. Previous: +2.2%.
8:30a.m. Nov Trade Deficit. Expected: $59.8B. Previous: $58.87B.
10:00a.m. Nov Wholesale Inventories. Expected: +0.4%. Previous: +0.8%.


“This shift in political power is occurring at a unique juncture in the US economic cycle. The profits share of national income currently stands at a 50-year high of 12.4% (see accompanying figure). At the same time, the portion going to labor compensation is just 56.3% -- the lowest a newly elected Congress has faced since 1965. In other words, the Democrats are assuming power at a point in time when the returns to capital are at historical highs and the rewards to labor are at more than 40-year lows. This underscores the most profound economic implication of all: Just as the pendulum of political power has swung to the left in the United States, I think there is a very good chance that the pendulum of economic power could swing from capital back to labor in the years ahead.”

Stephen Roach

FX Trading – Global growth waning, or temporary correction?

What’s Jimmy Rogers think? Let us guess…hmmm…he’s still bullish on commodities. But to his credit, he was bullish on commodities long before most others saw it coming. A great call indeed! And maybe there is plenty of room for commodities to run. After all, there’s still plenty of paving and plumbing to do in China. But the commodity bulls have to be a little concerned based on recent price action.

“Unless you believe that traders and commodity funds worth some $120bn now so dominate oil and copper that they trump day-to-day use in industry, homes, and transport, then the world economy is not as robust as it looks.

“Commodities are famously synchronised with the business cycle, peaking as growth peaks. They give us a barometric reading weeks before the data collected by bureaucrats. They never lie,” writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in the UK Telegraph. [our emphasis]


From Hoisington Investment Management’s fourth quarter Review and Outlook [our emphasis]:

“In the fourth quarter of 2006, nominal GDP expanded at an estimated 2.5% annual rate. A quarterly growth rate this low has occurred only five times in the past twenty years, four of which were during recessionary periods. The significant downshifting in nominal GDP growth from 9% in the first quarter to the fourth quarter slump was so abrupt that at only one time in the past two decades have we experienced such a large, non-recessionary, downward adjustment (Chart 1 ).”

Source: Hoisington Investment Management
Implications if global growth is on the wane? Corporate profit expectations could be in trouble, suggesting the “P” in P/E will likely shrink. Bond yields could yet go lower. Commodities would continue to swoon. And we don’t think it would be good for the dollar.

Tomorrow we get the ECB rate announcement. Mr. Tritchet’s verbiage will be closely scrutinized. Recent Fed speakers have been hawkish. But if price action in asset markets is any guide, hawkish-ness may turn south too.

Reader Mail – A chart of crude oil versus 10-yr bond yields…and question:


From BE:

Q: Regarding liquidity...Is it possible that high oil has been the bid/liquidity that the market needs? If oil drops could it not lead to higher yields rather then lower?

A: We answer with a question: Is falling crude a sign that global growth is waning—as Mr. Evans-Pritchard surmises based on commodities prices being the lead cyclical player? If so, than bond yields would likely follow crude lower (or lead). Maybe there is no correlation here and we are only seeing the impact of exceptionally warm weather on crude prices, suggesting crude will snap back higher once we get a cold snap (if we ever get another; following the righteous path of the global warming zealots/evangelists running amok would suggest otherwise).
Jack Crooks, Black Swan Capital


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