Saturday, July 21, 2018

If You're Truly Interested In Understanding Global Trade

If you're truly interested in getting your head around the trade issue, and if you're willing to set your politics aside (trust me, my views here have zero to do with my politics! [more on that below]), take a few minutes and watch the President in an interview aired this week on CNBC. Then read my "A Consumer and An Economist Talk Protectionism". Then watch one of history's great, and purely objective, economists, Milton Friedman, on the topic. Then, lastly, take in the whiteboard lesson that I produced back when President Obama was going after our trading partners (as I recall, some of my friends on the left didn't seem to appreciate my lesson back then any more than some of my friends on the right appreciate my criticism of the same sort of shenanigans going on today):

Update On China/Africa Relations

While chatting with a well-traveled friend the other day she expressed how amazed she is by all of the Chinese investment she's seeing in Africa. "China is pouring money into Africa", I believe is how she put it. So what does that mean? Well, it means China is investing heavily outside its boarders, which to some degree involves offshoring manufacturing to Africa (and other places); which means Africa (and other emerging countries) are picking up the manufacturing mantle as China moves further toward a services-oriented economy (like ours), while taking full advantage of the cheap labor and natural resources the developing world has to offer. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today's Data Support Yesterday's Message On Housing, And An Important Note Regarding the Fed

Yesterday we reported on weak data from the housing market and suggested that -- while we are indeed taking note -- factors other than waning demand may be the culprits.

This morning's data releases support that notion:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Housing Headwinds

While June's homebuilder sentiment survey (released yesterday) was just fine with an overall score of 68 (above 50 denotes optimism), last month's housing starts and permits results (released this morning) were anything but!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trade Deals Going On Everywhere! Well, almost everywhere...

Ironically, the threat of a global trade war is inspiring trade deals across the globe. Sadly, however, the traditional U.S. leadership in such agreements is missing.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Headlines of the Day: The Consumer's Still In Very Good Shape

The following headlines from this morning speak to what we're seeing in the consumer components of our macro index:

The Markets Hold Great Sway Over the Political Powers That Be

We've maintained that the saving grace for the market when it comes to the threat of a global trade war is the market itself.

This morning's news with regard to oil makes our case. Here's the headline:
Oil Falls 3%, Below $69, As Treasury Says Importers May Get Leeway to Buy Iranian Crude, Despite Sanctions