Key stock indices are the main barometers of the market’s health. The key stock indices are the ones that most investors pay attention to when trying to understand where the market stands. For the U.S., the key stock indices include the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. But the key stock indices can also include sub-groups that are crucial to a healthy market, such as the Dow Jones Transportation Index. In every country, there are key stock indices that one can follow to better understand the health of that country’s market.
In just a few years following the Lehman crisis, credit in the Chinese economy has gone from $9.0 trillion to $23.0 trillion. Comparing it to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, credit has ballooned to 200% of GDP—it was only 40% before the U.S. subprime bubble burst.
Fitch Ratings’ senior director in Beijing, Charlene Sue, said this week, “…this is beyond anything we have ever seen before in a large economy. We don’t know how this will play out. The next six months will be crucial.” (Source: Evans-Pritchard, A., “Fitch says China credit bubble unprecedented in modern world history,” The Telegraph, June 16, 2013.)
Adding to the credit worries in China, just like the U.S. economy, consumers in the Chinese economy are shying away from spending. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, car sales in the Chinese economy in May grew at a slower pace than the previous month’s. The car sales growth rate registered at nine percent in May, compared to 13% in April. (Source: Financial Times, June 9, 2013.)
Furthermore, manufacturing in the Chinese economy has been witnessing a slowdown. Exports from the country have fallen victim to anemic demand in the global economy. Sadly, this year, as per government estimates, the Chinese economy is expected to grow at the pace of only 7.75%—much slower than China’s past double-digit growth rates.
The troubles in the Chinese economy continue to mount, but with the optimism seen in the key stock indices, investors are ignoring their implications. I can’t stress this enough: growing problems in the Chinese economy will not only hurt the … Read More
While government data continue to show a lack of inflation in the U.S. economy, the bond market screams the opposite.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most commonly quoted measure of inflation, increased only 0.1% in May after declining 0.4% in April. Since the beginning of the year, from January to May, inflation in the U.S. has edged higher by only 0.2%. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 18, 2013.)
But the bond market says this isn’t true.
Since May, we have seen yields on U.S. bonds skyrocket. Take a look at the chart below; it shows the change in yields on 30-year U.S. bonds (indicated by the red line) and 10-year U.S. notes (marked by the blue line). Note the circled area.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
In a matter of a few weeks, yields on 30-year U.S. bonds have jumped about 19% and 10-year note yields have skyrocketed almost 35%.
This is dangerous for bond investors. As the yields on bonds climb higher, their prices slide lower, bond investors face losses…and they’re fleeing the bond market.
For the week ended June 5, long-term bond mutual funds witnessed an outflow of $10.9 billion. Looking at it on a monthly basis, the long-term bond mutual funds haven’t seen an outflow since December of 2008. This month may just be the first since then. (Source: Investment Company Institute, June 12, 2013.)
Even the foreigners, who have been providing credit to the U.S. economy, seem to be running toward the exit. According to Treasury International Capital Data, in April, foreign residents were net sellers of long-term U.S. bonds. Private foreign investors accounted for … Read More
The housing market simply isn’t improving at the rate many in the mainstream media are telling us.
Home prices are still significantly lower than what they were during 2005 and 2006. On its own, there is no housing market recovery. All we are witnessing is the mere reflection of easy money provided by our central bank.
As I often write, to see a real recovery in the housing market, we need to see first-time home buyers active in the market. Unfortunately, they are not involved.
In April, first-time home buyers accounted for only 29% of all existing home purchases in the U.S. housing market. This was three percent lower than the previous month and 17% lower than April 2012, when first-time home buyers accounted for 35% of all home purchases. (Source: National Association of Realtors, May 22, 2013.)
According to a survey by Fannie Mae, last month, 40% of Americans said it’s a good time for them to sell their home. In April, the survey showed only 30% thought the same thing, and in the same period a year ago, this number stood at 16%. (Source: Realtor Magazine, June 11, 2013.) Hence, we are going to see more listings hit the housing market.
The inventory of homes for sale in the U.S. housing market increased four percent in April from the previous month nationally, but what’s troubling is that in a few areas, such as Stockton and Sacramento, California, new listings have surged 75% from a month earlier.
The basic concept of economics: when demand declines and supply increases, prices go down.
And the most common mortgage in the … Read More
My advice: if you want to know what’s happening in the global economy, do not look to the key stock indices. They are misguiding investors into believing all is well, while the global economy stands on the verge of an economic slowdown.
In these pages, I have written about major economic hubs in the global economy, namely China, Germany, and France, going through an economic slowdown. But now the smaller countries are flashing warning signs as well.
India grew at the slowest pace in a decade in its fiscal year (ended March 31, 2013). The Central Statistical Office reported that production in India at factories, in utilities, and at mines only increased by two percent in April from a year ago. In March, it increased 3.4%. (Source: Bloomberg, June 12, 2013.)
The troubles for the global economy don’t end there.
In April, Malaysia reported its trade surplus fell to the lowest level since 1997. The country’s exports to the global economy surprisingly declined 3.3% from a year ago. There are now fears that Malaysia can very well run its first trade deficit in 16 years. (Source: Reuters, June 12, 2013.)
Exports from the Philippines fell 12.8% in April from a year ago. Indonesia has been witnessing an export slump for 13 consecutive months and recorded a trade deficit in April.
In the other parts of the global economy, the situation is similar.
We have no further to look than exports of iron ore from Brazil to China. In terms of tonnage, in 2012, Brazil exported 170 metric tons of iron ore to China, three percent higher than the … Read More
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