Posts Tagged ‘china’
A recession for the global economy is becoming an increasingly likely scenario.
The Chinese economy, the second-biggest in the world, witnessed a contraction in manufacturing in May. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) registered 49.6 for May, declining from 50.4 in April. (Source: Markit, May 23, 2013.) Any number below 50 represents contraction in the manufacturing sector.
The Chinese economy exports a significant amount of what it produces to the global economy. Contraction in Chinese manufacturing shows exports are falling—the global demand for goods is falling.
Similarly, Germany’s Flash Manufacturing PMI showed continuous contraction in the manufacturing sector. The index stood at 49.0 in May. (Source: Markit, May 23, 2013.) The German economy is important to observe, because it’s the largest economy in the eurozone and an economic slowdown in the nation can send the common currency region into another downward spiral, again affecting the global economy.
Looking at other key indicators, they are pointing to an economic slowdown ahead in the global economy. Consider the copper market. Demand for copper is suggesting activity in the global economy is sluggish, even deteriorating.
Copper prices are down more than 10% since the beginning of 2013, and stockpiles of the brown metal, tracked by the London Metals Exchange (LME), are up a staggering 95% this year! (Source: Bloomberg, May 23, 2013.)
Other industrial metal prices, such as aluminum, lead, nickel, and zinc, are in decline as well.
How can the U.S. economy possibly improve when the global economy is in trouble?
The U.S. is highly affected by any shift in demand in the global economy.
After the financial crisis … Read More
As the key stock indices continue to climb higher, optimism amongst investors and stock advisors rises to a dangerous level.
According to the Advisor Sentiment tracked by Investors Intelligence, an indicator I follow to gauge optimism in the stock market, the number of stock advisors who are bullish towards key stock indices is at its highest since April of 2011. (Source: Investors Intelligence, May 22, 2013.) To bring this into perspective, in April of 2011, the key stock indices like the S&P 500 started to decline, dropping nearly 20% through October of that year.
The stock market is becoming very overbought and very overpriced. It’s not a matter of “if” the market faces a major set-back, but “when.”
The U.S. economy continues to struggle and early indicators of economic slowdown are flashing warning signs. Consider the Business Outlook Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which provides an outlook for manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area. The survey indicates demand has been weak, with new orders and shipments declining and inventories building up. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, May 16, 2013.)
The index of current manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region registered at negative 5.3 in May compared to positive 1.3 in April. Any number below zero indicates conditions in the manufacturing sector are becoming poor.
This isn’t the only troubling statistic that shows the U.S. economy is headed towards an economic slowdown. Our economic growth is questionable; unemployment is still staggering; the majority of jobs created since the financial crisis have been in low-paying jobs, and a significant portion of the U.S. population is on food stamps…. Read More
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) has had a nice upward run since declining to its 52-week low of $385.10 on April 19, 2013.
While the maker of the “iPhone” and “iPad” tries to rejuvenate its business in light of increased and fierce competition from rivals, Apple is also currently caught in a fight against the tax authorities on allegations of tax evasion.
This is not what Apple and CEO Tim Cook want at this time, given the company is under immense pressure to deliver fresh products to the marketplace that have that “wow” factor.
The iPhone has been around since June 2007, and to tell you honestly, with the exception of a faster processor, larger screen, and some refinements to its “iOS” operating system, the iPhone has really not kept up with the advancements in some of the competing “Android” phones, specifically those made by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. through its increasingly popular “Galaxy” line.
Apple continues to lead the pack in the U.S., but as far as the global market, Nokia Corporation (NYSE/NOK) is holding onto the top market position. Nokia’s “Lumia” line, operating on the “Windows 8” mobile platform by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT), is gaining some ground.
Yet for Apple, the landscape for smartphones and tablets is changing rapidly; it’s now about which company can bring the best phone, armed with the best functionality, to the market the quickest.
I’m in the process of looking at changing my smartphone from my current “iPhone 4” to either the “iPhone 5,” “Samsung Galaxy 4,” or the “BlackBerry Z10” or “BlackBerry Q10” (with the physical QWERTY keyboard) by Blackberry (NASDAQ/BBRY), formerly Research In … Read More
But while the prices of gold stocks have pulled back significantly this year, demand for physical gold bullion has gone through the proverbial roof.
The U.S. Mint had to halt the sales of its most-sold 1/10-ounce gold bullion coin. In Australia, the Perth Mint is working in overdrive to fill rising orders. The British Mint reports British consumers’ buying of gold has accelerated as well.
In the first quarter of 2013, total demand for gold bullion from China amounted to 294 tonnes, as jewelry demand in the country increased by 19% from the same period last year. Bar and coin investment demand rose by 22% from the first quarter of 2012. (Source: World Gold Council, May 16, 2013.)
In India, demand for gold bullion came in at 257 tonnes in the first quarter, up 27% from the first quarter of 2012. Retail investments in gold bullion edged up by 52%, and demand for jewelry was up 15% in the first quarter.
Likewise, demand for gold bars and coins in the U.S. were up by 43% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012.
And that’s not all! The biggest driver of gold bullion prices in my opinion, central banks, bought more gold.
The first quarter of 2013 marked the seventh straight quarter when central banks accumulatively added more than 100 tonnes of gold bullion to their reserves. But we still have central banks, such as the Bank of China and the Russian central … Read More
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