Not Immune

Cold winds of deflation gust across the autumn economic landscape.  Global trade languishes and commodities rust away like abandoned scrap metal with a visible dusting of frost.  The economic optimism that embellished markets heading into 2015 have cooled as the year moves through its final stretch.

 

winterPhoto credit: David Byrne

 

If you recall, the popular storyline since late last year has been that the U.S. economy is moderately improving while the world’s other major economies – Japan, China, and Europe – are rolling over.  The U.S. economy would power through.  Moreover, stock prices had achieved a permanently high plateau.

 

Global tradeGrowth in global trade has been slowing down for some time. This chart is slightly dated, but in US dollar terms, global export growth has recently turned deeply negative – click to enlarge.

 

But somewhere between collapsing oil prices, dollar strength, and consumer lethargy the economy’s narrative has drifted off plot.  The theme has transitioned from one of renewed growth and recovery to one of recurring sickness and stagnation.  Mass malinvestments in U.S. shale oil, Brazilian mines, and Chinese factories and real estate must be reckoned with.

Price adjustments, bankruptcies, and debt restructuring must be painfully worked through like a strawberry picker hunkered over a seemingly endless furrow row of over ripening fruits.  Sore backs, burnt necks, and tender fingers are what the over-all economy has in front of it.  The U.S. economy is not immune to the global disorder after all.

More evidence is revealed each week that the unexpected is happening.  Instead of economic strength and robust growth, economic fundamentals are breaking down.  Manufacturing is slowing.  Consumer spending is soft.  For additional edification, let’s turn to Dr. Copper…

 

The Void of Worldwide Non-Activity

Dr. Copper – the metal with a PhD in economics – is always the first to know which way the economy will go.  Copper’s broad use in industry and many different sectors of the economy, ranging from infrastructure to housing and consumer electronics, makes it a good early indicator of economic activity.

 

CopperCopper, monthly over the past ten years. From $4,60/ lb. To $2.08/ lb. since the peak in 2011 – click to enlarge.

 

When copper prices rise, economic activity soon increases.  When copper prices fall the economy often then stagnates.  Thus, here’s the latest from Dr. Copper and his industrial metals cohorts…

As Bloomberg reported earlier this week:

 

“Copper plunged to the lowest intraday price since May 2009 on concern Chinese demand is slowing and as the dollar traded near its strongest level in more than a decade. Lead touched the lowest since 2010, while all industrial metals retreated.

The metal used in power cables and wiring lost as much as 2.1 percent to $4,590 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $4,654 by 4:51 p.m. in Singapore, while futures slumped as much as 4.3 percent in Shanghai.

Codelco, the largest producer, has cut the premium it will charge buyers in China next year by the most since the global financial crisis, while Arc Resources Co. predicts a 10 percent drop in refined imports by the biggest consumer in 2016.”

 

No doubt, marking price levels last seen during the depths of the Great Recession would not be happening if the economy was strengthening.  If demand was robust industrial metals prices would be going up.  Instead, they continue their slide into the void of worldwide non-activity.  Stocks may soon follow…

 

The Long, Cold Winter Ahead

The last time copper prices were this low, in May 2009, stocks were also much lower.  Yet, today, they’re at extremely lofty prices.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently over 17,500.  Back then, the Dow was less than half that…it ranged in the low 8,000s.

In other words, stocks are still up while the economy is slowing down.  Perhaps the economy is taking a brief pause before roaring back to life.  Most likely it’s hunkering down for the long, cold winter ahead.

Financialization, namely massive amounts of leverage, has made the disconnect between the stock market and the economy extend wider and longer than ever before.  Maybe another speculative melt up is ahead.  Who knows?  Maybe DOW 20,000 or 30,000 is in the cards.

With enough monetary deception anything’s possible.  But, nonetheless, gravity still exists.  Stocks cannot go up for ever. After a six year bull market, accompanied by a lackluster recovery, stocks could return to prior levels that were in line with present commodity prices.  Remember, just a few years ago, Dow 8,000 matched up with current copper prices.  Soon it likely will again.

 

Charts by: CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Analysis, stockcharts

 

Image captions by PT

 

M N. Gordon is the editor and publisher of the Economic Prism.

 

 
 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 
 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • Modi’s Great Leap Forward
      India’s Currency Ban – Part VIII India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced on 8th November 2016 that Rs 500 (~$7.50) and Rs 1,000 (~$15) banknotes would no longer be legal tender. Linked are Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV, Part-V, Part-VI and Part-VII, which provide updates on the demonetization saga and how Modi is acting as a catalyst to hasten the rapid degradation of India and what remains of its institutions.   India’s Pride and Joy   Indians are...
  • Global Recession and Other Visions for 2017
      Conjuring Up Visions Today’s a day for considering new hopes, new dreams, and new hallucinations.  The New Year is here, after all.  Now is the time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh. Naturally, 2017 will be the year you get exactly what’s coming to you. Both good and bad.  But what else will happen?   Image of a recently discarded vision... Image by Michael Del Mundo   Here we begin by closing our eyes and slowing our breath.  We let our mind...
  • The Great El Monte Public Pension Swindle
      Nowhere City California There are places in Southern California where, although the sun always shines, they haven’t seen a ray of light for over 50-years.  There’s a no man’s land of urban blight along Interstate 10, from East Los Angeles through the San Gabriel Valley, where cities you’ve never heard of and would never go to, are jumbled together like shipping containers on Terminal Island.  El Monte, California, is one of those places.   Advice dispensed on Interstate...
  • A Trade Deal Trump Cannot Improve
      Worst in Class BALTIMORE – People can believe whatever they want. But sooner or later, real life intervenes. We just like to see the looks on their faces when it does. By that measure, 2017 may be our best year ever. Rarely have so many people believed so many impossible things.   Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for...
  • Pope Francis Now International Monetary Guru
      Neo-Marxist Pope Francis Argues for Global Central Bank As the new year dawns, it seems the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair will take on a new function which is outside the purview of the office that the Divine Founder of his institution had clearly mandated.   Neo-Papist transmogrification. We highly recommend the economic thought of one of Francis' storied predecessors, John Paul II, which we have written about on previous occasions. In “A Tale of Two Popes” and...
  • Where’s the Outrage?
      Blind to Crony Socialism Whenever a failed CEO is fired with a cushy payoff, the outrage is swift and voluminous.  The liberal press usually misrepresents this as a hypocritical “jobs for the boys” program within the capitalist class.  In reality, the payoffs are almost always contractual obligations, often for deferred compensation, that the companies vigorously try to avoid.  Believe me.  I’ve been on both sides of this kind of dispute (except, of course, for the “failed”...
  • Trump’s Trade Catastrophe?
      “Trade Cheaters” It is worse than “voodoo economics,” says former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. It is the “economic equivalent of creationism.” Wait a minute -  Larry Summers is wrong about almost everything. Could he be right about this?   Larry Summers, the man who is usually wrong about almost everything. As we have always argued, the economy is much safer when he sleeps, so his tendency to fall asleep on all sorts of occasions should definitely be welcomed....
  • Money Creation and the Boom-Bust Cycle
      A Difference of Opinions In his various writings, Murray Rothbard argued that in a free market economy that operates on a gold standard, the creation of credit that is not fully backed up by gold (fractional-reserve banking) sets in motion the menace of the boom-bust cycle. In his The Case for 100 Percent Gold Dollar Rothbard wrote:   I therefore advocate as the soundest monetary system and the only one fully compatible with the free market and with the absence of force or fraud...
  • Silver’s Got Fundamentals - Precious Metals Supply-Demand Report
      Supply-Demand Fundamentals Improve Noticeably Last week was another short week, due to the New Year holiday. We look forward to getting back to our regularly scheduled market action.   Photo via thedailycoin.org   The prices of both metals moved up again this week. Something very noticeable is occurring in the supply and demand fundamentals. We will give an update on that, but first, here’s the graph of the metals’ prices.   Prices of gold and silver...
  • Trump’s Plan to Close the Trade Deficit with China
      Rags to Riches Jack Ma is an amiable fellow.  Back in 1994, while visiting the United States he decided to give that newfangled internet thing a whirl.  At a moment of peak inspiration, he executed his first search engine request by typing in the word beer.   Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce firm. Once he was a school teacher, but it turned out that he had enormous entrepreneurial talent and that the world of wheelers, dealers, movers and...
  • Side Notes, January 14 - Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs
      Red Flags Over Goldman Sachs Just to prove that I am an even-handed insulter, here is a rant about my former employer, Goldman Sachs. The scandal at 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund from which it appears that billions were stolen by politicians all the way up to the Prime Minister, continues to unfold.   The main players in the 1MDB scandal. Irony alert: apparently money siphoned off from 1MDB was used to inter alia finance Martin Scorcese's movie “The Wolf of...
  • Regime Change: The Effect of Trump's Victory on Stock Prices
      A Soaring Market On January 20 2017 Donald Trump will be sworn in as the new president of the United States. On the stock market his victory has triggered a lot of advance cheer already: the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by a sizable 7.80 percent between the election and the turn of the year.   Two big winners: the DJIA and Donald Trump - click to enlarge.   Many investors are now wondering what effect the change in government will have on stock prices in the new...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank

Archive

j9TJzzN

350x200

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com