Intellectus Economic Intelligence

A -post collection

The Effects of a Dollar Surge

Since the U.S. elections, the dollar has surged by 5 percent while emerging market currencies fell by double. When the value of the dollar spikes, global GDP on average has contracted by 2 percentage points in the past, and eventually dip into recession territory (see Figure 1). Currently, markets are in the “first inning” of a periods of rising rates, surging dollar and contracting global GDP. This combination could have two profound effects: dollar shortage and Fed balance sheet contraction. Figure 1: Dollar and Global GDP Source: Bloomberg, quarterly data, 1980-2016 Since the middle of 1990s, global debt denominated in dollars has expanded by an average of $1.5 trillion a year, to a cumulative of $50 trillion today according the Bank of International Settlements.

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So, let's not lose focus on the ecomomy...it's not too bad

Let's start by just looking at market action. After nearly a decade of underperformance US financials are showing relative strength. They are indeed cheap on a book basis. But can there be any visibility into earnings growth? Could the end of the Obama years lead to better banking futures? The bank index is now testing multi year highs and happened to be up big in yesterdays massive rally. Here you have the Dow Jones Transportation index.As you can imagine, this is a very cyclical index and is a forward leaning indicator. As goods and people are transported, ecomomic growth moves along with it. Here is a reinforcing datapoint. This shows US Air traffic. Clearly lots of strength here. As both a consumer discretionary item and

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A Presidential Pull to Par

Elections and financial markets always had a relationship. Best known is the “Presidential Election Cycle of Investing.” This cycle shows stocks gain the most in the third year of a Presidential term, by an average of 0.75 to 2.5 per cent. For bonds, monthly returns in the third year were mostly negative by an average 2 percent based Barclays Index history. The history of returns is shown in Figure 1. A reason for this pattern in returns is when an incumbent President announces tax cuts and or spending increases, historically those policies get Congressional approval by the second year of the term. By the third to final year of the term, policies kick into effect and impact earnings and profits. In case of a

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GDP Momentum

One of the key data releases next Thursday will be the first reading for Third Quarter U.S. GDP. GDP has been a “hot” topic of debate at the recent Boston Fed Conference as well as during the third Presidential Debate. The slowness of GDP has been worrisome, especially because despite a robust labor market, wages have lagged. If GDP stays slow, a tight labor market with modest wage growth may decelerate consumer spending. With an already fragile investment, trade and fiscal spending, a drop in consumer spending could “tip” U.S. GDP closer to zero growth. The dangerously slow pace of 1.3% in Q2 2016 could reverse however if consensus Q3 forecast of 2.5% annualized change is realized. The year on year slide

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"StallFlation"

In her recent speech, Federal Reserve Chair Yellen introduced a phrase that may determine how markets, economists and the public will think about the global economy going forward. Yellen suggested the Federal Reserve should allow the U.S. economy to turn into a "high pressure economy." That means an economy where labor markets are very tight, demand is robust and capital spending runs at a high rate. For Yellen to arrive at such a conclusion, there were four critical issues she highlighted for future "research:" Hysteresis. The global economy suffers from "supply damage" caused by a sharp fall in aggregate demand due to hysteresis. Developed economies saw in their real estate and financial sectors massive layoff, and supply of highly specialized workers was absorbed insufficiently. Because

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Risk Free Subsidies

Markets faceoff a crucial week of central bank meetings with the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. As recently doubts grew the BoJ could continue the course, Japanese interest rates rose sharply. When ECB President Draghi said a possible extension of quantitative easing not discussed, global rates experienced a “tantrum”. This phenomenon has become recurring since 2013 when the first “tantrum” appeared. Markets grapple how QE policies could formally end which explain why interest rates react with a tantrum. Underlying the tremors lies a structural issue, and that is whether is there is no longer a “risk free rate.” The existence of the global financial system rests on two assumptions: a risk free rate and a reserve currency. Since the European sovereign crisis

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