FAST FACTS ABOUT TODAY’S ECONOMIC DATA:
- S. Tax Receipts up +9% Y/Y in October but slow Calendar Y/Y.
- Chicago Fed National Activity rebounded in September.
- China Home Prices continue to climb but slow on Y/Y basis in September.
U.S. TAX RECEIPTS UP +9% Y/Y IN 1H OCTOBER:
According to the U.S. Treasury, tax receipts are up +9.0% Y/Y through October 19th (+4.3% Y/Y in September). Note that tax receipts are up +4.6% Calendar YTD (versus +5.2% at the end of September). The increase in the month was widespread, led by Income Taxes, as Income and Employment Withholdings Taxes increased +8.8% Y/Y and +6.0% Calendar Y/Y (+6.3% Y/Y at the end of September). It should be noted that Income withholdings may be boosted due to the +7.3% increase in the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax ($127,200 in 2017 vs. $118,500 in 2016). Furthermore, Excise & Other Taxes increased +28.5% Y/Y and +0.7% Calendar Y/Y (+4.2% Y/Y at the end of September); however, Corporate Income Taxes are down -0.8% Y/Y and -2.3% Calendar YTD (versus -2.3% Y/Y at the end of September).
CHICAGO FED NATIONAL ACTIVITY INDEX REBOUNDED IN SEPTEMBER:
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rebounded +0.54 points to +0.17 in September (highest level since June). Moreover, the three-month average was unchanged at -0.16. In the month, Production & Income increased +0.43 points to +0.10, Employment & Hours increased +0.05 points to +0.06, Sales & Inventories increased +0.01 points to +0.07, and PCE & Housing improved +0.04 points M/M at -0.07.
CHINA NEW HOME PRICES UP BUT SLOW ONCE AGAIN ON Y/Y BASIS IN SEPTEMBER:
According to China’s Bureau of Statistics, new home prices in China’s 70 major cities increased for the 29th consecutive month, up +0.17% M/M in September. However, New home prices slowed to +6.18% Y/Y (versus +8.0% Y/Y prior), which is the slowest pace since July 2016. There were increases in new home prices in 46 cities, led by Anqing (+0.9% M/M) and Harbin (+0.8% M/M). Conversely, prices declined in 17 cities, including Beijing (-0.1% M/M), Guangzhou (-0.5% M/M), and Quanzhou (-0.8% M/M).
Furthermore, Newly constructed commercial residential buildings increased +0.17% M/M and +6.28% Y/Y on average (versus +8.16% Y/Y prior). Also, Second-hand home sale prices increased for the 30th consecutive month, up +0.19% M/M but slowed to +5.64% Y/Y (versus +7.08% prior). The increase in the month was led by Qinhuangdao (+0.9% M/M), Jinhua (+0.8% M/M), and Urumqi (+0.8% M/M). On the other hand, there were notable declines in Beijing (-0.7% M/M), Zhengzhou (-0.3% M/M), and Shanghai (-0.1% M/M).
U.S. GDP: Our GDP model points toward stronger growth in the quarters ahead (+2.8% Real GDP growth in 2H 2017, and 3% growth in 2018) given improvements in workforce population growth, workforce participation, and low interest rates and energy prices. With Q2 2017 Real GDP officially at +3% growth, it is now possible for GDP to achieve our official forecast of 3.0% for 2017.
U.S. Inflation: U.S. inflation is set to rise again over the coming months as energy prices return to positive territory on a Y/Y basis. Additionally, recent data show that shelter costs have been turning up again. However, the Fed’s preferred inflation metric, the Core PCE Deflator was up just +1.3% Y/Y in August (away from the Fed’s 2% inflation target).
U.S. Federal Reserve: With inflation set to turn back up again, the odds of another Fed hike will increase (note that December hike odds are currently 84%). Not to mention, increased inflation (as well as increasing inflation expectations) have given the Fed reason to begin balance sheet tapering.
U.S. Treasuries: With headline CPI having hit a near-term peak of 2.7% Y/Y, we believe the 10-year U.S. Treasury is now range-bound through the end of the year. We would be inclined to be buyers of Treasuries if the 10-year yield were to approach its recent high of 2.63%.
U.S. Equities and Earnings: S&P 500 operating earnings will rise materially in 2017, but our yearend S&P 500 target of 2400 has already been attained. In fact, we believe the S&P is now fully valued. We continue to favor the homebuilders, given the demographic tailwind and lack of inventory.
Argentina: Argentine economic data continues to improve. Consumer Confidence has improved for three consecutive months, GDP accelerated to +2.7% y/y in Q2, but inflation remains a problem at +26% Y/Y (far better than 45% from a year ago though). However, Industrial Production has slowed for two consecutive months.
Brazil: The macro data in Brazil continue to improve. Retail sales are now up +3.6% Y/Y, unemployment has fallen for five straight months to 12.6%, Industrial Production is up +4.0% Y/Y, PMI’s continue to trend higher, tax receipts are growing, inflation is still in a falling trend – which allows the central bank to cut rates further, and GDP finally turned positive on a Y/Y basis (+0.3% Y/Y). Of all the major global bond markets, Brazilian 10-year bond yields are the richest in the world at 10%. As the economy improves, and inflation cools, we would expect to see investors reach for yield in Brazil. As such, we recently initiated a Long Brazil 10-Year Sovereign Bond view.
Canada: Despite worries about Canada’s housing market, so far Canada’s economic data remain healthy. Consumer Confidence remains at high levels, manufacturing PMI’s remain strong, unemployment has been in a declining trend, retail sales are elevated, and Canada’s monthly GDP remains at a healthy 3.8% Y/Y.
Mexico: Recent economic data in Mexico suggest that the Mexican economy has been mixed in Q3. Manufacturing PMI’s were stronger in Q3 (but slowed in September), Consumer Confidence has trended higher, and exports are up +10.3% Y/Y; however, Unemployment has increased to 3.6% and retail sales have yet to turn higher.
Venezuela: We will leave this as a placeholder in the event that Venezuela ever becomes an investible market again. We are hopeful …
United Kingdom: The U.K. economy had been resilient but it is starting to show signs of weakness. Although unemployment continues to decline and PMI’s improved in September; note that Retail Sales fell in September, Consumer Confidence has remained negative, home prices have begun to turn lower in London, while inflation has turned higher (+3.0% Y/Y in September). In fact, the Bank of England stands ready to raise rates if inflation continues to climb, which could pose a dilemma for the BOE given recent weakness in economic data.
European Union: Economic data has recently improved in Europe. Unemployment continues to decline, PMIs indicate strong growth, Industrial Production accelerated in August, but Retail Sales have slowed and Consumer Confidence remains negative. We remain bullish on the Euro STOXX 50 Index.
European Central Banks: The ECB is doing exactly what we thought they would do by favoring asset purchases over furthering lowering rates into negative territory and now the ECB is facing rising inflation. The ECB is expected to taper its asset purchases and certainly a discussion will begin on the process of how/when to raise rates. We will watch to see if ECB tapering has any meaningful impact on zero (or near-zero) interest rates throughout the continent.
Eastern Europe: We continue to believe risks remain for Eastern Europe given high Debt/GDP levels, most notably Cyprus (104%), Croatia (88%, up from 66% at the end of 2013), and Slovenia (81%). Yet, economic data have been robust this year across most of Eastern Europe.
South Africa: Political chaos and debt downgrade risk aside, South African data improved in Q2 and the start of Q3 (higher PMI’s, higher retail sales, low inflation, and improving business confidence). However, Unemployment remains persistently high at 27.7%.
Turkey: Has the Turkish Lira finally realized that Turkey has a geopolitical problem? And will a falling Lira lead CPI materially higher in Turkey (CPI already had accelerated to 11.2% Y/Y)? Despite the political situation, the macro backdrop had been strong, as business confidence increased throughout Q3, and Unemployment has been steady. However, Consumer Confidence has ticked lower for three consecutive months.
ASIA / PACIFIC:
Australia: The RBA has cut rates twice in the past year and Australian data is holding up. So far, business and consumer confidence have been strong, the job market has improved, and PMI’s have held up, despite weakness in commodities prices. That being said, we are starting to see weakness in the housing market (private sales down -3.7% and building approvals down -13.9% Y/Y) and Auto Sales turned negative in September. We remain neutral on Australia at this time, on concerns about China exposure but so far China is still posting strong data.
China: China data remain mixed but positive. Recent data suggest improvement in China’s manufacturing sector, while Retail Sales, Fixed Investment, CPI, and Industrial Production have all slowed on Y/Y basis. We continue to believe China has the levers to stimulate its economy, but we are watching for further signs of stress within China’s credit and housing markets.
India: Indian economic activity appears to have recovered nicely since the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented as Industrial Production, Commercial Credit, and Retail Sales ended Q3 on an improving note. Note that since the Indian central bank cut rates in August, inflation appears to have turned slightly higher.
Indonesia: Indonesia’s GDP and Private Consumption Expenditures have been stable at 5% Y/Y, inflation moderated in Q3, Consumer Confidence has been stable, but industrial production and PMI’s weakened in Q3. Our best guess is that the central bank’s dovish policy stance may revert to a more neutral stance going forward (they declined to cut rates again in October).
Japan: With Abe winning his snap elections by a long shot, we are emboldened in our bullish view on Japan’s Nikkei 225. Overall, Japan’s economic activity remains in an improving trend, although weakness in PMI’s over the past two months raises concern. Bank lending is improving on a Y/Y basis in Japan, unemployment continues to improve, industrial production remains elevated, and consumer confidence remains in a slow up-trend.
Russia: Russian economic data continue to suggest economic growth as PMI’s have improved recently. Furthermore, Retail Sales continue to rebound, Real Disposable Income and Wages have turned up, and Unemployment rate improved to 4.9% in August. Meanwhile, inflation is moderating, which allowed the Bank of Russia to cut rates once again. Russian equities remain the cheapest in the industrialized world and we remain bullish.
GLOBAL CENTRAL BANK SCORECARD:
MACRO TRADING IDEAS:
WEEK IN REVIEW – BEST & WORST PERFORMERS:
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COMMODITIES MARKET PERFORMANCE:
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MAJOR GLOBAL BOND MARKETS:
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