Auto sales, Lumber, Rail loadings, Global survey, Profits comments, Las Vegas Real Estate, Central Banks buying gold

by WARREN MOSLER

This has been know to be associated with the housing cycle:

Framing Lumber Prices Down 30% Year-over-year

This has taken a dive recently:

 

Global economy enters ‘synchronised slowdown’

(F) The global economy has entered a “synchronised slowdown” which may be difficult to reverse in 2019, according to the latest update of a tracking index compiled by the Brookings Institution and the Financial Times. The Brookings-FT Tracking Index for the Global Economic Recovery (Tiger) compares indicators of real activity, financial markets and investor confidence with their historical averages for the global economy and for individual countries. The headline readings slipped back significantly at the end of last year and are at their lowest levels for both advanced and emerging economies since 2016.

Corporate Profit Squeeze Looms, Threatening Stocks’ Climb

(WSJ) Analysts project S&P 500 profits in the first quarter will contract 4.2% from a year earlier, according to FactSet, followed by flat growth in the second quarter. That puts the broad index at risk of entering its first earnings recession—marked by at least two or more consecutive quarters of negative earnings growth—since 2016. S&P 500 companies grew profits 20% in 2018, one of the best growth rates since the financial crisis, according to FactSet. Analysts see profits growing just 3.7% this year. S&P 500 companies are trading at 16.7 times their future earnings, the same level the broad index traded at in early October.

Las Vegas Real Estate in March: Sales Down 16% YoY, Inventory up 92% YoY

Gold buying like this functions as ‘off balance sheet deficit spending’. It’s off balance sheet as the payments by the CB don’t count as fiscal expenditures as they are accounted for as CB asset. And it’s functionally state deficit spending as the purchases add income in the form of net financial assets to the non government sectors:

China’s on a bullion-buying spree. The world’s second-largest economy expanded its gold reserves for the fourth straight month, adding to optimism that central banks globally will continue to build holdings.

The People’s Bank of China raised reserves to 60.62 million ounces in March from 60.26 million a month earlier, according to data on its website. In tonnage terms, last month’s inflow was 11.2 tons, following the addition of 9.95 tons in February, 11.8 tons in January and 9.95 tons in December.

China, the world’s top gold producer and consumer, is facing signs of a slowing economy, even as some progress is being made in trade negotiations with the U.S. The latest data from the PBOC indicate that the country has resumed adding gold to its reserves at a steady pace, much like the period from mid-2015 to October 2016, when the country boosted holdings almost every month. Should China continue to accumulate bullion at that pace over 2019, it may end the year as the top buyer after Russia, which added 274 tons in 2018.

Governments worldwide added 651.5 tons of bullion in 2018, the second-highest total on record, according to the World Gold Council. Russia quadrupled its reserves within the span of a decade amid President Vladimir Putin’s quest to break the country’s reliance on the U.S. dollar, and data from the central bank show that holdings rose by 1 million ounces in February, the most since November.

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