Monday, 29 October 2012

Weekly Review 10.30.2012


This was a record setting week! Literally 

Eurozone hit a record high debt of 90% from all 17 countries that use the single euro currency.  This is the highest level since 1999 when the EU currency was first implemented.
"The euro area economy remains stuck in a rut" said James Ashley, Sr. European economicst at RBC Capital Markets.
According to the Eurostat, five countries are in recession Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus.  Many analyst expect the Eurozone to slip back into a recession next month when the official numbers are released. (recession is defined as two downward quarters of negative growth in a row)
Furthermore, PMI remains lowest in three years at 45.8  We can see this with BMW and VW, their exports have taken a hit on YoY basis. 

PMI- HSBC report showed Wednesday rising new orders.  3 month upward trend shows that the economy is slowly picking up.  However, this is not sustainable given US potentially falling off the cliff and the meltdown in Europe.  Nonetheless, PMI was 47.9(August)  49.2(September) and 49.8 in October.  This is still below 50 but indicates slow improvement and a moderate rebound of the worlds second largest economy.  Weak external demand and a slack job market are key factors, therefore one should expect more easing policies to secure recovery.

China's yuan reached a 19 year high against the US dollar.  Currency hit 6.2417 yuan per dollar, it has been appreciating since QE3 and the ECB bond buying plan.   HK monetary authority has injected more than $14B to stabilize Curreny.  Could this be the start of a currency war? Last weeks review we talked about Brazil's finance minister publicly scolding the US selfish actions at the IMF conference in Tokyo.   Chinese exports are sure to take a beating. 

Japan adds $9.4B to stimulus program to bump up growth as bond investors told government they were worried about delays and more spending.  Finance minister said this was necessary because Japan would run out of money if the bill was not passed.  This is only estimated to boost GDP by .1%.  Japan has the highest debt level among developed nations and has experienced 2 lost decades.  According to world renowned economists Rogoff and Reinhart  a Country with debt-to-gdp in excess of 90% is unsustainable.  Japan is at over 200%. (see book "This time is Different")

United States
Fiscal Cliff can be much worst than it is.  Many economist think every dollar of deficit reduction will subtract nearly the same amount from economic growth.  The IMF suggest 1$ could drain as much as $1.70.  With interest rates at near zero the pain will be much worse. Bernanke has acknowledged he would not be able to fully offset the pain if the economy runs into the fiscal cliff.  

The “fiscal cliff” and long-term government deficit issues are weighing heavily on the minds of finance professionals, and they do not expect business conditions to improve regardless of the results of the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Three-fourths of 949 executives who responded to a survey at the annual conference of the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) this month reported that they believe overall economic conditions will weaken if various tax law provisions expire and mandated government spending cuts go into effect as scheduled in January 2013.
Respondents rated implementing changes to avoid the fiscal cliff as the second-most important issue for federal elected representatives to focus on after the election. The most important issue to respondents was resolving long-term government fiscal and deficit issues, identified by 63% of finance professionals in the survey.

Herman Venegas


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