Tuesday , March 19 2019
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Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock (Mish) is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management (http://www.sitkapacific.com/). Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Articles by Mike Shedlock

Factory Orders Inch Higher Only Because of Aircraft, Shipments Down 4th Month

6 hours ago

Factory orders rose 0.1% but shipments which feed GDP reports were down for the fourth consecutive month.
The advance reports five days ago set the tone for this report. Yet there was an unusually wide guess from Econoday economists where the range of estimates was from -3.0% to +0.6%. The consensus must have been paying attention to the advance report as they were nearly on the mark at 0.0%.
The monthly full report of Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders for January 2019, shows order rose 0.1%.
Summary
New orders for manufactured goods in January, up two consecutive months, increased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $500.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.1 percent December increase. Shipments, down four consecutive months, decreased $1.8

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Decline of Globalization

21 hours ago

The change in total global exports has now gone negative.
Barron’s has an interesting article How Investors Should Navigate Globalization’s Decline.
A decadeslong drive toward freer trade across borders has begun to reverse. Globalization is being overwhelmed by populism, nationalism, and protectionism.

Brexit threatens to erect new trade barriers between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. India just moved to limit foreign operators selling goods online.

“I probably never would have said it was going to end, but I’m starting to wonder,” says Don Allan, chief financial officer at Stanley Black & Decker. “The trend seems to be heading that way. Countries are becoming more focused on protecting their world and less on how to work together as a global economy.”

China Decreasing

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Recycling Movement Fails: China Doesn’t Want US Garbage, Not Profitable Here

1 day ago

US Cities are abandoning recycling efforts because it’s too costly. And China no longer accepts even our sorted garbage.
The Wall Street Journal reports Aluminum Makers Ditch Can Business.
Used cans are piling up at scrapyards because U.S. aluminum companies are turning fewer of them into new metal, another indication of the economic challenges facing recycling.
Arconic Inc. and other aluminum rollers are producing less sheet for beverage cans and more higher-margin, flat-rolled aluminum for automotive and industrial components. Prices for used aluminum cans in the U.S. have fallen about 30% since last summer. Old cans are less versatile than other scrap. The makers of airplane and car parts prefer not to use aluminum made from recycled cans. More new cans in the U.S. are made from

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Parliament Speaker Rules Out Another Vote on May’s Deal Unless It’s Changed

1 day ago

Commons Speaker John Bercow ruled Parliament cannot be asked to vote on the same bill twice without substantial changes.
The Wall Street Journal reports U.K. Parliament Won’t Revote on Brexit Deal, Speaker Says.

In a surprise intervention that blindsided the government, the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said Monday that lawmakers aren’t allowed to vote on the same bill twice. He said last week’s vote had been justified because the deal was altered after it was voted down by a record margin in January.

“What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the House the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week, which was rejected by 149 votes,” said Mr. Bercow, citing a text dating back to 1604.

Mr. Bercow said the deal on offer

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Real Reason Trump Wants to Ban Huawei: US Wants to Spy and China Won’t Cooperate

2 days ago

The UK, Germany, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries resisting US pressure to Ban Huawei.

Over the past several months, American officials have tried to pressure, scold and, increasingly, threaten other nations that are considering using Huawei in building fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has pledged to withhold intelligence from nations that continue to use Chinese telecom equipment. The American ambassador to Germany cautioned Berlin this month that the United States would curtail intelligence sharing if that country used Huawei.
But the campaign has run aground. Britain, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries signaling they are unlikely to back the American effort to entirely ban Huawei

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Paris Burning: Luxury Stores Looted and Burned in Latest Yellow Vest Uprising

3 days ago

Once again Paris is burning in Yellow Vest protests. This is the worst round of rioting yet.
I am saddened by the latest round of Yellow Vest protests in France. To top it off, Trump is practically gloating over them.

Rioters looted and torched shops and businesses on the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on Saturday, on the 18th weekend of French "yellow vest" protests, characterised by a sharp increase in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout.
President Emmanuel Macron cut short a skiing trip in the Pyrenees to return to Paris for a crisis meeting, as hooded protesters went on the rampage in Paris, leaving a trail of destruction in the touristic heart of the city.
The police appeared overrun as protesters swarmed the Champs-Elysees, vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet’s

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Trump Tweets of the Day: GM, France, Crooked Hillary, Obama, McCain, Google

3 days ago

Trump is on a Tweetstorm today on numerous topics. Let’s tune in.
New Evidence on Obama
Google Helped China and Crooked Hillary
France and the Environment
McCain Stain
National Emergency
The only ones worth commenting on directly are France and GM. I will cover the former in a separate article.
In regards to the latter, apparently Trump knows how many cars the manufacturers should produce.
This is central planning nonsense at its finest.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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Mission Impossible: Tariffs Didn’t Reduce the Trade Deficit (Deals Won’t Either)

4 days ago

Trump is on an impossible mission. Tariffs will not reduce the trade deficit and will likely make matters worse.
To fully understand Trump’s trade dilemma, consider the following chart.
Trump’s Current Account and Trade Deficit Problem in One Picture
Government Saving + Private Saving = Exports – Imports
The identity is not debatable, but it is misunderstood.
Exports and imports are not just about trade. One must factor in capital, thus my annotation about foreign direct investment.
For the government "saving" component, pencil in deficits in excess of $1 trillion dollars for five years.
Projected Deficits vs Projected Increase in Debt
The important point as relates to this article is the increase in debt is the true deficit.
This happens because the projected deficit does not include

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Industrial Production Unexpectedly Weak: Manufacturing Declines 0.4 Percent

4 days ago

Without a cold February and a resultant surge in utilities, industrial production would have been negative.
The Econoday consensus expected a bounce in manufacturing of +0.4%. They got the number right, unfortunately with the wrong sign. Without a boost in utilities, the overall number would have been negative.
The Federal Reserve G.17 Industrial Production Report for February shows Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in February after decreasing 0.4 percent in January.
Manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent in February for its second consecutive monthly decline. The index for utilities rose 3.7 percent, while the index for mining moved up 0.3 percent.
Market Groups
The major market groups recorded mixed results in February: Increases for materials, for business supplies, and

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Trump Again Threatens Europe With Tariffs: Expect Instant Global Recession

4 days ago

Trump is hopping mad the EU for at least seven reasons. Mad enough to foolishly smack them with tariffs? I Believe so.

As the U.S. and the EU struggle to iron out their differences on trade, Trump said, “they are willing to talk to us and if they don’t talk to us, we’re going to do something that’s going to be pretty severe economically. We’re going to tariff a lot of their products.” The president was almost certainly referring to imports of cars from the EU, a threat he has made in the past.
Trump made his comments to reporters as he met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office. Trump also said on Twitter he anticipated a “large scale” trade deal with the United Kingdom, which is facing a delayed exit from the European Union.
Before the Senate voted on terminating

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Expect 4th or 5th “Meaningful” Vote and a “Conditional” Extension

5 days ago

In today’s meaningless action UK PMs ruled out a referendum and asked the EU for an extension.
It’s amusing watching UK PMs make total asses of themselves with meaningless addendum after addendum.
The parliament just adjourned. Here’s a synopsis of today’s Brexit farce via snips from the Guardian Live Blog.
The motion to request an extension passed 412 in favour, 202 against, a majority of 210. A second amendment to restrict the extension request to the end of June failed.
MPs crushed the second referendum amendment idea by 334 votes to 85 – a majority of 249. 18 Labour MPs voted against second referendum.
The Hillary Benn amendment to "enable the House of Commons to find a way forward that can command majority support".amendment failed 312-314. Effectively, the amendment was a request

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Changing Time Line Anatomy of Trump’s Trade Deal With China

5 days ago

Trump has changed his tune on a trade deal with China so many times it’s hard to count.
In December, Trump gave China 90 days to conclude a deal Otherwise. Trump said he would boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from the current 10%.Those 90 days ended March 1.
On December 31, I noted Trump Hails "Big Progress" on Trade Deal With China. I commented "Supposedly there is ‘big progress’ on a comprehensive trade deal with China. Color me skeptical."
On January 19, I noted China Pledges US Buying Spree to Reduce Trade Surplus With US to Zero By 2024. I commented "In discussions that are not yet public, and will likely be empty promises, sources say China Offers a Path to Eliminate U.S. Trade Imbalance."
On February 22, the Washington Post reported Trump says he expects to meet

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New Home Sales Down 6.9% From Upwardly Revised December: Expect More Revisions

5 days ago

Six days ado the Census Department reported on December sales. Today we have January sales. It’s been a wild ride.
Sales of new single‐family houses in January 2019 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 607,000, according to the Census Bureau’s New Residential Construction Report for January.
This is 6.9 percent below the revised December rate of 652,000 and is 4.1 percent below the January 2018 estimate of 633,000.
Expect More Revisions
The bureau revised December up to 652,000 units from 621,000 units.
Huge regional percentage variances suggest more revisions are on the way.
Northeast: 31,000 Units, -11.4%
Midwest: 50,000 Units, -28.6%
South: 342,000 Units, -15.1%
West: 184,000 Units, +27.8%
Volatility is norm in the smaller regions where weather is also a big factor.

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Ford to Slash More Jobs But Won’t Say How many, VW to Kill 7,000 Jobs

5 days ago

Ford and Volkswagon both announced major job cuts. But Ford won’t disclose how many until the deed is done.

"We’re not going to provide any numbers," Ford spokesman Said Deep said Wednesday in response to questions about the specific areas cut. "We will provide details once the process is complete in the second quarter."
He added, "We are undergoing a smart redesign process that allows us to create a more dynamic, agile and empowered workforce. At the same time, we’re becoming more fit as a business."
Deep declined to say when from April through June the company would announce the total number of jobs slashed. Asked whether cuts were, in fact, happening on Wednesday, he declined to provide details.
"I can tell you that this whole redesign is going to reduce bureaucracy and empower our

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Hurricane Forecasts May Revert to 1970 Accuracy Due to 5G Conflict

6 days ago

The FCC is poised to auction off a 5G bandwidth that is likely to interfere weather forecasts.
The FCC, which want to proceed with a 5G auction, is at odds with the commerce department, the defense department, and NASA.
The dispute regards wavelength frequencies currently used by public and private weather satellites, weather balloons, and ocean buoys to predict the weather.
NASA and the Commerce department have serious concerns.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine urged the FCC to remove a policy paper [bandwidth] proposal that “would have a significant negative impact on the transmission of critical Earth science data supporting public safety, natural disaster and weather forecasting."
On Friday [March 8], the FCC rejected the request. It said that it

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Producer Price Inflation Lower Than Expected

6 days ago

The PPI and core PPI each rose 0.1% month-over-month. Economists expected a 0.2% rise in both.
The Producer Price Index for final demand edged up 0.1 percent in February, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices fell 0.1 percent in both January and December.
On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index moved up 1.9 percent for the 12 months ended in February.
In February, the increase in the final demand index can be traced to a 0.4-percent rise in prices for final demand goods. The index for final demand services was unchanged.
The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services inched up 0.1 percent in February following a 0.2-percent advance in January. For the 12 months ended in February, prices for final demand

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Non-Meaningful: UK’s Surprisingly Close Vote to Reject No-Deal Brexit

6 days ago

I expected a vote to prohibit a no-deal Brexit would win by a landslide. It didn’t, and no-deal is still the default.

MPs have voted by 312 to 308 to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. It is not a legally-binding decision – and it does not rule out the UK leaving the EU. But it means MPs could now get a vote on delaying Brexit. That vote would take place on Thursday, and if it is passed – and the EU agrees to it – the UK will not leave the EU as planned on 29 March.
MPs voted by 374 to 164 to reject a plan to delay the UK’s departure from the EU until 22 May, 2019 so that there can be a "managed no-deal" Brexit. It was known as the Malthouse Compromise – after Kit Malthouse, the government minister who devised it.

Not Legally Binding
The vote, as I have mentioned

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Emergency Order: Trump Grounds Boeing MAX Airplanes

6 days ago

Following 2 recent crashes of Boeing’s newest aircraft, countries started banning flights. Today, the US followed.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019, killing all 157 on board. Lion Air Flight 610 from Indonesia crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, 2018 killing 189 people. Both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.
The EU, UK, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Ethiopia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Norway, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam, and a number of smaller countries all banned 737 MAX 9 and/or 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Not only did those countries ban their use, most of them will not even allow flyovers. T
Trump Grounds all Boeing 737 MAX Planes
As I was typing this article, I had to start over.

In remarks at the White

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Where is Blockchain Really Used? Nowhere! Study Shows 0% Success Rate

7 days ago

Other than cryptocurrencies, where is blockchain used? A study cannot find anyplace, only tests, proof of concept, etc.

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success.
Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at instances of the distributed crypto ledger being used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors and agencies. But they drew a complete blank.
"We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles," Burg et al wrote on Thursday. "However, we found no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was

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May’s Deal Scorched 391-242: Assessing the No-Deal Odds

7 days ago

Theresa May’s revised deal went down 391-242, a majority of 149. Unless the EU revises, May’s deal is dead.
​Theresa May was hoping to get the number of votes against here deal under 50.That goal did not come close.
It is safe to rule out May’s deal unless the EU provided a guaranteed end to the backstop, with a stated timeline. The EU is unlikely to comply.
May will offer parliament a vote on No-Deal tomorrow. That vote will fail.
Then on Thursday, the UK parliament will vote on asking for an extension. That will pass, but it isn’t legally binding.
Malthouse Compromise
There will not be a lengthy extension, unless it some in the form of a Malthouse Compromise in which the UK leaves, but the UK and EU take up to three years to work out an alliterative to the backstop.
Note that such an

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Theresa May’s Deal Doomed Second Time, the Pound Sinks, No-Deal Brexit Odds Rise

7 days ago

Atty. General Geoffrey Cox threw cold water on the notion that May secured legally binding changes. The deal is doomed.
Theresa May’s deal is doomed a second time after the Attorney General stated gave his legal opinion that the UK could be trapped in the backstop indefinitely. "The legal risk remains unchanged," said Cox.
With that announcement, the British Pound gave up yesterday’s gains on the news.
More importantly, DUP and ERG say they cannot support May as MPs debate deal according to Politics Live on the Guardian.
23 MPs are willing to switch there votes following the revised statement May received from Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday. But that is nowhere near enough.
Even if all the undeclared decided to vote for the deal, it would still lose by a 345-292 count.
Estimates were that

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CPI Benign at 0.2%, Core CPI Lower Than Expected 0.1%: What Do You Believe?

7 days ago

The CPI came in at 0.2% meeting economists expectations. Core CPI came in at 0.1% under economists expectations of 0.2%.
The BLS reports: In February, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 1.5 percent over the year, not seasonally adjusted. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in February (SA); up 2.1 percent over the year (NSA).
CPI vs Core CPI Percent Change From Year Ago
Assumptions
Assuming one does not eat or use energy, the CPI is up 0.1% from a month ago and 2.1% from a year ago. Curiously, the CPI for those who do eat and use energy, is only up 1.5% from a year ago.
To achieve these numbers, one has to believe medical care commodities are down 1.1% (drugs and equipment), while medical

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Jan Retail Sales up a Weak 0.2%: Consumers Throw in the Towel on Autos, -2.4%

8 days ago

The first quarter isn’t off to a huge start. Retail sales rose a mere 0.2% following a sizable negative revision in Dec.
In January retail sales rose 0.2% from a 1.6% decline in December revised lower from an initial report of -1.2%.
Econoday attempted to spin this as positive news.

Retail sales managed only a 0.2 percent headline gain in January after plunging a downward revised 1.6 percent in December. But when excluding autos, where sales were very weak in January, the latest month shows a very strong 0.9 percent gain that hits the top of Econoday’s consensus range. The report’s two core readings — less autos & gas and the control group — also show outstanding gains, of 1.2 and 1.1 percent respectively that reverse tremendous weakness in December at revised losses at 1.6 percent and

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May Secures Last Minute Concessions, Juncker Says No 3rd Chances, Pound Rallies

8 days ago

Theresa May says the EU made legally-binding assurances that the UK will not be permanently trapped in a customs union.
May-Juncker Announcement

“Today, we have secured legal changes,” Mrs. May said. “Now is the time to come together to back this improved Brexit deal and deliver on the instruction of the British people.”
Despite the changes, Mrs. May faces an uphill challenge to get British lawmakers to back the deal in Tuesday’s vote. The prime minister is banking on key lawmakers endorsing her revised deal and bringing others on-side with them.
Still financial markets interpreted the agreement as evidence that a Brexit deal was increasingly likely to be signed off, avoiding a chaotic split between the U.K. and the EU. From the time news broke that Mrs. May would fly to France for

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About the “Fair Tax for Illinois”: How Much Will It Cost Your Family?

8 days ago

The Illinois Gov. seeks a constitutional amendment to change the tax code. He calls it a "fair tax". Don’t be fooled.
New Illinois J. B. Governor Pritzker (D) has proposed sweeping changes to Illinois’ tax code, advocating a constitutional amendment to permit a graduated-rate income tax and proposing a new rate and bracket structure.
Pritzker’s plan which he labels a "fair tax" will encourage still more flight out of Illinois.
Here are some snips from a lengthy article.
Key Findings
Under the proposal, corporate income would be taxed at 10.45 percent, the third-highest rate in the nation, while pass-through business income would be taxed at a top rate of 9.45 percent, the fourth highest such rate nationwide.
The proposal diverges sharply from ideal—or even typical—income tax structure. It

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Projected US Budget Deficit Lie in Four Pictures

8 days ago

Nearly every year, the national debt rises more than the deficit. The picture is guaranteed to get worse.
Fantasyland Thinking
Please recall Trump’s preposterous claim that he will use tariffs to pay down the national debt.
That is truly Fantasyland thinking. In fact, it is so preposterous, one has to wonder if it is a purposeful lie. Then again, we are talking about Trump, so perhaps he does believe it.
Projections vs Reality
In nearly all cases, the increase in national debt is way higher than projected deficits. Why?
Because the projected deficit does not include all of the amount owed to the Social Security Trust Fund. That amount is called off-budget. But when the calendar year rolls over, the difference magically appears on the balance sheet as actual debt.
Actual and Projected Debt

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Trump Blackmails Germany With Sanction Threats Over Nord Stream 2

9 days ago

Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline project connecting Germany to Russia beneath the Baltic sea, hasTrump hopping mad.

Angela Merkel and her advisers, before a visit to the White House last spring, agreed on a priority: Avoid talk of Nord Stream 2. The German-Russian pipeline project had been a bone of contention between Berlin and Washington, which fears it will make Europe’s largest economy excessively reliant on Russian energy.
When the German chancellor took her seat at the Oval Office table, though, President Trump left her nowhere to hide. “Angela,” he said, according to people in the room, “you got to stop buying gas from Putin.”
The dispute is coming to a head, in a graphic example of how Russia’s estrangement from the West, far from bringing its members closer, is driving a wedge

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Illinois Law Would Ban Landlords from Reporting Illegal Alien Tenants

9 days ago

Under a proposed Illinois law, it will be a crime to report certain crimes. There are ways around this insanity.
State Sen. Christina Castro introduced a bill last session to prevent illegal alien reporting. It passed both houses but was vetoed by Rauner.
Rauner rightly concluded that such a bill would violate federal laws. I believe it would be unconstitutional to boot.
With a new governor Castro is back at it.

“This bill is to allow our immigrant communities to feel safe and not retaliated against based on what their immigration status is,” she said.
Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said the bill entirely blocks landlords from reporting illegal immigrants to the authorities.
“You are telling your landlords ‘no, you can’t say a word to anyone in law enforcement about that individual,’” he

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