Jeffrey P. Snider

Lackluster Trade

US imports rose 9% year-over-year (NSA) in March 2017, after being flat in February and up 12% in January. For the quarter overall, imports rose 7.3%, a rate that is slightly more than the 2013-14 comparison. The difference, however, is simply the price of oil. Removing petroleum, imports rose instead 6.3% in March and just…

Itching To, But Not In A Rush

Back in March 2015, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policymaking body of the Federal Reserve, had a problem. In reality at that particular time they had a whole range of problems, but one in particular would set them on their current course. Their overarching task as they define it is to create or…

Auto Pressure Ramps Up

The Los Angeles Times today asked the question only the mainstream would ask. “Wages are growing and surveys show consumer confidence is high. So why are motor vehicle sales taking a hit?” Indeed, the results reported earlier by the auto sector were the kind of sobering figures that might make any optimist wonder. Across the…

The Irony of Stable Inflation

In February 2000, the FOMC quietly switched from the CPI to the PCE Deflator as its standard for inflation measurement. There were various technical reasons for doing so, including the CPI’s employment of a geometric mean basis (which was in 2015 finally altered to a Constant Elasticity of Substitution formula). But it was one phrase…

Case Study In Depression And Denial

Back on March 10, the New York Fed’s attempt at real-time GDP forecasting predicted that the Q1 2017 estimate would be 3.2%. That would have qualified as another decent quarter, the second out of the past three and somewhat in keeping with “reflation.” As we know today, the advance figure calculated by the Commerce Department…

This Is Not Expansion

Back in October, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released GDP figures that suggested what those behind “reflation” had hoped. After a near miss to start 2016, the economy had shaken off the effects of “transitory” weakness, mainly manufacturing and oil, poised to perform in a manner consistent with monetary policy rhetoric. The Federal Reserve had…

Durable Goods Grow Indicating Lack of Growth

Total new orders for durable goods, including orders for new transportation equipment, were estimated to have been $238.7 billion in March 2017 on a seasonally-adjusted basis. That is 9% better than the most recent low point figured for June last year. It remains substantially less than the record high reached in July 2014, though an…

Maybe A Bit More Complex Still?

One of the defining characteristics of the 2011 crisis was dollar swaps. Almost all attention was paid to PIIGS and focus on the European banks holding their debt, as well as the very real possibility that all would break up the euro. Behind all that was the same dollar troubles as in 2008, and for…