Macro Briefing: 19 February 2018

Russia issues warning to US on Syrian conflict: Bloomberg
Will tax cuts help GOP retain control of Congress in elections this fall? Reuters
US consumer sentiment jumps to 2nd highest level in 14 years: MarketWatch
Import prices for US up more than forecast in January: WSJ
Are commodities a worthwhile hedge against inflation? MarketWatch
Markets may be overestimating the risk of higher inflation: Nataxis
US economic growth coupled with a rising deficit is troubling: FiveThirtyEight

Book Bits | 17 February 2018

The Divide: Global Inequality from Conquest to Free Markets
Summary via publisher (W. W. Norton)
By Jason Hickel
Global inequality doesn’t just exist; it has been created. More than four billion people—some 60 percent of humanity—live in debilitating poverty, on less than $5 per day. The standard narrative tells us this crisis is a natural phenomenon, having to do with things like climate and geography and culture. It tells us that all we have to do is give a bit of aid here and there to help poor countries up the development ladder. It insists that if poor countries would only adopt the right institutions and economic policies, they could overcome their disadvantages and join the ranks of the rich world. Anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that this story ignores the broader political forces at play.
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Macro Briefing: 16 February 2018

Global stocks on track for best weekly gain since 2011: Reuters
US industrial production slips in Jan, first slide in 5 months: MarketWatch
US producer prices rise in Jan — another sign of firming inflation: WSJ
Jobless claims in US rise after touching a near-45-year low: Reuters
NY Fed manufacturing index dips modestly in Feb: RTT
Philly Fed index points to firmer growth for manufacturing in Feb: RTT
Builder confidence in US remained high in Feb: HousingWire
History suggests caution for stocks when rates and inflation rise: NY Times
A study of financial advisors’ personal investing habits reveal poor decisions: SSRN
2-year Treasury yield edges up to 2.19%, highest since 2008:

US Retail Spending Cools As Inflation Edges Higher

The US economic profile hit some turbulence in yesterday’s updates on retail sales and consumer inflation in January. The surprisingly soft spending data suggest that the macro trend has moderated in the kickoff to 2018 while pricing pressure can no longer be counted on to remain unusually low. Reviewing the latest reports in terms of annual changes raises fresh concerns for the months ahead, but it’s still premature read the updates as clear warning signs for the economy.
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Macro Briefing: 15 February 2018

Shooting at Florida high school claims 17 victims: Sun Sentinel
S. Africa’s president resigns, leaving a challenge for successor: Bloomberg
US consumer inflation up more than expected in January: Reuters
US retail spending was broadly lower in January: USA Today
Weak retail sales and higher inflation may overstate macro headwinds: Bloomberg
BofA Merrill Lynch survey: 70% of fund managers see trouble ahead: MarketWatch
Dec US business inventories increased more than expected: MarketWatch
Businesses’ Year-Ahead Inflation Expectations Hold Steady: Atlanta Fed
Revised data shows Eurozone Q4 GDP growth was strong at 0.6%: RTT
GDPNow estimate for US Q1 growth decelerates to 3.2%: Atlanta Fed

Treasury Market’s Inflation Outlook Dips From Four-Year High

The Treasury’s market’s implied inflation forecast last week reached the highest level since 2014, reflecting growing concern that pricing pressure is heating up. But the reflation trade has cooled this week, providing support for some analysts who argue that inflation fears are exaggerated. A reality check is due to arrive in today’s January update on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
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Macro Briefing: 14 February 2018

US forces killed dozens of Russian mercenaries in Syria last week: Bloomberg
US intelligence agencies: Russia may interfere in Nov election: Reuters
Cleveland Fed’s Mester could be the Fed’s next vice chair: WSJ
US small business optimism rose more than forecast in Jan: Bloomberg
Is Wall Street’s inflation fear overblown? MarketWatch
Japan’s current expansion is the longest since the 1980s: Reuters
California is booming, but is also preparing for the next recession: NY Times
Weak recovery due to low productivity growth, falling labor participation: SF Fed