Best wishes to all the readers of The Capital Spectator this Christmas!
Just in time for Christmas , too. Oh, well. No one ever said Mr. Market was a slave to holiday planning.
Trump: second in command at Defense Dept is acting sec. as of Jan 1: Politico
US gov’t shutdown could stretch into January: WSJ
Treasury Sec. calls bankers, organizes ‘plunge protection team’: Reuters
Indonesia focuses on search for survivors after deadly tsunami: CBS
White House appears to soften demand for $5 bill for border wall: USA Today
Japan’s birth rate falls to record low in 2018: CNN
US GDP growth for Q3 revised down fractionally to 3.4%: WSJ
US durable goods rebounded modestly in Nov after sharp fall: CNBC
Consumer spending in US posted solid increase in Nov: Reuters
Kansas City Fed Mfg Index eased in Dec: KC Fed
Consumer sentiment for US unexpectedly increases in Dec: Bloomberg
As 2018’s close nears, it’s time again to look back at some of the year’s highlights from The Capital Spectator’s weekly Book Bits column. The focus each week is on new titles that span all things money, investing and economics, along with a touch of business and politics thrown in for good measure. As per tradition, your editor will choose just ten books from the year’s columns — a select group that, for one reason or another, are worth a second look. We’ll begin with five books from 2018’s archive, with the balance listed next week. Happy reading!
● Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
By Adam Tooze
Review via The Economist
Four big themes emerge from Mr Tooze’s account of the post-2008 era. The first was the immediate post-crisis response, in which the banks were rescued and both the monetary and fiscal taps were loosened. The second was the euro-zone crisis, which hit Greece and Ireland hardest, but also affected Portugal, Italy and Spain. The third was the shift in the developed world after 2010 to a more austere fiscal policy. The fourth was the rise of populist politics in Europe and America.
It’s always difficult to know exactly why the stock market is falling (or if a decline is even based on a reasonable interpretation of macro events). But it’s a safe bet that rising investor anxiety over the outlook for the US economy is a contributing factor in the recent slide. It’s debatable if the haircut is overdone, although it’s clear that an attitude adjustment on US economic prospects is front and center in the crowd’s thinking.
Defense Sec. Mattis resigns, citing conflict with Trump’s policies: Reuters
House passes stopgap bill with border-wall money, raising shutdown risk: The Hill
US planned withdrawal from Syria reshuffles Mideast geopolitics: NY Times
Asian stocks fall on Friday after Wall Street’s plunge: MW
US Leading Economic Index ticked up in Nov but signals slower growth ahead: CB
Philly Fed Mfg Index falls to lowest level in over 2 years: MW
US jobless claims edge higher but remain near 49-year low: CNBC
US stock mkt volatility (VIX Index) set for biggest annual surge in 2018: Bloomberg
The Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates yesterday emboldened the Treasury market to reprice inflation expectations to the downside. The softer outlook on pricing pressure follows several months of lower inflation forecasts, based on the yield spreads on nominally priced government bonds less their inflation-indexed counterparts. If recent history is a guide, the crowd looks set to cut inflation estimates further in the weeks ahead and thereby raise questions about the wisdom of monetary policy.
Trump administration says US troops are being withdrawn from Syria: BBC
Trump’s withdrawal from Syria ignores advice from advisers: Reuters
UK and Europe preparing for no-deal Brexit in March: CNBC
US population grew at slowest pace in over 80 years: NY Times
Fed raises rates despites signs of softer US growth: CNN
US and foreign stock markets fall sharply after Fed rate hike: Bloomberg
Foreign policy experts: cyber attack on US is a high risk for 2019: CFR
Fed trims 2019 US GDP growth forecast to median +2.3%: Federal Reserve
Current account deficit for US widened in Q3, representing 2.4% of GDP: MW
US existing home sales in Nov post biggest annual decline in over 7 years: WSJ
China’s gov’t aid to Latin America dwarfs US support: GZeroMedia
The return of risk-off trading in late-2018 has revived demand for the safe haven of bonds, but only short-term maturities are posting year-to-date gains, based on a set of exchange-traded funds covering US fixed-income markets.