Macro Briefing: 27 December 2018

Trump, visiting troops in Iraq, defends US withdrawal from Syria: Fox
US delegation will travel to Beijing in Jan for trade talks: SCMP
Trump holds firm on demanding funding for border wall: The Hill
World stocks bounce from 22-month lower after powerful rally on Wall St: Reuters
Day 6 for gov’t shutdown, with no end in sight: Bloomberg
Will a long gov’t shutdown rattle markets and business sentiment? WSJ
US home price growth continued to slow in Oct: HousingWire
Richmond Fed mfg index fell sharply in Dec: Bond Buyer
10yr-2yr Treasury yield spread edges up to Dec high — 20 basis points:

Macro Briefing: 26 December 2018

US-led military coalition announces Syria strikes launched last week: The Hill
Asian stocks continue to fall on Wednesday: Reuters
Trump’s frustation rising with Mnuchin after botched effort to calm markets: CNN
US holiday sales post strongest gain in six years: WSJ
Oil prices rebound after falling to lowest level in 1-1/2 years: CNBC
A bear market for US stocks appears to be growling: Bloomberg
3mo Nat’l Activity Index ticks down in Nov to still-healthy +0.12: Chicago Fed

Macro Briefing: 24 December 2018

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

Best of Book Bits 2018 (Part I)

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.
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US Business Cycle Risk Report | 21 December 2018

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.
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Macro Briefing: 21 December 2018

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