Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 5, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Can You Say Tight Labor Market? The unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest point since the days of the Vietnam War. Back in 1969, the rate was very low in part due to all the men who had been drafted into the military, but that is not a factor this time. Even though the number of new hires was down a bit fro...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 4, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Jobless Claims Fall Whenever there is a major natural disaster, the expectation is there will be a series of economic ripples. The first of these will be a surge in the number of people claiming unemployment since many will lose their jobs—either temporarily or permanently. The arrival of Hurricane Florence was ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 3, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy ISM Reports Record Numbers for Service Sector The latest numbers for the manufacturing side have been down a little, but they are up quite dramatically in the service sector with a reading of 61.6. That is higher than the index has been since 2008, but it is not likely this will be repeated in the next month's d...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 2, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Next Up?—China Now that the U.S. has moved to a new version of NAFTA, the attention of the trade deal has shifted to China. It is expected the same techniques will be applied—a mixture of dire threat and a way to salvage the relationship. The U.S. has started to run out of ways to punish China as there have been...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 1, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy PMI Backs Down a Bit The latest data from the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slowed a little from the previous record-setting month. It was nearly inevitable this would be the case as there had been some factors driving last month's numbers that were clearly ephemeral. The threat of tariffs and trade wars conv...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 28, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Core Inflation Remains Near Fed Target For the last few years, the Fed has been trying to coax the inflation rate up to around 2%. This has traditionally been seen as the preferred level for inflation measured as core. It is high enough to avoid the stagnation of deflation and not high enough to justify Fed inte...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 27, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Technology at Heart of Trade Dispute With China There are many trade issues that separate the U.S. from China, but one festering away for many years is the tendency on the part of the Chinese to steal technology from U.S. companies in any way they can. Sometimes, this is espionage and outright subterfuge. In oth...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Fed Raises Rates Today For the eighth time since 2015, the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates. Absolutely nobody will be the least surprised. This has been a rate hike trumpeted and planned for all year. It will mean there will be far more interest in the press conference that follows the decision than the...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 25, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Replacing China One of the more immediate questions is whether the U.S. can replace what it buys from China. The deficit the U.S. runs with China is due almost entirely to the voracious demand for consumer goods manufactured in China. Other nations tend to sell the U.S. commodities and raw materials, but China f...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 24, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy What Is Magic About 2%? It has long been a truism that central banks sought to maintain an inflation rate of 2%. It was the Goldilocks number in that it was considered "just right"—not high enough to signal real inflation that threatens to get out of hand and not low enough that it creates concerns about deflati...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 21, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Jobless Claims Fall Again The rate of new jobless claims has fallen to a low not seen since 1969. This is an indication of a very tight job market and an indication that most companies have engaged in the kind of "right sizing" over the last few years. They have the staff they need and don't yet see the need to ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 20, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy The End of the Automotive Run? For the past couple of years, there has been a consistent assertion that the end of the automobile bull market was nigh. The consumer would surely stop buying these vehicles as the headwinds became more intense. This prediction has been proven inaccurate several times now. The late...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 18, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Where Has Populism Come From This is a subject that will warrant a lot more investigation and consideration, but for now we will just broach the subject. It has been assumed that the lurch towards populism and nationalism that has figured in the U.S. and Europe has its roots in the financial crisis of the last d...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 17, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy So Much for the Negotiations In theory, the talks had started back up and there had been murmurs from both Washington and Beijing that something might develop to end the trade war. Now, there is the latest onslaught of tweeted threats and vows to extend the tariff attack against China and the swift response from...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 14, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy August Labor Report Highlights The August labor report was released Sept. 14. Some of you have seen the headlines showing 201,000 jobs created in the month and a rise in wages by 2.9%—which is strong. Those were the highlights, but there's a lot of additional detail to look through. The highlight was likely the ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 13, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Angst Setting In Thus far, the U.S. is not quite as bad as the Germans when it comes to questioning a good run. Germans remain the king of angst as they seem devoted to looking for the potential downside of every situation. The U.S. economy is doing pretty well according to the latest data from the Fed's Beige B...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 12, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Better News for Households The latest census data shows that median household income rose by 1.8% this past year. That brings the total to $61,372. At the same time, the rate of poverty in the U.S. fell by 0.4%. This income level is a record high and is due in large part to the fact that jobless totals are so lo...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 11, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy A Fed Without Ammunition There are many reasons the central bank chooses to hike rates. Controlling inflation is at the top of that list, but it isn't always the most important. The critics of the Federal Reserve (including Trump) have tended to focus on the short-term impact of these higher rates as they will s...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 7, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Service Sector Growth and Angst The latest survey of the service community by the Institute for Supply Management is more than a little encouraging with numbers that rival those that came out in the manufacturing version. They went from 55.7 to 58.5. That would seem to suggest all was well within these communiti...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for September 6, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. Economy Rise in Productivity Later in this issue, there is an article that goes into the issue of why there has not been much of a wage hike given that there is a very low unemployment rate. It has been noted in the past that a low rate usually translates into higher wages, but not this time. One of the reasons for the ...
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