Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 10, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyPosition Unchanged on China? It has been more than a little challenging to determine just where the talks with China might be. Both nations have adopted a fairly hard-line approach to the negotiations, but that is not unusual given what is at stake. The question is whether any part of this deal is set in stone or...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 7, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyJob Numbers About as Expected The latest employment data was not much of a shock, which is just fine for this time of year. The level of unemployment has remained where it was at 3.7%, although there were slightly fewer jobs added than had been expected. The assessment prior to this report was that some 200,000 w...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 5, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyTrade Challenges Await New Year It seems likely President Trump will have several major battles on his hands over trade. After a bit of a rally earlier in the week, the global markets have tumbled again in response to renewed concerns regarding trade. After the initial enthusiasm over comments by Trump and Direct...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 3, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyChina Makes First MoveIt has not come as a great shock, but it seems that China has been the first to blink in the trade war. The concession made by China has to do with removing some of the barriers to U.S. car imports. This was not seen as one of the most important areas of dispute between the U.S. and China, h...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 30, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyNAFTA Is Dead—Long Live NAFTA The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement has been signed by the respective leaders of the three nations, but that may be the easier of the battles to wage. Now the agreement has to be approved by the legislatures of the three signatory nations. That is expected to be an uphill battle. ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 28, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyEconomic Indicators Flashing Yellow Of course there are a wide variety of indicators to choose from and no two economists will look at exactly the same ones, but some of the more widely used indicators are not as robust as they were even a few months ago. There has been talk of a recession in 2019 or 2020 dependi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMixed Start to Retail Season Black Friday has come and gone. Then there is Cyber Monday to consider. At one time, the only one of these that really mattered was that fabled Friday after Thanksgiving when the retailers pulled out all the stops to get that first consumer dollar. Now, we are dealing with what many a...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 19, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyEmerging Crisis in Inventory Levels What do you get when you combine a growing economy and all manner of trade restrictions and tariffs? The most immediate problem is an inventory shortage. That has started to affect a whole slew of manufacturers in a wide variety of sectors. The problem is they can't get the rep...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 16, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyIndustrial Production Is Up For the fifth straight month, the rate of industrial production has risen. It has been due to the surge in manufacturing activity. The category of industrial production is a three-legged stool that includes activity in the mining sector as well as utility activity. There was little gro...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 14, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyInflation Surges Due to Gas Prices The pace of consumer price hikes accelerated last month. The consumer is now looking at higher gas prices for the first time in a while. Prices have been going up from time to time in the last few years, but this is the first time these prices have been accelerating over a signi...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 12, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyDollar Surges As much as the U.S. would like to see imports decline and exports surge ahead that will be hard to pull off as long as the dollar keeps getting stronger. The dollar has been hitting highs not seen in 18 months. That is making it very hard on exporters at the same time it makes imports easier to sell...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 9, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyWhy Midterms Likely Mean a Booming Retail Season There are multiple reasons why this holiday retail season is likely to be great, but there is one key reason why it could blow the door off of records. First, let's state the obvious reasons why this year's retail season could be a record-breaker:GDP trending near ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 7, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyThe New Political Reality It looks quite a bit like the old political reality, but with some new wrinkles that will play a bigger role as 2020 gets closer. By now, you have heard the major stories—the Senate is more firmly in the hands of the GOP with the loss of three Democratic incumbents. The House is now in t...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 5, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyHiring Is Up and so Are Wages The latest jobs report showed some movement as far as wages are concerned. This has been long overdue. It is not the rocket speed some had feared and there is still relatively little pressure on wage inflation, but a least there are gains considered near normal. The fact is there are...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for November 2, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyLabor ReportThere were some aspects of the latest labor report that were eagerly awaited. For the most part, the news has been better than many had expected. The wage hike most had been expecting did indeed materialize with a 3.1% annual rate. That is as good as has been seen since the start of the recession. The...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 31, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumer Confidence at 18-Year High The latest numbers from the Conference Board are out and are quite a surprise. They might not be all that indicative of the real mood of the U.S. consumer, but they are astonishing. By now, readers of this newsletter know I do not place much stock in consumer confidence numbers...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 30, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyInflation Remains Tepid There are many ways to measure inflation. Some are more variable than others. Economists are often dinged for the way they treat core inflation numbers. We routinely ignore the price of fuel and food as these can be very volatile month to month. It's hard to make accurate assessments of ho...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for Oct. 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumer Sentiment Up but Not as High as BeforeThe level of consumer confidence has been elevated all year. This is better than it being lower than usual, but given that consumer confidence surveys can be notoriously fickle it is hard to really understand what they are indicating. This month, the level of confide...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 25, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyGovernment Spending Pushes Economy Forward Specifically, it has been the rise in defense spending that has done the propelling. The increase was due to an increase in the purchase of aircraft and aircraft parts. This is one of the largest gains in years and has been attributed to the heavy use of air power in mos...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for October 24, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyU.S. Selling Fewer Treasuries This hardly qualifies as a crisis yet, but it bears watching. The share of foreign investment in U.S. bonds has rarely been this low. It stands at 41%. Even as recently as two years ago, the percentage was 50%. The yields for U.S. treasuries have been generally down—the 10-year bond ...
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