Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 20, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyStruggling Millennials By almost every measure, the Millennial generation is in the worst shape of any demographic cohort as they start to enter early middle age. They have less wealth, less property, fewer children, less longevity and seniority in their jobs and have less set aside for retirement. They have been...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 15, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyHow Much Damage Really? At the risk of sounding like an economist—it all depends. Tariffs are meant to change behavior (one of the basic missions of a tax). In this case, the aim is twofold. One desired outcome is a change in the way China does business; but there is more. There is also a desire to change the hab...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 13, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyReally Time to Understand What a Tariff Really Is We all know what a tax is. It is the only certain thing other than death, or so we are told. We also know that the powers that be go out of their way to figure out new ways to describe that eventuality—it is a "fee" or "revenue enhancement" or a "tariff." It is in...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 8, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumers in the Cross Hairs There is no guarantee Trump will follow through with his tariff threats, but the actions can't be ruled out either. If the 25% tariff is imposed on this $40 billion worth of goods from China, the most immediately affected will be the U.S. consumer. The tariffs imposed in the past have...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 6, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyTrump Throws Wrench into China Trade Talks For the last few weeks, it has appeared there was real progress being made in terms of U.S.-China trade talks. Even those who have been negotiating for the U.S. have been sounding optimistic. It seemed there were still some tough last-minute details to be worked out, but...
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Global Strategic Intelligence Brief for May 3, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyBetter than ExpectedThe latest jobs report was certainly healthy—a little better than even the optimists had thought likely. The estimate had been that 196,000 jobs would be created, but the final tally was 263,000. The rate of unemployment also fell to yet another half century low of 3.6%. The details will be po...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for May 1, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumers Upbeat AgainThose fickle consumers are at it again. As the year started, there was a sense that consumers were starting to lose their enthusiasm and the various consumer confidence polls reinforced that assumption. All of the major ones were down, although not in the doldrums as compared to where they h...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 29, 2019

Short Items of Interest—US EconomyPersonal Income and Spending Data Today—In the wake of the better than expected GDP data issued last week, there will be considerable attention focused on a couple of data points that will be released today. One of these is personal income and the other is consumer spending. Thus far the rise in personal income has...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 26, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyUnexpected and Welcomed NewsAs discussed later in this issue, there had been a sense that economic growth was falling off at the end of last year and at the start of this one. The part that was not as clear was what has been happening lately. By most accounts, the beginning of the second quarter was strong, ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 24, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyNot All Housing Data is BleakEarlier in the week, the data on existing home sales was not all that encouraging and it was asserted that all those housing headwinds were taking their toll. Now comes the data on new home sales and it tells a far different story, with a gain of 4.5% as compared to the expected decli...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 22, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyReactions to Tariffs There is no more consistent and powerful law in economics than the law of unintended consequences. The fact is nobody really knows how people will react to a given change although there is generally some historical precedent that can be used as a reference. One example of this, as it pertains...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 19, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyNo Fed Retreat Likely Trump is not the first president to get irritated with the policies of the Federal Reserve although he has certainly taken his criticism further than any of his predecessors. The fact is politicians will always favor growth and will always be reluctant to endorse anything that slows growth d...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 17, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyAre Malls Dead? Of all the economic shifts taking place over the last few years, none seem to have such far-reaching implications as the death of the shopping mall. These shopping centers have been at the heart of economic development for years—essentially replacing the traditional main street. Now, they seem to ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 15, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyIndustrial Production Expected to Be Lower The Federal Reserve releases industrial production numbers this week. Most expect them to be a little lower than they have been. Last month marked the second consecutive month of decline. This would mark month No. 3. The decline has been very broad based on slowdowns in ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 12, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyFed Independence From the start, there was an opportunity for Trump to pack the Federal Reserve since there were six vacancies in a seven-person Board of Governors when he started his term. Outside of some back and forth over the fate of Janet Yellen, the choices made were all quite safe and traditional. Jerome P...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 10, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyFed Battle to Be Waged in Senate For the last year or so, the Trump approach to the Federal Reserve has been increasingly hostile. The initial appointments made to the Fed were pretty traditional and did not run into much opposition in the Senate. These included Jerome Powell as chair, Richard Clarida as vice cha...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 8, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyBudget Fight Looms In October, the two-year deal struck by Congress expires. That means Congress will need to develop a new budget by that point or watch the process revert to what it was two years ago. This would bring back the sequester, which would mandate a cut in the budget of 10% for the 2019 period. That w...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 5, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyJob Gains Back to Near Predicted Levels The economy added another 196,000 jobs in March—a slightly higher number than had been predicted, but close— and a far cry from the anemic total that set off rounds of worry and concern in February. The unemployment rate remained at 3.8%. That is on par with the lowest rate...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 3, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyPrivate Sector Job Gains? The official Labor Department numbers do not come out until Friday of this week, but there has been a release from ADP, the payroll company. This report is generally seen as fairly accurate, but there have been times when the data did not match up well with the official numbers. The ADP ...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for April 1, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyIt Is Not Time—Even Doves AgreeNeel Kashkari has been one of the most vocal of the regional Fed presidents on the subject of rates. He has been consistently dovish and has opposed all of the rate cuts that have taken place thus far despite eventually going along with some of the decisions. He is not a voting memb...
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