Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 4, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMomentum Shift There is more evidence that 2019 will not be the repeat of 2018 that many had been hoping for. The latest edition of the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell sharply to 54.1. This was after a reading of 59.3 in November. A five-point loss is not common and comes as a result of far weaker export nu...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for January 2, 2019

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyTariffs and ExemptionsFrom the very beginning, there has been a certain amount of confusion accompanying the steel and aluminum tariffs. The fact is U.S. steel and aluminum makers have been facing severe competitive pressures over the years from nations like China and Russia that openly subsidize and support thei...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 28, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyConsumer Debt There are many aspects of the recent economic rebound that are positive and have contributed to optimism regarding the coming year, but there are also some potential land mine issues. One of the most threatening is debt. The level of consumer debt is back to where it once was—not a good thing. The c...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 26, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyStrong Retail Numbers The expectations for this year's retail season were pretty high at the start. There had been a pattern set already with strong back-to-school numbers and then a strong Halloween. The November numbers looked good, but there was some concern retailers were limiting themselves with another year...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 21, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyThird Quarter GDP Down a Bit The latest revision of the third quarter data is a little less than anticipated. The estimate was that growth was at 3.5%. Now it seems that consumers were not quite as active as originally thought and the actual number (for now) is 3.4%. There will be more revisions of the Q3 numbers...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 19, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMore Backpedaling on the Wall The latest twists and turns over the border wall are somewhat predictable given the number of times this situation has arisen already. Those lines in the sand are blurring again. It looks like it is time for another acrimonious compromise. Trump spokespeople have indicated the $5 bil...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 17, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyReaction From State and Local Level It has taken a while, but the various stimulus efforts that had been undertaken at the start of the year have finally begun to pay off for the states and cities. They have seen some additional revenue coming in as result of the better business atmosphere and more consistent tax...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 14, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyRethinking Fed Strategy There has not been a new position staked out by the Fed at this point. However, economists are busy reading the tea leaves and consulting their Runes as they look ahead to 2019 and what Fed policy might look like. The expectation earlier this year was that 2019 would look a lot like 2018 w...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for December 12, 2018

Short Items of Interest—U.S. EconomyMassive Farm Bill Set to Pass At varying points over the last couple of years, it seemed the Farm Bill would never make it through Congress despite the fact it is critical to the survival of the agricultural sector in the U.S. This is the legislation that authorizes the myriad of subsidies and assistance programs...
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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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