Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Night Futures

by Bill McBride on 9/14/2014 09:05:00 PM

This will be interesting to watch on Tuesday from the WSJ: Ties to Scotland Bring Debate to U.S.

With Scotland set to vote Thursday on whether to end a 307-year-old union with the U.K., Scottish-Americans and Scottish expatriates across the U.S. also are watching—and debating—a campaign that polls suggest is too close to call.
A survey released late Saturday by ICM Research for the Telegraph newspaper put support for independence at 49% of those surveyed with 42% against. Two other surveys put support for the union at 47% in both, versus 43% or 41% and a survey by Panelbase for the Sunday Times also put the union camp slightly ahead.
Schedule for Week of September 14th
FOMC Preview: More Tapering

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P futures are down 7 and DOW futures are down 50 (fair value).

Oil prices were down over the last week with WTI futures at $90.96 per barrel and Brent at $96.42 per barrel.  A year ago, WTI was at $108, and Brent was at $113 - so prices are down 15%+ year-over-year.

Below is a graph from for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are around $3.39 per gallon (down almost 15 cents from a year ago).  If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.

Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by

FOMC Preview: More Tapering

by Bill McBride on 9/14/2014 08:15:00 AM

The FOMC will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. The FOMC statement will be released Wednesday at 2:00 PM ET.  Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference at 2:30 PM.

What will know for this meeting:
• The FOMC will not raise rates. D'oh!

• The FOMC will reduce asset purchases (aka QE3) by $10 billion to $15 billion for the month of October. Note: the FOMC is expected to end QE3 at the October 29th meeting, so the October purchases are likely the final $15 billion for QE3.

• During the press conference, Dr. Yellen will break into a happy dance when asked about her comment in June that inflation data was "noisy". In June she said:

"I think recent readings on CPI index have been a bit on the high side but I think the data we're seeing is noisy. Broadly speaking inflation is evolving in line with the committee's expectations."
OK, no dance, but Yellen was correct.

What we don't know for this meeting:
• What changes the FOMC will make to the statement. Here is the July statement.  It is possible the sentence about not raising rates for a "considerable time" after the end of QE3 will be modified or removed. Here is the sentence:
"The Committee continues to anticipate, based on its assessment of these factors, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored."
Obviously this sentence will have to be changed soon, since the asset purchase program is expected to end next month.

• Will the FOMC or Dr. Yellen indicate the first rate hike might happen before mid-year 2015? In March, Yellen said:
"[T]he language that we used in the statement is considerable period. So I, you know, this is the kind of term it’s hard to define. But, you know, probably means something on the order of around six months, that type of thing.”
My guess is Yellen will clearly state the first rate hike will not happen for some time, and that the rate hike will be data dependent.

It will also be interesting to see the changes to the FOMC projections.  For review, here are the previous projections.   GDP bounced back sharply in Q2, and is looking solid in Q3, but Q1 was very weak.  It is possible GDP projections for 2014 will be increased slightly.

GDP projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents
Change in Real GDP1201420152016
June 2014 Meeting Projections2.1 to 2.33.0 to 3.22.5 to 3.0
Mar 2014 Meeting Projections2.8 to 3.03.0 to 3.22.5 to 3.0
1 Projections of change in real GDP and inflation are from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated.

The unemployment rate was at 6.1% in August, so the unemployment rate projection for Q4 2014 will probably be lowered slightly. 

Unemployment projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents
Unemployment Rate2201420152016
June 2014 Meeting Projections6.0 to 6.15.4 to 5.75.1 to 5.5
Mar 2014 Meeting Projections6.1 to 6.35.6 to 5.95.2 to 5.6
2 Projections for the unemployment rate are for the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year indicated.

As of July, PCE inflation was up 1.6% from July 2013, and core inflation was up 1.5%.   Both PCE and core PCE inflation projections will probably be unchanged and will still be below the FOMC's 2% target. 

Inflation projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents
PCE Inflation1201420152016
June 2014 Meeting Projections1.5 to 1.71.5 to 2.01.6 to 2.0
Mar 2014 Meeting Projections1.5 to 1.61.5 to 2.01.7 to 2.0

Here are the FOMC's recent core inflation projections:

Core Inflation projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents
Core Inflation1201420152016
June 2014 Meeting Projections1.5 to 1.61.6 to 2.01.7 to 2.0
Mar 2014 Meeting Projections1.4 to 1.61.7 to 2.01.8 to 2.0

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Schedule for Week of September 14th

by Bill McBride on 9/13/2014 01:01:00 PM

The key economic report this week is August housing starts on Thursday.

For manufacturing, the August Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization report, and the September NY Fed (Empire State) and Philly Fed manufacturing surveys, will be released this week. 

For prices, PPI will be released Tuesday, and CPI on Wednesday.

The FOMC meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the FOMC is expected to taper QE3 asset purchases another $10 billion per month at this meeting.

Also the BLS will release the 2014 preliminary employment Benchmark Revision, and the Fed will release the Q2 Flow of Funds report on Thursday.

----- Monday, September 15th -----

8:30 AM: NY Fed Empire Manufacturing Survey for September. The consensus is for a reading of 16.0, up from 14.7 in August (above zero is expansion).

Industrial Production 9:15 AM: The Fed will release Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for August.

This graph shows industrial production since 1967.

The consensus is for a 0.3% increase in Industrial Production, and for Capacity Utilization to increase to 79.3%.

----- Tuesday, September 16th -----

8:30 AM: The Producer Price Index for August from the BLS. The consensus is for a 0.1% increase in prices, and a 0.1% increase in core PPI.

----- Wednesday, September 17th -----

7:00 AM: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

8:30 AM: Consumer Price Index for August. The consensus is for no change in CPI in August and for core CPI to increase 0.2%.

10:00 AM: The September NAHB homebuilder survey. The consensus is for a reading of 56, up from 55 in August.  Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

2:00 PM: FOMC Meeting Announcement.  The FOMC is expected to reduce monthly QE3 asset purchases from $25 billion per month to $15 billion per month at this meeting.

2:00 PM: FOMC Forecasts This will include the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants' projections of the appropriate target federal funds rate along with the quarterly economic projections.

2:30 PM: Fed Chair Janet Yellen holds a press briefing following the FOMC announcement.

----- Thursday, September 18th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for claims to decrease to 305 thousand from 315 thousand.

Total Housing Starts and Single Family Housing Starts8:30 AM: Housing Starts for August.

Total housing starts were at 1.093 million (SAAR) in July. Single family starts were at 656 thousand SAAR in July.

The consensus is for total housing starts to decrease to 1.040 million (SAAR) in August.

8:45 AM: Speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, The Importance of Asset Building for Low and Middle Income Households, At the Corporation for Enterprise Development's 2014 Assets Learning Conference, Washington, D.C. (via prerecorded video)

10:00 AM: the Philly Fed manufacturing survey for September. The consensus is for a reading of 22.0, down from 28.0 last month (above zero indicates expansion).

10:00 AM: 2014 Current Employment Statistics (CES) Preliminary Benchmark Revision. From the BLS:
"Each year, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. ... The final benchmark revision will be issued with the publication of the January 2015 Employment Situation news release in February."
12:00 PM: Q2 Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States from the Federal Reserve.

----- Friday, September 19th -----

10:00 AM: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) for August 2014

Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 435 Institutions

by Bill McBride on 9/13/2014 08:11:00 AM

This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.

Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Sept 12, 2014.

Changes and comments from surferdude808:

Two mergers lowered the Unofficial Problem Bank List to 435 institutions with assets of $137.5 billion. A year ago, the list held 700 institutions with assets of $246 billion. Finding their way off the list by finding a merger partner were United Central Bank, Garland, TX ($1.3 billion) and Idaho Banking Company, Boise, ID ($96 million). Idaho Banking company had also been operating under a Prompt Corrective Action order since February 2011. Next Friday we expect for the OCC to provide an update on its enforcement action activities.
CR Note: The first unofficial problem bank list was published in August 2009 with 389 institutions. The list peaked at 1,002 institutions on June 10, 2011, and is now down to 435.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Housing: "Price cuts are back"

by Bill McBride on 9/12/2014 06:56:00 PM

From Tim Logan and Andrew Khouri at the LA Times: Housing price cuts point to a shift in Southland market

The latest sign that buyers are gaining leverage in Southern California's housing market: Price cuts are back.

The number of homes with reduced asking prices has risen sharply in recent months ... In Orange County, the region's priciest market, about one-third of sellers have been forced to cut prices, according to data from real estate firm Redfin. ...

These trends have been building all year. But home sellers -- often the last to see market shifts -- are finally getting the message, said Paul Reid, a Redfin agent in Temecula.

"A lot of what we've seen over the last six or eight weeks is people lowering their prices to get buyers in the door," Reid said.
Inventory has increased significantly in a number of markets, after bottoming in 2013.  And more inventory means slower price increases (maybe even price declines in some markets).  Yet many sellers have listed their homes assuming the double digit price increases would continue.  The result: no buyers and price cuts.

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