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December 9, 2013
"To sit and watch this is devastating."
The week in review...
Detroit: no sacred cows A Federal bankruptcy judge ruled that the city could indeed declare bankruptcy—and that city pensions, despite Michigan’s state constitution, “…are not entitled to any heightened protection in a municipal bankruptcy”. That added to the city’s considerable misery; the impact on bondholders was less clear. The judgment was an abject lesson for the state of Illinois, where the gap between public pension obligations and funding is notoriously wide; its state legislature voted to raise its retirement age and limit cost-of-living increases.
Jobs and spending: upbeat Payrolls rose 203k in Nov, beating estimates, for the strongest back-to-back gain since Feb-Mar 2013 and the unemployment rate fell to 7%, a five-year low. Hourly earnings were up 2% year-on-year. Oct’s 0.3% month-on-month rise in consumer spending also beat forecasts.
Growth: betting on recovery The US achieved its healthy 3.6% annualized GDP growth rate for 3Q2013 in part through a big increase in inventory building – the largest since early 1998, more than making up for slower consumer spending, and consistent with the overall improvement in business optimism shown in recent surveys of purchasing managers. This level of stockpiling is a commitment of corporate capital that can pay off if capital spending and consumption improve – a strong vote of confidence in the future.
India: Less is better With gold imports down due to three tax increases on imports this year alone, the current account deficit dipped to the lowest level since 2010. The 12% decline of the rupee so far in 2013 has also helped exports, which rose three months in a row this past quarter. The manufacturing sector also saw improvement, with early figures for November’s manufacturing PMI indicating expansion for the first time since July, driven by increased domestic orders.
China: Trade milestone For the first time, China’s currency surpassed the euro as the second most used currency in global trade finance, with an 8.66% share of letters of credit and collections in Oct, against 6.64% for the euro. Quite a change from Jan 2012, when the figures were 1.89% and 7.87%, respectively. Increased use of the yuan in global trade is a stated goal for the country’s economy.
UK: Moving target Though the Bank of England kept its key interest rate at 0.5% and its bond-purchase program at £375 bn ($613 bn), it dialed back its banking-support program to aim the stimulus away from home loans due to fears of a developing housing market bubble. But improvements are also visible outside the housing market; the semi-official Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) raised its forecast for growth for 2013 to 1.4% from 0.6%, and for 2014 to 2.4% from 1.8%.
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Market News International, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication)
Signs of the times:
Japanese Companies Rein in Spending – Wall Street Journal
China's Factory Activity Grows in November Wall Street Journal
Brazil Economy Shrinks More Than Forecast on Investment – Reuters
Companies Boost U.S. Payrolls by Most in a Year – Bloomberg
...And the week ahead:
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CALENDAR: December 8 – December 14
Europe, UK, Africa, Mideast
Asia Ex Japan & Pac Rim
Brazil: factory utilization
Japan: GDP, bank lending, current account
China: consumer prices
New Zealand: manufacturing sales
Canada: housing starts
Mexico: consumer prices
Eurozone: investor confidence
Germany: trade balance, industrial production
Switzerland: retail sales, unemployment rate
UK: home prices
Japan: Economy watchers current index, large manufacturing conditions
India: trade balance
Taiwan: trade balance
Philippines: industrial production
Australia: home loans, business confidence
Small business optimism, wholesale inventories, weekly retail sales, job openings and labor turnover (JOLTS)
France: industrial production
Italy: GDP, industrial production
Norway: consumer prices, producer prices
UK: industrial production, manufacturing production, trade balance
Japan: Household confidence, core machinery orders, corporate goods prices
China: industrial production, fixed asset investment, retail sales
South Korea: producer prices, unemployment rate, M2 money supply
Mortgage applications, Federal budget
Uruguay: industrial production
Germany: consumer prices
France: current account
South Africa: consumer prices
India: M3 money supply
Australia: unemployment rate, employment change, participation rate
New Zealand: food prices, interest rate decision
Initial jobless claims, retail sales, import & export prices, business sales & inventories, Fed balance sheet, money supply
Canada: new house prices, capacity utilization
Mexico: industrial production
Brazil: retail sales
Peru: interest rate decision
Eurozone: industrial production
France: consumer prices
Russia: trade balance
India: consumer prices, industrial production, manufacturing output
Indonesia: interest rate decision
Singapore: unemployment rate
Argentina: consumer prices
Venezuela: industrial production, retail sales
Eurozone: employment change
Spain: consumer prices
Switzerland: producer prices
Russia: government budget
India: bank loan growth
Singapore: retail sales
The Bank of England (BoE) is the central bank of the UK.
Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMI) measure the manufacturing and services sectors in an economy, based on survey data collected from a representative panel of manufacturing and services firms. PMI greater than 50 indicated economic expansion; below 50, contraction.
Quantitative easing (QE) refers to a monetary policy implemented by a central bank in which it increases the excess reserves of the banking system through the direct purchase of debt securities.
Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") is an economic statistic which measures the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.
The opinions and views expressed herein are not intended to be relied upon as a prediction or forecast of actual future events or performance, or a guarantee of future results, or investment advice.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal.
Foreign securities are subject to the additional risks of fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in political and economic conditions, foreign taxation, and differences in auditing and financial standards. These risks are magnified in the case of investments in emerging markets.
Fixed income securities are subject to interest rate and credit risk, which is a possibility that the issuer of a security will be unable to make interest payments and repay the principal on its debt. As interest rates rise, the price of fixed income securities falls.
This document is for information only and does not constitute an invitation to the public to invest. You should be aware that the investment opportunities described should normally be regarded as longer term investments and they may not be suitable for everyone. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amounts originally invested, and can be affected by changes in interest rates, in exchange rates, general market conditions, political, social and economic developments and other variable factors. Past performance is no guide to future returns and may not be repeated. Investment involves risks including but not limited to, possible delays in payments and loss of income or capital. Neither Legg Mason nor any of its affiliates guarantees any rate of return or the return of capital invested. Please note that an investor cannot invest directly in an index. Forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual developments and results to differ materially from the expectations expressed. This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable but the accuracy and completeness of the information cannot be guaranteed and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. Individual securities mentioned are intended as examples of portfolio holdings and are not intended as buy or sell recommendations. Information and opinions expressed by either Legg Mason or its affiliates are current as at the date indicated, are subject to change without notice, and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors. The information in this document is confidential and proprietary and may not be used other than by the intended user. Neither Legg Mason nor any officer or employee of Legg Mason accepts any liability whatsoever for any loss arising from any use of this document or its contents. This document may not be reproduced, distributed or published without prior written permission from Legg Mason. Distribution of this document may be restricted in certain jurisdictions. Any persons coming into possession of this document should seek advice for details of, and observe such restrictions (if any).
This document may have been prepared by an advisor or entity affiliated with an entity mentioned below through common control and ownership by Legg Mason, Inc.
This material is only for distribution in the jurisdictions listed.
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Issued and approved by Legg Mason Investments (Europe) Limited, registered office 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AB. Registered in England and Wales, Company No. 1732037. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Client Services +44 (0)207 070 7444. This document is for use by Professional Clients and Eligible Counterparties in EU and EEA countries. In Switzerland this document is only for use by Qualified Investors. It is not aimed at, or for use by, Retail Clients in any European jurisdictions.
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This document is provided by Legg Mason Asset Management Hong Kong Limited in Hong Kong and Korea, Legg Mason Asset Management Singapore Pte. Limited (Registration Number (UEN): 200007942R) in Singapore and Legg Mason Investments (Taiwan) Limited (Registration Number: (98) Jin Guan Tou Gu Xin Zi Di 001; Address: Suite E, 55F, Taipei 101 Tower, 7, Xin Yi Road, Section 5, Taipei 110, Taiwan, R.O.C.; Tel: (886) 2-8722 1666) in Taiwan. Legg Mason Investments (Taiwan) Limited operates and manages its business independently. It is intended for distributors use only in respectively Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. It is not intended for, nor should it be distributed to, any member of the public in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
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This document is provided by Legg Mason Investor Services LLC, a U.S. registered Broker-Dealer, which may include Legg Mason International - Americas Offshore. Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, and all entities mentioned are subsidiaries of Legg Mason, Inc.
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This document is provided by Legg Mason Canada Inc. Address: 220 Bay Street, 4th Floor, Toronto, ON M5J 2W4. Legg Mason Canada Inc. is affiliated with the Legg Mason companies mentioned above through common control and ownership by Legg Mason, Inc.
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This document is issued by Legg Mason Asset Management Australia Limited (ABN 76 004 835 839, AFSL 204827) (“Legg Mason”). The contents are proprietary and confidential and intended solely for the use of Legg Mason and the clients or prospective clients to whom it has been delivered. It is not to be reproduced or distributed to any other person except to the client’s professional advisers.
THIS MATERIAL IS NOT FOR PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.