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June 9, 2014
"We think it's a significant package. Are we finished? The answer is no."
The week in review...
ECB: Below zero Increasingly desperate to revive Europe’s economy and forestall out-and-out deflation, the ECB announced it would impose negative interest rates starting June 11 – essentially charging rent to ECB depositors for the privilege of leaving money there unused. It also announced it would add €400 bn ($546.3 bn) in “targeted long term refinancing operations” (TLTRO) to the system starting in Sept, not repayable for four years. In addition, the ECB is readying its own version of the US Fed’s quantitative easing program, preparing to buy asset-backed bonds in the open market. Time will tell if these measures will work. But for now, the Bank has clearly decided it’s time to do whatever it takes to get started.
Eurozone economy: Slower and lower GDP grew 0.2% in 1Q2014 vs. the previous quarter (0.9% year-on-year) in the 18-country region, and CPI stayed low in May at 0.5% year-on-year, down from 0.7% in April. Household consumption rose a mere 0.1% quarter-on-quarter. Unemployment remained near its high, coming in at 11.7% for Apr.
US Jobs: Better, but not better enough The ADP employment survey showed net new jobs at 179k for May, smallest in four months, fewer than expected; first-time jobless claims were lowest in seven years, as measured by the four-week moving average. The median duration of unemployment fell sharply, to 14.6 weeks, and the manufacturing workweek rose to 41.1 hours from 40.9, which was encouraging. But unemployment was unchanged at 6.3% and the participation rate stayed at a low 62.8%.
US household wealth: Highest ever, but… Not adjusted for either inflation or population growth, the aggregate net worth of US households and nonprofit organizations rose about 2%, or about $1.5 trillion, between Jan and Mar 2014, to $81.8 trillion, the highest on record. The rise was driven by stocks and mutual funds ($361 bn) and residential real estate ($758 bn). Also not reflected in the figures: how that increase in wealth was distributed across income levels.
Japan: Corporations win one The taxation panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stated it will accept a corporate tax cut, in part to make up for impact of the increase in the national sales tax on economic growth. That is, if the revenue can be found elsewhere. So far, the gap is to be made up by expanding the tax base while lowering the tax rate.
India: Easier terms ahead? Central bank head Raghuram Rajan kept its benchmark rate at 8%, but also said an acceleration of disinflation would “provide headroom for an easing of the policy stance,” signaling a less hawkish stance than in previous statements.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES:
Bond Yields Lowest Since Napoleon Are No Comfort to Europe Amid Deflation Fight – Bloomberg
Factory orders up for third straight month as manufacturing rebounds - Los Angeles Times – Wall Street Journal
Scots Stoke Pound Volatility in Vote Seeking an End of UK –Bloomberg
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, European Central Bank, Latin American Herald, Detroit Free Press, BBC, Japan News
...THE WEEK AHEAD:
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CALENDAR: June 8 – 15
Europe, UK, Africa, Mideast
Japan, Asia Ex Japan & Pac Rim
Egypt: Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi sworn in as new president
China: trade data
Turkey: industrial production
Japan: GDP, current account
JOLTS job openings, wholesale inventories
Italy: industrial output, GDP
UK: industrial production
France: business sentiment, industrial
China: new local-currency lending, CPI, PPI
Mortgage applications, budget statement, retail sales
Mexico: industrial production
Brazil: retail sales
UK: unemployment, housing
Korea: jobless rate, money supply
Japan: machine orders
Initial and continuing jobless claims, import prices, business inventories
Brazil: World Cup begins (Brazil-Croatia)
New Zealand, Indonesia: rate decisions
Producer prices, consumer confidence
France: non-farm payrolls
Japan: monetary policy
China: retail sales, industrial production
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 European Central Bank (ECB) is responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency.
Consumer and Producer Price Indexes (CPI, PPI) measure the average change in consumer and producer prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services.
The ADP National Employment Report provides a monthly snapshot of U.S. nonfarm private sector employment based on actual transactional payroll data.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is conducted by the US Department of Labor, producing data on job openings, hires, and separations.
Unless otherwise specified, all uses of the symbol "$" refer to US dollars.
The opinions and views expressed herein, as well as references to individual companies or securities, 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 recommendations to buy, hold or sell, or investment advice.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal.
Please note an investor cannot invest directly in an index, and unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges.
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.
International investments are subject to special risks including currency fluctuations, social, economic and political uncertainties, which could increase volatility. These risks are magnified in emerging markets.
Commodities and currencies contain heightened risk that include market, political, regulatory, and natural conditions and may not be suitable for all investors.
This material is for information only and does not constitute an invitation to the public to invest in any funds, securities, strategies or other products. 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.
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