Showing posts with label trade balance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trade balance. Show all posts

Thursday, July 2, 2020

It's Time to Say Good Bye to China

Nearly 50 years ago, then-president Richard M. Nixon opened the door to trade and normalized relations with China.

The exact date was February 21, 1972. Months later, on November 7, 1972, Nixon was re-elected in a landslide victory over Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, winning 60.7 percent of the popular vote and 520 electoral votes, to McGovern’s 37.5 percent and 17, respectively.

On August 8, 1974, Nixon left office as the House of Representatives was preparing to launch an impeachment inquiry for his attempt to cover up and participation in the Watergate scandal.

Nixon's crime in Watergate was heinous enough. Perhaps, revisiting history from our perspective today, he should have been impeached for his China policy. It opened the door for American manufacturers to relocate facilities to the Asian nation, costing millions of Americans their jobs and setting in motion decades of trade imbalances and a long, slow decline of American culture.

It could also be alleged that Nixon's worst crime was his "temporary" closing of the gold window on August 15, 1971, effectively ending the Bretton Woods era. Taken together with his China policy, Nixon set in motion the wreckage of a prosperous middle class in America.

while it's easy to scapegoat Mr. Nixon, it should be pointed out that his policies were mostly not of his making, but those of his advisors and cabinet members, particularly Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, advance man Dewey Clower, founder of the notorious February Group, speechwriter Pat Buchanan, and Donald Rumsfeld, who served as counsellor to the president (1969–73), the United States Permanent Representative to NATO (1973–74), and White House Chief of Staff (1974–75), among others such as George Romney, George Schultz, John Connally, Elliot Richardson, but that's a deep state story for another day.

As of 2019, over $560 billion worth of products come from China. Everything from electric blankets to video game consoles, from cooking appliances to baby carriages are made almost exclusively in China. Proctor & Gamble estimates that Chinese materials impact 17,600 different finished products.

Decades of cheap, sub-standard manufactured products from China have eroded the quality of life in America. dealing with the communists allowed the propagation of Wal-Marts across the country, wiping out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of small businesses that dotted the business landscape of both urban and rural America. Our economy is now almost fully dependent on imports from China and spending by consumers.

Corporations don't make much of anything in America any more. The mainstream media, flush with scary stories about COVID-19, the second wave, lockdowns, protesting in the streets, and the cultural revolution of Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA, will almost certainly have a field day if trade relations with China sour, which they already have, though they're too busy with all the other nonsense to notice.

American dissatisfaction with China is reaching catastrophic proportions. According to a polls conducted by the Gallup organization, 67 percent of Americans have a negative view of China. 87 and 89 percent of those polled view China's military and economic strengths, respectively, as critical or important threats to America. 62 percent believe China's trade policies toward the US are unfair, and 86 percent are either somewhat concerned or very concerned about China's trade policies. And these polls were taken before the coronavirus, of which 77% of people polled by Harris believe originated in China [PDF], spread disease and death around the world.

Aside from the lying, spying, stealing of state secrets, knock offs and pirating of American products, pet food that kills dogs and cats, substandard plywood, concrete and other building materials like nails that bend on impact and screws that break in half, forays into the South China Sea and Africa, aggressive attitude toward Hong Kong and Taiwan, defective coffee makers, blenders and a slew of household and consumer products, China is just fine as a trading partner.

The United States should, instead of appeasing them on trade as many former presidents have, take President Trump's approach to the extreme and just sever relations with them altogether. While such a policy would likely result in many empty shelves in WalMart and Target stores, it might just be enough of a spark to ignite a fire under the dormant manufacturing base in the United States of America and create millions of new jobs in a restructured economy.

The world has been ravaged by a Chinese scourge for nearly 50 years. It's time to turn the tables on the Communists and banish them rather than bless them and promote them, as the BLM and ANTIFA protesters do.

Markets will be closed on Friday, in observance of Independence Day. Enjoy the holiday by buying American-made goods, if you can find any.

At the Close, Wednesday, July 1, 2020:
Dow: 25,734.97; -77.91 (-0.30%)
NASDAQ: 10,154.63, +95.86 (+0.95%)
S&P 500: 3,115.86, +15.57 (+0.50%)
NYSE: 11,901.55, +7.77 (+0.07%)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stocks Clobbered As US-China Trade War Heats Up

Today's tired showing by stocks, globally, demonstrated just how fragile the world's economic system is and how easily the best laid investment plans can go awry.

After President Trump announced plans for $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports and the Chinese countered with $50 billion of their own on US goods, Trump upped the ante by calling on his main trade representative to prepare another $200 billion in Chinese goods to be tariffed, should the Chinese actually go through with their retaliation.

As usual, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took the brunt of the day's carnage, shedding more than one percent, while the NASDAQ and S&P showed smaller percentage losses. The decline was the sixth straight for the mighty Dow, which has been under pressure since February of this year and is now even for the year (-19 points).

The other averages have fared better, but 2018 is not shaping up to be a year of excessive profit for equity investors.

Amid the chaos, bond yields continued to fall. The rush to safety is accelerating as the yield curve flattened even more through the day. The spread on the 2s-10s is now just 35 basis points, 5s-30s held steady at 25, 2s-30s are at 48, down one more basis point, the tightening spread making it more and more difficult for financial institutions to generate alpha, or profit, but the herd is heading in one direction and it's toward a recession.

As far as President Trump's intentions are concerned, "the Donald" is perfectly aware of what he's doing. By imposing steep tariffs on foreign goods he will bring most of the planet to its knees and likely cause a recession, though the timing couldn't be more perfect in political terms.

If a recession occurs within the next six to nine months, it would likely be over well before the next presidential race heats up in 2020. Figuring on a recession beginning in January or February of 2019 and running the average of 16 months, the economy would be on the upswing by July or August 2020, giving the president plenty of time to explain how some pain was necessary to restore vibrancy and a level playing field to the US economy.

It's not balderdash. It's the art of the deal.

And thus, with today's losses, more than two thirds of the gains made earlier in the month have been eviscerated.

It's only money.

Dow Jones Industrial Average June Scorecard:

Date Close Gain/Loss Cum. G/L
6/1/18 24,635.21 +219.37 +219.37
6/4/18 24,813.69 +178.48 +397.85
6/5/18 24,799.98 -13.71 +384.14
6/6/18 25,146.39 +346.41 +730.55
6/7/18 25,241.41 +95.02 +825.57
6/8/18 25,316.53 +75.12 +900.69
6/11/18 25,322.31 +5.78 +906.47
6/12/18 25,320.73 -1.58 +904.89
6/13/18 25,201.20 -119.53 +785.36
6/14/18 25,175.31 -25.89 +759.47
6/15/18 25,090.48 -84.83 +674.64
6/18/18 24,987.47 -103.01 +571.63
6/19/18 24,700.21 -287.26 +284.37

At the Close, Tuesday, June 19, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,700.21, -287.26 (-1.15%)
NASDAQ: 7,725.58, -21.44 (-0.28%)
S&P 500: 2,762.57, -11.18 (-0.40%)
NYSE Composite: 12,637.23, -71.40 (-0.56%)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

No Follow-Through for Stocks After Monday's Fake Ramp-Fest

Stocks opened higher but quickly reversed direction, resulting in the second-largest one-day point drop on the Dow Industrials in May.

Coincidentally, the lower close occurred on a Tuesday, similar to last week's Tuesday trashing of 193 points.

The financial media attributed the quick turnaround to President Trump's wavering on China trade negotiations, just as Monday's advance was credited to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's announcement that the proposed tariffs on imports from China were "on hold."

For weeks, the public has been fed nauseating nonsense about stocks reacting to trade and tariff proposals from President Trump and his administration, particularly relating to China. The idea that a single event or series of events, which, in fact, should be positive for American businesses, affecting the entire stock market is ludicrous on the surface and either disingenuous or naive reportage by the financial press.

Stocks have been trading in fits and starts since early February due, not to tariffs or day-to-day events, but, to larger economic issues and obvious overvaluation foisted upon the investing public by Wall Street hucksters and the phony incentives and spurious mutterings from Federal Reserve officials.

There is nothing even remotely connected to tariffs and trade affecting the price levels of stocks, especially since the president's tariffs are only proposals and not in force. Besides the obvious benefit the United States would obtain from lowering its trade deficit with the Chinese, just what is it that is so ominous and wrong about the imposition of tariffs that would level the trade playing field?

The rhetoric surrounding the proposed tariffs reeks of the same kind of anti-Trump noise heard from the mainstream media for the past eighteen months.

Normally, in a free market, stocks rise and fall based upon fundamental valuation metrics and some degree of emotion-based trading from the Wall Street herd. The current environment, driven by computer algorithms which respond to news headlines in knee-jerk fashion, is neither normal nor free.

It's time for a reversion to the mean and a restoration of of sanity in markets and the larger economy. This implies a devaluation of stocks across the board, a quieting of the voices which drive speculation, and regulations designed to minimize the effect of computer-driven excesses.

At the Close, Tuesday, May 22, 2018:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,834.41, -178.88 (-0.72%)
NASDAQ: 7,378.4551, -15.5811 (-0.21%)
S&P 500: 2,724.44, -8.57 (-0.31%)
NYSE Composite: 12,766.65, -37.36 (-0.29%)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not as Good as They're Saying; Lows-Highs Flip

To anyone who follows capital markets and the world of high finance closely, the material deficiencies in the US and global "growth" stories are glaring and have been for many months. While the financial press - CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg - and the spokespeople for the various central governments around the world continue to feed the public the "recovery" fable, the facts, now beginning to see the light of day, contend that the global economy is still, two-and-a-half years after the grand cascading crash of 2008, in precarious straits.

Five separate stories sealed the fate for global markets today, beginning with China's announcement late Wednesday night (in America) that their trade balance was negative for the month of February.

About the same time, RealtyTrac delivered news that foreclosures had come to nearly a halt in the United States, with their numbers for February dropping 14 percent from the previous month and a 27 percent decrease from February 2010. Normally, that would be good news, but in the current environment of illegal and unethical actions by large, foreclosing banks, it meant that the mess that began in October, 2010 with the robo-signing scandal, was keeping banks from courthouses and clogging up the real estate market in a worsening manner.

Prior to the market opening, two more news items spooked the investment community. First, Moody's downgraded Spain's debt (about time for that!) to Aa2 and then, at 8:30 am on the East coast, the double whammy of new unemployment claims (397,000) and the US trade deficit, which expanded to -$46.3 billion in January.

Then, in mid-afternoon, as if the market had not received enough bad news, a story out of Saudi Arabia said that protesters had been fired upon by government troops.

That final bit of news sent the major indices - which had recovered somewhat off the day's lows - down once more, and stocks finished the session breaking into new depths.

The Dow and S&P broke through various levels of support, with the Dow finishing under the 12,000 mark for the first time in two months and the S&P crashing through it's 55-DMA. The NASDAQ and NYSE Composite each suffered similar pain.

It's becoming plain and clear to everybody living in the real world - not the fantasy land of fund managers, politicians and central bankers - that things are not going so well. Housing is an absolute catastrophe, global trade is grinding down due to higher imput costs and soaring energy prices, Europe is a full-blown basket case on the brink of dissolving, and US stocks are so wickedly overvalued that the path of least resistance is to sell them all, hurriedly, on the first sign of negative news, and there certainly was plenty of that to go around today.

Dow 11,984.61, -228.48 (1.87%)
NASDAQ 2,701.02, -50.70 (1.84%)
S&P 500 1,295.11, -24.91 (1.89%)
NYSE Composite 8,200.07, -179.37 (2.14%)

Declining issues led advancers, 5501-1072, a ratio of better than 5:1. New highs on the NASDAQ were just 33, overtaken by 68 new lows. On the NYSE, just 27 new highs and 31 new lows. This is a critical juncture for the markets, because if the number of new lows remain higher than new highs on a daily basis for long, say, six to eight trading days, it would confirm a hard change of direction, which has been in the cards since the double-engulfing session last Tuesday.

Volume was elevated as is the usual case when sellers outnumber buyers.

NASDAQ Volume 2,374,073,000
NYSE Volume 5,320,324,500

Commodities also took it on the chin, though in not such a dramatic fashion as stocks. Crude oil futures on the NYMEX fell $1.68, to $102.70, due to massive oversupply in the US of unrefined crude. Gold slipped $17.10, but remained below the psychologically-important $1400 level, ending the day at $1,412.50. Silver also was sold off, losing $98 cents, to finish at $35.07, though it should be noted that on days of hard reversals, a lot of precious metals are liquidated by speculators to cover margin calls.

A final note should not be ignored. Bill Gross' PIMCO, the world's largest fixed income family of funds, has slashed its holdings of Treasuries to ZERO. This news, first reported by the avant garde financial blog,, holds unknown, but potentially damaging conditions. Gross and PIMCO have more or less registered a vote of "no confidence" on the policies of the US government and the Federal Reserve Corporation.

With stocks hammered down repeatedly over the past two weeks, the highs of February 18 look like specs on the horizon and the truth about the real conditions in the global and US markets is finally coming out. The cataclysm begun by the Wall Street banks in 2003-2006 and accelerated by then-Treasury Secretary's $700 billion holdup of the US mint in October, 2008, has many more acts still to be played out.

The rush for the exits began a week ago and the passageway out is beginning to get quite crowded.

Friday, June 8, 2007

You Knew Friday Would Be Good, Didn't You?

After taking a three-day beating, US investors struck back with a vengeance, sending the Dow up more than 150 points in a broad-based rally that took all indices higher.

Dow 13,424.39 +157.66; NASDAQ 2,573.54 +32.16; S&P 500 1,507.67 +16.95; NYSE Composite 9,826.07 +105.13

Even though the volume wasn't quite as brisk as yesterday's, it's worth pointing out that money is on the move. The same stocks that were beaten down on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were not bought up on Friday. Sector rotation - and migration from blue chips to techs - and repositioning is what this week was all about.

Investor confidence was buoyed this morning by news that the trade balance in April shrank to a point that we imported only $58.5 billion more than we export. Most analysts were looking for upwards of a $63 billion imbalance. While the number is still shocking, any improvement is positive for the US business and labor markets, and, to some degree, the country as a whole.

Advancing issues overwhelmed decliners by better than 2-1, and while new lows still outdid new highs (159-108), that reading is less frightening than a day ago. Understandably, stocks were moving in both directions, but there was still some leftover selling to be done on some of the dogs. What would be good to see in the high-low reading is a period of fluctuation, indicative of a market settling in, readying for another leg higher, which is undeniably in the cards.

The dollar strengthened against the Euro on the day, which was another good sign and the price of crude was drubbed back to a more realistic level, losing $2.17 to close the week at $64.76.

Once again, the metals took a beating. Gold was down a whopping $14.90 to $650.30. Silver lost 44 cents to close at $13.04. This signals defeat for the proponents of $800 gold and $20 silver. That bull has all but died a painful death.

Overall, it was a week of readjustment, albeit lower, but the markets are primed for some colossal gains in coming months.