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Economic Weapons of Mass Destruction

“There lived a certain man in Russia long ago,
He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow,
Most people looked at him with terror and with fear,
But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear.”

-Boney M

 

Over the course of history, Russia has certainly been known for its strong leaders.  The Boney M song, “Rasputin”, from which the verse above was taken, is about one of the most enigmatic of Russia’s leaders: Grigori Rasputin.

 

Rasputin was a Russian mystic that lived from 1869 – 1916.  He became an advisor to the Romanovs, the reigning royal family in Russia at the time, after being asked to try and heal their son Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia.  Probably more by the stroke of luck than any knowledge of medicine, Rasputin was successful in healing Alexei and became a key advisor and intimate to the Czar’s family, especially his wife Alexandra Feodoronva.

 

From 1906 – 1914, many Russian politicians and journalists used Rasputin’s influence over the Romanovs to discredit them.  His influence only accelerated with the advent of World War I when the Czarina took over domestic policy, with Rasputin as her key advisor. 

 

Eventually, Rasputin’s influence created contempt amongst the Czar political allies and rivals.  Ultimately, a group of conspirators led by the Czar’s first cousin Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, murdered Rasputin.  Rasputin had the last laugh as he wrote to Czar Nicholas shortly before his death that if he were killed by government officials, the entire imperial family would be killed by the Russian people.

 

Rasputin’s prophecy came true a short 15 months later when the Czar, his wife and all their children were murdered by assassins during the Russian Revolution.  Directly and indirectly, Rasputin has been pointed to as a key catalyst for the fall of the Romanovs.

 

Certainly, the current situation in Syria does not have direct parallels to the Russian Revolution, but to be seen to be under the influence of a Russian, especially the Botox laden Putin, will not be a positive turn of events for President Obama.  In part, Obama backed himself into a corner by deciding to go to Congress to get approval to use military force in Syria, even as he acknowledged he didn’t legally need Congressional approval.

 

When it became clear that Congress wasn’t going to support the action, the door was left open for the Russians to propose a more “commercial” solution.  Of course now President Obama has lost all leverage and, as a friend of mine who runs a major investment bank said, has been completely re-traded.  So much so that President Assad is now making demands on the United States (via Russian TV of course)!  As the state-owned Syrian newspaper put it bluntly in a headline on Thursday, “Moscow and Damascus have pulled the rug out from under the feet of Obama.”

 

Given the turn of events, it is no surprise then that President Obama’s approval rating has plummeted close to all-time lows.  Currently, on the Real Clear politics poll aggregate, 7.6% more people disapprove then approve of Obama.   As it relates to foreign policy, 17.6% more Americans disapprove of the job he is doing.  It seems the President has become a lame duck quicker than most second term Presidents.

 

My colleague Keith McCullough proposed a unique idea yesterday to James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, which was to turn Larry Summers loose on the Russians.  As Keith said in the interview:

 

“We really need to embrace the weapon that we have as a country, which is the most powerful weapon that we’ve had for a very long period of time, which is, of course, the currency of the people, and that currency has basically been de-botched and devalued ’til the cows come home. We need to start to stand up for these things and that’ll help us stand up against guys like Vladimir Putin. Bring in, probably, a guy like Larry Summers to deliver the message because you do need somebody to stand up with a backbone and actually say it in a really forceful way, which, at a bare minimum, that’s what Larry Summers can do. $65 oil would be fantastic for the American people and it would be absolutely pulverizing to Putin’s power.”

 

As we’ve been writing for a while, a strong dollar equals a strong America.  If the rumors from the Japanese press this morning are even remotely true and Larry Summers is destined to be the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve then it is very bullish for the U.S. dollar and bearish for commodities.  The action this morning, with gold down, oil down and the U.S. dollar up, is likely only the beginning of the sustained move we will see if Chairman Summers becomes more than prophesy.

 

Of course, there is economic data at play here as well.  On that note, jobless claims came in at the lowest absolute number since 2000 at 228,000 yesterday.  Year-over-year improvement on this data series moves to -23.8% versus -13.2% last week and the rolling 4-week average is -14.5%.

 

In the Chart of the Day, we show what this improving data series means for interest rates as we chart the 10-year yield versus the 4-week rolling initial claims.  As you can see from the chart, there is a very tight correlation between the labor market improving and interest rates going up.

 

The combination of a continued improvement in the U.S. labor market and increasing chatter of the likelihood that Larry Summers takes over the Federal Reserve will combine to be an economic weapon of mass destruction for bonds, gold, oil and the Russians alike.

 

Our immediate-term Risk Ranges are now as follows:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.86-3.03% (bullish)

SPX 1 (bullish)

Nikkei 14117-14638 (bullish)

USD 81.39-81.93 (bullish)

Brent 110.54-113.91 (bullish)

Gold 1 (bearish)

 

Enjoy your weekend.

 

Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research

 

Economic Weapons of Mass Destruction - 10Y vs NSA

 

Economic Weapons of Mass Destruction - Virtual Portfolio


September 13, 2013

September 13, 2013 - dtr

 

BULLISH TRENDS

September 13, 2013 - 10yr

September 13, 2013 - spx

September 13, 2013 - dax

September 13, 2013 - nik

September 13, 2013 - dxy

September 13, 2013 - euro

September 13, 2013 - oil

September 13, 2013 - natgas

 

BEARISH TRENDS

September 13, 2013 - VIX

September 13, 2013 - yen
September 13, 2013 - gold

September 13, 2013 - copper


The Flow Show

This note was originally published at 8am on August 30, 2013 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Neither a borrower or a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

-William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”

 

Shakespeare taught us many lessons in his writings.  But the quote from Hamlet above is very apropos for those of us who are stock market operators. The lesson is simple: be careful with financial leverage.

 

Financial leverage is like the blue meth sold by Walter White and his colleagues in the acclaimed TV show Breaking Bad.  It is both very addictive and hard to get off the streets.  It can also make the sellers very rich in a short period of time.

 

In the last fifteen or so years, we’ve seen innumerable debt fueled bubbles.   The Asian debt crisis, the stock market bubble of the early 2000s, the housing bubble, the sovereign debt crisis, and the list goes on.  Shakespeare is correct: returns generated from borrowing dull our analytical focus. 

 

In the spirit of another quote from Shakespeare, “brevity is the soul of wit”, let’s get directly to the global macro grind . . .

 

Next Wednesday, with all of Wall Street well rested and back from the Hamptons, we are going to update our emerging market outflows theme.  Like most macro trends, emerging market outflows is unlikely to be a month or quarter long trend.  With the dollar and interest rates being key supporting factors, this one also has legs.

 

In fact, my colleague Darius Dale looked at the last strong dollar period, from 1995 – 2001, and the MSCI Emerging Market Index CAGR’ed at -5.3% versus the SP500 at +15.8%.  So, reasonably, if interest rates are just starting to turn, and the dollar is only in the early stages of a long term strengthening, then emerging markets can be expected to underperform for some time.

 

In the Chart of the Day, we’ve highlighted recent emerging market equity and bond outflows.  As the chart shows, the last four months have been staggering for outflows and emerging market asset classes have performed commensurately.  As they say, follow the flows (or at least the projected flows).

 

After the first big correction is when the “value” investors usually start to get interested in a stock or asset class.  No doubt that guy from Franklin Templeton who originally cut his teeth marketing Snoopy is licking his chops right now on emerging markets.  The problem is that cheap can get a lot cheaper.

 

Currently, on an EV/EBITDA basis emerging market equities are still trading at slight premium to the long run mean versus the MSCI World Index.   In times of crisis, like in the 1998/1999 period, emerging markets trade at a multiple that are closer to the 30% of the rest of the world (versus north of 70% now).  When the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan, emerging markets go no bid.

 

We will be sending out an update of our emerging market chart book later this morning (ping sales@hedgeye.com if you don’t get it) and will also be hosting a call on Wednesday, September 4th at 11:30am eastern.  Even if you aren’t invested in emerging markets, this will be an important call in helping to understand global asset allocation flows.  Or as we like to call it: The Flow Show.

 

Speaking of flows, EPFR Global came out with some date this week that highlighted some of the key fund flows in the year-to-date.  No surprise, emerging markets lead in outflows with almost $7.8 billion in outflows.   On the positive is the United States, which has seen $83 billion in inflows, but in the category of sneaky positive is Europe, which has $9.4 billion of YTD inflows mostly over the past nine weeks.   

 

Europe may only be bouncing on the bottom in terms of an economic recovery, but the money has to flow somewhere.   Even more sneaky has been the improvement of sovereign yields in the European periphery, with both Italy and Spain both solidly at 4.5% or below (some of the best levels in years).  If the sovereign debt issues in Europe are truly behind us, the flows into Europe will only continue.

 

It only helps the investment outlook in Europe to have more sane central bankers like Mark Carney, formerly head of the Bank of Canada, running things.  In his first newspaper interview since taking over the Bank of England, Carney directly acknowledged the risks of low interest rates when he said:

 

“We have the responsibility to assess emerging vulnerabilities in the economy such as housing, make those assessments and recommend action.  Interest rates are principally an instrument of monetary policy for achieving the inflation outcome and there are other tools that address risks."

 

Well said, Mr. Carney.  Well said.

 

Speaking of central bankers, this long weekend will give us all some time to consider what might happen at the Fed next if either of the two front runners, Janet Yellen or Larry Summers, take over.  Hawk or Dove? Shakespearean tragedy or comedy? To flow, or not to flow?

All joking aside, policy matters so this choice will be critical in contemplating asset allocation in coming years.  As Shakespeare said about vision and strategy:

 

“See first that the design is wise and just; that ascertained, pursue it resolutely.”


As it relates to the leadership change at the Federal Reserve, we can only hope this is the path that is pursued.

 

Our immediate-term Macro Risk Ranges are now as follows:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.70-2.93% 

SPX 1625-1663 

VIX 14.59-17.44

USD 81.39-82.11 

Euro 1.32-.134 

Gold 1350-1427 

 

Keep your head up and stick on the ice,

 

Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research

 

The Flow Show - CHART

The Flow Show - vp

 

 

 

 


Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.28%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.51%

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – September 13, 2013


As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 37 points or 1.15% downside to 1664 and 1.04% upside to 1701.                        

                                                                                                       

SECTOR PERFORMANCE


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 1

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 2

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 10


CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • YIELD CURVE: 2.47 from 2.47
  • VIX  VIX closed at 14.29 1 day percent change of 3.40%

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 8:30am: PPI M/m, Aug., est. 0.2% (prior 0.0%)
  • 8:30am: PPI Ex Food and Energy M/m, Aug., est. 0.1%
  • 8:30am: Retail Sales Advance M/m, Aug., est. 0.5%
  • 8:30am: Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, Aug., est. 0.3%
  • 9:55am: UMich Confidence, Sept. prelim, est. 82 (prior 82.1)
  • 10am: Business Inventories, July, est. 0.2% (prior 0.0%)
  • 11am: Fed to purchase $3b-$4b in 2019-2020 sector
  • 1pm: Baker Hughes rig count

GOVERNMENT:

    • Medicare Payment Advisory Commission meets, 9:30am
    • CFTC holds closed meeting on enforcement matters, 10am
    • President Obama holds talks with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah; topics to include defense, energy

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Twitter files IPO w/ SEC; Goldman said to be lead manager
  • Derivatives would face transition fees under Obama proposal
  • Goldman sees risk of gold below $1,000 as U.S. economy gains
  • Vodafone’s $10.2b Kabel Deutschland bid wins shareholder support
  • U.S. House Republicans lack fiscal plan as Oct. 1 deadline nears
  • Dimon boosted JPMorgan compliance as examiners lost trust: WSJ
  • Japan to consider corporate tax cut in stimulus package
  • Obama to name Summers as next Fed chief, Nikkei says, citing unnamed people
  • Europe’s biggest phone cos. brace for AT&T entry into mkt
  • Hoyer says Obama could strike Syria without Congress vote

EARNINGS:

    • No S&P 500 cos. expected to report today

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION (HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG)

  • Goldman Sees Risk of Gold Below $1,000 as U.S. Economy Gains
  • Gold Traders Most Bearish Since June as Syria Eases: Commodities
  • Goldman Lifts Soybean Price Outlook as USDA Downgrades U.S. Crop
  • Soybeans, Corn Steady After USDA Releases U.S. Harvest Outlook
  • Pemex Holds Emergency Response Meeting on Gulf of Mexico Storm
  • Spot Gold Reverses Gain, Slumps to Five-Week Low as Silver Drops
  • Copper Set for Weekly Loss as Investors Prepare for Fed Meeting
  • Indonesia Commodity Exchange Fails to Sell Tin for Second Day
  • Commodity Outlook Is ‘Quite Benign,’ Goldman’s Jeff Currie Says
  • Blythe Masters Shows Resilience as Dimon Lauds ‘Impressive Job’
  • Natural Gas Rises a Second Day on Lower U.S. Stockpile Increase
  • Glencore Agrees to Progress Study of $3 Billion Congo Iron Mine
  • Tropical Depression to Bring ‘Threatening’ Floods to Mexico
  • Record Soybean Crop to Boost India Meal Sales to 6-Year High

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 5

 

CURRENCIES

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 6

 

GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 3

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 4

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 7

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 8

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 9

 

 

The Hedgeye Macro Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK

Takeaway: EM debt and EM FX should continue to broadly decline while EM equity returns should become increasingly bifurcated at the country level.

SUMMARY BULLETS:

 

  1. We remain bearish on emerging market debt (both USD and local currency paper) and emerging market currencies with respect to the intermediate-term TREND and long-term TAIL. Irrespective of idiosyncratic country fundamentals, we think #StrongDollar, #RatesRising and #DebtDeflation will be hard for any emerging market to overcome in this environment. There will, of course, be relative winners and losers, but we think you can continue to extract absolute returns with a passive strategy.
  2. On the LONG side of EM equities from here (TREND and TAIL duration), we like South Korea, Poland, Thailand and Mexico. While absent from our EM Crisis Risk Index due to the lack of cross-country comparable data, Taiwan also looks solid fundamentally (stable currency, great BOP dynamics, mature and liquid financial markets…).
  3. On the SHORT side of EM equities from here (TREND and TAIL duration), we like South Africa, Nigeria and Indonesia. We’re also inclined to loop India and Brazil back into this mix, but they’re so bombed-out on longer-term durations (i.e. 1Y, 18M and 3Y), one has to start to wonder how much more downside is left.

 

When EM capital and currency markets were appropriately tanking into their late-JUN lows, making money on the short side of the emerging markets space was so easy even a bunch of former football and hockey players could do it. While never in search or need of validation for our research conclusions, we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t gratifying to see world-class investors such as Ray Dailio adopt what is essentially our #EmergingOutflows thesis.

 

As highlighted by our EM divergence monitor (full methodology below), just about any asset that had been previously perma-bull marketed to investors as an “emerging market” was down double digits on a trailing 1M, 3M and 6M basis at the JUN 24 low in the MSCI Emerging Market Index.

 

(prices and performance figures as of 6/24)

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - 1

 

Flash forward to today, we’re seeing some pretty solid dead-cat bounces uniformly across the EM space on a WoW basis; in fact, the only primary or secondary asset class that isn’t up is Peruvian equities (down -0.1% WoW). Looking to performance across the 1-3 month time frame tells a different tale, however, in that the performance is decidedly less uniform.

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - 2

 

In line with this market signal, we think it will become increasingly important for equity investors to become “country-pickers”.

 

It’s worth stressing that by “country-pickers”, we are not referring to the traditional “ABC country has great demographics and will be XYZ percent of global GDP by 2030” perma-bull marketing that is found in every emerging market fund prospectus on the planet.

 

Conversely, in a #StrongDollar, #RisingRates environment, we think the direction, supply and cost of global capital flows will increasingly determine the trend rates of growth, inflation, urbanization and reformation across the emerging market space – just as the USD and US interest rates did on the way down.

 

Specifically, we believe it to be flat-out intellectually dishonest to suggest that a pervasively weak dollar and cheap, excessive global capital haven’t perpetuated a golden era in EM economic and financial market conditions during the most recent EM “boom” cycle as it had done in the two previous cycles (late-70s to the early-80s and late-80s to the mid-90s).

 

Simply put, the absolute return strategy of gathering assets and aggressively “diversifying” into emerging markets is over and, quite frankly, it’s been over for a while now (FYI, EM equities peaked when the USD bottomed in 2011 – alongside other consensus carry trading strategies such as gold, commodities and EM currencies).

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - ASSET ALLOCATION SHIFT

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - CORRELATIONS

 

In light of this updated view, we thought it would be helpful to rehash where we think intermediate-to-long-term investors will be most rewarded for investing their hard-earned capital on the long and short side of emerging markets:

 

  • We remain bearish on emerging market debt (both USD and local currency paper) and emerging market currencies with respect to the intermediate-term TREND and long-term TAIL. Irrespective of idiosyncratic country fundamentals, we think #StrongDollar, #RatesRising and #DebtDeflation will be hard for any emerging market to overcome in this environment. There will, of course, be relative winners and losers, but we think you can continue to extract absolute returns with a passive strategy.
  • On the LONG side of EM equities from here (TREND and TAIL duration), we like South Korea, Poland, Thailand and Mexico. While absent from our EM Crisis Risk Index due to the lack of cross-country comparable data, Taiwan also looks solid fundamentally (stable currency, great BOP dynamics, mature and liquid financial markets…).
  • On the SHORT side of EM equities from here (TREND and TAIL duration), we like South Africa, Nigeria and Indonesia. We’re also inclined to loop India and Brazil back into this mix, but they’re so bombed-out on longer-term durations (i.e. 1Y, 18M and 3Y), one has to start to wonder how much more downside is left.

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - EMB

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - EMLC

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - CEW

 

Below, we present our latest Hedgeye Macro Emerging Market Crisis Risk Index as some support for these selections. You’ll note that we didn’t just pick the absolute best vs. the absolute worst; other factors (such as accessibility and quantitative signals contributed to our thought process):

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - EXPLANATION TABLE

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - PILLAR I

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - PILLAR II

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - PILLAR III

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - PILLAR IV

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - AGGREGATED RISK

 

REFRESHING THE #EMERGINGOUTFLOWS PLAYBOOK - SUMMARY TABLE

 

Please email us any time you’d like to receive our more nuanced thoughts on a specific country and/or its capital and currency markets. We’ve done all the analytical heavy-lifting and we continue to monitor for critical deltas and inflection points each day so it’s no trouble at all for us to assist you in that regard.

 

Have a great evening,

 

Darius Dale

Senior Analyst

 

NOTES ON THE HEDGEYE MACRO EMERGING MARKET DIVERGENCE MONITOR:

To help clients get a better grasp of all the moving parts across EM capital and currency markets, we have created a dashboard to systematically monitor performance divergences with the intent on flagging developing, existing, and dissipating trends in the marketplace. The dashboard is specifically programmed to highlight divergences in EM primary and secondary asset classes that are in excess of [1] standard deviation relative to their respective sample means.

 

The dashboard is grouped into three distinct buckets (i.e. samples): Asset Classes, Regions and Countries. Realizing that we could and should do better than implementing an all-or-nothing strategy in emerging markets, this multi-tiered setup will allow us to spot the development and dissipation of said trends at the level most appropriate for any given investor.

 

Lastly, we thought it would be best to use actual ETFs, rather than the benchmark indices themselves to track said divergences because: A) the universe of liquid ETFs most likely accurately reflects the universe of broadly investable emerging market securities and asset classes; B) the ETFs are all both un-hedged and priced in US dollars, which means they automatically adjust for deltas in the currency markets; and C) ETFs have an underlying fund flow element to them that influences price trends – which is precisely what we’re trying to capture with our #EmergingOutflows thesis.

 

It’s also worth noting that whenever there was a collection of ETFs that represented a particular asset class, region and/or country, we selected the specific ETF in our sample based on a combo score of size (AUM) and liquidity (average daily trading volume).


Summary Notes: Energy Drink Conference Call with Dr. Kennedy

Yesterday we hosted an expert conference call titled "Are Energy Drinks Harmful?" with Dr. Deborah Kennedy, a pediatric nutrition and expert on energy drinks.  The call was very comprehensive and well received by our clients. If you missed the it, here are links to the podcast replay and presentation. We encourage you to take the time (one hour in length including a Q&A session) to listen to the call, and have included a summary of the call below. 

 

Note: We will be putting out a subsequent post with our outlook on the energy drink space, in particular on Monster (MNST), and giving consideration to key take-aways from Dr. Kennedy’s presentation on the industry. 

 

-Matt Hedrick

 

---

 

What are Energy Drinks?

  • There is no legal definition, manufacturers came up with term. FDA has not defined parameters of what may be in an energy drink.
  • What can be added?  Depends if labeled as a Beverage or a Supplement.

Summary Notes: Energy Drink Conference Call with Dr. Kennedy - zz. bev chart

  • Under the beverage label (note: all the major energy drink makers are considered a beverage, whereas only energy shots are a supplement) caffeine is considered GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe); and under the supplement label there’s no limits to caffeine content.  Therefore, manufacturers can put as much caffeine in the product as they choose and the onus is on them to determine the product’s safety.
  • For ingredients other than caffeine, if a supplement: onus is on manufacturer to decide. If a beverage, need preapproval of ingredients or need to contain GRAS elements.
  • Under the Food and Drug Cosmetic Act, neither a supplement nor a beverage is legally required to list the caffeine content on its products.
  • When caffeine passed as a GRAS ingredient, there was a recognition of the need to put limits on the caffeine content in drinks, and the FDA decided to limit the amount of caffeine in soda to 71 mg  in a can of soda (12oz.). No limits have since been put on energy drinks.
  • For Beverage, what you put in the product has to be on the ingredient list, but because caffeine is not considered a nutrient by the FDA (it is considered a food and drug), caffeine does not have to be on the nutrient fact panel.
  • If Beverage, can buy with food stamps. If Beverage, do not need to report if anyone dies from consumption of the product, however deaths must be reported if labeled a supplement.
  • Energy drinks have been around since 1901 but only in significant quantities since 2007
  • Red Bull came to the U.S .in 1997 – major forerunner in energy drink industry, then Rockstar (2001), Monster (2002); and 5-Hour Energy Shots (2004).
  • 66% of energy drink consumers are between the age of 13-35 (65% of consumers are male)
  • Sales of energy drinks have surpassed that of fruit and sports in U.S.

About Caffeine?

  • Known to increase heart rate, blood pressure, speech rate, and motor activity
  • Concern for children: unclear what impact caffeine can have on neurological and cardiovascular systems
  • U.S. Avg person gets 250-300mg of caffeine per day. Moderate consumption = 1-2 cups of  coffee a day (approx. 260mg caffeine). Heavy consumption = 5 cups a day (~ 500mg).
  • Teens should limit to under 100mg/day.  < 13 years of age = none to less than 50mg/day.
  • Ability to handle caffeine varies from persons to person, including how liver metabolizes caffeine, and tolerance.  Children and elderly are at greater risk for adverse events, and males are more susceptible than females for adverse events.

How much Caffeine in Energy Drinks?

  • Avg 80mg/8oz., but serving sizes vary and caffeine range is wide across offerings
  • Compared to Coffee?  How much caffeine is in coffee depends on how strong coffee is brewed. Generic Brewed Coffee 95 -200mg per 8oz.  (for reference: 12oz. Coca Cola = 30-35mg)
  • Believes that media has convinced consumers that all they need to pay attention to is the amount of caffeine. (Comparing Starbucks coffee to energy drinks is false advertising. Apples to oranges. In energy drinks you can have other substances besides caffeine, that may not be counted that contribute to the total level of caffeine.

Dangers and What Experts are Saying

  • Retailers are not prohibited legally from selling energy drinks to kids.
  • Case of adverse affects are being reported: With Red Bull, shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, heart attack, convulsions, mental impairment. With Monster, 4 heart attacks, 5 deaths, chest pain, tremor, anxiety, psychotic disorder.
  • Dr. Kennedy questions how we can live in a society where such products that cause these adverse affects are not pulled off the shelf. Suggests if this were an OTC drug, with similar results to consumers, that drug would be pulled off the market immediately.
  • Of the 5,448 U.S. caffeine overdoses reported in 2007, 46% occurred in those younger than 19 years.
  • Dr. Kennedy hopes energy drinks are put behind the counter.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics says energy drinks should not be consumed or sold to kids.

Dr. Kennedy Predictions

  • Dr. Kenned believes manufacturers will never give up the teen and tween market, but will give up the market <12.
  • Energy drink makers say they are not marketing to this demographic (kids), but believes the events at which the manufacturers market is tells a completely opposite story.
  • Thinks the FDA will look at the idea of calling caffeine GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) and will provide more regulation in terms of amounts allowed.
  • Thinks like cigarette companies, who got caught marketing to kids, and later confess to it, energy drink manufacturers will run a similar course.

Q&A Highlights


Q) What ingredient recommendations have been made or given to the energy drink makers from doctors and/or the FDA?


A) Nothing yet. A doctor can say whatever he or she wants but the manufacturers are not listening. Now some Senators are involved and they’re asking the energy drink manufacturers to playing nice and stop marketing to kids, but until the FDA comes down on limits to caffeine levels nothing will change.

 

Q) Do you foresee that the FDA could pass a standard for caffeine in drinks?


A) Yes, although technically it gets complicated because of molecular differences across caffeine types.  So it will take awhile to get to any standard. 

 

Q) With respect to the cross over between age regulations for energy drinks and coffee, would you promote that a 16 year old walking into a Starbucks can’t order a grande redeye coffee drink, or needs to show identification to purchase it?


A) For a teen there needs to be a warning label on anything over 100mg of caffeine. Similar to calorie counts on food menus, the consumers need to have information so that they can make a reasonable choice. The consumer should know which beverages are over 100mg of caffeine and could potentially cause toxicity. Not looking to card minors, rather given teens the ability to make their own choices.

 

Q) Would you like to see the energy drink makers come up with one size of energy drink with one level of caffeine?


A) I would like to see what happened to soda. Those companies are set to a certain standard so that you know exactly what you’re buying. So yes, I agree the same should be the standard for energy drinks.   


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