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About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down

Even Before Brexit, Global Growth Was Decelerating.

 

Editor's Note: In this complimentary edition of About Everything, Hedgeye Demography Sector Head Neil Howe discusses lackluster global growth and the IMF's continually downgraded GDP forecasts. 

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - dead flower

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Shortly before the Brexit vote, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that a British exit could cut U.K. GDP growth by 0.8 to 3.0% in 2017. In the following year, 2018, it projected that Brexit would cut rest-of-EU GDP by 0.2 to 0.5% and rest-of-world GDP by 0.0 to 0.2%.

 

No news there: Few imagined that Brexit would be a stimulant. What’s less widely known is that the global economy was slowing down well before it entered the Brexit sand trap.

 

According to the IMF, GDP growth shrank from 5.0% in 2010 to 3.1% last year. The World Bank reports that global GDP growth fell from 3.8% in 2010 to 2.4% last year. The brief re-acceleration in 2014 kindled momentary optimism and then disappeared. Emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) have fared the worst, with growth sliding almost every year, while advanced economies have been zig-zagging well below 2% growth for years now. (The IMF and World Bank global growth rates don’t match due to the different ways they weight national GDPs.)

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 2

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 3

 

Current-year forecasts are marred by negative surprises. The latest IMF projection pegs global growth in 2016 at 3.2%—down from an earlier 2016 projection of 3.4% in January and 3.8% last year. The World Bank’s 2016 projection of 2.4% has likewise shriveled— from 3.2% in January and 3.5% last year.

 

If this strikes you like a quarterly earnings forecast (where the quarter gets uglier the closer it gets), you’re on to something.

 

In fact, over the past decade, these highly compensated, D.C.-based bureaucrats have consistently chosen to revise their predictions downward. Back in 2010, when the IMF took its first stab at growth figures for 2015, the estimate (+4.6 percent) came in at nearly double the final figure. 

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 4

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 5

 

This pattern means that, as disappointing as the 2016 projection looks today, the final number will probably come in even lower.

 

Not surprisingly, the IMF year-ahead odds of recession have been rising since April of 2015 in nearly every region except Emerging Asia (where it remains zero). Since Latin America is already in a recession, that one is an easy call.

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 6

 

If you don’t trust national accounting and prefer to look at the activity reported by firms, the picture you get is pretty much the same. Take a look at Markit’s Global PMIs: You see a dip in 2012, a peak in 2014, and decline thereafter. Indeed, Global Manufacturing now teeters on the edge of contraction.

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 7

THE DEVELOPED WORLD: JUST TREADING WATER

The high-income economies haven’t exactly surged over the past five years—but they haven’t done too badly, either. Back in 2012 and 2013, both the Eurozone and Japan were moving in and out of recession. Today, at least for now, they’re out. According to the World Bank, GDP growth in these regions did pick up in 2014, rising from 1.3% to 1.8% (about where it was last year). Real import growth and real investment growth have been trending up since 2012.

 

Labor conditions are also improving in most advanced economies—most notably the United States. According to the most recent BLS Employment Situation Summary, the U.S. unemployment rate took its first big step downward in months, hitting 4.7% in May.

 

Other indicators are less encouraging. The IMF reports that headline inflation in advanced economies averaged just 0.3% in 2015, the lowest level since the recession. Long-term interest rates have been on a downward slide for years. Ten-year bond yields are now well below 2% in the United States and—post-Brexit—heading below zero in Germany and Japan.

 

Unfavorable demographics has constrained high-income GDP growth in recent years and will constrain it further in the future. According to the U.N. Population Division’s medium growth variant, the working-age populations of Japan and most European nations have already peaked and will decline at gathering speed in the decades to come.

EMERGING MARKETS: A TALE OF DIVERGENCE

While the developed world is speeding up slightly, the EMDEs as a whole is slowing down sharply. Unlike in advanced economies, rates of real import growth and real investment growth have been falling in EMDEs since 2010 and are now approaching recession levels.

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 8

 

Yet the bigger story is the wide divergence of growth trends within the EMDEs.

 

Commodity-exporting EMDEs. Economies that mainly export stuff (oil, gas, minerals, agricultural products) are doing very poorly as a whole. The World Bank projects that commodity-exporting emerging markets will grow by a miniscule 0.4% this year, down from 3.2% in 2013. That’s by far the fastest deceleration of any group.

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 9

 

Obviously, these economies are getting hammered by falling commodity prices. Energy prices plummeted by more than two-thirds from mid-2014 to early 2016, and raw materials did little better. Sure, they’ve rebounded some this year, but commodities are still trading at bargain-bin prices, much to the dismay of export-dependent emerging markets like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, South Africa, Venezuela, Chile, and Brazil.

 

Part of the problem is China’s “rebalancing” policy—moving the economy away from massive capital outlays and toward consumer spending. This may be good news for China’s emerging middle class, but it’s bad news for the export-dependent and often low-income countries that used to furnish the raw materials for all of China’s buildings, trains, harbors, and dams.

 

China. The largest of the non-export dependent EMDEs, China is still growing rapidly—just less rapidly than before. The World Bank predicts that the country’s GDP growth rate will shrink from 7.7% in 2013 to 6.3% in 2018.

 

On top of China’s marked shift in trade philosophy, it’s also facing a “currency crisis” that has many savers looking for an exit ramp. China’s efforts to downsize its industrial capacity, plus efforts to defend its currency, have had a tidal impact on the direction of global capital flows. Emerging market capital inflows have recently turned negative for the first time since 2008.

 

About Everything: The Global Economy Gears Down - chart 10

 

Other non-export dependent EMDEs. Most other non-exporters, however, are doing better than they were a few years ago. According to the World Bank, the GDP for this group (excluding China) has grown by nearly a full percentage point since 2013.

 

India’s economy is expanding well over 7% annually, where it’s expected to remain in the near future. Southeast Asia’s largest economies, the ASEAN-5 (Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam), together are growing more than 4% per year.

 

Typically, these economies benefit from lower raw material and energy prices. And few of them are hurt by China’s declining import demand: ASEAN, for example, has turned into a net importer of Chinese goods.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Even before Brexit, global growth was gearing down. Each year since 2010—aside from a blip in 2014—the world economy’s growth rate has slowed. The IMF and the World Bank, if the past is any guide, will continue to lower their estimates for the coming years as time passes.
  • The global slowdown varies widely by region. China and the export-dependent EMDEs are falling fastest. Advanced economies are stable, even rising slightly, while non-export EMDEs (ex China) are speeding up

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons

Our cartoonist Bob Rich captures the tenor on Wall Street every weekday in Hedgeye's widely-acclaimed Cartoon of the Day. Below are his five latest cartoons. We hope you enjoy his humor and wit as filtered through Hedgeye's market insights. (Click here to receive our daily cartoon for free.)

 

Enjoy!

 

1. Happy Independence Day (7/1/2016)

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons - 4th of July cartoon 07.01.2016

 

Happy Independence Day.

 

2. Running Of The Bears (6/30/2016)

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons - Spain cartoon 06.30.2016

 

Spain's IBEX is down 32% from its 2015 peak.

 

3. Guru Wisdom (6/29/2016)

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons - central bankers cartoon 06.29.2016

 

This one speaks for itself.

 

4. Eject! (6/28/2016)

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons - EU cartoon 06.28.2016

 

Who's next? Grexit? Spexit? Frexit?

 

5. A Not So Happy Hour For Bulls (6/27/2016)

This Week In Hedgeye Cartoons - Not last Friday cartoon 06.27.2016

 

Equity markets continued to tumble today as post-Brexit aftershocks continue to be felt.


The Week Ahead

The Economic Data calendar for the week of the 4th of July through the 8th of July is full of critical releases and events. Here is a snapshot of some of the headline numbers that we will be focused on.

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

The Week Ahead - 07.01.16 Week Ahead


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 80.64%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.61%

Cartoon of the Day: Happy Independence Day

Cartoon of the Day: Happy Independence Day - 4th of July cartoon 07.01.2016

 

Happy Independence Day.


McCullough: Gold Loves Blowup of Central Planning Belief System

In this excerpt from The Macro Show today, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough lays out the bullish case for gold and highlights some disconcerting central planning statistics in Europe.

 

Subscribe to The Macro Show today for access to this and all other episodes. 

 

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A Sad Year For The Hedge Fund Industry

Short Low, Cover High, Capitulate, And Cry = 2&20

 

What a sad year it's been for our industry. According to Bloomberg (during one of Hedgeye's best years yet), hedge funds are on track for their worst first half since 2011. I can't for the life of me understand how hedge funds missed what has been so obvious to us all year. Instead of whining about the "macro environment," hedge funds should be up huge, long Utilities, short Financials.

 

A Sad Year For The Hedge Fund Industry - sector performance 7 1

 

Sure, 100 handle 3-day swings in SPY have been great for traders who can go both ways. It's also terrible for equity fund flows…

 

A Sad Year For The Hedge Fund Industry - 06.30.16 EL Chart

 

Most Pundits have completely missed the link between #GrowthSlowing and long the Long Bond (TLT) and Gold (GLD) vs. short U.S. Equities. Gold ripped another +1% higher to $1335/oz, clocking Global Equity Bull at +25.9% YTD. And TLT continues to rock the Bond Bear world, hitting new all-time highs.

 

It generally takes time for "stocks" people to figure out what the bond market is telling them. Patience, of course, is what the real #GrowthSlowing Bulls (Long: TLT, ZROZ, EDV, XLU, GLD) have understood, for a year.

 

 

But, but, Keith, what about the FTSE? UK stocks are up … yeah, lol – for a trade… and they had to eviscerate both the Pound (back down to $1.32 this am) and UK Bond Yields to all-time lows (UK 10yr -57bps in the last month alone to 0.84%) to get there…

 

Whoever is telling you Brexit doesn't matter is a macro moron - all-time lows in yields (and bank spreads) matter. Question: What’s next for banks after giving up of a lot of free market liberty for short-term centrally planned market gains?

Meanwhile...

  • GERMANY: +0.6% DAX this morning, but to put this bear market bounce in context (DAX -21.4% from the 2015 cycle peak)
  • ITALY: no bounce today as the stock market remains in crash mode, -33% from the Global Equity #Bubble High (July 2015)
  • JAPAN: 5 straight up days on nothing fundamental; Nikkei still -24.9% from its Global Equity #Bubble high of 2015

 

#NoWorries

 

All of this is going to end swimmingly because economic fundamentals are so strong...

 

A Sad Year For The Hedge Fund Industry - Draghi Peter Pan cartoon 04.13.2016

 

For the record ... unlike most unaccountable Old Wall pundits, we actually have a real research team with a real process for making our calls. Old Wall and its media are in for a rude awakening. It's going to get a lot uglier before the entire edifice comes crashing down.


Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.

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