Macro Outlook September 2022

Summary:

Market showing renewed volatility as the FED’s commitment to rate hikes becomes apparent to even the most begrudging participants. Message of hard times ahead signal clear intent that the FED’s number one goal is to crush inflation, even at the cost of recession. As data will show, both the message and hikes that have happened are starting to materialize into impacts on prices and consumers. While prices of energy and food continue to inflate on an index level, we are starting to see material decreases in the prices of the components of the indices. This is positive news as economically, the US still seems resilient. While chatter of layoffs are back in industries with high labor costs like technology and finance, unemployment remains well below 4%. Workers continue to see more negotiating power then in previous times, with job leavers continuing to grow pace with job losers. Initial claims remain at pre-pandemic levels. Retail data is more mixed as inflation continues to alter consumer spending habits, but we still see spending increases, as well as consumer credit growth. Large purchases probably the most hard hit, as car and home sales decline, though there is a seasonal component for the latter. Business sentiments seem to be slightly improved as well. On the downside, it is likely that recession will occur. Personal savings rate has eroded back to normal levels, meaning consumers will no longer be cash flush. Household net worth has declined, and if continues to drop may lead to a significant decline in consumer wealth even if the FED is successful in its goal. On the corporate side bank assets and residuals have decreased despite increased rates, likely due to the inverted curve effecting bank margins. Finally, there is the risk of contagion from a escalation in UK or European turmoil that could derail possibility of a soft landing in the US.

Individuals and Households

Consumer loans outstanding continue to increase. Revolving debt up 1.6% while all sum of all commercial consumer loans up 1.1%. Revolving home loans up 0.3%. Real estate and mortgage loans up as well, 1.2% and 2.0%. Mortgage debt service up 0.3% as for end of Q1.

In the US, monthly housing supply declines 25.7% in August. Inventory is up 4.3%. Existing home sales drop 0.2%, though housing starts are up 8.9%. Total residential construction spending down 0.4%. Case-Shiller national home index up 0.5% since May, however 20 city composite down 0.3% in that same period. Average sales price for homes down 4.6%.

Kicking off US employment data with initial claims, we see a decrease of 20% in new claims week over week. Unemployment does rise to to 3.7%, a 5.7% increase from the previous release. Average weeks unemployed increased 0.9% to 22.3 weeks. Both job leavers and job losers are up, 2.7% and 2.9% respectively. Average hourly earnings in the private sector increased 4.8%.

In terms of consumer cash levels, we see demand deposits increase 5.7%, but total deposits at all banks decrease 0.7%. Personal savings rate craters 30% to 3.5% in Aug. Both total household cash levels were up 10% at the end of Q1, but total household net worth decreases 3.8%. Household exposure to equities decline 17%.

Looking at the UMich consumer sentiment index, we have a MoM improvement of 13%. Real disposable income dropped 0.4%. CPI continues to increase, up 0.1%. Vehicle sales slightly up, 0.1% higher. Personal consumption expenditures up 1.7%.

Businesses

Total CP outstanding increases 2.8%, but both financial and nonfinancial CP levels down 3.7% and 4.5% respectively. Commercial real estate loans up 0.9%. Sales growth expectations increased 5.4%. Actual manufacturer and total business sales down 1.1% and 1% respectively.

Business expectations for employment growth improved 21.6%. Total construction spending is up 0.9%, while non-residential specific construction spending is up 2.2%. Chicago Fed capital spending expectations index rise dramatically. In terms of more lagged indicators, total commercial mortgages up 3.6% at the end of Q1. Total Cap Ex up marginally.

Total nonfarm job openings up 5% in last release. Quits down 3.6%. Total employees in manufacturing sector grows 0.2%. Manufacturer’s orders down 1.2%, and orders for durable goods specifically down 0.3%. Retail inventories grow 1.3%. Retail inventory to sales up 1.7%. Manufacturer inventories up more modest 0.1%, but inventory to sales still up 1.4%. PPI for finished goods down 1.2%. Cass Freight shipments index up 8.1%, truck tonnage up 2.8%.

Banks

Bank cash assets decline 8.8% MoM. Residuals down 0.4%. Commercial and industrial loan levels up 1.1%. Total assets down 1.1% overall. Total liabilities drop 0.9%. Total revenue of FIRE industries up 1.9% as of end of Q1.

Central Bank

Taking a look at the latest FED asset levels, we see that total assets held decreased 0.5% WoW. Short term assets declined the most with 1-5 year maturities declining 1.2%, and 5-10 yr assets declining 0.8%. Assets held with maturities over 10 years increased, up 0.2%. Depository reserves increased 1.5%. Total monetary base increases 0.8%. Fed National Financial Conditions index improves 49.1%.

Government

US deficit increases 4%. Tax revenue for California, Texas and New York increase QoQ. Current account deficit improves 13.8%. Capital account deficit increases 86% QoQ. Exports of goods and services up 8.6%. Imports of goods and services up 9%. Overall trade deficit on a balance of payments basis decreases 5.9%.

Inputs and Productivity

PPI for all commodities down 0.9%. Price of copper up 5.9% MoM in August. Energy index up 9.1%. Brent crude drops 7.2%. Food index down 2.1%. Gas prices, all formulations down 4.4%.

In labor demographics, employment levels for those between ages 25-55 up 0.3%, while levels for 55 and over down 0.4%. Labor force participation rate increase 0.5%. Unemployment rate increases most for Hispanic and Latino people, up 9.5%. Black unemployment remains highest at 6.8, a 4.6% increase MoM.

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