Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Economics Roundtable

Payrolls are in, from Bloomberg:

U.S. July Payrolls Rise 113,000; Unemployment Rate at 4.8%

Employers in the U.S. added fewer jobs than expected in July and the unemployment rate rose for the first time since November, showing the labor market is losing strength as the economy slows.

The 113,000 increase follows a revised 124,000 gain in June, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent, from 4.6 percent. The annual increase in hourly earnings slowed.

The figures are the final piece of major economic data before Federal Reserve policy makers gather next week to determine whether to lift interest rates for an 18th consecutive time. Today's report helps strengthen the case for the Fed to pause after two years of rate increases, economists said.

Treasuries, of course, rallied on the report..

3mo - 5.08%
2yr - 4.92%
10yr - 4.90%
@ 8:40

Central banks around the world tightened this week. Australia up 25bps to 6%, the BoE (UK) up 25bps to 4.75%, and the ECB (Eurozone) up 25 bps to 3%. The BoE suprised economists and traders worldwide, it was widely expected that they would pause. Economists are suggesting the possibility for further rate hikes for both the Eurozone and Australia later this year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still think the fed is going to raise again at the next meeting.

I think the next meeting is on the 8th??


8/04/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Wow.. 10 year yield down to 4.886%.

The Fed needs to hike, but I've got a sinking feeling they are going to cave-in to pressure and pause.

We're going to be in a heck of a position if the Fed pauses and we see another spike in the GDP (think Q1) or inflation (and inflation pressures) jump even higher.


8/04/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger delford said...

grim: I think Bernanke it one more time, and then waits to see how things play out in the Fall.

The jobs report was weaker then expected, but the hourly earnings continued to increase, and I think that is what he will look at.

Plus the rate hikes in Europe this week gives him the cover he needs for another increase.

If you are right and he pauses, it will be interesting to see the spin that the real estate inductry puts on that.

Will it be all is well come back into the pool , thw water is fine?

Even with low long rates, people are not buying, because the asking prices are too high, although dropping.

And of course the property taxes. People in my town are in an uproar after receiving their new bills.

Back to Bernanke, if he pauses than what, he has said in the past[ast he can pause , but could also raise rates again, if the data warranted it. Pause does not mean stop.

If he pauses, will people think the next move is an ease.

It is going to be interesting, but in the end I do not believe the housing market is going to abruptly swith from decline mode, to stabalize and rise mode again.

The excess has to be wrung out of the market, and there is so much excess that needs to be eliminated.

So keep you powder dry guys/ladies, the Fall into next Spring should continue to show us declines in the housing market,and I believe they will be substanial.

8/04/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

I think Barry over at Big Picture hit the nail square on the head with his comment..

All the teeth gnashing over a 1/4 point hike -- is there THAT much difference between 5.5% or 5.25%? I find it quite telling, as it it reveals how fragile this recovery actually is. A robust economy with strong job growth and healthy organic expansion wouldn't care a whit about a 5.5% Fed funds rate. Yet the markets have been wailing about the Fed as if they had Bernanke's boot on their collective throats.

For those who don't read The Big Picture, it's another great blog.


8/04/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger DebtVulture said...


Yes, Fed meets on Tuesday, the 8th.

8/04/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Contemplate this if you will. Most of those who work in my industry are fee based, not salaried. If I close a listing, they hand me a check. But it goes much further than that. If I don't put a buyer under contract, then the home inspector we use does not get a call to come inspect the home. Rick, our mortgage lender friend, does not get a call to arrange a home loan. David, our handyman, does not get a call to come out and make the agreed to repairs. Usually a pre-closing involves painters, perhaps a carpet vendor, and others. They never get a call if there is to be no closing. Jennifer, our closing attorney, does not earn a closing fee.

Does she start to lay off staff when her closing volume drops sharply? Yet if a government bureaucrat drops by to ask if we are employed, well yes, most of us are. We are earning a fraction of what we normally earn, but employed we are. My wife and I are fortunate enough to have been able to save during the good years, but I assure you that most Realtors, and others in related industries, live check to check. Spending will surely fall sharply, probably already is doing so. I am one Realtor. The NAR claims a membership of 1.3 million. Multiply the train of events I portrayed above by a factor of 1.3 million. It's not a pretty picture."

8/04/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

CF and others,

Looking for opinions on the potential impact (macro-level) of the new pension bill.


8/04/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check this out for a laymans view on real rates...embedded in here is the real scoop about housing...from CNN

8/04/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try using this site

8/04/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is quite a bit to chew on.

With other banks raising their interest rates that increases the pressure on the fed to keep pace.

As long as a strong dollar is official policy we're going to have to give people a reason to keep their money here.

I think it's time to face the reality of our situation, and it's not good. The imbalances in the global economy are going to have to reset and many people are going to get hurt, with US being first on the list.

Just about every indicator I can find, jobs, wages, inflation, housing, federal deficit, savings rate, you name it, is pointing down. I think retail sales did OK in the last report, but that's it, and when you consider that is carried by the negative savings rate, that can hardly be considered a positive.

I think I'm going to be having a very dark day.


8/04/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tinyurl tip...

8/04/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inflation shmation. What will dictate interest rates is how high will we have to go to market with our bonds to sell our debt. If the Chinese stop buying (their economy is slowing), watch out.

8/04/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

"For those who don't read The Big Picture, it's another great blog."

I read that and these:

bull not bull
Brad Delong
Calculated risk
Jeff Matthews is not making this up
And Mess That Greenspan Made

FWIW, I think 25 more basis points just because the Euro went up almost 4 cents since the last tightening. I agree with the strong dollar sentiment.

8/04/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is great news! the fed will pause on interest rate hikes and give confidence to improve the buyers market, the price declines seen in the last few months combined with the interst rate news should arowse buyers and stabilize the market. good stuff. sorry to those who were waiting for 40pct drops in asking prices, that was kind of a dream huh?

8/04/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, another cast.
Hmmm, who'll take the bait...

8/04/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

from Craigslist, Fairfield County, CT (note that house is in NJ, not CT):


Drastic Reduction, Motivated by Immediate Relocation.

Looking for a sound investment that can be enjoyed for generations? Here’s a wonderful "published" country estate within an elite community including many prominent neighbors and significantly more expensive properties. In the spring, a pending sale and offers were substantially higher. Unfortunately, the purchase has fallen through and we must act quickly due to relocation. This property is available directly from owner, priced at $4.395 million, until relo agency takes charge (late August). Comparable properties could be priced $10+ million in Greenwhich and $5.5-7.5 million in our immediate area. If you've dreamed of owning a prestigous country estate, this could be your opportunity to achieve excellent quality of life, great investment /future subdivision potential, unique family compound, profitable equestrian or vineyard farm opportunity, or other. Located in one of the wealthiest communities in America, in Somerset County, NJ


8/04/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Wait, let me get this straight.

You are happy that there are more people out of work?

8/04/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger quints said...

I think the Fed will pause. They see real estate dropping pretty strongly and they don't have the stomach to risk sending it into a tailspin with even higher interest rates. I don't see this helping real estate recover, just keeping the drop somewhat "orderly" - not a total panic crash.

8/04/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

another 0.25% is not going to make or break the real estate market. there are far more important factors in play

8/04/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

We've still got a good 6-9 months lag until the current policy works it's way through the system.


8/04/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger quints said...

I agree, there are more important factors affecting real estate than the Fed Funds Rate. But I respectfully disagree about one .25% increase not being able to make or break it.
I think real estate, now, due to leverage, is like a steep mountain slope covered with snow. It's a classic case of instability right now.
I'm not saying it WILL, but the fed raising rates when everyone is convinced they may have gone too far could be the "Straw that breaks the camel's back". I don't think they'll risk it.

8/04/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the Fed will raise rates another 25, IMO. And it's not the Fed's job to manage the real estate market their supposed to manage inflation.

8/04/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fed doesn't care about RE.

Guns & money. Need more money. Years of more money.

Which is the most important goal right now, do you think?

8/04/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

this is great news! the fed will pause on interest rate hikes and give confidence to improve the buyers market, the price declines seen in the last few months combined with the interst rate news should arowse buyers and stabilize the market.

Yes, a pause could be a good thing. In fact, I believe a pause would remove the one catalyst propping up the current market and preventing total collapse. The only thing keeping sales going at this point is the sense of urgency created by the threat of rising interest rates. The new Realtor® battle cry is “better buy now because interest rates keep going up up up and you will be PRICED OUT FOR-EV-ER!!!” If interest rates stop going up, what’s the rush? Might as well sit on the sidelines and take a wait and see approach.

8/04/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This month seemed to mark a very significant turn in the economy.

Things are only going up from here. The fed has indicated that it is willing to accept higher inflation with higher wage increases.

In the NYC area, inflation is running at a 16 year high of close to 6.00%. But everyone is in this hedonistic party mode and is living in prosperity with a ton of disposable cash.

Consumer confidence is rising even as gas stays at over $3.00 a gallon.

Retail sales are booming with retail sales expected to continue to increase close to 10% over last year excluding autos.

Long Term rates & mortgages are falling. 10 year is back at 4.80%. Probably will fall to 4.00% by Thanksgiving with the fed cutting rates back to 3.00% by this time next year.

BTW, 17 cuts HAVE NOT slowed the economy or have slowed or dampened retail sales which are still booming especially in the NYC area.

8/04/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger jayb said...

Dr. Clare, my macroeconomics teacher at Rutgers, once told my class an interesting story about a guy that kept pressuring him at a party about the economy and his thoughts on it.

Eventually, Dr. Clare couldn't take his babble anymore and said, "You know, ideas for the economy are a lot like assholes. Everyone has one, but very few people know how they truly work."

I always find it interesting how every single person, even my father who has zero schooling, always has something to say about the economy like they truly know what they're talking about.

So with that's my two cents. I could care less about a .25% increase. Why? Because I don't think it will affect me or my ability to earn or save money.

The Fed didn't go around driving up housing prices everywhere, stupid buyers and greedy sellers did. They didn't cause a negative savings rate. They don't control the deficit or trade imbalance. They didn't mismanage all these companies (Ford, GM, Delta, etc.) that are cutting tens of thousands of jobs. But everyone looks to them to set things straight. Give the Fed a break. At least Greenspan got a knighthood out of it.

This is all of course, IMO.

8/06/2006 08:51:00 AM  

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