This week's initial jobless claim numbers came in at a good 270,000, which was down by 9.2 percent year-over-year (y/y), while the 4-week moving average fell to 268,250.
One could easily say the stage is set for another good month-over-month payroll number that was up by 232,000 in June (+2.3 percent y/y) and an overall unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent, which was its lowest level since April 2008.
In its “National Economic Update” the Dallas Fed states: “The U.S. economy regains footing, set for solid year ahead.”
Interestingly, the Dallas Fed calls for wage inflation to rise, from its current year-to-year rate of 2.1 percent, to 2.5 percent in the second quarter 2016 while it also sees a slight increase in trimmed-mean inflation to about 1.76 percent over the coming year.
On the economy, the Dallas Fed update concludes as the Federal Reserve Board sees the long-term jobless rate between 5 and 5.2 percent while the Congressional Budget Office estimates the so-called “natural rate of unemployment” at 5.2 percent, consensus expectations are now for little to no labor-market slack by early 2016.
If these forecasts prove to be close to reality, inflation should rise to around 2 percent within the next 2 years, which should provide a well-anchored inflation expectations environment and would comply with one of the Fed’s requisites to continue rising the fed-fund rates after the initial “liftoff.”
For long-term investors, the employment report is not that crucial because even if it is a strong one, it remains to be seen what the Fed decides in September. And if it’s a somewhat weaker one, the chances for a first rate hike in September will only be postponed for a few months.
Anyway, the Fed will have (the sooner the better) to come out of its corner it has painted itself in ... or its credibility could be at serious risk.
About the markets, there is no doubt serious spikes in volatility are coming. As a long-term investor (but this is strictly my personal opinion) I would prefer to remain on the sidelines until we see substantial lower prices in various markets.
That means over a time span of more or less 2 years, I’d wait, with cash at hand and time as my friend, until U.S. equities slide into broad-based correction-territory (about minus-10 percent) or even in bear-territory (about minus-20 percent or more) and show clean signs (technically!) the markets are bottoming out.
About interest rates in the U.S., the only way is up, while in the eurozone we could see extremely low interest rates for at least a few more years.
About currencies, the only easily tradable currency I can see for now that will strengthen further is the dollar and to a lesser extend the pound sterling. Over the next 2 years, I wouldn’t be surprised the see the euro at 90 to 85 dollar cents.
Just keep in mind, the IMF has just warned in its latest assessment on the eurozone
that the single currency union remains vulnerable to economic shocks and because of a chronic lack of demand, weak productivity, and a large volume of non-performing loans on bank balance sheets, mean the eurozone’s economic future remains bleak.
Mahmood Pradham, IMF mission chief for the Eurozone said: “Several factors cloud the outlook for growth over the next five years … these include high unemployment, especially among the youth; large corporate debt; and, rising non-performing loans (NPLs) in the banking system … A moderate shock to confidence, whether from lower expected future growth or heightened geopolitical tensions, could tip the block into prolonged stagnation.”
Also, Standard and Poor’s revised the European Union Supranational Outlook to negative from stable as it considers there is a greater than one-in-three likelihood of a rating change on the EU during the next two years.
About commodities, as long as China continues to slow down, there should be no serious price revival to be expected.
By the way, Barrick Gold just informed in its “Second Quarter 2015 Results”
it has revised downwards its "all-in sustaining cost" guidance for 2015 to $840-$880 per ounce.
This specific price reference remains to me, especially we are now in an excessively low inflationary world, an indicator at which gold investors could consider to accumulate gold further in case we see a price bottoming process, which isn’t the case today.
I don’t think we have seen the bottom in the price of gold yet.
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