February, 24 2017 by lsr team

Jonathan Fenby sets out 12 reasons why China feels good: 1. China’s economy is ticking over on a cyclical reflation path with sharp PPI recovery coming through.
2. Though it will get worse in absolute terms, the debt problem has been diffused for now by shifting it away from banks and local governments.
3. Currency outflows have moderated for the time being. The housing sector is heading for a correction not a meltdown.
4. Preparations for the Communist Party Congress in late 2017 seem to be on track with no challenge to Xi as he moves into his...

October, 21 2016 by lsr team

Some claim a US recession is ‘overdue’, but leading indicators are edging higher and we are not seeing the macro imbalances typically associated with major downturns. Rising bond yields and a correction in equity markets provide the clearest 2017 threats, while corporate indebtedness could compound these risks.

October, 14 2016 by lsr team

The euro area LI continues to put in an above consensus call. It is probably over predicting growth somewhat but its strength is fundamentally underpinned by the newly emerged German locomotive. While German demand often turns out to be derived from others, chiefly China, in this case it is genuine. In fact, this is highlighted by our below consensus Australia call. China’s stimulus has not fed through to a rebound in private demand, although easing PPI deflation is helping manufacturers.

September, 30 2016 by lsr team

Events such as Brexit throw a spanner in the works of economic models and analysts are left with a wide range of plausible inputs. At the worst extreme, fear of Brexit becomes self-fulling and weighs on spending decisions, in turn crimping consumers’ style. Over-gloomy estimates prompt businesses to delay expansion plans. Firms make their capital spending projections based on these forecasts and they have not been in short supply. Undoubtedly, capex plans will be adversely affected by the uncertainty hanging over them. While a wide range of business sentiment indicato...

August, 19 2016 by lsr team

In previous notes we have stressed how important supply-side rebalancing is for the success of China’s demand side revolution. Beijing’s longer-term intention is clear: it aims to proceed with supply-side reforms.  But what would happen to the labour market if Beijing went for a full blown, Austrian-style rebalancing of the supply side? What if they allowed failures to go under and ailing firms to restructure in a market-oriented way? How many jobs would be under threat from such a process? Click above to watch the full video or below for the full report...

July, 07 2016 by lsr team

Last quarter we warned that, although growth was likely to remain positive during our 2-year forecast horizon, the end of the cycle was now in sight. Since then the Brexit vote has dragged forward the debilitating effect of final demand uncertainty on investment that we would normally associate with the very late cycle. As a result we expect a technical recession during H2 2016. To find out more about Brexit’s impact on the UK economy, click above the watch the video or below for our latest UK Outlook report.  

June, 09 2016 by lsr team

The RBA kept the cash rate at 1.75% following last month’s 25 basis point cut, signalling a wait-and-see stance is appropriate as the economy reaches an inflexion point. Real GDP jumped 1.1% q/q in Q1, taking the annual rate of growth above 3%. However, this positive GDP surprise failed to impress investors. Gains in yields, equities and the AUD on the news proved short-lived, confirming the market’s recognition that the glass looks half-empty for Australia’s economy.. Click above to watch the full video.

June, 08 2016 by lsr team

The housing market has long played a central role in discussions about secular stagnation in the US. This is hardly surprising given it was the collapse in American house prices that brought so much destruction in 2008. Credit was tight, job/income prospects were poor, would–be homebuyers had reassessed potential long-term capital gains and there was a substantial overhang of unsold homes/foreclosures. An intense and long-lasting squeeze on housing investment explained why the economy had failed to bounce back as quickly as in previous recessions.   Since...

June, 02 2016 by lsr team

China’s rebalancing started only in 2015, with recent numbers showing significant progress in rebalancing from excessive saving and capex towards more consumer spending. Capex in 2015 fell by 1.8% of GDP, while gross savings dropped by 1%. This is the first concrete evidence of genuine rebalancing, but still remains small in relation to what is needed. Our Chief Economist, Charles Dumas explains how further rebalancing can be achieved through explicit yuan devaluation against the dollar and other major currencies. Click above to watch the full video. &...

April, 21 2016 by lsr team

Charles Dumas, director of Lombard Street Research, discusses the EU referendum’s impact on the UK unemployment numbers, and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s latest comments on monetary easing. He says the Bank of Japan has no control over the currency market and that people have an exaggerated understanding of the power of central banks. Click here to download and listen to the Bloomberg podcast or below to read his la...

April, 15 2016 by lsr team

Investor sentiment has started to perk up recently on the back of a series of strong data. With exports popping almost 20% year on year in March, heavily distorted by the Chinese New Year, a local journalist has asked if a U-shaped recovery in the economy was on the cards. Unfortunately, we are just at the beginning of yet another mini-cycle of the sort we have been through over the past couple of years. On our preliminary estimate, Chinese GDP expanded 7.1% at an annualised rate in Q1. That is up from 5.5% in Q4 and is the fastest pace in almost two years. What is the m...

April, 07 2016 by lsr team

We held a client seminar on the economic impact of Brexit in June 2015 – as always at LSR we like to be well ahead of the curve! As we stated then, the longer term implications of a vote to leave are likely to be small in either direction. However, since the middle of last year our concerns about the immediate impact of the referendum have been amplified by the declining household savings rate. With consumer demand closer to the end of its own cycle, any investment disruption will be keenly felt. Our senior economist, Richard Batley discusses Brexit and its impact...

March, 24 2016 by lsr team

We recently published the Q2 2016 edition of the LSR UK Outlook. Our central forecasts assume that the UK remains in the EU, but we also modelled a ‘Brexit risk’ scenario. This risk involved shocking the model in a number of different ways, in particular by weakening trade-weighted sterling, increasing the level of household’s precautionary saving and reducing the share of business investment associated with exports to the EU to a ‘depreciation-replacement’ only level. The difference in the quarterly profile of growth between our central pro...

March, 22 2016 by lsr team

Households have been borrowing more and saving less, suggesting their finances are increasingly vulnerable to shocks – not least in view of stretched property market conditions. This is a topic that was repeatedly raised during out recent visits to Australian clients. Spurred by easy monetary policy and a buoyant property market, the leverage of households –predominantly mortgages- has risen to a record 1.8 times income. At the same time, their savings ratio has been declining through the RBA’s extended easing cycle, raising questions about the robustne...

February, 25 2016 by lsr team

We held a client seminar on the economic impact of Brexit in June 2015 – as always at LSR we like to be well ahead of the curve! As we stated then, the longer-term implications of a vote to leave are likely to be small in either direction. However, since the middle of last year our concerns about the immediate impact of the referendum have been amplified by the declining household savings rate. With consumer demand closer to the end of its own cycle any investment disruption will be keenly felt. To what extent sterling will contin...

February, 17 2016 by lsr team

Beijing has pledged to embark on the necessary reforms to lower debt levels in the economy. Yet the latest money and credit numbers show that Chinese banks expanded their loan books at a record pace at the start of 2016. In January, Chinese banks extended a whopping RMB2.5 trillion in new loans, or 4% of GDP. On a seasonally adjusted basis, RMB 1.6 trillion new loans were extended. Given that local government bond issuance has come to a halt ahead of a new debt swap programme, local government financing companies might have taken out bridge loans from banks to refinance...

February, 15 2016 by lsr team

The UK cycle is rapidly maturing. We have stressed before that uncertainty over Brexit is likely to add a burden to the end of the cycle, dampening investment intentions just when consumption bottlenecks would otherwise have driven up capex. As with the Scottish referendum, polls have narrowed. The latest poll of polls put those who want to remain in the EU on 51%, with those who wish to leave on 49%. Many of those who expect an exit presumably think it would be a good thing. But in the short term, uncertainty over how Brexit would affect trade and capital flows will tak...

February, 09 2016 by lsr team

Ironically, financial market turbulence has hit just as the world economy’s chances of rebalancing successfully had increased. We published our year ahead piece in early December with the title “Don’t panic!”, but investors returned to work after the holidays worried about China’s slowdown, collapsing oil prices, global debt unwinding and the dearth of policy options left open to leading central banks. Widespread anxiety pulled the rug from under asset prices. As is our tradition, we asked our clients in mid- January for their top questions...

January, 14 2016 by lsr team

Twelve months ago, economists were busy trying to assess the impact of the collapse in oil prices on the global economy. Opinion was divided. Some thought the 60% drop in prices would provide a sizeable boost to consumer demand. Other economists were sceptical, worrying that the plunge told us something disturbing about the state of the global economy. A final group of commentators was even gloomier, arguing the inevitable correction in shale fracking would cause a US recession and tip the world into a crisis. At LSR we were on the optimistic side of the debate, though w...

January, 11 2016 by lsr team

The stock market is fixated on China, as the deep convictions of the China bulls are progressively and painfully eviscerated. But their inability until recently to see the flaws in China’s post-crisis recovery is fomenting a new delusion: that China’s slowdown, and stock-market angst, will necessarily pull down the rest of the world’s economies and stock markets. In other words, the obsession with China has taken on a new form rather than faded, as it should have done: China is clearly important, but it is not all-important. Click below to find out how...

December, 09 2015 by lsr team

Twelve months ago we said 2015 would be a year of ‘deceptive calm’. With the S&P 500 up 5% and US 10-year yields around 5bps higher, you could say our forecast was accurate. Markets spent much of the year in an anxious state, fretting about Greece, then China, then the risk of a synchronised global recession. In 2006 and 2007, LSR had a high conviction that a financial meltdown was about to wreak havoc on the global economy. This time around we stick with our 2015 theme ‘Keep Dancing’ but with no great conviction. Looking ahead to 2016, China...

November, 25 2015 by lsr team

Last week we published our LSR View explaining why US growth is likely to accelerate into 2016 and that, by inference, recent scares about the potential for a US recession are greatly overplayed. We think US real GDP growth is set to quicken to 2½ -3% from the 2% average of the past five years. This exceeds most current estimates of US growth potential and fully justifies the Federal Reserve’s expected rate increases. Rapidly growing household spending, on housing as well as consumption, plus an end to five years of fiscal drag will be the main engines of gr...

November, 09 2015 by lsr team

The Bank of England’s Mark Carney, who has been a accused of flip flopping over the past few years, turned dovish again on ‘Super Thursday’ as he unveiled new macroeconomic projections that served to push back market rate expectations. Given the downside risks to global growth and with the ECB on the verge of expanding its stimulus, the MPC clearly felt that a little dovishness couldn’t do any harm. As a result, most investors don’t expect interest rate ‘liftoff’ until late 2016, with increasing speculation the first rate hike might...

October, 09 2015 by lsr team

Abenomics is a response to frustration with Japan’s poor economic performance since its bubble burst in 1990. But Abenomics treats the symptoms, especially deflation, rather than the disease, which it makes worse. Disastrous consequences of Abenomics have only been avoided so far, because it has failed to generate inflation – courtesy of the oil price slump and Japan’s enfeebled domestic demand. But can QE ever be stopped and more importantly, is Japan about to face a financial crisis? Click below to find out our latest View on Japan.

June, 12 2015 by lsr team

The strong May data showing 17.9 million annual rate of car sales and 0.7% bounce in retail sales. In other words, US consumers are using their gasoline windfalls to buy new cars and using them to drive to the mall. Since before the Q1 soft-patch we have highlighted the likelihood of a consumer-led acceleration in growth during the second half of 2015 - this now seems to be underway. By the time school starts again in September there should be enough confirmation of this acceleration to push the Fed over the line to its first rate hike. In the meantime,...