Independent Strategy

Macro Matters

A deeper look at data

Independent Strategy Blog: Macro Matters

Macro Matters is the Independent Strategy high frequency research area.  We aim to try and offer a glimpse into our analytical process by making available some of the files and data we use to analyse macro developments and financial markets.  It also includes some supplemental weekly technical analysis, which helps us measure shifts in sentiment and bigger changes in trends, complementing the work we do on the macro side. If you’d like to discuss anything in more detail, please reach out.

The improvement in the surveys continues to provide a realistic guide to Chia’s improving fortunes with the December real activity data corroborating this picture.  The strong recovery in industrial production is most noticeable, with y/y rate jumping to 6.9%, the highest since March

China December money supply ticked up, reflecting easier financial conditions.  We also saw solid growth in total social financing, which came in ahead of expectations.  The authorities have been keen to avoid an overt debt splurge, trying to generate more targeted easing, particularly focusing on transmission to SMEs in the private sector.  These numbers suggest this has been a partial success...

UK

15th January, 2020 » UK December Inflation

Disinflation resumed in December with consumer prices surprising to the downside.  Headline and core both registered a 1.3% y/y gain, a decline from 1.5% and 1.7% respectively in November.  In constant tax terms the decline was a little faster.  On the producer price side there is scant evidence of any inflationary pressure.  Although headline output prices edged up, core output prices - which are more closely correlated with CPI - ticked a little lower.

On 26 January, the voters of the region of Emilia-Romagna – a long held bastion of the left - will head to the polls.  Such an election would not normally appear on the radar screen of international investors.  But this time it has strong significance as a barometer of the popularity of the current centre-left coalition that was formed in the autumn.

UK economy continued to slow in November.  According to the monthly GDP estimate the economy shrank by -0.3% m/m.  Although the smoothed 3/3m rate still showed a +0.1% rise, this was the slowest pace since fears of a hard Brexit dominated thinking back in the summer and on a y/y basis the +0.6% recorded was the weakest since back in the days of the Eurozone debt crisis (June 2012 to be exact).

Slight undershoot in the December payrolls report, but the 145k jobs created is only modestly below the 164k market guess and while the revisions from November were slightly downward that was a strong report in itself.  Over 12-months revisions are very mildly negative but not showing any real deterioration in trend since the summer.

Germany

9th January, 2020 » German Industrial Production

Germany has just reported much-improved industrial production numbers for November.  In volume terms they jumped 1.1% mom on a seasonally-adjusted basis, better than consensus expectations for a 0.8% rebound.  So the downturn is over?  Don’t bet on it.

Does populism pose a risk to markets in 2019?  Yes! but not from the expected quarter. 2019 brought a surprise on the European front.  The support for traditional parties has been plummeting for a long time.  We call this the European souffle where support for the centre ground continues to cave over time.  Populist parties gained 20% or more of the vote in many national elections this year, thought there were signs of their vote stabilising in the most recent polls.

Better performance from industry during November, IP and manufacturing production both rising 1.1% mom.  Partly this was due to one-offs, following disruptions from the GM strike, which flattered November’s bounce.  There are still a couple of sectors that look weak, notably chemicals and machinery, the latter in particular important given this is basically the capital goods part of activity.

US

13th December, 2019 » US November Retail Sales

Another batch of soft numbers.  Although we saw another m/m rise and a mild upward revision, the y/y growth rates continue to look fragile, particularly when stripping out more volatile items like gas and vehicle sales.  The control group reading in fact dropped to the weakest rate since March, when comparing to the period a year earlier.

China

10th December, 2019 » China November Inflation

The strong upswing in Chinese consumer price inflation in November has a very straightforward explanation.  The swine flu epidemic and the devastation this has inflicted on Chinese pig herds – reducing total numbers by over 40%.  Indeed, meat prices are up 74% yoy, driven by pork which is now up 110% compared to the same period last year.

US Impeachment process looks likely to go on for a little longer than expected.  Pelosi’s initial hope that things could be wrapped up by Christmas, so the Democrats could start the new year on a clean slate, focused on the Presidential primaries and campaign looks hopeful now.  Pelosi has always felt the impeachment process was always driven by the left wingers in the party and never had a credible chance of success.  By delaying the process, it prevents the House from pursuing more important business such as delivering on the campaign promises of the mid-terms.

In the Media