Yawnday Morning Deflationary Blues

The price of oil is heading down, even more.  It has taken out $92 on the futures this morning and it is yet-another reason why in about three weeks, I don’t expect the Fed to do much more than sit around and announce further assaults on the public’s hearing, as they continue to attempt what’s never been done before.

Which is?  Oh, as we’ve been telling Peoplenomics readers:  Stepping on the gas (printing/inflation) just slightly faster than the underlying (deflation/collapse) that has been ongoing from 2000.  That’s when things hit the round-rotator, but since the End of the World doesn’t do much for ad sales, the networks have not been too keen reporting on it.

So we are being bludgeoned to death by media reports of the innocuous.  So yes, as this Monday in the mines begins again, Ariel Sharon is still dead, Dennis Rodman is still talking about North Korea, and we see bread and circuses in full bloom as we arrive at the silly-season of football.

Here, take one of these-here cynical pills, and lets get real, or at least honestly transfictional, shall we?

1.  The death of Ariel Sharon is a key loss for Israel.  But the next “biggy” related to the story will be finding out if the Rabbi Kaduri prophesy (of a Jewish Messiah announcing himself in Jerusalem) comes true.  Not likely today.  You’ll need your “Date the Messiah Shows Up” app running for that one.

2.  The adventures of Dennis Rodman are telling us something about the future:  Expect all US Secretaries of State to henceforth be required to pass a singing audition, as well as produce a certification that they have played at least one season of professional sports.  The only question is whether wresting ought to qualify, but we already know the answer is “Hell yes!”  That way the truth-slinging Jesse Ventura would be a candidate.

3.  We will also be watching for officials of CERN to load up all their equipment and arrive at Super Bowl XLVIII.  The reason?  They may learn something about how time-warps really work since nowhere else can you see one-hour morph into four-hours and 100-million people don’t notice.

But hey, this column isn’t about cynical coverage of the news in general, except that everything is connected to everything else. 

It’s really all about finance.  But if I simply told you modest gains occurred overnight in Asia and Europe, which means some of the “hot money” will leave the market this morning, but the week should end up…” that wouldn’t be very exciting, now, would it?

The good news about deflation (which is there is the data) is that a $10 stock when rates were 5% is now a $50 stock when rates are 0.5%.  So the market is still going up.

Until, of course, it doesn’t.  In the meantime?  It’s Yawnday morning.

Later on today, transfictional arrives full-force with release of the monthly Treasury budget.  Tomorrow there’s retail sales which will give us a belated “Ho-ho” or another “Oh-0h…”  Wednesday brings PPI  (producer prices) and the Fed Beige Book. And that will lead up to the CPI data Thursday, before we wind up the week with housing starts Friday.

I’ll be sure to set an alarm.  In the meantime, relax.  The world is in for another day.

More after this.

Quakes:  Not the Big One / Quaketans

imageSince we are popping cynical this morning, we might as well get this one out of the way.  Yes, there was a 6.5 earthquake down off Puerto Rico overnight, but NO it is not a Big One or any kind of “I told you so” that I’m sure quake predictors will claim it to be as fulfilling of this forecast, or that.  Crap.

So let’s look at the data, shall we?  This is down in that area where there has been a lot of minor quake action over the past couple of years.  But calling it a “big one” qualifies for a place in my Charlatan’s Hall of Fame, since the data is really clear, but the Quaketans know the public is pretty dumb.

imageEarthquakes of magnitude 6.0 (or larger) have been in decline since 2011.  And, in fact, there were only a half-dozen, or so, last month.  Since the normal on 6+ quakes has been running up around 13-15 per month, you can predict a 6.0 or larger quake and always be right within a week,  and often 2-days at least until here lately.

But, if you consider the Sun’s output is at many-hundred years lows, even here on the backside of the peak,  it would make sense that matter condensation as crustal expansion just went to lunch.  Which is what earthquake predictors are out to, if they claim this quake had any significance.

Get back to me when there’s a 8.0 or larger, please.  And not predicted in general terms like “soon” or “just ahead.”  I want a date and without it, fortune-telling is just that: A tax on the statistically inept.

The “Short Course on Robust Statistics” from David Tyler of Rutgers, is online here and worth review if you’re rusty.  I’ll be the guy waving the “How big is n?” sign.

On the other hand, if this is the morning that a massive undersea earth slide happens off in the Canary Islands, and sends 57-foot rollers slamming ashore along the East Coast, well then, maybe the doomsters get a pass.  But, in the meantime, that’s going to happen anyway, and just like a broken watch that’s right twice a day, one of these eons, they’ll be right.  Their larger problem is living the 6,343 years to have a good chance of calling it.

See what I mean about Yawnday?

Except for China’s First War, Of Course

Say what?  Yes, “Chinese troops to seize Zhongye Island back from the Philippines this year.  The Chinese say the Philippines stole it and they’re going to wage it as a “contained war” for it now.

With this ramping up in the background, we see state media is out with “Xinhua Insight:  Silent revolution of “made-in-China” is being put out there.

No doubt a none-too-subtle nudge to remind the USA that we couldn’t even build the F-35 fighter without Chinese parts..  And yes, Honeywell’s being investigated over that, but the messaging is pretty clear, don’tcha think?

The whole world is noticing this, and unsurprisingly, it shows up as big news on Iran’s state run news site.

War Gaming

Just between us, you should enjoy this Yawnday morning because next Monday is when the Iran nuclear plan is supposed to go into effect.

Read Time Magazine’s sketch of the plan over here, and then ask yourself how much breathing room Israel will offer in the event of delays getting the plan implementation rolling?  Months or minutes?  Bets in, please.  Flash goggles optional.

Is This Really News?

Golden Globes.  Weird speech of the event?  Jacqueline Bisset.   Ronan Farrow’s dump on Woody Allen is not really news, unless family laundry is your ticket.

Better: Deseret News’ collection of Christie quips…worth a smile.

CES: Coming for Your Job / Crop Circles

Yes, 3D printers are quite the rage at the Consumer Electronics show (more in Coping).  Oh, and a Peoplenomics subscriber as this gem of a footnote…

Hi George, spent three exhausting days at CES last week. I cornered a rep at the nVidia booth and asked him about the “crop circle” near Salinas. He laughed merrily and said anyone in the industry would immediately recognize it as a graphics processor, in this case nVidia’s next-generation processor. He said it took a couple weeks to plan it and about 12 hours to actually create the circle in the middle of farmland. After talking to him  Biggest thing for me at CES was the next-generation TVs, called ultra-high def or simply, 4K. Amazing detail. (It seems the big manufacturers have almost given up on 3D.) Unfortunately, they were also showing prototypes of 8K displays!! When will it end? Sincerely, AH

Answering the “When will it end?” question is easy:  When we’re all broke…which could be any minute now. 

Paid your “healthcare tax” yet?