‘Be careful what you wish for’: RBA could cause Aussie rout

From Myriam Robin at the Sydney Morning Herald:

The yield differential between 10-year US and Australian government bonds has shrunk to less than 30 basis points, the tightest in about 15 years, as the US engages in monetary tightening while the RBA appears set to keep rates steady at 1.5 per cent.

….This should be a serious concern for Australian policymakers, TD Securities’ chief Asia-Pacific macro strategist Annette Beacher told The Australian Financial Review, as many foreign investors are primarily attracted to the high-yield status of the local currency.

The Aussie Dollar has attracted investors over the last decade primarily because good fortune in avoiding a post-GFC recession enhanced Australia’s reputation as a stable economy. But the Aussie is still a commodity currency prone to boom-bust cycles. Dodging the 2008/2009 bullet was more a matter of luck than of skillful management of the economy. Without China’s massive post-GFC stimulus the Australian economy would have been smashed — along with the housing bubble — and the big four banks would have gone to the wall (or more likely been rescued by a government bailout). And the Aussie would be trading close to 50 cents, which ironically, despite the massive shock, may have put the economy in a stronger (and more realistic) position than it is today.

Source: ‘Be careful what you wish for’: RBA could cause Aussie rout

ASX 200 advance slows as iron ore falls

Iron ore found support at $60.

Iron ore

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index has taken some encouragement from the rally, with support at 2850. But bear rallies are normally short in duration and reverse sharply.

ASX 300 Metals & Mining

The ASX 200 advance has slowed after the recent sell-off in the resources sector. But rising Twiggs Money Flow still signals buying pressure and another attempt at 6000 seems likely.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

ASX 300 Banks, the largest sector in the broad index, is consolidating above its new support level at 9000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow warns of medium-term selling pressure. Reversal below 8900 is unlikely but would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Banks

Bank exposure to residential mortgages is the Achilles heel of the Australian economy and APRA is likely to keep the pressure on banks to raise lending standards and increase capital reserves, which would lower return on equity.

Federal budget 2017: The next boom is under way – before another bust

From Michael Pascoe:

A Caterpillar and Komatsu cavalry is arriving just in time to save the next two federal budgets from the effects of slowing residential building approvals, solving one of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s fiscal dilemmas. National spending on transport infrastructure is in the process of soaring 73 per cent from last financial year to 2018-19, according to industry research company Macromonitor.

Spending on road and rail hit a cyclical low of about $19 billion in 2015-16. In constant dollars, the cycle is expected to peak at $33 billion in 2018-19. That spending would more than cover a 10 per cent decline from last year’s $63 billion worth of new residential building….

Increased infrastructure spending is welcome but former RBA governor’s comments on setting up a proper process of infrastructure planning and selection [see link below] highlight the negative boom-bust mentality of government focused on the election cycle.

Source: Federal budget 2017: The next boom is under way – before another bust

Australia: Financial Stability | RBA

Extract from the latest Financial Stability Review by the RBA:

….In Australia, vulnerabilities related to household debt and the housing market more generally have increased, though the nature of the risks differs across the country. Household indebtedness has continued to rise and some riskier types of borrowing, such as interest-only lending, remain prevalent. Investor activity and housing price growth have picked up strongly in Sydney and Melbourne. A large pipeline of new supply is weighing on apartment prices and rents in Brisbane, while housing market conditions remain weak in Perth. Nonetheless, indicators of household financial stress currently remain contained and low interest rates are supporting households’ ability to service their debt and build repayment buffers.

The Council of Financial Regulators (CFR) has been monitoring and evaluating the risks to household balance sheets, focusing in particular on interest-only and high loan-to-valuation lending, investor credit growth and lending standards. In an environment of heightened risks, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has recently taken additional supervisory measures to reinforce sound residential mortgage lending practices. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has also announced further steps to ensure that interest-only loans are appropriate for borrowers’ circumstances and that remediation can be provided to borrowers who suffer financial distress as a consequence of past poor lending practices. The CFR will continue to monitor developments carefully and consider further measures if necessary.

Conditions in non-residential commercial property markets have continued to strengthen in Melbourne and Sydney, while in Brisbane and Perth high vacancy rates and declining rents remain a challenge. Vulnerabilities in other non-financial businesses generally appear low. Listed corporations’ profits are in line with their average of recent years and indicators of stress among businesses are well contained, with the exception of regions with large exposures to the mining sector. For many mining businesses conditions have improved as higher commodity prices have contributed to increased earnings, though the outlook for commodity prices remains uncertain.

Australian banks remain well placed to manage these various challenges. Profitability has moderated in recent years but remains high by international standards and asset performance is strong. Australian banks have continued to reduce exposures to low-return assets and are building more resilient liquidity structures, partly in response to regulatory requirements. Capital
ratios have risen substantially in recent years and are expected to increase further once APRA finalises its framework to ensure that banks are ‘unquestionably strong.’

Risks within the non-bank financial sector are manageable. At this stage, the shadow banking sector poses only limited risk to financial stability due to its small share of the financial system and minimal linkages with the regulated sector, though the regulators are monitoring this sector carefully. Similarly, financial stability risks stemming from the superannuation sector remain low.

While the insurance sector continues to face a range of challenges, profitability has increased of late and the sector remains well capitalised.

International regulatory efforts have continued to focus on core post-crisis reforms, such as addressing ‘too big to fail’, as well as new areas, such as the asset management industry and financial technology. While the goal of completing the Basel III reforms by end 2016 was not met, discussions are ongoing to try to finalise an agreement soon. Domestically, APRA is continuing its focus on the risk culture in prudentially regulated institutions and will review compensation policies and practices to ensure these are prudent.

Reading between the lines:

  • household debt is too high
  • apartments are in over-supply and prices are falling
  • we have to maintain record-low interest rates to support the housing bubble
  • APRA is “taking steps” to slow debt growth but also has to be careful not to upset the housing bubble
  • the Basel committee has been dragging its feet on new regulatory guidelines and we cannot afford to wait any longer

Source: RBA Financial Stability Review PDF (2.4Mb)

Consider Republicans’ tax plan | Ross Garnaut

From Patrick Hatch:

“Our existing tax base for the corporate income tax is in deep trouble,” Professor Garnaut told the Melbourne Economic Forum on Tuesday. “It’s subject to egregious avoidance or evasions, with two of the main instruments of avoidance being arbitrary use of interest on debt to reduce taxable income and, more importantly, arbitrary use of payment for import of services as deductions.

“You have a lot of what must be fundamentally some of the most profitable enterprises in Australia paying no corporate income tax.

“Google and Microsoft and Uber, they manage to generate very large sales in Australia … but somehow make no profit from it because of payment for intellectual property, payments for services.”

Cutting rates while broadening the base is a step in the right direction. But the broader base has to offset the rate cut, so that tax revenues are not depleted.

One of the oldest tricks in the tax avoidance industry is to set up a structure where A receives a deduction for an expense while the receiving party (B) is either tax exempt or is resident in a tax haven, and does not pay tax on the income. The effect is to substantially reduce tax payable by A.

Disallowing all deductions would unfairly penalize legitimate transactions. A simpler method would be to require A to collect a withholding tax on the payment to B (or B provides a tax file number showing that the income will be taxed in Australia) else the deduction by A will be disallowed.

Source: Consider Republicans’ tax plan, says economist Ross Garnaut

Australia: Warning signs of a contraction

Australia faces shrinking inflationary pressures.

Inflation

Wage growth is falling.

Wage Price Index

Credit growth is shrinking.

Inflation

Growth of currency in circulation is also slowing. The fall below 5% warns of a contraction.

Currency in Circulation: Growth

One piece of good news is that Chinese monetary policy seems to be easing. After a sharp contraction of M1 money stock growth in January, February shows a partial recovery. Collapse of the Chinese property bubble may be deferred a while longer.

China M1 Money Stock

Which is good news for iron ore exporters. At least in the short-term.

Inflation surges

Inflation is rising, with CPI climbing steeply above the Fed’s 2% target. But core CPI excluding energy and food remains stable.

Consumer Price Index

Job gains were the lowest since May 2016.

Job Gains

But the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.5%.

Unemployment

Hourly wage rate growth has eased below 2.5%, suggesting that underlying inflationary pressures are contained.

Average Hourly Earnings Growth

The Fed is unlikely to accelerate its normalization of interest rates unless we see a surge in core inflation and/or hourly earnings growth.

Why we need to worry about the level of Australian household debt

From Elizabeth Knight:

The balance sheets of Australian households with a mortgage are dangerously exposed to any fall in house prices.

It isn’t just that household debt relative to disposable incomes has reached a record high of 189 per cent, it’s that households’ ability to service that debt is potentially a ticking time bomb…..

A recent Digital Finance Analytics survey found that of the 3.1 million mortgaged households, an estimated 669,000 are now experiencing mortgage stress.

“This is a 1.5 per cent rise from the previous month and maintains the trends we have observed in the past 12 months,” it found. “The rise can be traced to continued static incomes, rising costs of living, and more underemployment; whilst mortgage interest rates have risen thanks to out-of-cycle adjustments by the banks and bigger mortgages thanks to rising home prices.”

Source: Why we need to worry about the level of Australian household debt

ASX 200 faces bank headwinds

The ASX 300 Banks Index continues to test support at 9000. Declining Twiggs Money Flow warns of selling pressure and reversal below 8900 would warn of a correction.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 200 continues its advance towards 6000, with rising Twiggs Money Flow signaling buying pressure. But it is vulnerable to a correction in the Banks Index, the largest sector in the broad index.

ASX 200

* Target medium-term: 5800 + ( 5800 – 5600 ) = 6000

The economy is still exposed to a property bubble and APRA is likely to keep the pressure on banks to increase their capital reserves, which would lower their return on equity.

Jobs, Inflation & the Fed | ECRI

From Lakshman Achuthan at ECRI:

Headline jobs growth came in well below expectations, and weather played some part in suppressing job growth, both in construction and retail.

But the jobless rate dropped to 4.5%, its lowest reading since 2007, so the Fed’s “full-employment” mandate has been met.

Their other mandate is on inflation, and over the past year I’ve discussed our U.S. Future Inflation Gauge, which anticipated the inflation cycle upturn shown by the chart. Today the forward looking USFIG remains near an 8¾ -year high.

The chart shows the year-over-year PCE inflation rising sharply to a 5-year high, and breaching the Fed’s 2% inflation target which is defined by this inflation measure.

For those who might think this is just about oil prices, please note that core PCE inflation, ex-food and energy, has also been rising, and now above 1¾%, the highest reading in over 2½ years.

This is what a cyclical upswing in inflation looks like.

Moreover, the U.S. economy has a good tailwind from rising global growth.

All of this helps explain why the Fed is finally able to implement a full-fledged rate hike cycle.

Source: Jobs, Inflation & the Fed | News | News and Events | ECRI

Record amount of renewable energy capacity added in 2016 | DW.COM

Global renewable energy capacity jumped eight percent last year despite a 23 percent drop in investment. Falling renewable energy prices are driving a build-up of capacity.

The world added a record amount of renewable energy in 2016 despite a sharp drop in investment, the UN said Thursday, largely due to falling costs of clean energy.

New renewable energy, excluding large hydro projects, added 138.5 gigawatts of power in 2016, up eight percent from the previous year. The new capacity came despite investment falling to $241.6 billion (227 billion euro), 23 percent lower than the previous year and the lowest since 2013.

….Not all the drop in investment was due to reduced costs, with China, Japan and some emerging markets cutting renewable investments. China’s investment in renewables dropped 32 percent to $78.3 billion, the first time in a decade it bucked a rising trend. Japan’s investment tumbled 56 percent.

What is encouraging is the 29% reduction in cost per KWh of renewable energy.

Levelized Cost
A 2014 study by Lazard, an international financial advisory and asset management firm, shows onshore wind has the lowest average levelized cost at $59 per megawatt-hour, and utility-scale photovoltaic plants weren’t far behind at $79. By comparison, the lowest cost conventional technologies were gas combined cycle technologies, averaging $74 per megawatt-hour, and coal plants, averaging $109. These numbers are the average of low- and high-end estimates….

Levelized Energy Costs

Wind and solar costs falling
The levelized cost of some wind and solar technologies has plummeted in recent years. The graphic below shows that the average cost of onshore wind has fallen from $135 per megawatt-hour in 2009 to $59 in 2014. That’s a 56 percent drop in five years. The cost of utility-scale photovoltaic technology has plunged from $359 per megawatt-hour in 2009 to $79 in 2014, a 78 percent decline. [source: Energy Innovation]

Lazard: Solar & Wind Energy Costs

The cost of large-scale solar continues to fall rapidly. In August 2016, Chile announced a new record low contract price to provide solar power for $29.10 per megawatt-hour (MWh). In September 2016, Abu Dhabi announced a new record breaking bid price, promising to provide solar power for $24.2 per megawatt-hour (MWh). [source: Wikipedia]

Wind prices are also falling. In 2016 the Norwegian Wind Energy Association (NORWEA) estimated the LCoE of a typical Norwegian wind farm at 44 €/MWh, assuming a weighted average cost of capital of 8% and an annual 3,500 full load hours, i.e. a capacity factor of 40%. NORWEA went on to estimate the LCoE of the 1 GW Fosen Vind onshore wind farm which is expected to be operational by 2020 to be as low as 35 €/MWh to 40 €/MWh. Offshore wind prices are also falling. In November 2016, Vattenfall won a tender to develop the Kriegers Flak windpark in the Baltic Sea for 49,9 €/MWh. [source: Wikipedia]

The IEA says “The share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption climbed to 18.3%, continuing the slight acceleration of trends evident since 2010. However, progress is nowhere near fast enough to double its share to 36% in 2030. As highlighted in IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2016, the challenge is to increase reliance on renewable energy in the heat and transport sectors, which account for the bulk of global energy consumption.”

Source: UN: Record amount of renewable energy capacity added in 2016 | News | DW.COM | 07.04.2017

The inconvenient truth behind the rise in energy prices

From Brian Robins:

“The inconvenient truth is that the increasingly high prices for increasingly unreliable electricity are a direct consequence of the increasingly high utilisation of renewable energy required by government regulation,” Gary Banks, a former head of the Productivity Commission, said in a speech to Infrastructure Partnership Australia on Thursday night.

…”Energy markets are admittedly complicated things. However the logic is unassailable that if a cheap and reliable product is penalised, while expensive and less reliable substitutes are subsidised, the latter will inevitably displace the former. No amount of sophistry, wishful thinking or political denial can change that basic economic reality.”

“Changing the mix of energy use away from low-cost but emissions-heavy fossil fuels has of course been the whole point,” he said. “The resulting costs and difficulties have been greatly compounded, however, by governments choosing a policy path that is essentially anti-market, one violating basic principles of demand and supply.”

Source: The inconvenient truth behind the rise in energy prices

Robots Take Over | Susanna Koelblin | LinkedIn

From Susanna Koelblin:

First large scale shoe robot factory unveiled: Adidas will use machines in Germany instead of humans in Asia to make shoes

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear, has announced it will start marketing its first series of shoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017. More than 20 years after Adidas ceased production activities in Germany and moved them to Asia, Adidas unveiled the group’s new prototype “Speedfactory” in Germany. As of this year, the factory will begin large-scale production. What’s more, Adidas will also open a second Speedfactory in the U.S. in 2017, followed by more in Western Europe. According to the company, the German and American plants will in the “mid-term” each scale up to producing half a million pair of shoes per year.

Does this pose a threat to Adidas’s traditional manufacturing base in China, Indonesia and Vietnam? After all, labor in the region is becoming less cheap these days, and manufacturers are increasingly turning to robots. The current model in the apparel industry is very much based on sourcing products from countries where consumers are typically not based. In the longer term Adidas could even produce the shirts of Germany’s national football team in its home country. The shoes made in Germany would sell at a similar price to those produced in Asia, where Adidas employs around one million workers. Arch-rival Nike is also developing its robot-operated factory.

This development in the shoe area is just the beginning and will be leveraged to the apparel industry as well….

Robot factories will not restore former employment levels, with operations run by a skeleton staff. And low employment leads to low consumption. But new factories will require intensive capital investment. This may portend increased demand for capital in the future. With current high debt levels threatening the stability of the financial system, equity investors may be in short supply.

Source: Robots Take Over – The Apparel Production | Susanna Koelblin | Pulse | LinkedIn

APRA: Wayne Byres warns banks need more capital

From APRA chairman Wayne Byres’ keynote address to the AFR Banking & Wealth Summit 2017, Sydney:

Haven’t we done enough already?

The third question is: haven’t we done enough already?

The banking system certainly has higher capital adequacy ratios than it used to. But overall leverage has not materially declined. The proportion of equity that is funding banking system assets has improved only modestly, from a touch under 6 per cent a decade ago to just on 6½ per cent at the end of 2016.

Bank Leverage

The difference between improved risk-based measures of capital adequacy, and the more limited improvement in non-risk based measures of leverage (Chart 6), is driven to a significant degree by changes in asset composition. In particular, it reflects the increasing concentration of the banking system in mortgage lending (which benefits from lower risk weights – Chart 7).

Bank Risk Weighting

It implies the system has de-risked more than deleveraged. But that assessment is itself premised on a critical assumption: that a high and increasing concentration in mortgages is generating a lower risk banking system. In the current environment, it is certainly an assumption that deserves a bit more scrutiny. While it might be a reasonable proposition most of the time, we need to be wary of the fallacy of composition when concentrations grow.

….The case for the Australian banking system to be seen as unquestionably strong remains as valid today as it did when the FSI recommended it in 2014. And, as much as we would like international policy deliberations to be complete, we do not think it right to defer a decision on this issue any longer…..

Bank leverage has barely improved despite substantial increases in capital ratios as banks have increasingly concentrated their exposure in residential mortgages which have lower risk-weighting. Chart 7 above shows how the average risk-weighting of bank assets has declined over the last decade.

Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, believes that banks need to hold far higher capital in order to avoid future bailouts. His proposal:

….force banks to finance themselves with capital totaling 23.5% of their risk-weighted assets, or 15% of their balance-sheets without adjusting for risk (the “leverage ratio”). This, says Mr Kashkari, would be enough to guard the financial system against a shock striking many reasonably-sized banks at once. Any bank deemed too big to fail would need a still bigger buffer, eventually reaching an eye-watering 38% of risk-weighted assets….

It’s widely accepted that Australia’s big four banks are too-big-to-fail. If that is the case, applying Kashkari’s measure would require them to increase bank capital by 200%.

Even without the too-big-to fail buffer, the major banks would require a 100% increase in bank capital to meet the 23.5% capital requirement for risk-weighted assets. And a 150% increase to match the 15% minimum without risk weighting.

The question needs to be asked: is APRA doing enough to protect Australians from a financial crisis? To me the answer is a clear NO.

Source: Pages – Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat: Fortune Favours The Strong

Hat tip to Macrobusiness.

Sorry folks, this ain’t no property bubble

I have been predicting the collapse of the Australian property bubble, so feel obliged to also present the opposite view. Nothing like confirmation bias to screw up a good investment strategy.

Here Jessica Irvine argues that the property bubble will not burst:

Believe me, no one is keener than me to see a property bubble burst.

But sadly – for would-be buyers, at least – I just don’t see it happening.

Sure, there are risks.

If it turns out that banks have been lending to people who really can’t afford it, then we have a problem when interest rates start to rise.

Experts have been calling the end of the property market for years. But banks insist they stress test customers for a 2-percentage-point rise in interest rates and require “interest-only” borrowers to prove they could afford to repay principal too, if required.

More worrying is the mortgage broking channel, where a recent ASIC investigation found most of the high loan-to-value loans are written. If there is a weakness in the housing market, it’ll be in this area of lending standards and so called “macroprudential” policies when interest rates start to rise. The recent clamping down on investor loans is welcome.

But ultimately, the defining thing about bubbles is that they inevitably must pop.

But where is the trigger for a widespread home price collapse?

In a world of low inflation and growth, the Reserve Bank is likely to raise interest rates very gently, cushioning households.

Widespread job losses would be a trigger, but there is no talk of that. With record low wages growth, labour is hardly expensive at the moment.

Bubble proponents point to very high household debt levels relative to incomes. But the structural lowering of interest rates in the late 1990s and again after the global financial crisis has increased the amount of debt households can afford to service from a given income.

Lower rates have also helped many households build significant “buffers” against future rate increases, in offset accounts and other forms of saving.

Bubbles form when asset prices disconnect completely with market fundamentals.

But there are very good reasons to expect housing to be so expensive.

Forget the Cayman Islands, housing – owner occupied and investment housing – offers the best tax shelter around, from negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount on investment housing to the complete exemption of the family home from capital gains tax AND from the pension asset test.

Meanwhile, rapid population growth has been met by sluggish increases in housing supply. Incompetent state governments have created a premium for inner-city housing, where buyers can avoid paying the indirect costs of long commutes.

In the aftermath of World War II, home ownership rates skyrocketed as governments focused on supply.

But since then, governments have instead implemented policies that boost only the demand side of the equation, with tax concessions and cash bonuses for buyers that only increase prices.

Absent any trigger for widespread forced property sales, home owners will always respond to sluggish market conditions by sitting on their properties for longer. Lower volumes provide a cushion against falling prices.

In such a market, the best a first-time buyer can hope for is that future price gains might come back into line with income growth.

Indeed, that’s exactly what happened after the early 2000s property boom when Sydney prices stagnated for almost a decade.

It’s less exciting, but more likely.

Jessica makes a good point about offset accounts which may cause real household debt to be overstated. This warrants further investigation.

But she seems too complacent about market fundamentals:

  • an oversupply of apartments;
  • negative gearing and capital gains tax advantages that could be removed by the stroke of a pen (or a tick on a ballot paper); and
  • prospective sharp cuts to immigration (again dictated by the ballot box)

Interest rate rises seem unlikely in the near future as inflationary pressures are fading. But I doubt that new homebuyers could afford a 2 percent rise in interest rates, that would amount to an almost 40% increase in monthly repayments for some. Even if they survive, repayments will take a big bite taken out of other household consumption and hurt the entire economy.

Also, the RBA may plan to increase rates gradually, to cushion the effect on homeowners, but Mr Market could have other ideas. And if you think central banks act autonomously from markets, think again.

Source: Sorry folks, this ain’t no property bubble

3 Headwinds facing the ASX 200

The ASX 200 broke through stubborn resistance at 5800 but is struggling to reach 6000.

ASX 200

There are three headwinds that make me believe that the index will struggle to break 6000:

Shuttering of the motor industry

The last vehicles will roll off production lines in October this year. A 2016 study by Valadkhani & Smyth estimates the number of direct and indirect job losses at more than 20,000.

Full time job losses from collapse of motor vehicle industry in Australia

But this does not take into account the vacuum left by the loss of scientific, technology and engineering skills and the impact this will have on other industries.

…R&D-intensive manufacturing industries, such as the motor vehicle industry, play an important role in the process of technology diffusion. These findings are consistent with the argument in the Bracks report that R&D is a linchpin of the Australian automotive sector and that there are important knowledge spillovers to other industries.

Collapse of the housing bubble

An oversupply of apartments will lead to falling prices, with heavy discounting already evident in Melbourne as developers attempt to clear units. Bank lending will slow as prices fall and spillover into the broader housing market seems inevitable. Especially when:

  • Current prices are supported by strong immigration flows which are bound to lead to a political backlash if not curtailed;
  • The RBA is low on ammunition; and
  • Australian households are leveraged to the eyeballs — the highest level of Debt to Disposable Income of any OECD nation.

Debt to Disposable Income

Falling demand for iron ore & coal

China is headed for a contraction, with a sharp down-turn in growth of M1 money supply warning of tighter liquidity. Falling housing prices and record iron ore inventory levels are both likely to drive iron ore and coal prices lower.

China M1 Money Supply Growth

Australia has survived the last decade on Mr Micawber style economic management, with something always turning up at just the right moment — like the massive 2009-2010 stimulus on the chart above — to rescue the economy from disaster. But sooner or later our luck will run out. As any trader will tell you: Hope isn’t a strategy.

“I have no doubt I shall, please Heaven, begin to be more beforehand with the world, and to live in a perfectly new manner, if — if, in short, anything turns up.”

~ Wilkins Micawber from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Dow Descending Wedge

Dow Jones Industrial Average displays a descending broadening wedge on the daily chart. Thomas Bulkowski describes this as a “mid list performer ….found most often with upward breakouts in a bull market. Downward breakouts are quite rare.”

Dow Jones Industrial Average

The correction seems mild and lacks urgency from sellers. It is very likely to end with an upward breakout, above the wedge at 20800, signaling another advance. Watch for a failed down-swing within the wedge pattern. According to empirical testing done by Bulkowski, a partial decline has a high probability (87%) of resolving in an upward breakout.

Latest GDP numbers confirm that low growth of the past decade continues.

GDP & Forecast

The quick rule-of-thumb forecast — Private sector employee payroll x Average Hours Worked x Average Hourly Rate — has proved remarkably accurate and has become one of my favorite indicators.

Gold bullish as Dollar finds support

10-year Treasury Yields are consolidating around the 2.5% level. Upward breakout is likely and would signal an advance to 3.0%.

10-year Treasury Yields

The Dollar Index has found support, with a large engulfing candle at 100. Recovery above the descending trendline would suggest a fresh advance, with a target of 108*. Reversal below 99 is unlikely but would warn of a test of primary support at 93.

Dollar Index

* Target calculation: 104 + ( 104 – 100 ) = 108

China’s Yuan continues to weaken, with USDCNY in a strong up-trend. Shallow corrections flag buying pressure. 13-week Twiggs Momentum oscillating above zero indicates a strong up-trend.

USDCNY

Spot Gold is testing support at $1240/$1250 an ounce. Recovery above $1260 is likely and would signal an advance to $1300.

Spot Gold