The gap between household expectations and economists forecasts is widening [updated 3:30pm]
Figure 1: CPI inflation year-on-year (black), median expected from Survey of Professional Forecasters (blue +), median expected from Michigan Survey of Consumers (red), median from NY Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations (light green), forecast from Cleveland Fed (pink), mean from Coibion-Gorodnichenko firm expectations survey [light blue squares]. Source: BLS, University of Michigan via FRED, Reuters, Philadelphia Fed Survey of Professional Forecasters, NY Fed, Cleveland Fed and Coibion and Gorodnichenko [updated 3:30pm].
All available measures of expected inflation rose in August (and September for the Cleveland Fed measure). This continues the pattern exhibited remarked upon back in July. What is perhaps more interesting is the fact that the gap between household expectations and professional forecaster measures has widened (again). In November 2019, the gap between the Michigan Survey of Consumers and the Survey of Professional Forecasters measures was 0.7 percentage points. As of August, the gap was 2.2 percentage points. Another way of illustrating the difference in views is to note that 1 year ahead inflation has risen by 2.1 percentage points for the Michigan survey, and only by 0.3 percentage points for the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). F
Interestingly, survey based expectations (using CEO views) have diverged over the available sample (mid-2018 onward), but have converged to the household survey values (Michigan and NY Fed) as of July. On the other hand, the increase in expected inflation was smaller — for the period October 2019 to July 2021, the firm level mean forecast rose from 3.4 to 4.7 percentage points. More discussion of these firm based expectations are in this post, and described further in this paper [added 3:30pm].
Now, which one is more accurate? Over the period shown above, the Michigan survey exhibits an upward bias of 1.1 percentage points, statistically significantly different from zero. In comparison, the SPF is 0.2 percentage points upwardly bias, with the bias not significantly different from zero. (Using 2010-2019 data doesn’t change the pattern. The figures are the same after rounding.)
Since the firm survey data starts only in 2018M04, it’s not possible to compare the errors to those of the SPF or Michigan. Over a comparable period, the firm level mean survey exhibits a mean error of about 0.4 percentage points, versus 0.2 points for SPF, and 0.6 for Michigan – none of which are statistically significantly different from zero [added 3:30pm].
Rudd’s recent working paper (not an official Fed publication) has sparked a controversy over the role — both theoretical and empirical — of expectations in actual inflation behavior. Many of the arguments make sense to me, but I still think expectations still matter. The question (I think he’d agree) is how much. On the other hand Coibion et al. (2017) suggest that using household expectations (such as the Michigan survey) make estimates of the Phillips curve more stable, than using professional forecasts (e.g., SPF), and definitely than using full-information rational expectations (FIRE). (I’d like to add in firm expectations, e.g., as in the one compiled by Candia, Coibion, and Gorodnichenko, but those aren’t available online.)
As an aside, as noted in the Rudd working paper, most of the policy debates center on long-term inflation expectations (i.e., anchoring of expectations) whereas this discussion has focused on short term expectations).
Detail of Figure 1, below:
Figure 2, detail of Figure 1: CPI inflation year-on-year (black), median expected from Survey of Professional Forecasters (blue +), median expected from Michigan Survey of Consumers (red), median from NY Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations (light green), forecast from Cleveland Fed (pink), mean from Coibion-Gorodnichenko firm expectations survey [light blue squares]. Source: BLS, University of Michigan via FRED, Reuters, Philadelphia Fed Survey of Professional Forecasters, NY Fed, Cleveland Fed and Coibion and Gorodnichenko.
The U.S. Budget Deficit
#CKStrong The U.S. Treasury findly released their monthly statement on Friday, which closed the books on the government’s 2021 fiscal year (October to…
The U.S. Treasury findly released their monthly statement on Friday, which closed the books on the government’s 2021 fiscal year (October to September). The deficit came in at $2.8 trillion (12.0 percent of GDP, based on our Q3 GDP estimate) , a bit lower than FY 2020’s $3.1 trillion (14.8 percent of GDP). Those are some massive deficits, folks.
U.S. Deficit Larger Than 95 Percent Of Global Economies
In fact, the FY 2021 deficit was larger than Italy and Canada’s economy, bigger than 185 of the 192 country economies in the lastest IMF database. Take a look at the peak 12-month deficit of $4.1 trillion in March. The March deficit would have made the G5.
Financing The COVID Deficit
How can the U.S. Treasury finance $5 trillion in borrowing over the past 18-months without spiking global interest rates, crowding out investment and other asset markets, and tanking asset prices? They can’t.
The table below breaks down the financing in several different measures. Check it out.
The bottom line is that 23 percent of the COVID deficit borrowing has been financed by an increase in Treasury bill issuance, easy given the mass excess liquidty on the short-end where the Fed is soaking up over a trillion with overnight reverse repos in order to keep short-term rates postives. Most of that liquidity, by the way, was created from QE.
Of the remaining $4.1 trillion of non T-Bill debt issuance, 75 percent was taken down by the Fed, albeit indirectly.
There you have have it, folks, T-Bills and the Fed have financed the bulk of the COVID deficit and debt buildup. No judgment, but policymakers are now going to have engineer a soft landing in the economy and asset markets as we approach a fiscal cliff to normalize the budget deficit and tighten up monetary policy.
We are not throwing stones as they saved the world from a global economic castasophe.
We do criticize their continued irresponsible policies as inflation rages and stagflation sets in. It’s not wise, in our experience, to try and monetize supply shocks. We learned that hard and painful lesson by doing so with the OPEC oil shocks.
Narrow window for a soft landing. Stay tuned.
Email us or comment if you have questions.
An Anti-Inflation Trio From Three Years Ago
Do the similarities outweigh the differences? We better hope not. There is a lot about 2021 that is shaping up in the same way as 2018 had (with a splash…
Do the similarities outweigh the differences? We better hope not. There is a lot about 2021 that is shaping up in the same way as 2018 had (with a splash of 2013 thrown in for disgust). Guaranteed inflation, interest rates have nowhere to go but up, and a certified rocking recovery restoring worldwide potential. So said all in the media, opinions written for everyone in it by none other than central bank models.
It was going to be awesome.
Straight away, however, right from the very start of 2018 there were an increasing number (and intensity) of warning signs. Flat curves were a big one – which then later inverted. In global economic data, crucial contradictions were purveyed by Japan and Germany.
In other words, taking cues from those three – Japanese and German conditions augmented by consistent contortions in the US Treasury yield curve – before we even got to the end of 2018, while the mainstream narrative prevailed unopposed with Jay Powell still hiking rates, we said very differently. Here’s early November 2018, with already negative GDP in both those places:
This year is proving to be a trainwreck in too many important places. It was supposed to be the arrival of worldwide recovery. Worse, too many arrows are still pointing down for 2019. But you wouldn’t know it from the Bank of Japan, ECB, Federal Reserve, etc. Not until they are forced into some honest assessments for once.
Heads in the sands (or another orifice, if you prefer), “tightening” became the preferred if only option across the globe. The Fed, the ECB, others around the world rushed to get ahead of the (imagined) inflationary pressures “everyone” said were on the cusp.
Just a few months further on, March 2019, everything had already changed though it would take many more months for the stunned mainstream to even begin appreciating all the roughness.
As is standard practice, when weak data began showing up last year it was attributed to anything, everything else. Europe was downright booming, they said, so there was no possible way for a macro negative scenario…Europe isn’t the only place where manufacturing declines are showing up. Just as Germany is a bellwether for global trade and therefore global economy, Japan is in very much the same situation. Export-oriented, if Japan Inc. isn’t making new goods that’s because the rest of the world isn’t demanding them.
Germany. Japan. Yield curve. Twenty-eighteen.
Germany and Japan the economic bellwethers for the whole global economy (the importance of trade at the margins) along with the Treasury curve reacting to, and forecasting ahead from, the real global economy’s interior and insides. Economists are, by contrast, so removed from the realities of real-time facts so as to be modern day astrologers making claims based on little more than specious privileges.
Germany or Japan struggling isn’t really about Japan or Germany; nor the UST curve specific to US and Treasury. With a massive overflow of goods heading toward especially the US, however warehoused on the way, as I wrote earlier today, what might this trio bode with regard to the direction for future demand?
Many companies have claimed they are absolutely ready for “too many goods”, believing both their newfound penchant for individual supply chains as well as logistical consulting to manage more than ever. This so long as demand doesn’t “unexpectedly” fall off, even a little, which then might trigger the downside of the inventory cycle.
Three years ago, these three indications taken together were keen warning signs how demand was about to and would fall off “unexpectedly” (if it hadn’t already). And these ended up being highly accurate measures of the global economic direction that were completely, utterly contrary to the surefire, guaranteed inflation/recovery/BOND ROUT!!! no one ever challenged.
Is this time different? Hope so, but history keeps repeating because no one ever explains what happened last time. And the time before. And the time before. And…
S&P, Dow Jones climb to fresh highs ahead of big tech earnings
The S P 500 Index and Dow Jones closed at record highs on Monday October 25 ahead of quarterly earnings of big technology companies like Apple Amazon…
The S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones closed at record highs on Monday, October 25, ahead of quarterly earnings of big technology companies like Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet this week.
The S&P was up 0.47% to 4,566.48. The Dow Jones rose 0.18% to 35,741.15. The NASDAQ Composite rose 0.90% to 15,226.71, and the small-cap Russell 2000 rose 0.93% to 2,312.64.
Market participants are in high spirits as the third-quarter earnings season is in full swing. Several major financial and retail companies have reported robust growth in the quarter.
The earnings come in the backdrop of inflation, supply disruptions, and labor shortages. Hence, some analysts were initially worried over quarterly performance amid these factors.
Traders will now eagerly wait for the earnings of mega-cap technology companies that have around 30% weightage on the S&P 500 index by market capitalization.
According to Refinitiv data, some 165 S&P 500 companies are expected to report this week. Analysts expect the index to grow by 34.8% in the quarter YoY.
In addition, of the 119 companies reported so far, 83.2% beat Wall Street estimates.
On Monday, consumer discretionary and energy stocks led gains on S&P. Utilities and financial stocks were the bottom movers. Nine of the 11 stock segments of the index stayed in the green.
Shares of Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) jumped 12.66% at the market close on Monday, taking its market cap to more than US$1 trillion for the first time, as the car rental company Hertz said it placed an order for 100,000 Tesla vehicles. Morgan Stanley also raised its price target to US$1,200 from US$900.
PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) stock was up 2.70% after it said it had no plan to buy Pinterest Inc. (PINS). Media reports had earlier claimed that it was in talks to acquire the social media firm for US$45 billion in a stock-and-cash deal. The PINS stock fell 12.71% after PayPal’s clarification.
Facebook, Inc. (FB) shares jumped 3.78% in after-market trading after missing analysts’ expectations in the third quarter. Its revenue surged 35% YoY to US$29.01 billion in Q3, FY21, and its net income rose 17% to US$9.19 billion, or US$3.22 per diluted share. Analysts had predicted diluted EPS of US$3.19 on revenue of US$29.57 billion, Refinitiv data showed.
In the consumer discretionary sector, Home Depot, Inc. (HD) rose 1.44%, LOWE’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) rose 1.33%, and Target Corporation (TGT) gained 1.73%. TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX) and Aptiv PLC (APTV) advanced 1.71% and 1.13%, respectively.
In energy stocks, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) increased by 1.95%, ConocoPhillips (COP) rose 1.06%, and EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG) gained 2.22%. Schlumberger N.V. (SLB) and Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) ticked up 1.33% and 1.02%, respectively.
In the utility sector, Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) declined 0.91%, Dominion Energy, Inc. (D) fell 1.02%, and American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP) fell 1.06%. Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) and WEC Energy Group, Inc. (WEC) plummeted 1.36% and 1.40%, respectively.
Also Read: Seven most anticipated IPOs this week
Futures & Commodities
Gold futures were up 0.71% to US$1,809.05 per ounce. Silver increased by 0.83% to US$24.652 per ounce, while copper rose 0.70% to US$4.5293.
Brent oil futures increased by 0.58% to US$85.13 per barrel and WTI crude was down 0.08% to US$83.69.
The 30-year Treasury bond yields was down 0.37% to 2.083, while the 10-year bond yields fell 1.36% to 1.633.
US Dollar Futures Index increased by 0.21% to US$93.817.
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