Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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Fed Day

Today is Fed Day (FOMC day, Federal Open Markets Committee day), and everyone is expecting a rate cut. I don't know what that's worth anymore with the Fed not even attempting to defend 1% (actual overnight rates are hanging around .15% - maybe it'll drop to zero) which means the US is already effectively in a liquidity trap. Bloomberg News talks about some of the "alternative" tools the Fed has been following.

Inflation is not on the radar anymore; core CPI in November was flat, and adding food and energy made it -1.7% in November, that's negative, and the lowest number since 1932. 1932 was not a good year. Dr. Roubini of RGE Monitor talks about deflation here, and also here, tho' I don't know if the latter is visible without subscription.

Housing starts fell 18.9% in November, to the lowest since World War II, which is as far back as records go. (And you have to go to secondary records to go back that far. Main numbers stop in 1959.) Overall industrial output also fell in November, by 0.6% month-to-month, or 7.3% since November 2007, the worst decline since 1980. Mish notes that much of the remaining strength is in defense, and may contract as the Iraq war finally winds down.

Washington Post surveying says most Americans oppose the automotive industry bailout, with more significantly more strongly opposed than strongly supporting. Moody's thinks prepackaged bankruptcy is on the way, but the White House says it's still working out a plan. Senator Levin (D-MI) thinks it'll look like the original Congressional plan, but I think he's wrong. There is something of a consensus emerging regardless that the GOP is insisting that the UAW be broken as a prerequisite to stepping in.

Many states are already running out of funds for unemployment insurance, and are scrambling to find new ways to recover the shortfalls. Unemployment is one of several factors starting to hit housing again; Alt-A mortgages are deteriorating much more rapidly than consensus expectations, which means the second wave of housing fallout is probably underway.

Brad Setser has a bit of analysis on the agencies/treasuries numbers I talked about yesterday, calling it a "crisis... in the balance of payments data" and going into details.

And that's all I have time for right now. Good luck.
Tags: economics
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