In the chart above, the top panel shows U.S. non-financial corporate debt to GDP at levels where credit defaults start hitting the front page. The lower panel shows the cumulative flow of investment funds in the U.S. and illustrates that institutional money is way ahead of private client money in getting out of the way of market risk to the downside.
According to the New York Times December 8, 2015 "If It Owns a Well or a Mine, It’s Probably in Trouble".
“The world of commodities has been turned upside down,” said Daniel Yergin, the energy historian and vice chairman of IHS, a consultant firm. “Instead of tight supply and strong demand, we have tepid demand and oversupply and overcapacity for commodity production. It’s the end of an era that is not going to come back soon.”
Some energy experts are even beginning to express concerns that sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Persian Gulf and oil-producing countries will redeem their money from investment firms in the coming year to shore up their balance sheets. If they do, the moves could initiate more instability in global equity and debt markets.
The full article is worth reading for Canadians who are also heavily leveraged and require employment earnings to satisfy debt repayment on assets that have insufficient equity to refinance.
Credit lines drying up for oil companies?
Notice the comments about the competition between Sunni (Saudi Arabia) and Shia (Iran) oil.
Distress (bonds trading over 1,000bps) has been spreading across the HY space. From its starting point in energy a year ago, it has now reached other commodity-sensitive areas such as transportation, materials, capital goods, and commercial services. But it did not stop here and is also visible in places like retail, gaming, media, consumer staples, and technology – all areas that were widely expected to be insulated from low oil prices, if not even benefitting form them.
In other words, what was until a year ago a purely "energy" phenomenon is now an "everything" phenomenon, despite promises by every prominent economist that plunging energy prices are great news for the economy.
So will the U.S. Fed begin to raise rates at their next meeting, December 2015 with Canada following soon after? The Fed is not answering the question but is leaving room to wiggle: "The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run." (FOMC Oct 28, 2015)
Hello Japanada. I think what has to happen before rates rise is that inflation has to show up in wages alongside of higher employment rates and then we will see the general CPI overtaking the target mandate (2%-ish). Look again at the top chart comparing Canada, the U.S. and Japan... the 3 plots are similar rising and falling in concert and the question is, will the U.S. GDP start going negative. There is a good chance of it because the USD continues to strengthen against other currencies and the net trade deficit year to date increased 3.9% Y/Y as exports decreased 3.8% and imports decreased 2.4%. (US BEA, Nov 4, 2015).
Meanwhile in Canada average earnings are under pressure. (my Earnings & Employment page)... and credit creation is stalled.
The chart above are the Canadian 90+ days delinquency rates. Trouble spots continue to be auto loans and credit cards. The average auto loan climbed 2.87 per cent from a year ago to $19,649 while the average credit card debt was up 3.04 per cent to $3,745.
I did a back of the napkin ownership cost on a mid range vehicle ($49,000 plus taxes, fees and documentation of $6,500) financed with 10% down and only 2% financing over 3 years. That $49,000 car ends up costing close to $60,000 by the end of the third year and has depreciated by 50% to be worth only $30,000. If the car is sold in month 37, the cost that the consumer has paid is approximately $833 per month to drive a new car for 3 years without even adding in maintenance ($100/mo?), insurance ($100/mo?), parking ($100/mo?) repairs ($?) or disposal cost ($?) of the vehicle.
I belong to Vancouver's best and biggest car sharing non-profit society MODO and my cost for having access to over 400 vehicles as well as using taxi's and public transport is less than $150/month for two people.
If it looks like Vancouver, it's probably San Francisco
The inflationists have bet the farm on housing in all the global markets that attract non-resident buyers. When I look at my long term (since 1956) Canadian Housing Starts with Census overlaid chart, it strikes me that we actually need a lot more housing if we want to see affordability again. But the price to rent ratio does not incent the construction industry. If offshore money is willing to buy physically depreciating negative yields, then let's help them along. Perhaps a public-private (us-them) partnership is in order. We build them, they finance them.
Trapped in Silicon Valley
Do We Know What We Owe? Consumer Debt as Reported by Borrowers and Lenders
From the 44 page study via Barry Ritholtz
Canada's Sky-Rocketing Household Debt 1990 vs 2015
CBC's James Fitz-Morris examines debt-to-income levels
for the average Canadian family; September 13, 2015
DATA CITED IN THIS VIDEO
Why Bank of Canada’s rate cut may have less impact than Poloz hopes The Globe and Mail July 15, 2015
"The drop in oil prices looks as if it may be quite persistent. This will have a permanent effect on the spending decisions of the average Canadian, translating into a drop in real domestic demand. Total aggregate demand could only remain on its previous trend to the extent that net exports increase permanently. While they will recover from their disappointing recent performance, a permanent increase is unfeasible. Total demand is on a lower trend than before the oil price shock." Read the whole article by Steve Ambler.
Alberta's Boom Time Hangover
History, Charts & Curated Readings
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement; and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
"History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in.... I read it a little as a duty; but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all - it is very tiresome." Jane Austen spoken by Catherine Morland in 'Northanger Abbey'