Morning Report: Chinese Treasury sales 9/1/15

Stocks are lower this morning on global growth fears. Bonds and MBS are up.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that global growth will likely remain weaker than the IMF was projecting two months ago. Chinese manufacturing fell to a 3 year low.

China continues to sell US Treasuries in order to support its currency. There has been a fear that China could take down the US by dumping Treasuries and pushing up interest rates here. In reality, the US has more leverage here. China’s economy is beginning to soften, and the last thing they would want to do is injure their biggest customer. Second, Japan would gladly take China’s supply of Treasuries. Third, the article mentions that China has no better alternatives than US Treasuries to stash a trillion dollars. Actually I think that is wrong. The proceeds will go to pay off domestic debt pledged against falling asset prices within China.

The ISM Manufacturing Survey fell to 51.5 in August, missing the Street expectation of 52.5. Prices paid fell from 44 to 39.

Economic Optimism took a big hit in August as well, as the index fell from 46.9 to 42, missing the Street expectation of 47.1 by a country mile.

Constructions spending rose 0.7% in July and June was revised upward from 0.1% to 0.7%.

Obama threw a bone to organized labor as his National Labor Relations Board ruled that companies that use contractors are considered joint employers. This makes parent companies liable for how their subcontractors treat their employees and also is intended to make it easier for unions to get a foothold in the big fast food chains. Who else has to worry about this? The homebuilding industry, which uses a lot of contract labor and has since the 1980s. “Are we concerned that this ruling might have some impact? I think we are alert to the ruling. We are aware that the Labor Department feels its mandate is broad, but we think that our business is highly differentiated from what’s being discussed in the current case or even extensions,” said Stuart Miller, CEO of Miami-based Lennar. Given how much homebuilding means to the overall economy, depressing the sector even further is not really what the economy needs at the moment. And the lack of housing supply leads to…

Higher prices and low affordability. The CoreLogic Home Price Index rose 1.7% in July, which is up 6.9% year over year. Prices remain 6.6% below their August 2006 peak.

39 Responses

  1. Labor law has a lot of ambiguity in how employees are classified. My firm is usually a subcontract to another firm but management and control is within our firm. Franchises have a lot less latitude in how they train and manage employees. I expect some unintended consequences sooner or later.

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  2. “I expect some unintended consequences sooner or later.”

    Yes… 3 cashiers per shift being traded for an app…

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    • I have a friend whose 80-year-old mother got irate when the Chili’s waitress told her she had to order dessert from the on-table tablet. I was at a Uno’s with one of those devices and it took the waitress ten minutes to notice my green light saying I needed more water. These casual dining chains are cutting off their nose to save a few bucks in labor trying to compete with fast casual places like Chipotle.

      On the other hand, I was at a business lunch and it was very convenient for the guy taking us to lunch to just swipe his card and let us be on our way. All technology is disruptive. I don’t miss the fact that ditches are now dug by a guy on a backhoe instead of ten unskilled laborers with shovels.

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  3. “These casual dining chains are cutting off their nose to save a few bucks in labor trying to compete with fast casual places like Chipotle.”

    No they aren’t. The surveys say Millennials love tablet based ordering.

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  4. @yellojkt: ” and it took the waitress ten minutes to notice my green light saying I needed more water.”

    I know, right? What the hell? It’s supposed to be all modern and fancy but the only indication a waiter or waitress has that you’ve pressed the “summon server” button is a blinking light? Why doesn’t it page them or buzz their bluetooth headset or ping their iPhone or something? I love tablet based ordering (and if you have kids, the built in games are a godsend . . . so, so, so much infinitely better than a crappy piece of newsprint with two crayons and games that consist of a word scramble that ends up being the name of the restaurant). But if you’re going to do it, go all in on the experience. Reserve a table from an app on your phone, get pinged on self-same phone when your table is ready, and when you press the button on the tablet that says you want your server, notify the server in some way.

    Still have to talk to the server to order stuff a specific way, but . . . I’m sure that’s coming. We’re about 10 years from just talking to the tablet and having it understand our special orders the same way a human server would.

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  5. @yellojkt: “I don’t miss the fact that ditches are now dug by a guy on a backhoe instead of ten unskilled laborers with shovels.”

    Me neither. I look forward to the day when 90% of all human jobs are maintaining the automated equipment, and no one worries over the fact that there are now millions of jobs in maintaining the equipment and writing the software that replaced the old jobs. Or finds it ironic that there’s about a 1:1 ratio on how many new jobs are created in managing and creating automation as are taken away from ditch digging and table serving.

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  6. Reserve a table from an app on your phone,

    I will use OpenTable to make a reservation for a place around the corner from where I am for fifteen minutes from now just because I get a 100 point ($1) kickback for doing so. It’s all about incentives.

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  7. How many divisions does SCOTUS have?

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  8. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/09/01/he-wrote-the-law-to-end-housing-discrimination-fifty-years-later-hes-still-fighting/

    Mondale on the Fair Housing Act. So much left-wing dissembling in this piece:

    When a black family with an income of $157,000 a year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a white family with an income of $40,000 a year, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.

    When real estate agents only show integrated schools and suburbs to black and Latino middle-class families, and steer white families away from those same neighborhoods and schools, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.

    When the federal and state governments will pay to build new suburban highways, streets, sewers, schools, and parks, but then allows these communities to exclude affordable housing and non-white citizens, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.

    Um on the first point, there is this thing called a FICO score. A lending decision takes into account incomes, credit rating, debt coverage ratios, etc. This statement alone is so incredibly brain-dead that it should disqualify everything else he has to say.

    On the second point, OF COURSE realtors are not going to show a lily white family an apartment in Bed-Stuy. This isn’t racism, this is a professional not wasting their time.

    On the third point, there is no discrimination in lending. Can Mondale point to some zoning law that says non-whites are forbidden from purchasing a home in a certain area? No, like the typical leftist, he conflates local communities resisting having housing projects sited in their local communities, especially rural ones with housing discrimination. Hello? Anyone that has the money to move to my neighborhood is allowed to.

    The incredible amount of just crap leftist spin in this article is appalling and you would think the WaPo fact checkers would be all over it, since these are generally false statements…But, the left has an agenda to push and WaPo is following along. Or the journalist who wrote it agrees with what he said because she isn’t thinking too deeply about it.

    BTW, my favorite quote from the article: “Ronald Reagan,” Mondale recalls, “almost celebrated the fact that he wasn’t going to enforce this stuff. And he picked people who followed through on that negative view.”

    Yes, that is what made Reagan great. We need another Reagan.

    He also tips his hand with the activist Supreme Court:

    “I’ve been saying ’til I’m blue in the face for 50 years now that we intended ‘disparate impact,'” Mondale says. “That’s not a mystical principle. We knew that if you had to prove actual segregation intent, nothing would ever get done.”

    So, people are not guilty of discrimination, but you have to accuse them of it in order to whip up public support for going after them. Problem. Change the rules so that you don’t have to prove anything? Brilliant!

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  9. Leftist’s butthurt over Executive Branch not enforcing Federal law are the funniest leftists.

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  10. Can someone be black, Libertarian and not a race traitor?

    Asking for a friend.

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  11. “Can someone be black, Libertarian and not a race traitor?”

    Nope. Not allowed.

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  12. Can someone be black, Libertarian and not a race traitor?

    No bagger. One size fits all.

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  13. “the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.”

    It’s not about what the individuals themselves want.

    What’s going to happen is the same thing in Westchester, i.e. the local governments will just refuse to take the money to avoid the associated litigation. Then the left will wonder why the programs are vilified and loose support.

    Someone should have Mondale read this:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/features/2014/the_liberal_failure_on_race/how_the_left_s_embrace_of_busing_hurt_the_cause_of_integration.html

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  14. “What’s going to happen is the same thing in Westchester, i.e. the local governments will just refuse to take the money to avoid the associated litigation. Then the left will wonder why the programs are vilified and loose support.”

    As a resident of Westchester, HUD holds all the cards here. Unfortunately no judge has ruled against HUD’s affordable housing mandates, and they can (and will) sue any locality who dares push back. I live out in the woods, and I cannot imagine why affordable housing would be attractive to any low-income people. There is no mass transit, the town center consists of a church, a deli, a restaurant and an antiques store. But it doesn’t matter. The race warriors are on a mission, and we must accept it.

    I wish we could simply tell HUD to fuck off and not take their money, but they have the stick in addition to the carrot. Luckily, the idea of putting a piece of Bed-Stuy in my neighborhood probably makes little financial sense, although I am sure the tax breaks given the developer matter.

    If a President Cruz won, could he tell HUD to throw the case? Just lose on purpose?

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    • Brent:

      If a President Cruz won, could he tell HUD to throw the case? Just lose on purpose?

      Obama did it in Windsor.

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    • “What’s going to happen is the same thing in Westchester, i.e. the local governments will just refuse to take the money to avoid the associated litigation. Then the left will wonder why the programs are vilified and loose support.”

      Anybody watch the HBO/David Simon miniseries “Show Me A Hero” about this exact issue in Yonkers, NY? Even to my prestige television loving mind this sounded like homework.

      The western part of our county is full of McMansions. In order to meet affordable housing criteria, one developer has a four unit townhouse plan which looks just like a single luxury house. Since there is no public sewer in that part of the county, it has to sit on an acre of land.

      In Baltimore the current outrage is over a plan to build for the homeless a shelter which “would consist of two, 5,000-square-foot fabric structures” (but don’t call them tents) and is facing strong local opposition.

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  15. @yellojkt: “White libertarians are race traitors too.”

    Or do libertarians reject the very concept of race, either inherent or ascribed, as irrelevant? Productivity is what matters!

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  16. @jnc4p: “John Yoo on birthright citizenship.”

    Jon Yoo wants to legalize torture all over again! This time, he wants to torture us with illegal immigrant anchor babies!

    Like

  17. I’m a racist straight up.
    Loud and proud.

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  18. Go figure:

    “Walmart Is Cutting Back Some Employees’ Hours After Raising Wages”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/walmart-cutting-hours_55e4768ce4b0aec9f353dc93?utm_hp_ref=business

    “If the goal is making employees better off overall, it’s useless for companies to increase wages while simultaneously cutting hours for individual workers.”

    That’s not the goal. It’s to make progressives pick another target for their PR campaign.

    Like

  19. “As a resident of Westchester, HUD holds all the cards here. Unfortunately no judge has ruled against HUD’s affordable housing mandates, and they can (and will) sue any locality who dares push back. ”

    That’s because they took the money previously, correct?

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  20. That’s not the goal. It’s to make progressives pick another target for their PR campaign.

    Won’t work. The left will never, ever leave Wal Mart alone. They are on a mission to bring it to heel…

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  21. Well, considering WalMart’s a big lover of Ocare, fuck ’em. Hope they get driven into oblivion.

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  22. That’s because they took the money previously, correct?

    Not a lawyer, but AFAIK, whether they took money is irrelevant. Trying to find the analysis I read on it…

    But essentially this has nothing to do with discrimination. HUD has an affordable housing mandate and every county and every locality within that county has to change their zoning laws to allow affordable housing or else they will get sued.

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  23. “Brent Nyitray, on September 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm said: Edit Comment

    That’s not the goal. It’s to make progressives pick another target for their PR campaign.

    Won’t work. The left will never, ever leave Wal Mart alone. They are on a mission to bring it to heel…”

    No, I suspect the right people can be bought off.

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  24. If only this were true:

    “The Rehabilitationists
    How a small band of determined legal academics set out to persuade the Supreme Court to undo the New Deal—and have almost won.
    By Brian Beutler
    August 30, 2015”

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122645/rehabilitationists-libertarian-movement-undo-new-deal

    Like

  25. Not that I care too much about social issues, but does anyone think it is funny that the Kentucky clerk is getting about 10x the press that the Planned Parenthood films are getting?

    Baby parts, schmaby parts, at least they aren’t telling gay activists to come back at different time…

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  26. Or more precisely, go to the next county over. You are right that it is telling though.

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    • Or more precisely, go to the next county over.

      Same advice given out when some BS law closing half the abortion clinics in a state is passed. Odd that the pro-freedom party is always about limiting choices.

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      • yello:

        Odd that the pro-freedom party is always about limiting choices.

        Not nearly as odd as those who think “choice” means either demanding something from the government or killing babies.

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  27. Odd that the pro-freedom party is always about limiting choices.

    Or the pro-government party complaining about regulatory burden.

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  28. Amusing example to use here, given the history:

    “Lawyers who choose to work at the Justice Department must apply and defend laws they wish had not been enacted.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-choice-for-kentucky-county-clerk-kim-davis-follow-the-law-or-resign/2015/09/01/1800616a-50ee-11e5-8c19-0b6825aa4a3a_story.html

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  29. Or the pro-government party complaining about regulatory burden.

    That was a nut punch. Like watching a skateboarder take a full,ball crushing shot from a stair hand-rail on America Funniest Home Videos. .

    I crossed my legs in sympathy after that one.

    Like

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