If It Looks and Smells Like a Recession…

Gold took another hit last night (along with bonds and shares) as the US Fed Chair, under testimony before Congress, gave more hawkish comments about a December rate rise.  The ‘market’ odds are now at 60%.  So let’s just remind ourselves of how swimmingly the US economy is really going.  The following are courtesy of ZeroHedge but provide a nice summary.  First let’s start with something visual.  One of the real bellweathers of the economy is the Factory Orders index.  They released new figures this week and for the 11th month in a row the YoY number has fallen, and this time a whopping 6.9%.  But check out the graph below and note the light shaded pink areas are previous recessions.  We are always reminded of the famous saying “The 4 most expensive words in investment are ‘this time is different’…”


Zerohedge also put together a list of 18 things pointing to a recession:

#1 According to the biggest bank in the western world, British banking giant HSBC, the world is already in a “dollar recession“.  Global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4% so far in 2015, and total global trade has fallen 8.4%.

#2 In September, Chinese exports were down 3.7% compared to one year ago, and Chinese imports were down a whopping 20.4% compared to a year ago.

#3 Demand for Chinese steel is down 8.9% compared to a year ago.

#4 China’s rail freight volume is down 10.1% compared to last year.

#5 In October, South Korean exports were down 15.8% from a year ago.

#6 According to the Dutch government index, a year ago global trade in primary commodities was sitting at a reading of 150 but now it has fallen all the way down to 114.  What this means is that less commodities are being traded around the world, and that is a very clear sign that global economic activity is really slowing down.

#7 U.S. exports are down 11% for the year so far.  The only other times they have fallen this dramatically since the turn of the century were during the last two recessions.

#8 Since March, the amount of stuff being shipped by truck, rail and air inside the United States has been falling every single month on a year over year basis.  If less stuff is being moved around the country, does that mean that economic activity is growing or declining?  The answer, of course, is obvious.

#9 The ISM Manufacturing Index, which is the most important measurement of U.S. manufacturing activity, has fallen for four months in a row. [this was printed before the abovementioned factory orders reinforced this further]

#10 The Dallas Fed’s Manufacturing Outlook has dropped for 10 months in a row.

#11 Wholesale sales in the U.S. have fallen to the lowest level since the last recession.

#12 The inventory to sales ratio has risen to the highest level since the last recession.  This means that there is a whole lot of unsold inventory that is just sitting around out there and not selling.

#13 It looks like a new housing slump is emerging in the United States.  Sales of previously owned homes fell by 2.3% in September.

#14 New home sales in the United States declined by a whopping 11.5% in September.

#15 Wal-Mart is projecting that its earnings may fall by as much as 12% during the next fiscal year.

#16 According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate in the United States today would be 22.9%.

#17 According to Challenger Gray, layoffs at major firms have risen to the highest level that we have witnessed since 2009.

#18 The number of job openings in the United States declined by 5.3% during the month of August.  That was a very large plunge for just one month.

As we wrote on Monday this certainly doesn’t mean they won’t raise rates in December and that certainly doesn’t mean bad news for gold.  Indeed it could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  Either way, strap yourself in for an interesting ride…