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Don’t Like the Numbers? Change ‘Em

Meine Antwort an die besorgten Leser, die mich ab und zu daran erinnern, dass es hier um Daten geht …. :

If a CEO issued the kind of distorted figures put out by politicians and scientists, he’d wind up in prison, Ex-Bush Economic Advisors CEO, Michael Boskin, slams politicians for cooking the economic books to obfuscate economic conditions.
Politicians and scientists who don’t like what their data show lately have simply taken to changing the
numbers. They believe that their end—socialism, global climate regulation, health-care legislation,
repudiating debt commitments, la gloire française—justifies throwing out even minimum standards of
accuracy. It appears that no numbers are immune: not GDP, not inflation, not budget, not job or cost
estimates, and certainly not temperature. A CEO or CFO issuing such massaged numbers would land in
jail…
There is historical precedent for a “socialist GDP.” When President George H.W. Bush sent me to
help Mikhail Gorbachev with economic reform, I found out that the Soviet statistics office kept two sets of books: those they published, and those they actually believed (plus another for Stalin when he was alive)..
America has not been immune from this dangerous numbers game. Every president is guilty of
spinning unpleasant statistics. President Richard Nixon even thought there was a conspiracy against him at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But President Barack Obama has taken it to a new level. His laudable attempt at transparency in counting the number of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus bill has degenerated into farce and was just junked this week.
The administration has introduced the new notion of “jobs saved” to take credit where none was ever
taken before. It seems continually to confuse gross and net numbers…
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704586504574654261655183416.html

Pending Home Sales: dunkle Wolken am US Immobilienmarkt

Die diese Woche veröffentlichten Pending Home Sales, die die Vorvertragsabschlüsse für Immobilienkäufe beinhalten, brachen im November 2009 im Vorfeld auslaufender Steuervergünstigungen für Immobilienkäufer förmlich ein. Im Vergleich zum Vormonat sanken diese um 16,0%, notieren allerdings immer noch 15,5% über dem Vorjahresniveau. Der Rückgang fokussierte sich vor allem auf den Nordosten wie Mittleren Westen (jeweils -25,7%).

Da die Pending Home Sales den Käufen genutzter Immobilien ca. zwei Monate vorauslaufen, ist ein ähnlicher Absturz dort vorprogrammiert. Der folgende Chart stellt die Pending Home Sales (blaue Linie) wie auch die um zwei Monate nach hinten versetzten Käufe genutzter Immobilien (rote Linie) dar:

Pending Homes Sales

Anfang Dezember letzten Jahres wurden die Steuerabschreibungen für Immobilienkäufer bis in den April 2010 verlängert, so bleibt abzuwarten inwieweit die zuletzt beobachtete Erholung am US Immobilienmarkt nachhaltig ist.

Quelle: Presseerklärung NAR

Why the government’s job figures won’t add up

Das B/D Model und seasonal adjustments werden m.E. auch weiterhin die Arbeitsmarktzahlen verfälschen.

John Crudele NY Post:

The charade continues this Friday.
That’s when the Labor Department will announce how many jobs it claims were lost in the US
economy during December.
The number is essentially worthless to anyone who really wants to know what’s cooking in the job
market. But it is worse than worthless — it’s harmful — to policymakers who are trying to determine
what to do about things like interest rates and the latest incarnation of the stock market bubble.
For the record, Wall Street thinks that the department will report that no jobs were lost — zero –
during December. This comes after only 11,000 jobs were reported lost in November, the first pleasant
surprise in months for those who foolishly care about these statistics…
In fact, the Labor Department has already said that when it reports its next set of statistics on Feb. 4 it
will reduce the number of jobs that it believes existed in this country from April 2007 through March
2008 by around 820,000.
2
And people inside Labor also admit that the department mistakenly believed these 820,000 jobs
existed mostly because of incorrect assumptions by its birth/death model…
Now get this! That 820,000 mistake only corrects the numbers as of last March.
The birth/death model since this past April has added an additional 900,000 jobs. And eventually those 900,000 jobs will probably also have to be extracted from the Labor Department’s count.
But it gets worse. The Labor Department tells me that despite the huge corrections, it still believes its birth/death model is working well because it is tracking closely the Census Bureau’s quarterly surveys of employment and wages.
In other words, the Labor Department doesn’t think it needs to change its belief that small companies are popping up everywhere and creating large numbers of jobs.
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/why_the_government_job_figures_won_SF8z4SR9LG0at4gQjNj5eO

Markt-Daten Kalender 2010

Der Markt-Daten Kalender für das Jahr 2010 steht als PDF-Dokument zum Download zur Verfügung.

ein  gesundes und erfolgreiches neues Jahr wünscht

Cordula Sauerland

AAII — Asset Allocation Survey: Aktienquote der US Privatinvestoren moderat

Im letzten AAII — Asset Allocation Survey des November 2009 wird die Aktienquote der US Privatinvestoren mit 54,69% nach 57,48% im Vormonat angegeben. Weder der durchschnittliche Investitionsgrad in Aktien (59,9%) noch der mittlere Wert (61,1%) seit 1987 werden aktuell erreicht. Obere Wendepunkte sind in der Vergangenheit mit höheren Aktienquoten einhergegangen.

Im Bild die Aktienquote der Privatinvestoren zusammen mit dem S&P500 seit 2000:

AAII Aktienquote vs. S&P500

Der Anteil der Privatinvestoren, der in Bonds investiert war, notierte bei 18,25%; die Cashquote lag bei 27,06%.

Flow of Funds Q3 2009 – öffentliche Kredite steigen, private Kredite fallen weiter

Die Gesamtverschuldung der USA notierte im dritten Quartal 2009 bei 52,6 Mrd. US-Dollar marginal niedriger als im zweiten Quartal. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahresquartal liegt diese 1,4% höher.

Der jüngste ‘Flow of Funds’ Bericht weist  lediglich für den Staat positiven Wachstumsraten aus, so stieg das Kreditvolumen in Washington um 5,2% zum Vorquartal und 29,9% zum Vorjahr. Die Bundesstaaten/Gemeinden nahmen 1,3% respektive 3,3% mehr Kredite auf, während auf privater Seite entschuldet wurde.

Der tabellarische Überblick:

Tabelle

In Relation zum nominalen Bruttoinlandsprodukt beläuft sich die US Verschuldung auf 370,1% im dritten Quartal 2009 nach zuvor 373,1%; damit werden für jeden Dollar Wachstum rund 3,7 US-Dollar Schulden gemacht.

Im Blick die US Verschuldung/BIP seit 1952:

US Verschuldung/BIP

Charts des ‘ Flow of Funds’ Berichtes erweitern die Wirtschaftsdaten-Charts:
Flow of Funds Accounts Chart-Galerie.

Näheres zur finanziellen Situation der privaten Haushalte folgt (einschl. einer erstaunlichen Revision).

KID Konjunktur-Indikator Deutschland im Dezember 2009

… und weiter aufwärts!

die aktuelle Ausgabe des KID Konjunktur-Indikators Deutschland:
KID Konjunktur-Indikator Deutschland im Dezember 2009

hier bitte weiterlesen…

Griechenland unter Druck

Nachdem die Ratingagentur Standard & Poor’s gestern griechische Staatsanleihen auf die Beobachtungsliste setzte, erfolgte heute von Fitch eine Herabstufung des Länderratings von A- auf BBB+ (Quelle: Bloomberg). Erst am 22. Oktober diesen Jahres hatte Fitch den Daumen von A auf A- gesenkt.

Die gesamte Historie der Fitch-Ratings gibt es als xls-Datei: Fitch – Complete Sovereign Rating History (nettes Teil ;-) ).

Unregelmäßigkeiten bei der Dokumentation des Haushaltsdefizites hatten zu einer EU-Rüge geführt. Für 2008 liegt dieses bei 7,7% vom BIP, für 2009 schätzt Eurostat ein Haushaltsdefizit von 12,7% vom BIP.

Quelle: Economic Downturn Challenges Public Finances

Die Märkte quittieren die griechischen Turbulenzen mit einer Anhebung der Risikoprämie für den Ausfall fünfjähriger, griechischer Staatsanleihen:

Credit Default Swaps (CDS)

Mit 211 notieren die Credit Default Swaps (CDS)  auf dem höchsten Niveau seit dem April diesen Jahres.

Nachtrag am 9.12.2009:

Forex – Tageskommentar von Folker Hellmeyer, Chefanalyst der Bremer Landesbank,
EUR wegen Griechenland unter Druck – Moody’s Einlassungen zu USA und UK ignoriert!

Am US Arbeitsmarkt …

tut sich was .. oder doch nicht ?

Trim Tabs versucht die Entwicklung am Arbeitsmarkt auf Grund der Lohn- und Einkommenssteuereinnahmen zu beurteilen. Hier deren Einschätzung :

TrimTabs employment analysis, which uses real-time daily income tax deposits from all U.S.
taxpayers to compute employment growth, estimated that the U.S. economy shed 255,000 jobs in
November.
This past month’s results were an improvement of only 10.2% from the 284,000 jobs lost in
October…In November, the BLS revised their September and October job losses down a surprising
44.5%, or 203,000 job…

Irgendwie passt das nicht so recht mit den – 11.000 zusammen und macht auch keinen sinn, es sei denn man will den Markt auf Ende der null, null zero Zinspolitik einstimmen … ;-)

Die Bubble-Maschine – und läuft…und läuft…und läuft

US-China Trade

“For the first eight months of 2009, China’s goods exports to
the United States were $184.9 billion, while U.S. exports to China
were $41.2 billion, with China’s trade surplus standing at $143.7
billion, a decrease of 17.8 percent over the same period last year
($169.2 billion).“

Quelle:
2009 REPORT TO CONGRESS of the
U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND
SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION, Seite 21

Ich meine die Rede von Sen. Bunning zur Renominierung von Ben Shalom Bernanke…

verdient es hier gewürdigt zu werden ;-) :

Sen. Bunning implies he will fillibuster Bernanke’s re-nomination as Fed Chairman.
****************************************************************************************************

Bunning Statement On The Re-Nomination Of Ben Bernanke To Be Chairman Of The Federal Reserve

Senate Banking Committee
Thursday, December 3, 2009

As Prepared For Delivery:

Four years ago when you came before the Senate for confirmation to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve, I was the only Senator to vote against you.  In fact, I was the only Senator to even raise serious concerns about you.  I opposed you because I knew you would continue the legacy of Alan Greenspan, and I was right.  But I did not know how right I would be and could not begin to imagine how wrong you would be in the following four years.

The Greenspan legacy on monetary policy was breaking from the Taylor Rule to provide easy money, and thus inflate bubbles.  Not only did you continue that policy when you took control of the Fed, but you supported every Greenspan rate decision when you were on the Fed earlier this decade.  Sometimes you even wanted to go further and provide even more easy money than Chairman Greenspan.  As recently as a letter you sent me two weeks ago, you still refuse to admit Fed actions played any role in inflating the housing bubble despite overwhelming evidence and the consensus of economists to the contrary.  And in your efforts to keep filling the punch bowl, you cranked up the printing press to buy mortgage securities, Treasury securities, commercial paper, and other assets from Wall Street.  Those purchases, by the way, led to some nice profits for the Wall Street banks and dealers who sold them to you, and the G.S.E. purchases seem to be illegal since the Federal Reserve Act only allows the purchase of securities backed by the government.

On consumer protection, the Greenspan policy was don’t do it.  You went along with his policy before you were Chairman, and continued it after you were promoted.  The most glaring example is it took you two years to finally regulate subprime mortgages after Chairman Greenspan did nothing for 12 years.  Even then, you only acted after pressure from Congress and after it was clear subprime mortgages were at the heart of the economic meltdown.  On other consumer protection issues you only acted as the time approached for your re-nomination to be Fed Chairman.

Alan Greenspan refused to look for bubbles or try to do anything other than create them.  Likewise, it is clear from your statements over the last four years that you failed to spot the housing bubble despite many warnings.

Chairman Greenspan’s attitude toward regulating banks was much like his attitude toward consumer protection.  Instead of close supervision of the biggest and most dangerous banks, he ignored the growing balance sheets and increasing risk.  You did no better.  In fact, under your watch every one of the major banks failed or would have failed if you did not bail them out.

On derivatives, Chairman Greenspan and other Clinton Administration officials attacked Brooksley Born when she dared to raise concerns about the growing risks.  They succeeded in changing the law to prevent her or anyone else from effectively regulating derivatives.  After taking over the Fed, you did not see any need for more substantial regulation of derivatives until it was clear that we were headed to a financial meltdown thanks in part to those products.

The Greenspan policy on transparency was talk a lot, use plenty of numbers, but say nothing.  Things were so bad one TV network even tried to guess his thoughts by looking at the briefcase he carried to work.  You promised Congress more transparency when you came to the job, and you promised us more transparency when you came begging for TARP.  To be fair, you have published some more information than before, but those efforts are inadequate and you still refuse to provide details on the Fed’s bailouts last year and on all the toxic waste you have bought.

And Chairman Greenspan sold the Fed’s independence to Wall Street through the so-called “Greenspan Put”.  Whenever Wall Street needed a boost, Alan was there.  But you went far beyond that when you bowed to the political pressures of the Bush and Obama administrations and turned the Fed into an arm of the Treasury.  Under your watch, the Bernanke Put became a bailout for all large financial institutions, including many foreign banks.  And you put the printing presses into overdrive to fund the government’s spending and hand out cheap money to your masters on Wall Street, which they use to rake in record profits while ordinary Americans and small businesses can’t even get loans for their everyday needs.

Now, I want to read you a quote:  “I believe that the tools available to the banking agencies, including the ability to require adequate capital and an effective bank receivership process are sufficient to allow the agencies to minimize the systemic risks associated with large banks.  Moreover, the agencies have made clear that no bank is too-big-too-fail, so that bank management, shareholders, and un-insured debt holders understand that they will not escape the consequences of excessive risk-taking.  In short, although vigilance is necessary, I believe the systemic risk inherent in the banking system is well-managed and well-controlled.”

That should sound familiar, since it was part of your response to a question I asked about the systemic risk of large financial institutions at your last confirmation hearing.  I’m going to ask that the full question and answer be included in today’s hearing record.

Now, if that statement was true and you had acted according to it, I might be supporting your nomination today.  But since then, you have decided that just about every large bank, investment bank, insurance company, and even some industrial companies are too big to fail.  Rather than making management, shareholders, and debt holders feel the consequences of their risk-taking, you bailed them out.  In short, you are the definition of moral hazard.

Instead of taking that money and lending to consumers and cleaning up their balance sheets, the banks started to pocket record profits and pay out billions of dollars in bonuses.  Because you bowed to pressure from the banks and refused to resolve them or force them to clean up their balance sheets and clean out the management, you have created zombie banks that are only enriching their traders and executives.  You are repeating the mistakes of Japan in the 1990s on a much larger scale, while sowing the seeds for the next bubble.  In the same letter where you refused to admit any responsibility for inflating the housing bubble, you also admitted that you do not have an exit strategy for all the money you have printed and securities you have bought.  That sounds to me like you intend to keep propping up the banks for as long as they want.

Even if all that were not true, the A.I.G. bailout alone is reason enough to send you back to Princeton.  First you told us A.I.G. and its creditors had to be bailed out because they posed a systemic risk, largely because of the credit default swaps portfolio.  Those credit default swaps, by the way, are over the counter derivatives that the Fed did not want regulated.  Well, according to the TARP Inspector General, it turns out the Fed was not concerned about the financial condition of the credit default swaps partners when you decided to pay them off at par.  In fact, the Inspector General makes it clear that no serious efforts were made to get the partners to take haircuts, and one bank’s offer to take a haircut was declined.  I can only think of two possible reasons you would not make then-New York Fed President Geithner try to save the taxpayers some money by seriously negotiating or at least take up U.B.S. on their offer of a haircut.  Sadly, those two reasons are incompetence or a desire to secretly funnel more money to a few select firms, most notably Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and a handful of large European banks.  I also cannot understand why you did not seek European government contributions to this bailout of their banking system.

From monetary policy to regulation, consumer protection, transparency, and independence, your time as Fed Chairman has been a failure.  You stated time and again during the housing bubble that there was no bubble.  After the bubble burst, you repeatedly claimed the fallout would be small.  And you clearly did not spot the systemic risks that you claim the Fed was supposed to be looking out for.  Where I come from we punish failure, not reward it.  That is certainly the way it was when I played baseball, and the way it is all across America.  Judging by the current Treasury Secretary, some may think Washington does reward failure, but that should not be the case.  I will do everything I can to stop your nomination and drag out the process as long as possible.  We must put an end to your and the Fed’s failures, and there is no better time than now.

http://bunning.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsCenter.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=556a0e84-feaa-d20f-2867-6793698d6974&Region_id=&Issue_id=&IsPrint=true

US credit crunch continues … für kleine und mittlere Firmen

Gretchen Morgenson NYT

“We are in unknown territory here,” he said. “Since the peak in October ’08, bank credit has dropped
by 8 percent. That is enormous and it is accelerating. The peak-to-trough drop in the early ’90s was just
1.3 percent and that was enough to scare the pants off the Fed.”
This credit cave-in is the driving force behind the Federal Reserve’s mortgage purchase program, Mr.
Shepherdson says. The last thing the central bank wants to see is a decline in the broad-based money
supply, because when that happens it usually means a depression is afoot. Money supply didn’t fall in the
early 1990s, but it fell by one-quarter during the 1930s.
The Fed’s asset purchase program is therefore not about driving down mortgage rates, Mr.
Shepherdson says, but about trying to prevent a collapse in the money supply. When the Fed buys assets it
creates deposits, which, in turn, helps offset the credit pullback. If the Fed wasn’t buying mortgages with
both hands, Mr. Shepherdson estimates, the money supply would be falling 1 percent a month.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/business/economy/29gret.html?_r=1&ref=business

US Immobilienmarkt: Verkäufe im Oktober

Die vergangene Woche brachte Umsätze im US Immobilienmarkt; zunächst noch einmal zu den Verkäufen genutzter Immobilien; im Berichtsmonat Oktober stiegen diese um 10,1% im Vergleich zum September von 5,54 Mio. auf 6,10 Mio.. Seit dem Februar 2007 (6,55 Mio.) ist dies der höchste Stand. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahr notieren die Verkäufe 23,5% höher. Zweistellige Jahresraten waren in allen vier Regionen festzustellen; der Nordosten mit 24,7%, der Mittlere Westen mit 28,8%, der Süden mit 25,7% und der Westen mit 12,0%.

Die Vereinigung der Immobilienmakler NAR sieht im unteren Preissegment reichlich Schnäppchenjäger unterwegs; Stabilisierung erfahre der Immobilienmarkt durch die Verlängerung der Steuerabschreibungen bis in den April nächsten Jahres.

Enthalten in den Daten der NAR sind die Verkäufe der so genannten “distressed homes”, also die Notverkäufe und Zwangsversteigerungen. Diese schönen die Umsätze und da sie ca. 20% tiefer als marktüblich gehandelt werden, drücken sie die Hauspreise. Zuletzt machten diese im Oktober 29% aus.

Im Bild die Umsätze seit Februar 2009, der Anteil der “distressed homes” ist blau markiert:

Verkäufe genutzter Immobilien

Quelle: National Association of Realtors

Die Verkäufe neuer Immobilien stiegen im Oktober um 6,2% von 405K auf 430K, der Jahresvergleich befindet sich erstmals seit dem November 2005 im positiven Terrain bei 5,1%. Der Absturz dieser Datenreihe fiel deutlicher aus als der der genutzten Immobilien, maximal wurde ein Rückgang von -45,9% gesehen.

Abgebildet zum einen jeweils die jährliche Wachstumsrate der genutzten und neuen Immobilien:

Im folgenden Chart sind die gesamten US Immobilien ( genutzt + neu) in Mio. dargestellt:

Nahezu ein Viertel der amerikanische Hypothekenschuldner mit negativem Eigenkapital

First American CoreLogic schätzt, dass bei 10,7 Mio Eigenheimbesitzern in den USA, die Hypothek auf die Immobilie den Wert des beliehenen Objekts übersteigt. Der Anteil der Kreditnehmer mit negativem Eigenkapital unter den Hypothekenschuldnern betrage nach einer neuen Berechnungsmethode bundesweit 22,6 Prozent. Die bisherige Erfassungsmethode ergäbe einen Prozentsatz von 33,8 Prozent Pleitiers.

Eine Landkarte nebst sortierbarer Tabelle mit näheren Angaben über den Verschuldungsgrad kann man auf der Seite des Wall Street Journal in Augenschein nehmen.

Im Unterschied zu den Beleihungsrichtlinien unserer Kreditinstitute haften die amerikanischen Schuldner jedoch nicht mit ihrem gesamten Vermögen für ihre Verbindlichkeiten, sondern ausschließlich mit ihrem Haus oder der Wohnung, die beliehen wurde.

Mfg Helmut Wüllenweber

Modern day bank robbers … der eine oder andere Politclown kapiert es langsam …

US Senator Byron Dorgan:

It’s one of the most frustrating things. We essentially have had modern-day bankrobbers — except that they wore gray suits and not masks — and there’s been no accountability for it …
Every day we see energy speculators, war profiteers, managed health-care providers, media
propagandists, and/or financiers given some unfair advantage over the average consumers and
taxpayers, and the cumulative effect of the American people watching selfishness prevail over the public interest has been an undermining of the public’s trust in government.
This “anything goes” approach to capitalism has injured the very economy we have aspired to create.
I’m a big fan of the free-market system…This is not about a liberal or conservative philosophy. It is
about making sure our economy and the free-market system work for everybody…
There’s no question the system is rigged against the little guy. The bigger interests have a lot more
information. They jerry-rig the system so that they always win…
One is to separate investment banks and FDIC-insured banks. Second, prohibit FDIC-insured banks
from dealing in risky financial instruments on their own proprietary accounts… And third, abolish “too big to fail.” If you’re too big to fail, you’re too big. Too big to fail is what I call no-fault capitalism..
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/12/byron-dorgans-financial-p_n_355659.html