Saturday, July 27, 2013

Federal Debt Interest Rates: 6-Month T-Bill to 30-Year Bond

Interest rates on federal debt issues.
Long-term rates rise while short-term rates remain low.  Good time to use short-term borrowing to finance long-term debt purchases.

Unemployment: Duration

The average and median duration of unemployment are both coming down slowly.  More (part-time) workers being hired, more 401(k) contributions, more taxes, etc.  Maybe the recovery is just slow.

Average (blue; left) and median (red; right) duration of unemployment.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Is Paul Krugman on the 'Chinese Recession' Bandwagon?

One editorial and two blogs by the New York Times personality.  His points out the imbalance between consumption and investment, and also talks about the Lewis Point - the end of surplus labor (perhaps brought about by malinvestment).

First the editorial:

Yet the signs are now unmistakable: China is in big trouble. We’re not talking about some minor setback along the way, but something more fundamental. The country’s whole way of doing business, the economic system that has driven three decades of incredible growth, has reached its limits. You could say that the Chinese model is about to hit its Great Wall, and the only question now is just how bad the crash will be. 

Start with the data, unreliable as they may be. What immediately jumps out at you when you compare China with almost any other economy, aside from its rapid growth, is the lopsided balance between consumption and investment. All successful economies devote part of their current income to investment rather than consumption, so as to expand their future ability to consume. China, however, seems to invest only to expand its future ability to invest even more. America, admittedly on the high side, devotes 70 percent of its gross domestic product to consumption; for China, the number is only half that high, while almost half of G.D.P. is invested.
Now, however, China has hit the “Lewis point” — to put it crudely, it’s running out of surplus peasants. 
Next, two blogs:

Also, my worries are that China doesn’t know how to slow down — that it’s a bicycle economy that falls over if it stops moving forward. 
And of course I’ve argued that running out of peasants creates a wall. 
So, the Chinese Ponzi bicycle is running into a brick wall. Also, the fascist octopus has sung its swan song. 
Still not sure I’m living up to the world’s worst sentence, however.

Commodity prices are a potentially bigger story. China is a major consumer of raw materials — for example, about 11 percent of world oil consumption. And because the supply and demand of commodities tend to be relatively unresponsive to prices in the short run, a sharp drop in Chinese demand could lead to sharp falls in commodity prices. So the Ponzi bicycle shock could be a bigger deal for countries that sell raw materials, whether they sell to China or not, than it is to China exporters.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Debt (Credit Market Instrument Libability) Update

The total debt (credit instrument liability) of the US (public and private) now stands at $56.999 trillion.
Total debt of the United States.
I always liked this graph.
Non-financial debt as percent of total (blue); financial debt as percent of total (red).  They do not add to 1 (100%).
Here is what is missing from the above chart.
Non-financial and non-non-financial (?) debt as percent of total.
Similar to the second graph, but just the year-over-year (YOY) change in the two percentages.
YOY change in non-financial (blue) and financial (red) debt each as percent of total.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Federal Government Deficit

Federal government receipts (FGRECPT) minus federal government spending (FGEXPND).
And the 10-year interest rate has shot up.
10-year US treasury yield.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Unemployment: The Covered Unemployed and the Federal Deficit

The covered unemployed as a percent of the unemployed continues to drop.
Covered (insured) unemployed persons (CCSA) divided by total unemployed (UNEMPLOY).
Perhaps as expected, government spending deficit (shown here as ratio of spending:taxes) is dropping along with the unemployment rate.
Federal spending divided by federal receipts (blue; left); unemployment rate (red; right).
These charts were posted using their URL links, which I found out will update as the FRED database is updated.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Egypt: Another Revolution?

From CNN:

Appearing to throw its weight behind an opposition that swarmed Cairo's Tahrir Square, the Egyptian military told the country's civilian government it has until Wednesday evening to "meet the demands of the people" or it will step in to restore order. In a statement carried nationwide on radio and television, the military called the 48-hour ultimatum "a final chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment in our country." 
But a military spokesman said late Monday that the culture of the armed forces -- which dominated the country for decades -- "doesn't allow it to adopt the policy of military coups." The statement was meant to push all factions toward quick solutions and a national consensus, and the armed forces aren't looking to be part of the political or ruling circles, the spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said in written statement.
OK.  That was quick.  Egypt's foreign exchange reserves (especially the dollar bill) have plumetted over the past couple of years.  It has been propped up by nations like Qatar and Libya with dollar loans and oil shipments for support.  This has lead to higher than expected inflation and lead Egypt to consider a $5 billion IMF loan.
Egypt's foreign exchange reserves.
So what does that mean - Egypt needs a secular government, established via military coup, to get the cash?