Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cherry picking the housing numbers.

Pending home sales up 3.4% in April, highest in 9 years.

"U.S. home buyers signed more contracts to buy existing properties in April. A monthly index of so-called "pending" home sales from the National Association of Realtors rose 3.4 percent from March to the highest level in nine years. Pending sales are now up 14 percent from a year ago."

When I read this headline this morning I thought - wow, the highest pendings in 9 years! This is truly a turn around. Maybe I'm wrong about the world and everything. Lets plug this number into a chart!

And well,  maybe I suck at reading charts - but the highest pendings in 9 years is a little um - misleading. Or completely inaccurate. Whichever you chose. As you can see, It maybe the highest since 2012. That is still only three years right? Not nine? Sometimes I'm not so good at math. Lets expand this chart to be as generous to the reporter as possible. Nine years would be 06, right? As you can see, that is some extreme cherry picking of the data. Even if we leave out the whole 2012 period, at best it's the highest pendings since 2010. Five years. And this is being extremely generous.

Chart source.

Are things doing better than last year. Absolutely. But we are basically just getting back to trend line. As you can see with these sensational headlines - the media is making things seem better than they are. This makes me believe the Fed will raise rates no matter what.

I also thought this article from an ECB "economist" seems to indicate the real reason the Fed is going to raise rates is to trick people into making purchases before they would otherwise want to. I guess the "nudge" is back. "If you assholes won't invest, we will force you to do what we want. " That is my add.

"The Federal Reserve's anticipated interest rate hike will spur economic growth by forcing executives and consumers off the fence, UBS economist Drew Matus said Thursday.

"If you raise interest rates, it actually puts a value on ... time, and so people can't wait as long as they would normally wait. They have to make decisions with imperfect information," Matus said on CNBC's".  Source.

There is so much faulty logic in his reasoning in his comments - I could write a whole article just about this article! But I'm not. He seems to indicate the pendings prove the economy is doing so well that inflation and wage growth are right around the corner. Despite no evidence at all. He goes on to say:

"Meanwhile, global reflation is picking up at at robust clip as Europe, Japan and China continue stimulus measures, he added. That's a pretty powerful tailwind and it should boost growth globally in the coming couple of quarters at least," he said.".

Whatever.  He must not be reading the same articles I am. "Robust clip" is overly generous I would say. I think China has done three rate cuts and stimulus this year!  The Economist wrote an article 15 days ago saying  the following:

"TODAY'S economic data releases from China were a mixed bag. First, the bad news. It has been nearly half a year since China started easing its monetary policy, and there is still little sign of a rebound in growth. For anyone thinking that the economy would surge back to full throttle, the sluggish response to the stimulus is disappointing. There was, though, also a glimmer of good news. The downturn appears to be abating. Even the beleaguered property market appears to be finding its feet. This should assuage fears that the slowdown might spiral out of control and turn into a rout." Here.

I would say "sluggish response to stimulus" is the most accurate description of what is happening. Surprisingly sluggish considering the accommodating efforts. And a healthy economy doesn't need stimulus. Right? I forget now. It's been so long since that was a reality. Said in the most sarcastic way.

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