While Europe’s financial crisis continues India grew GDP by 8.6% in the first 3 months of 2010. China continues to grow quickly as do many emerging countries, including Brazil. India’s Q4 GDP grows at 8.6% y-o-y
India’s economy had grown 6.7 percent in 2008/09, and the Jan-March 2009/10 growth rate matches the revised data for the second quarter of 2009/10.
Manufacturing output grew 16.3 percent on year in the quarter as consumers bought more cars and other goods, while farm output grew an annual 0.7 percent helped by a good winter harvest. The government expects the economy to grow 8.5 percent in the current fiscal year that started on April 1 on the prospects of a better farm output and a global recovery
The farm sector, which forms nearly 17 percent of the economy but is dependent on monsoon rains, is expected to do well in 2011 as the weather office has predicted a normal monsoon for the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week said an annual economic growth rate of 10 percent is needed in the medium term to address the problems of poverty and malnutrition.
Even as Singh aims for high economic growth, inflation has come to haunt his government and appears to be undermining its support base. Wholesale prices, the most closely watched inflation gauge in India, rose 9.59 percent in April from a year earlier amid the government officials claim that headline inflation had peaked.
Headline inflation numbers have been consistently higher than the official forecasts. The wholesale price inflation vaulted above the RBI’s end-March 2010 inflation forecast of 8.5 percent in January and crossed the 10-percent mark in February.
Although food price inflation has eased from its peak of 20 percent in December, it is still above 16 percent. Rising cost pressures are also dragging down the pace of manufacturing growth, as evidenced by a second-straight monthly decline in the HSBC Market Purchasing Managers’ Index in April. The rapid acceleration in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy after China is boosting consumer demand far ahead of what can be met by existing supply capacity.
The economies of India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam… are still a fairly small fraction of global GDP but their share continues to grown. And the next few years look to continue this trend. Keys to how quickly they grow their share of global GDP are avoiding bubbles (which then burst), avoiding excessive government debt, continuing to build strong infrastructure for continued development and to what extent growth slows in Europe, USA and Japan due to the credit crisis and excessive consumer and government debt.
The emerging economies have done a good job avoiding the credit crisis failures visited by the large banks on the wealthiest economies but the dangers of slipping up are large and costly. The largest economies have lots of wealth even after allowing bankers and wall street to siphon off huge amounts for themselves. Less wealth economies will suffer much more than the wealthiest countries if they fall prey to the same political and economic failings. And those special interest (crony capitalism) favors are no less (I would say even more, in fact) likely in those countries than they are in the richest countries.
The fallout of the credit crisis continues. The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 10.1% percent of all loans outstanding as of the end of the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 59 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2009, and up 94 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate decreased 106 basis points from 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 9.40% this quarter.
The percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions were started during the first quarter was 1.23%, up 3 basis points from last quarter but down 14 basis points from one year ago.
The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter was 4.63%, an increase of five basis points from the fourth quarter of 2009 and 78 basis points from one year ago. This represents another record high. The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure or at least one payment past due was 14.0% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, a decline from 15.0%.
The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 9.54%, a decrease of 13 basis points from last quarter, but an increase of 230 basis points from the first quarter of last year.
“The issue this quarter is that the seasonally adjusted delinquency rates went up while the unadjusted rates went down. Delinquency rates traditionally peak in the fourth quarter and fall in the first quarter and we saw that first quarter drop in the data. The question is whether the drop represents anything more than a normal seasonal decline or a more fundamental improvement. Most importantly, the normal seasonal drop is coming right at the point where we believe delinquencies could potentially be declining and the problem for the statistical models is determining which is which,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist.
“The seasonal models say it is not a fundamental improvement and that the seasonal drop should have been larger to represent a true improvement, hence the increase in the seasonally adjusted numbers. Yet there is reason to believe the seasonally adjusted numbers could be too high. Simply put, fundamental market factors may be having a greater influence on the delinquency rates than is normally the case, but mathematical models have difficulty discerning the difference over a short period of time.
“Since discerning what represents a fundamental improvement versus a simply seasonal improvement is probably more of an art than a mathematical science at this point, the seasonally adjusted numbers should be viewed with a degree of caution.
The seasonally adjusted delinquency rate increased for all loan types with the exception of FHA loans. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the delinquency rate stood at 6.2% for prime fixed loans, 13.5% for prime ARM loans, 25.7% for subprime fixed loans, 29.1% percent for subprime ARM loans, 13.2% for FHA loans, and 8.0% for VA loans. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the delinquency rate fell for all loan types.
The foreclosure starts rate increased for all loan types with the exception of subprime loans. The foreclosure starts rate increased six basis points for prime fixed loans to 0.7%, 17 basis points for prime ARM loans to 2.3%, 18 basis points for FHA loans to 1.5%, and 8 basis points for VA loans to 0.9%. For subprime fixed loans, the rate decreased nine basis points to 2.6% and for subprime ARM loans the rate decreased 39 basis points to 4.3%.
Predicting is much harder than explaining past data. But I believe the odds for better reports on foreclosures and delinquencies over the next 12 months. Delinquencies may well rise. But it is certainly possibly things will get worse. And if the jobs added each month doesn’t average close to 200,000 things will likely not be very good. My guess is we will add over 2.0 million jobs in the USA in the next 12 months but that is far from certain.
Charlie Munger’s Thoughts on Just About Everything by Morgan Housel
Benjamin Graham used to say, “It’s not the bad investment ideas that fail; it’s the good ideas that get pushed into excess.” And that’s a lot of what happened here.
Some economic distortions come from the masses believing that other people are right. Others come from the need to make a living through behavior that may be less than socially desirable. I’ve always been skeptical of conventional wisdom. You have to be able to keep your head on when everyone else is losing theirs.
Take soccer as an example. It’s a tremendously competitive sport, and often times one team tries to work mayhem on the other team’s best player. The referee’s job is to limit this mayhem and rein in extreme forms of competition.
Regulation is similar. Most ambitious young men will be more aggressive than they should. That’s what happened with investment banking. I mean, look at Lehman Brothers. Everyone did what they damn well wanted until the whole place was pathological about its extremeness.
A lot of this [financial collapse] can be blamed on accountants. Accountants as a whole have been trained with too much math and not enough horse sense. If some of these insane accounting practices were never allowed, huge messes could have been avoided. Bankers have become quite good at manipulating accountants
Learning has never been work for me. It’s play. I was born innately curious. If that doesn’t work for you, figure out your own damn system.
More good thoughts from Warren Buffett’s partner at Berkshire Hathaway.
To me, the prospects of a Euro currency surviving over the long term were not helped this week. The markets have behaved as though some great solutions have been adopted but it seems to me the fundamental problems if anything are worse now. It is true the short term is more stable. But at what cost?
“I was stunned,” Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore. “This means that they’ve given up on the euro, they don’t particularly care if they have a sound currency, you have all these countries spending money they don’t have and it’s now going to continue.”
“It’s a political currency and nobody is minding the economics behind the necessities to have a strong currency,” Rogers said. “I’m afraid it’s going to dissolve. They’re throwing more money at the problem and it’s going to make things worse down the road.”
This makes sense to me. The problems with the Euro also explain why the dollar hasn’t fallen more over the last few years. The only significant alternative is the Yen. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are looking to increase the profile of their currencies supposedly – or even forming their version of the Euro (I can’t see how that could happen).
[Rogers suggests] Investors should instead buy precious metals including gold or currencies of countries that have large natural resources, Rogers said. Among other asset classes, he favors agricultural commodities as the best bet for the next decade as well as silver because prices haven’t rallied.
It is very difficult for the politicians in the USA, United Kingdom and other countries to behave fiscally responsible when their taxpayers will eventually have to pay the bill. When you can hope to have others bail you out it seems that much less likely people will behave responsibly. Then again I was skeptical the Euro would be created without first having more consolidation of European governments. There are lots of good things about having the Euro, but in the long run there are very challenging issues to deal with.
The credit crisis has shown the lack of political (or regulatory) skill, ethics and character that the USA has now. The solutions are not simple. Some are obvious, like limiting leverage, not providing huge favors to those that pay politicians huge amounts of cash… While Canadian banking regulators actually did their jobs well it is hard to believe most any American regulators will do well given the last 20 years of failures. Raghuram Rajan provides some interesting thoughts on potential improvement in: Making Debt Holders into Watchdogs
Some banks – such as Citibank, Lehman Brothers, and Royal Bank of Scotland – loaded up on both risks, holding enormous quantities of mortgage-backed securities on the asset side and paying for them with short maturity debt on the liability side. Why did they do it? The simple answer: It was very profitable, provided the tail events did not materialize. Think of insurers that write a lot of earthquake policies (another tail risk). If you didn’t know they were writing earthquake insurance and not setting aside reserves, you would think they were enormously profitable until there’s a quake. For banks, there was always the threat of a day of reckoning when liquidity dried up and defaults skyrocketed. But they set aside few reserves against that happening.
Particularly worrisome, as my colleague Douglas Diamond and I have argued, is that once banks are leveraged enough that they will be severely distressed if economywide liquidity dries up, they double down on risky bets.
Here’s the drill: To make it harder for tail-risk-taking banks to grow, all banks should be required to issue a minimum level of debt (say, 10% of assets) that is automatically impaired – either converted to equity or written down – if the bank suffers sufficient losses. This will quickly change debt holders’ views on risky expansion. Moreover, no financial institution should be allowed to hold this debt.
Many people are ignoring huge costs (to the economy) and benefits (to those financial companies that ruined so many people’s lives and severely damaged the economy. Paying back money the government paid you is not that same as being innocent. While several of the too big to fail banks have paid back the direct cash they were given that is not an indication they are now off the hook for their disastrous behavior.
First we know that much of the money “sent to AIG” just went directly to Goldman Sachs and others. Those big banks had taken risks and the only way those risks paid off was with billions from taxpayers. Without that they would have been bankrupt. And then when they paid the money they received directly they still haven’t paid back the billions they got from taxpayers (via AIG). And this money was paid back at 100 cents on the dollar though those instruments were trading for much less in the market (the government certainly would have found a less costly solution but for ignorance or a desire to reward their former company and friends at Goldman Sachs.
Second, rates have been kept artificially low, to among other things, allow the big banks to make tens of billions (and costing savers tens of billions). Those savers have not been reimbursed for the losses caused by the big banks.
And third if I gamble with money from my company and win my bet on the Super Bowl and then put the money back, I am still not innocent. Just because many of the big banks have paid back the money they were given directly by taxpayers does not mean they didn’t get huge benefits from the government. Pretending they are not bad guys because after ruining the economy, costing millions of people their jobs and savings, getting many benefits from the government, they then pay back the direct cash payments is not accurate.
Response to: The New Bank Tax
Related: Elizabeth Warren Webcast On Failure to Fix the System – The Best Way to Rob a Bank is as An Executive at One – Failure to Regulate Financial Markets Leads to Predictable Consequences – Jim Rogers on the Financial Market Mess – Congress Eases Bank Laws (1999)
Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explores the current financial system and the damage done to the economy due to that system. As he states in the video the credit crisis is not something that happened to the financial institutions. The credit crisis caused recession is something the financial sector did to us.
He covers the topics he discusses in the video in his new book: Freefall
Related: There is No Invisible Hand – Failure to Regulate Financial Markets Leads to Predictable Consequences – Market Inefficiencies and Efficient Market Theory – Congress Eases Bank Laws (1999) – Volcker on the Great Recession and Need for Reform
Yields are staying amazingly low today. Due to the credit crisis the federal reserve is shifting hundreds of billions of dollars from savers to bankers to allow banks to make up for losses they experienced (both in losses on bad loans and huge cash payments made to hundreds of executives over more than a decade). For that reason (and others) yields are extremely low now which is a great burden on those that saved and counted on reasonable investment yield.
Don’t be fooled by apologist for those causing the credit crisis that try and excuse their behavior and act as those paying back the bailout payments means they paid back the favors they were given. They have received much more from the policies of the federal reserve that has taken hundreds of billions of dollars from savers and given it to bankers. It has the same effect as a direct tax on savers being paid to bankers.
What is an investor/saver to do? James Jubak provides some excellent advice.
You could lock your money up for decades and get 4.56% in a 30-year Treasury bond but 30 years is forever. And besides interest rates have to go up from today’s lows and that means bond prices will be coming down, probably fast enough to eat up all the interest that bond pays and more.
Not if you remember that interest rates are going up in most of the world (except maybe Europe and Japan) quite dramatically over the next 12 months. A year from now, perhaps sooner, you’ll be able to get yields swell north of anything you can find now.
That pretty much means that you’re guaranteed to lose money two ways by locking it up for the long term now.
For the short term you need to put your cash into something that’s as safe as possible but that offers you as much income as possible—and that doesn’t lock up your money for very long.
My choice dividend paying stocks—if they pay a high dividend, are extremely liquid, and are battle tested.
Whether you agree with his suggestions in the article is up to you. But even if you don’t he provides a very good overview of the options and risks that you have to navigate now as an investor seeking investments that provide a decent yield. I agree with him that interest rates seem likely to rise, making bonds an investment I largely avoid now myself.
Related: posts on financial literacy – Jubak Picks 10 Stocks for Income Investors – S&P 500 Dividend Yield Tops Bond Yield: First Time Since 1958 – Bond Yields Show Dramatic Increase in Investor Confidence
The slow recovery from the massive credit crisis caused recession remains underway. Nonfarm payroll employment declined 36,000 in February, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment fell in construction and information, while temporary help services added jobs. Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected, negatively, payroll employment and hours.
In February, the number of unemployed persons, at 14.9 million, was essentially unchanged. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0%), adult women (8.0%), whites (8.8%), African-Americans (15.8%), Hispanics (12.4%), Asians was 8.4%, and teenagers (25.0%) showed little to no change in February.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 6.1 million in February and has remained stable since December. About 4 in 10 unemployed persons have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
In February, the civilian labor force participation rate (64.8%) and the employment-population ratio (58.5%) were little changed.
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased from 8.3 to 8.8 million in February, partially offsetting a large decrease in the prior month. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Since the start of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million.
Related: Unemployment Rate Reached 10.2% – Another 450,000 Jobs Lost in June 2009 – Can unemployment claims predict the end of the American recession?
In his most recent letter to shareholders Warren Buffett suggests that bank CEOs and board members be held accountable when the risks they take (and reward themselves obscenely for when they payoff) backfire:
the financial consequences for him and his board should be severe.
It has not been shareholders who have botched the operations of some of our country’s largest financial institutions. Yet they have borne the burden, with 90% or more of the value of their holdings wiped out in most cases of failure. Collectively, they have lost more than $500 billion in just the four largest financial fiascos of the
last two years. To say these owners have been “bailed-out” is to make a mockery of the term.
The CEOs and directors of the failed companies, however, have largely gone unscathed. Their fortunes may have been diminished by the disasters they oversaw, but they still live in grand style. It is the behavior of these CEOs and directors that needs to be changed: If their institutions and the country are harmed by their
recklessness, they should pay a heavy price – one not reimbursable by the companies they’ve damaged nor by insurance. CEOs and, in many cases, directors have long benefitted from oversized financial carrots; some meaningful sticks now need to be part of their employment picture as well.
The lack of accountability or ethics from those risking the economy so they can take huge payments (and paying off politicians to allow those risks) has hugely damaged the USA and the economic future of the country. The longer we allow such unethical leadership to continue to the more we will suffer. The current low interest paid to savers and the wealth thus transferred to the banks (who then pay themselves even more bonuses) are but one legacy of this economically devastating path.
By the way, there is no way the bankers will actually be held accountable. The behavior of politicians we continually elect shows they will not do something that those giving them the huge amounts of cash don’t like. If we don’t like that we have to elect different people – maybe people that care about the country and have moral principles instead of those lacking such qualities, that we do elect.
The politicians believe in holding those that don’t give them huge payments accountable for their actions. They just draw the line at holding people that they play golf with accountable.
Related: CEOs Plundering Corporate Coffers – Credit Crisis the Result of Planned Looting of the World Economy – The Best Way to Rob a Bank is as An Executive at One – Fed Continues Wall Street Welfare – Political Favors for Rich Donors – Why Pay Taxes or be Honest