Economic Headwinds

This morning the Congressional Budget Office came out with information on the deficit for 2012. It is a staggering 1.08 trillion (you might want to up the Rick Santelli video below). This makes the fourth trillion plus deficit in a row. Not good and no signs of anyone slashing it.

Not surprising, then, is it that Consumer confidence was lower than expected, dropping to 61.1 vs. December’s 64.8.

Why, well ZeroHedge reports on another piece of data out this morning:

And so, the predicted gradual softening of the economy is starting to materialize in order to fit with the Chairman’s world view (and to set the stage for QE X with a healthy helping of LSAPs). The January Chicago PMI just printed at 60.2, missing expectations of an increase to 63, and down from December’s 62.2. And it gets worse: the employment index was the lowest since August at 54.7, while the order backlog number came at 48.2, the lowest since October 2009. This also means that the upcoming manufacturing ISM will also likely be a miss. What recovery again? Or is it China’s turn to bail out the world all over again.

New orders 63.6 in Jan. after 67.1 in Dec.
Production 63.8 after 64.9
Backlogs 48.3 after 57.3
Inventories 51.6 after 52.0
Employment 54.7 after 59.2

Add to that the housing problem. ZeroHedge discusses the report out this morning:

The November Case Shiller is out and while not surprising to most, some of those calling for a near-term housing bottom may be advised to reassess (for the 5th year in a row). According to the Top 20 City index composite, prices declined in 17 of 20 MSAs, with gains posted only in Phoenix, Denver and Minneapolis. At 137.52, the Seasonally Adjusted composite dropped to the lowest since February 2003, and is now a third lower than the housing peak in April 2006. Yet the worst news is that, even with a 2 month delay, the housing drop accelerated into the end of the year, and the sequential drop of 0.7% was the biggest decline since March 2011. Which means that except for that errant spike in home prices in April 2011, we have now seen 18 consecutive months of housing price declines since that “rebound” in late 2009. “Despite continued low interest rates and better real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, home prices continue to fall,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in a statement. “The trend is down and there are few, if any, signs in the numbers that a turning point is close at hand.” Yet just like in Europe, the improvement is coming. Aaaaany minute now.

The very important unemployment number comes out Friday. An interesting week indeed.

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