The key metric for U.S. manufacturing did not grow in March, data released this week revealed. This statistic followed two consecutive months of declines. Together, it led to the first quarterly production drop within the presidency of Donald Trump. This was especially disconcerting news as observing economists had forecast a minor rise in March's manufacturing numbers. For the first quarter of 2019, the factory production metric declined 1.1 percent on an annualized rate as the graphic below demonstrates: Reuters commented on the decline with their own explanation, stating: "Soft manufacturing and slowing economic growth reflect the ebbing stimulus from a… Read More

This past week the World Gold Council revealed that recent central bank purchases of gold bullion have reached a point not witnessed since year 2008 in middle of the Global Financial Crisis. This happened in January and February of 2019. Global central banks net bought an additional 90 tons of gold for the year's first two months, per the most recent report of the World Gold Council. Compare this amount of the yellow metal to only 56 tons in the two first months of 2018 and you start to understand why it is a big deal. This chart below shows… Read More

The World Gold Council recently revealed that global central banks bought up a net total of 651.5 tons of gold in just the past year. This represented the greatest level of yearly net central bank gold buying since the dollar was suspended from conversion into gold back in 1971. It also notched the record for second greatest yearly total ever recorded. It begs a few questions: who has been buying all of this gold and why suddenly? The answer is not just one central bank or even two. The most aggressive purchasers have been gold buying leader Russia and also… Read More

The news came out this last week that the crucial U.S. consumer confidence measure is still in trouble (once again). For February, the fourth month in five, this important confidence measure declined yet again. Even economists were surprised as they had anticipated a rise in the consumer optimism number. The Conference Board reported that U.S. consumer confidence declined to 124.1 from 131.4. This deplorable drop missed all estimates from every economist surveyed by Bloomberg. They had an average expectation for a rise up to 132.5. Worse still, the views of consumers on the current national economic situation declined to its… Read More

This past week, you saw a dreaded, historically accurate predictor of recessions appear on the charts. There was a longer term debt yields downturn that became severe enough to cause a portion of the Treasuries yield curve to invert. What many Wall Street investors are continuously watching for is such an inverted yield curve. They are revered as accurate indicators of recessions, in particular the ones correlated with the three month yield and the 10 year yield. At the close of Friday trading, the three month Treasury yield stood at 2.459 percent at the same time as the 10 year… Read More