•  Today the Federal Reserve concluded its 2-day FOMC meeting and it announced – surprise, surprise – that interest rates are not going up
  • But of course the statement was much more important than their actions because these days, it doesn’t matter what the Fed does; all that matters is what they say they’re going to do, or more accurately, what they will pretend to do
  • It really doesn’t matter what they say, they’re not going to do anything
  • I explained that on my last podcast; I explained it again on CNBC Futures Now
  • People obviously still don’t get it and I continue to use the analogy of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” but if you have no stick, which is the situation with the Fed, then you have to speak loudly, and if you speak loudly enough, nobody will notice that you have no stick at all
  • That’s what the Fed did today when they did not raise rates, but released their somewhat hawkish statement, saying that the near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished
  • What does that mean?
  • We think the economy looks better, and therefore a rate hike might be appropriate
  • The Fed said that the job market had strengthened, which it did for one month – we had one strong month, but it is a low bar
  • But that is only superficial – when you look beneath the surface, it is worse
  • According to the Fed, the job market strengthened and the economy is expanding at a moderate rate
  • If we have an strengthening job market and the economy is expanding moderately, why are interest rates still practically zero?
  • The Fed mentioned that household spending is growing, but again the bar is set pretty low
  • The continued to say that they believe the economy is evolving in a way that will warrant gradual rate hikes
  • By gradual they mean, “No more rate hikes.”
  • They raised rates once in January and they haven’t raised them since
  • I think the tightening cycle ended when they raised rates, and began when they started to talk about tapering
  • We are now in an easing cycle
  • Despite some general better-than-expected economic data, we got some very weak news this morning
  • We got the number for June Durable Goods and they were looking for a decline of 1.3%
  • We got triple that decline: 4% decline and in fact they took the may number down from -2.2% to -2.8%
  • Year over year we’re down 6.4% – that’s a huge decline
  • The biggest decline in 2 years
  • If you look at the core capital goods, down again 3.7%
  • This is a massive streak – we’ve now seen the year-over-year core number down 18 months in a row
  • The longest losing streak in history when the U.S. economy was not in recession
  • I believe that this streak will continue and ultimately it will be longest losing streak ever – including recessions
  • Which would mean that year-over-year core durable goods would have been weaker during this “recovery” than in any prior recession on record
  • What does that tell you about the character about the so-called recovery, if is produces data that is even worse than during an official recession?