A few more PMI’s showing weakness:
Manufacturing weakened for a third consecutive month. The flash April manufacturing PMI reading was 49.7, down from 50.3 in March. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. The output index also slipped below 50 to a reading of 49.7, down from 52 the month before. New orders decreased at a faster rate as did the quantity of purchases. New export orders increased, but at a slower pace as did input prices. Employment changed direction and increased. Output prices increased.
China : PMI Flash Mfg Index
April’s flash manufacturing index reading was a twelve month low of 49.2, down from the March final of 49.6. The output index remained above the 50 breakeven point with a reading of 50.4, down from 51.3 in March.
European Union : PMI Composite FLASH
This article shows the drops in ‘all cash’ purchases’ which must be replaced with mortgages for sales to be sustained. That means it takes an increase in the mortgage funding just to sustain current levels of sales.
It also shows the decline in short sales and foreclosure sales that tend to be the lowest priced sales, depressing the average and median prices reported. That means that even if the sales prices of the remaining homes sold stay the same the median and average prices reported will increase:
This is a Dec 17 video of the Fed Chairman expressing the Fed’s view that the fall in oil prices is expected to be a net positive for the economy. Note that there is no mention whatsoever of the ‘identity’ of income, meaning that for every ‘consumer’ saving $1 another ‘consumer’ has lost that $ of income. This conspicuously absent income loss is in addition to the capex reductions she discusses, and includes income lost by the foreign sector due to the lower price of oil which can translate into reduced US exports. So it still looks to me like the oil price cut was an unambiguous negative for the US economy, as now evidenced by most all of the subsequent economic releases, with the capex reductions both domestically and globally more than offsetting any gains due to the US being a net importer of oil.
“From the standpoint of the U.S. and U.S. outlook, the decline we’ve seen in oil prices is likely to be, on net, a positive,” said Yellen at a press conference on Wednesday. “It’s good for families, for households. It’s putting more money in their pockets,” she said. Thanks to the oil price decline, drivers in at least 13 states around the country can now find gas forcheaper than $2 a gallon. Cheaper energy also translates to lower expenses for many U.S. businesses, especially ones in the transportation industry like airlines.
No mention whatsoever of those seeing an equal reduction of income.
Yellen acknowledged that the plunge in oil prices may cause cutbacks in the drilling industry, which is likely to slow capital spending for wells that aren’t profitable in the current environment. However, the Fed chief noted that despite the shale boom, the U.S. is still a net importer of oil. That means cheaper prices are good for the overall economy.
Only if that net savings exceeds the cutbacks in capex and the reduction of US exports, which the subsequent data says it has not.