Friday, September 25, 2009

Karl Denninger, "But I Thought the Economy Was Improving?"

"But I Thought the Economy Was Improving?"
by Karl Denninger

"Why is it that we're told that economic conditions are "stabilizing" and that business outlook is "improving" when even large institutions still can't pay their bills? Classified assets rated 'substandard', 'doubtful', and 'loss,' rose to $447 billion from $163 billion in 2008. The volume of SNCs rated 'doubtful' and 'loss' in 2009 rose almost 14-fold to $110 billion, while non-accrual loans touched $172 billion, up from $22 billion in 2008. 14-fold increase? 1,400% eh? Hmmmm....

But the real news in here is the comparison with the "headline" number: U.S. regulators say that the level of losses from syndicated loans facing banks and other financial institutions tripled to $53 billion in 2009, due to poor underwriting standards and the continuing weakness in economic conditions. So let's see..... we have $53 billion declared as "a loss" while more than double that much is rated "doubtful" (at best) and nearly 10 times as much is included if you count "substandard" risks as well.

Here's the obvious question - if the economy is improving and has reached a bottom, if economic activity is turning around, then why is it that we continue to see this sort of deterioration in loan performance across all sectors - consumer, mortgage, and now large commercial?

The answer is simple: The media and government are lying. Period.

Durable goods added an underline to this today, showing a decrease of 2.4%. Ex-autos durables were flat (gee, cash for clunkers hangover anyone?) Excluding defense, orders were down 2.4%.

Improvement? Where? Shipments and new orders were also down. But the worst news in the report was found in the non-defense new order series which decreased 7.1% in August, which is an absolute collapse. Remember, we've heard for the entirety of the last two months that the economy is turning around, brighter skies are visible and there is a "clear bottom" in the economy.

Well, that's a lie. How do you get a near-depression-level collapse in new orders if in fact the economy is turning around and an inventory rebuilding cycle is beginning? You don't. You can't build inventory without orders and there are no orders. Again, the CNBS pump-monkey parade led by Steve LIEsman has been at it again, and yet nowhere are you going to hear an apology for getting it wrong and sucking you in.

Looking inside the report machinery has a slight uptick in new orders, computers and electronics is down both on shipments and orders, computers in particular are collapsing including new orders which implies a REALLY AWFUL Christmas season while communications equipment looks marginally better than awful. Semiconductor shipments were down nearly 10% - one of the famous "pumping" sectors that Cramer and others have been touting for months. Non-defense aircraft have basically disappeared (down 42 on orders?!) while non-defense capital goods in general are down 2.4% on shipments and a stunning 7.1% on new orders. There isn't a bit of good news in here folks. Told 'ya so!"
- Karl Denninger, http://market-ticker.denninger.net/

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