• 54 mins World’s Largest Hedge Fund Turns Bullish On Gold
  • 3 hours It’s Time To Spend More On Clean Energy R&D
  • 19 hours Contrarian Investors Are Beating The Stock Market
  • 22 hours Bulgaria’s Revenue Agency Falls Victim To Biggest Cyber Heist In History
  • 1 day Amazon Faces European Union Anti-Trust Probe
  • 1 day Commodities Are Having A Stellar Year
  • 2 days Bezos’ Next Big Project Could Be Worth $100 Billion Per Year
  • 2 days 3,600 Years Later, Climate Change Turns Mammoths Into $40M Market
  • 2 days Tesla, Apple Claim China Is Stealing Intellectual Property
  • 2 days EV Giants Duke It Out For Battery Dominance
  • 3 days Tech Billionaire Takes Aim At Google
  • 3 days Chinese Police Bust Largest Ever Illicit Crypto Mining Operation
  • 3 days Expect A Pullback Before Gold's Next Major Rally
  • 3 days Why Interest On Gold Matters
  • 4 days Ten Extravagant Food Items For The Wealthy Only
  • 4 days Why Saudi Arabia Won't Give Up On The Aramco IPO
  • 5 days $32 Million Crypto Heist Halts Tokyo Exchange
  • 5 days Is A Gold Selloff Looming?
  • 6 days Central Banks Are Stashing Gold And Dumping Treasuries
  • 6 days Three Cannabis Trends Flying Under Investors’ Radars
The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

Modern monetary theory has been…

Market Sentiment At Its Lowest In 10 Months

Market Sentiment At Its Lowest In 10 Months

Stocks sold off last week…

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

How to Uncover Hidden Economic Weakness!

Having just written How to Uncover the Hidden Consumer Strength!, I think it's only fair to see if there is a way to uncover hidden weakness.

Business inventories provide a method. The consensus estimate for month-over-month changes in inventories was +0.1% but the actual change was 0.0%.

To see if we can spot the weakness, let's once again start with analysis from a Bloomberg Econoday report, this time on inventories.

Businesses appear to be putting the brakes on inventories which however are still rising a bit relative to sales. Business inventories were unchanged in October with September revised down 2 tenths to plus 0.3 percent in readings that will pull down the GDP outlook slightly. Sales came in unchanged which is just enough to drive up the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.38 from 1.37. This time last year, this reading was at 1.31.

All three components show only the most minimal change in inventories, up 0.1 percent for retailers and down 0.1 percent for both manufacturers and for wholesalers. And sales tell the story, unchanged in October for both retailers and wholesalers and down 5 tenths for manufacturers.

The lack of punch in the economy, the result of weak foreign demand, continues to put upward pressure on inventories. But businesses are successfully keeping their stocks as low as possible, thereby limiting future corrections in production and employment.


Success in Pictures

Business Inventories to Sales Ratio

I don't know about you, but I am absolutely delighted to learn "businesses are successfully keeping their stocks as low as possible, thereby limiting future corrections in production and employment."


Problem Vanishes

I thought I spotted a problem on December 9 as detailed in Wholesale Trade: Another Bad Report: What About Autos?

Inventories to Sales

Inventories to Sales Ratios of Merchant Wholesalers

The inventory-to-sales ratio is clearly in the danger zone. Over-optimism across the board is generally what causes these spikes.

Year-on-year, inventories are up 3.6 percent but sales are down 3.7 percent. Inventories contributed heavily to rather anemic GDP growth this year.

Inventory and Sales - Percent Change From Year Ago
Group Sales Inventories Sales-to-Inventory
Ratio Current
Sales-to-Inventory
Ratio Year Ago
US. Total -3.7 3.6 1.31 1.22
Durable -2.2 2.5 1.66 1.58
Automotive 2.3 13.1 1.77 1.6
Furniture 6.4 9.9 1.63 1.58

Take a good look at autos. Sales are up 2.3 percent but inventories are up 13.1%. Across the board, inventories-to-sales seem way out of line.

Today, I learn there is no problem because inventories are as lean as they can possibly be.

So, I have to apologize. There are no weaknesses, hidden or otherwise. There are only "hidden strengths."

Please click on the link at the top to discover how Bloomberg can guide you to the proper way to unhide those hidden strengths.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment