China Losing its Edge on Exports

The meteoric rise in Chinese exports now appears to be losing steam with world export market share falling by 1%-point over the last two years and potentially mirroring Japan’s long-term retrenchment. While the sluggish pace of world trade growth since 2008 has...

What’s Good for Workers is Bad for Companies

Recent data from the labour market and the National Federation of Independent Business shows that wages will be picking up quickly this year. The NFIB compensation plans is now at the highest point in the last twenty years. Small businesses expect to raise wages, and...

Earnings to Fall Further

Profit margins are declining, and we expect them to fall much further.  As you can see from the chart below, Variant Perception’s leading indicator for wages does a very good job of leading US corporate profit margins by a little over a year and a half. The message is...

Profit Cycle Turning Down

The corporate profit cycle is now turning down, and our leading economic indicators point to further declines in return on equity (ROE) and profit margins.  This is not a short-term call on equity markets but a major structural factor investors should bear in mind in...

Credit in UK Booming Again; Wage Growth Has Lagged

There are continuing signs the UK’s economy is increasingly resembling itself prior to the financial crisis.  House-price growth has cooled of late, but is still growing at 4.6% YoY, down from almost 12% last summer.  Consumer credit is also growing at a healthy clip,...

US Inflation and Wages Continue to Turn Up

The key message from our leading indicators is that US inflation and wages continue to turn up.  This was one of our core themes for 2014 we discussed in December last year and is bearing out.  Core inflation and headline inflation are positive, while wages are...