So, longer-term U.S. government bonds are now yielding lower than short-term bonds. Is this really a big economic warning?
At the end of March 2019, the employment rate for the United Kingdom was estimated at 76.1%, the joint- highest figure on record. The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%, again close to a record low.
Different measures tell another story:
- Real disposable personal income per capita
- Personal income payments
- Total employee compensation
- Personal consumption expenditures per capita
UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Q1 (January to March) 2019. In comparison with the same quarter a year ago (Q1 2018) UK GDP increased by 1.8%, the fastest growth since Q3 2017.
Amazon accounts for about 52% of all online retail sales in the U.S. and its performance acts as a barometer for total online sales growth for the United States.
The most recent sales report for Amazon was for Q1 (January to March) 2019. Net sales increased 17% to $59.7 billion in the first quarter, compared with $51.0 billion in first quarter of 2018. Gone are the days when Amazon was growing at 200%, 100% or even 40%. The base is inevitably large now but what really is happening at Amazon?
The U.S. unemployment rate hit 3.6% in April 2019, its lowest level since December 1969.
Revenue and profit growth are slowing for major technology companies. For the January to March period, the three major technology companies – Amazon, Alphabet and Apple all saw slowing revenue growth. And the growth slowdown was quite significant.
The Eurozone or Euro area (EA) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.7% in March 2019, down from 7.8% in February 2019 and from 8.5% in March 2018. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since September 2008.
The European Union (EU) unemployment rate was 6.4% in March 2019, down from 6.5% in February 2019 and from 7.0% in March 2018. This is the lowest rate recorded in the European Union since January 2000.
Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.4% in the Eurozone or Euro area (EA) and by 0.5% in the European Union during Q1 (first quarter) of 2019, compared with Q4 2018, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
A question that many people have is – how long can the equity markets keep soaring, how long can house prices keep increasing and how long can demand for negative yielding government bonds continue?
The answer to all of the above is probably (but not necessarily) indefinitely. In many ways we are living in very interesting times. This time it is different, why wouldn’t it be?