Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Walk the Talk for Exxon

As usual Econbrowser has a great post, this time on the difficulties of raising oil supply.
He writes: "The dark blue line in the figure below shows the company's production each year since 1999. Four years ago, Stuart Staniford noted that ExxonMobil's 2001 annual report predicted 3% annual growth in production between 2001 and 2007. That projection appears as the red line in the graph below; didn't quite come out as planned. Stuart's theory was that the company correctly predicted the contribution of its new discoveries, but underestimated the declining production rates from mature fields.

ExxonMobil again predicted in 2006 that it could achieve 3% annual growth over 2006-2011. I've shown that forecast as the lighter blue line in the figure. We still have two more years to make that one right, I suppose."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Krugman, Taylor Rule and Okun's Law

Very interesting post by Paul Krugman on why the Fed should not raise rates anytime soon.
Solving the Taylor Rule for a Fed Fund Target of 0% and the current inflation rate gives the unemployment rate level at which the fed should start raising rates.

The table below shows the different unemployment rates at which the fed should tighten assuming different inflation rates.

Change in PCE 0.0% 0.5% 1.0% 1.6% 2.0% 2.5% 3.0% 3.5% 4.0% 4.5% 5.0%
Unemployment 5.8% 6.2% 6.6% 7.0% 7.3% 7.7% 8.1% 8.4% 8.8% 9.2% 9.6%

Mr Krugman then looks at Okun's law which says that GDP growth 2 points above potential of 2.5% reduces unemployement by 1% and concludes: "So say we have 5 percent growth for the next 2 years — which would be hailed as a stunning boom. Even so, unemployment should fall only 2.5 points, to 7.3. In other words, even with a really strong recovery (which almost nobody expects), the Fed should keep rates on hold for at least two years."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

S&P500 Fair Value

Eddy Elfenbein at CrossingWallstreet sums it up:

"For 2009, the S&P 500 will make around $55 to $60 a share. For 2010, earnings will probably be around $75 a share. For 2011, and now it’s starting to become hard to forecast, Wall Street sees earnings at $92 a share.

If that’s correct, then the stock market is still pretty inexpensive. At 15 times earnings, $92 a share translates to 1380 for the index by the end of 2011. If we discount that by 8% to today (I get 8% by adding a 3% premium to 5% which is about where AAA corporates are), we get 1160."

At Hussman Funds Bill Hester appears less optimistic arguing that analysts now expect margins to recover to peak level, an unlikely scenario in a lower growth environment.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lags between end of recession, unemployment rate peak and fed tightening

Macroblog offers the following table:

Historical lags between end of recession, unemployment rate peak, and beginning of funds rate tightening cycle

End of Recession Unempl.
rate peak
Beginning of funds rate tightening cycle Months from end of recession to unempl. peak Months from unempl. peak to beginning of funds rate tightening cycle
Nov 2001 Jun 2003 Jul 2004 19 13
Mar 1991 Jun 1992 Feb 1994 15 20
Nov 1982 Dec 1982 Jun 1983 1 6
(Jul 1980)

Mar 1975 May 1975 May 1976 2 12
Nov 1970 Aug 1971* Mar 1972 9 7
*Following the 1970 recession, the unemployment rate was 6.1 in December 1970 and again in August 1971. If the December 1970 peak is used, months from end of recession to unemployment peak is 1 and months from unemployment peak to beginning of funds rate tightening cycle is 15.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Bureau of Economic Research, and Federal Reserve Board

Rates could stay low for a while