Perspectives & Commentary

Avalon produces a variety of investment commentaries.

Our perspectives and quarterly commentary are issued throughout the year and cover a range of investment-related topics.

Monthly Note

November 2017


The U.S. economy showed further signs of strength in November. Employment and manufacturing indicators showed resilience to the hurricane headwinds with some evidence of a slight acceleration beginning to emerge. The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised third quarter GDP growth to an annualized 3.3%, and there are few signs of an imminent slowdown. The New York and Atlanta Federal Reserve Banks are currently estimating 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. Both of those are extraordinary growth rates for this long into an economic expansion, and this pace should be maintained into 2018.


Can this pace of growth be maintained for longer? Probably not. In economics, it is critical to distinguish between the longer-run, structural aspects of an economy and the shorter-run cyclical elements. This U.S. growth surge is cyclical, and even tax reform does not alter the structural.


The structural state of the U.S. and global economy is not particularly uplifting. It is difficult to argue that the long run growth of the U.S. economy is not slowing down. The boomers do not happen every generation, women joining the labor force are a one-off boom to the US growth rate as is life expectancy doubling in a century. Some economists argue this means the U.S. -- and the global economy -- are heading for slower growth, and this is probably correct. There are a few things that could delay or even ward it off, but they do not appear imminent. After all, one of the things that could accelerate the structural growth rate of the economy is innovation, and the internet already happened.




















Source: Bloomberg



Combine this with the structural U.S. government deficits, and you have a recipe for much weaker U.S. growth, but not necessarily in the near-term. This is where the cyclical interacts with the structural. In other words, just because long-term growth might be relatively slow, does not mean the near-term must be.


With tax reform passing, there is a good chance that the U.S. growth picks up. Even if this growth is only on the margin, the resultant inflation acceleration could spur the Fed to raise rates modestly quicker than anticipated. The cyclical aspects may have some interesting consequences.


The chart is from Robert Gordon's "Is U.S. economic growth over? Faltering innovation confronts the six.”


















“Is the U.S. economic growth over? Faltering innovation confronts the six.”




“The six” refers to the six headwinds he points out will slow global growth in coming years. Gordon’s work is a sober reading of global growth in the future. How slow does Gordon see U.S. growth going overtime? The chart assumes that growth gradually slows to 0.2% by 2100 from the 20th Century's 2% pace. This does not look so bad in chart form. Though, it would feel exceedingly slow.


In the near-term, the cyclical aspects should win out. For the U.S., this is a moment to savor. Growth at this pace is not in line with the structural capabilities of the U.S. economy. Thanks to tax reform, the US has a respite from its longer-term reality.














Sam Rines


Avalon Perspectives

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July 20, 2016

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June 21, 2016

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May 18, 2016

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Quarterly and Monthly Notes

Quarterly Note

Third Quarter, 2018

Quarterly Note

Second Quarter, 2018

Monthly Note

May 2018

Monthly Note

April 2018

Quarterly Note

First Quarter,  2018

Monthly Note

February 2018

Yearly Outlook


Monthly Note

November 2017

Quarterly Note

Third Quarter,  2017

Monthly Note

August 2017

Monthly Note

July 2017

Quarterly Note

Second Quarter,  2017

Monthly Note

May 2017

Monthly Note

April 2017

Quarterly Note

First Quarter, 2017

Monthly Note

February 2017

Monthly Note

January 2017

Quarterly Note

Fourth Quarter, 2016

Monthly Note

December 2016

Monthly Note

November 2016

Quarterly Note

Third Quarter, 2016

Monthly Note

August 2016

Monthly Note

July 2016

Quarterly Note

Second Quarter, 2016

Monthly Note

May 2016

News | Press

Avalon Advisors, LLC Announces new Co-Chief Investment Officer

October 2, 2018

Avalon Advisors, LLC Named to 2018 Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers

June 28, 2018

Avalon Advisors Announces San Antonio Expansion

December 21, 2016

Avalon Advisors Announcement

December 16, 2016

Sam Rines

April 11, 2016

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