US Cash Surplus June-2016

The US cash surplus for June 2016 came in at $19B compared to a $44B surplus in 2015 due to a decline in revenues and an increase in outlays.


I’m out of town and away from a decent sized monitor, so just a limited post for now. Basically, it was a pretty bad month. Revenue down, outlays up….and the year to date is starting to look ugly too…through 6 months, the deficit is $84B over last year, and revenue is still negative.

US Cash Deficit May 2016

The US cash deficit for May 2016 came in at $86B compared to $107B last May, but the YTD deficit is still up 31% at $249B vs $190B in 2015.


At first glance, it was an OK month…revenue up, outlays down….all good news.


Revenues were up 7%, but I would point out that there was an extra business day, and the timing with the holiday was favorable…pulling that out, we were more or less flat, which is pretty much the revenue story for the year. I would guess this timing hurts the June YOY putting 2016 at a ~$10-$15B disadvantage to last June, but stay tuned… For the year, we have made up some ground, and while still $4B short of last year, let’s just call it flat through 5 months. If we were shooting for 3% growth for the year, we’re going to average nearly 6% here on out…something that is looking quite unlikely in my judgment.


Outlays were down $8B, but about about $40B of payments due May 1 went out April 29 due to the weekend, offset by ~$6B of interest payment timing vs. last year. Pull out timing, and outlays were up ~$26B..some of that is the extra business day, the rest is just overall increases. For the year, we see that outlays at $1.669T are $55B over last year, good for a 3.4% increase.


At $249B through 5 months, 2016 is looking like it will be the year that breaks 6 years of consecutive improvement in the cash deficit. Coming into 2016, I had a very basic assumption…revenue would be up 3%, outlays would be up about 3%, and the deficit would be more or less unchanged. Outlays are running a little over that, but with revenue essentially at 0%, instead of hitting a plateau, the deficit is curving back up. The good news is that withheld taxes are still solid at +3%, but total revenues are being pulled down by unwithheld tax deposits, corporate taxes, and other one time events like 2015’s $35B spectrum auction deposits.


Revenue was a beat, so good news there, and as noted above taxes withheld from paychecks are running at a solid +3% YOY. Assuming there are no more one time issues, revenues should start climbing over 2015…maybe we are on track for 1-2% or so? Outlays continue to come in hot and could be trending closer to 4% than 3% by the end of the year. Put it all together, and 2016 isn’t a disaster, but it does look like the trend has turned against us. Looking forward to June, it is a quarter end, so we should see solid revenues and a healthy surplus say in the $40-$70B ballpark assuming no surprises.

Seeking Alpha Articles

Hey guys, just wanted to point you over to a handful of articles I have written lately and published on other sites. They aren’t specifically deficit related, but there’s a good chance you will find them interesting.

Looking Under The Hood Of The U.S. Oil Market at Seeking Alpha

Building An Income And Cash Model For Chesapeake Energy also at Seeking Alpha

Finally, I revived a series I used to do here over at Talk Markets:

March 2016 Social Security Enrollment Numbers


If you read through the articles, you will see that I have started a new website It’s kind of primitive now, and I am primarily using it as a place to post the excel files for the articles I am writing, but there is much more to come. Take a look around and let me know what you think…complaints are more than welcome 🙂


US Cash Surplus April 2016

The US Cash Surplus for April 2016 came in at $109B, far short of last April’s $174B surplus.



April, not surprisingly is the largest month for revenues as most of the refunds have gone out in February and March, and those who owe taxes for the prior year must pay them in April. Revenue this April was still healthy coming in at $454B, but was down $28B compared to April 2015. Most of the variance was in “Taxes Not Withheld” which was down $26B from $219B last year to $193B in 2016. Obviously, a revenue miss isn’t a good sign, and now being down for the year with 1/3 of it in the bank, it is looking increasingly unlikely we will see ~3% YOY gains in 2016 without some help from some one time items.  For me, the big question is…was April 2015, with a +13% YOY gain just a one off that was always going to be impossible to repeat, or is this miss just another in a growing string of dissapointments? The one revenue highlight I can point to is that taxes withheld from paychecks is up 3.3% for the year. It’s not going to break any records, but I like seeing a nice solid number in that relatively stable revenue source, even if we are seeing disappointing numbers elsewhere. If nothing else, we have more people working, making more salary compared to last year. I won’t comment on the quality of those jobs, but hey…3%+ growth with 1% population growth and supposedly flat inflation isn’t nothing..


Outlays came in at $345B vs $309 last year, but about $40B of that increase was timing as payments due Sunday May 1 were paid Friday April 29 due to the weekend. So mostly flat for the month if we take that out, but the year is nearly at +5%. That comes down a bit if we take out this timing event, but the truth is thanks to a similar event in December 2015 that pulled $ out of 2016 and into 2015, this is actually a decent YOY comparison point. The increases are where we have come to expect them…Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.


We got our healthy surplus in April as expected, even if it was a bit lower than expected. However, for the year, with revenues down about 1.5%, and outlays up nearly 5%, the deficit through 4 months now sits at $163B, $80B higher than 2015 and pretty much on track with 2014. There are 8 months left, and of course anything can happen, but it is starting to look like 2016 is the year that ends the 6 year streak of deficit improvement.

Looking forward, last year May posted a $100B deficit, and this year shouldn’t be too far off of that, though it will have the advantage of dumping $40B of its cost into April. There is one extra business day, so I’ll throw a dart and say $80B deficit for May with June hitting a $50B surplus. Stay tuned!!


US Cash Deficit March 2016

The US Cash Deficit for March came in at $98B easily topping last March’s $18B deficit and bringing the 2016 YTD deficit to $272B.

2016-03-31-2016 USDD


Revenue was down $35B from last year, which had a $35B inflow from the wireless spectrum auction. So all together flat, with some increases and decreases cancelling each other out. For the year, revenue is up a meager 1%, but the $35B spectum auction is a material piece of that disappointing increase, and looking at other revenue sources, through 3 months it looks like we may have a baseline growth of 2%-3%. April will keep it interesting…could be a big hit or miss…Seems like you never know until the end of the month though the flood of receipts should start picking up around mid month.


Outlays were up $46B, but most of that looks to be timing rolling off from last month. For the year, we are at +2.5% which looks ok, but I still feel like the baseline is a little higher… if we add back in some year end timing it’s closer to +5%. 4% feels about right, but we should have a better feel for it after a few more months.


The $98B deficit looks high, but it’s not as bad as it looks due to the timing and one time reciepts recieved last year. Still…it’s not good…through 3 months the deficit is trending higher year over year for the first time since 2011. There is still plenty of time left to keep the annual trend intact,


All together, through 3 months, all things considered, 2016 is looking pretty flat to 2015. The good news is that revenues are increasing….if at the slowest rate we’ve seen in a while, but at least they aren’t decreasing…or worse crashing. Outlays are also trending up, and even if it is only at ~4%, when your base is about 3.5 Trillion of annual spending….4% can become a pretty big problem after just a few years. If I had to guess, 2016 will be plateau year with the annual deficit staying pretty close to 2015 before heading back up in 2017…just in time for whoever our next President is to take office. Stay tuned for April…it should be a solid surplus in the $150B-$200B ballpark absent anything crazy  happening.