"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Canada Has An Economy Too, Folks

And why should we care? We should care because Canada is the single largest trading partner the United States has. Our total trade[1] with Canada, for October alone, was $45.48 billion[2]. So it strikes me as just slightly important to pay attention to how they're doing.

Canada's CPI for November, and their retail sales figures for October, are out now. In October, Canadian CPI was up 0.7% for the month (and 2.4% for the rolling year). Expectations going in to this morning were an additional 0.3% increase for November (with the rolling year declining to a 2.3% increase). Meanwhile, Canadian Retail Sales were up a revised 0.4% in September (up 3.3% for the rolling year) with expectations for a slightly better October (up 0.5%).

How did our neighbors to the north fare? The CPI was up only 0.2% (2.0% for the rolling year), with 7 of the 8 CPI components increasing in cost[3]. The good news, for certain cynical values of "good", is that the core CPI was absolutely unchanged[4]. Turning to Retail Sales, October saw a 0.8% increase (maintaining the 3.3% rolling year increase).

[1] Defined here as the sum of exports and imports. Why the US Census Bureau doesn't break those out separately, I don' t know.
[2] China, our second largest trading partner, was only $44.12 billion.
[3] The exception was clothing and footware, which were down 3.2%.
[4] The Bank of Canada excludes the following extremely volatile consumer goods from their calculation of the core CPI: fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; heating oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers' supplies.

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