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

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Metrics? Yeah, We've Got Them

From all over the world, we have them. The majority are from the United States today, but we have an international coalition of economic activity to review.
Right off the bat, New Zealand has had some bad economic performance. Their Q2 GDP was revised downward to 0.1% growth. Analysts were looking for 0.2% growth for Q3, and were rather surprised to instead see a 0.2% decline. This puts their GDP up 1.4% for the rolling year, missing the expectation of 1.9% by 50 bps. The decline is largely blamed on the manufacturing sector (particularly petroleum, chemicals, plastics, rubber, and machinery and equipment manufacturing), although construction and real estate took a dive as well.
French Consumer Manufactured Good Consumption and PPI are out as well. October was a bad month for French manufacturers. Their PPI was up 0.8% (making production more expensive), and simultaneously consumption of manufactured goods was down a revised 0.6% (down 0.3% year over year). Greater costs plus less actual sales equals a manufacturing sector rocking back and forth in the corner muttering "Redrum, redrum, redrum"[1] over and over again. Did things get better in November, or do all work and no play make Jacque a dull boy?
Well, French manufactured good consumption was up 2.8% in November, beating expectations by 180 bps and bringing the rolling year figures up to 1.5% growth - most of it driven by a 15% increase in automobile sales. The PPI, meanwhile, was up 0.4% (exactly in line with expectations). After that, you'd think the CAC 40 would be doing better than it is today.
Leapfrogging across the Atlantic we arrive in Canada, where GDP (which was down 0.1% in September) is anticipated to be up 0.3% for October. Hope springs eternal, but has been dashed by a dose of cold reality - there was growth, but only 0.2%. This has also pulled their rolling year GDP down to only 3.3%. Weep for the Loonie, my friends. Weep for the Loonie.
And now, the United States! Right now we've got Durable Goods Orders, Personal Income and Outlays, and Jobless Claims. Later, we add Consumer Sentiment and New Home Sales to the mix.
Durable Goods Orders were down 3.3% in October, with analysts predicting a less pessimistic (but still not confident) increase to only down 1.0% for November. The actual Census Bureau report shows that we missed expectations, coming in at a 1.3% decline in durable goods orders. This was largely driven by a 11.9% decline in transportation equipment orders, mostly from nondefense aircraft and parts.
October Personal Income was up 0.5%, with consumer spending up 0.4% and the core PCE price index unchanged. For November, analysts are looking for 0.2% growth in personal income, 0.5% growth in consumer spending, and 0.1% growth in the price index. The Bureau of Economic analysis has not yet seen fit to make the official press release available, so we turn to Econoday to find Personal Income up 0.3% (beating expectations), consumer spending up .4% (missing expectations) and the core PCE price index up 0.1% (right in line with expectations).
First time jobless claims were revised upwards to 423k (up from the original report of only 420k) for the week ending 12/11, and analysts are expecting that same number to happen again for the week ending 12/18. Turning to the US Department of Labor, we see that the advance figure for the week ending 12/18 is 420k new claims - exactly in line with expectations. No single state really stood out with significant increases in first time jobless claims, while New York and North Carolina led the pack in reductions in new claims.
Consumer Sentiment, due at 9:55 AM EST, is expected to climb 80 bps to 75.0%. New Home Sales, due at 10 AM EST, are expected to climb 17k to 300k new units.
[1] Maybe that should be "Ertruem, ertruem, ertruem"?

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