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

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

International Indicators

You miss one day, you miss... well, not too much, actually.  There just wasn't a whole lot out yesterday.
Today?  Well, today's a different story.  Let's start out in the Pacific Basin, where Australia has released their CPI figures for Q4 2010.  Technically this was actually released at 7:30 PM EST yesterday, but - since it came out after market close yesterday - we'll pretend it counts for today.  Q3 saw a 0.7%increase in CPI for the quarter, and the analysts are expecting an additional 0.7% increase.  The actual results are better than expected, coming in with only a 0.4% increase for Q4 and a 2.7% increase for 2010.  Overall, not too shabby.  But, fruit prices were up 15.5% and vegetable prices were up 11.4%, driven by the Queensland floods.  As a result, the Reserve Bank of Australia is predicting that prices will be up substantially in Q1 2011 (and possibly Q2 as well).
The Bank of Japan has announced - to nobody's surprise - that they will be leaving their key interest rate unchanged at 0 - 0.1%.  the vote was unanimous.
Great Britain has released preliminary figures for Q4 GDP, and they are not figures that will make British economists happy.  Q3 closed out with .7% GDP growth and, based on a number of factors, the economists were expecting things to slow to a Q4 growth of 0.4% (with 2.5% GDP for the year).  The real figures?  Well, they came in at -0.5% for Q4, with 2010 GDP closing out at 1.7%.  Ouch.
last on the agenda is Canadian CPI, where analysts are expecting 0.1% CPI for December (-0.2% core CPI) and 2.4% CPI for the year (1.6% core).  The actual figures?  Marginally better than expected, actually.  December CPI came in at 0.0% (-0.3% for the core), with 2010 CPI wrapping up at 2.4% (1.5% core).  On the down side, gasoline prices were up 13% for the year, and overall energy costs were up 10.5% for the year.
And what does the future hold?  9 AM sees the release of the S&P Case-Schiller Home Price Index, and 10 AM sees the release of US Consumer Confidence.  Also, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting starts today, so brace yourself for a rousing round of "interest rates will remain unchanged because, while we think things are starting to improve, we're still concerned about tightening the money supply at this time" tomorrow at 2:15 PM.

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