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

The Required Disclosures

The information presented in this blog and its individual articles is provided for informational use only and should not be considered investment advice or an offer for a particular security. The contents reflect the views and opinions of the individual writer as of the date the article was written and do not necessarily represent the views of the individual writer on the current date. They also do not in any way, shape, or form represent the views of the Firm Never-To-Be-Named. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and The Great Redoubt and its individual writers disclaim any responsibility to update such views. These views should not be relied on as investment advice, and because investment decisions for any security are based on numerous factors, may not be relied on as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any contributor to The Great Redoubt. Neither The Great Redoubt nor any individual author can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered. Please consult your tax or financial advisor for additional information concerning your specific situation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Morning Metrics

We've got two important economic measures coming out today: the international trade balance (due at 8:30 AM) and consumer sentiment (due at 9:55 AM).
International trade is the bigger of the two measures, since it represents our trade surplus (unlikely) or deficit (probable). November had an unexpected improvement to a trade deficit of only $38.3 billion, but analysts are not particularly optimistic about December's possibilities. We're looking for a consensus estimate of a trade deficit that has expanded to $40.5 billion.
How did we do? Well, the US Census Bureau reports that the December trade deficit expanded to $40.6 billion, which technically misses expectations. But not by a lot, so the markets probably will not get bent out of shape about that. Drilling down, we learn that:
  • The goods trade deficit was $53.5 billion, an increase of $2.2 billion from November.
  • The services trade surplus was $13 billion, effectively unchanged from November.
The total goods and services trade deficit for 2010 came in at $497.8 billion, an increase of $122.9 billion from 2009. This included a $44.8 billion deficit in industrial supplies and materials, a $37.5 billion deficit in automotive vehicles, parts and engines, a $39.3 billion deficit in consumer goods, and a $3.7 billion surplus in foods and beverages. Yes, that's right. The only thing we're exporting more of than we're importing is food.
Our trade deficit with Canada increased $6.1 billion to $21.8 billion, our trade deficit with China increased $46.2 billion to $273.1 billion, and our trade deficit with the European Union increased $18.6 billion to $79.8 billion.
There is a glimmer of optimism for consumer sentiment, however. January saw the index rise to 74.2, and a further 80 bps increase to 75.0 is expected for February. But we'll check on that here in about half an hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment