Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:59
There was some good news out this week regarding Existing Homes Sales. April sales were the highest level in 40 months. The year-over-year increase of 9.7% is down a little from March, but the numbers are healthy and encouraging regarding more good news in housing and related industries through the near term. The ascent in the monthly data trend, at 44.1%, has been steeper than previous rising trends of this duration, adding to the optimism regarding housing in the coming quarters.
There are two cautionary notes for people given to straight line forecasting.&
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 15:43
Good news in Europe is good news for all of us given the size of that economy. Britain is showing signs of mild improvement, as is Ireland. The bond market is also happy with the progress being made to improve economic conditions in Europe. Yields on 10-year Greek bonds have fallen to 8.01% (remember when they reached 25%?). Italy and Spain are borrowing at 3.92% and 4.17%, respectively. These are welcome and noticeable improvements as they reflect an increased confidence in the future of the region.
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Tue, 05/14/2013 - 13:47
Total Retail Sales, including food, automobiles and gasoline dropped 2.64% from March to April (data from the US Census Bureau Monthly Retail Trade Report). The decline was steeper-than-normal but milder than last year, so some year-over-year rate-of-change rise occurred. The rate-of-change improvement looks good, but the underlying trend is one of slower growth in this segment of the economy.
We use a smoothing technique called a three-month moving total (3MMT) to offset any single month noise in the data. The seasonal decline in the 3MMT from December to Ma
China Economic Numbers – Looking Past the Headlines
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 09:12
China’s Purchasing Managers Index slipped in April to 50.6, down slightly from 50.9 in March. Some headlines purported that this is important in that it signaled weaker manufacturing in China. Reality check – this is just noise and it would be a mistake to draw major conclusions from a one-month reading of any leading indicator.
A preferred means of analysis of China Industrial Production is observing that the rates-of-change show that China has been slowing in its rate of rise over the last few months and that the diminished rate of growth in the Chinese economy i
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Tue, 04/30/2013 - 14:03
Manufacturing in the US is on the rebound. It currently stands at $1.86 trillion, 11.9% of GDP (up from a low of 11.0% in 2009). Near-sourcing and a more favorable cost environment are helping to re-energize a vibrant segment of our economy. Selling into American manufacturing is a very worthwhile endeavor when you consider the potential of this marketplace.
US manufacturing, if treated as a stand-alone economy, would be the 10th largest nation in the world. That makes US manufacturing larger than the GDP of both India and Canada and only slightly small
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Wed, 04/24/2013 - 08:38
Last year, the Pentagon announced plans to make $210 million in matching funds available to help private companies build refineries that are capable of producing at least 10 million gallons of biofuels a year for the military.
Behind the initiative lay the fact that a $1 per barrel increase in oil prices would result in a $30 million dollar hit to the Navy budget.
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Fri, 04/19/2013 - 16:42
I have been reading various headlines and articles announcing a near-term softening and potential swoon in the U.S. economy. Other news pieces have dealt with the decline in oil prices, and others with Japan’s in aggressive quantitative easing. There is no lack of economic news; the problem is what does it all mean?
The IMF Cut Its Global Forecast – What Does That Mean for Us?
Submitted by Alan Beaulieu on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 09:47
The headlines jumped out at readers – things must be getting worse because the IMF cut its outlook for the globe for 2013! Terrible things must be happening! Despite the fantastic headline, the IMF actually only cut their global outlook by 0.2 percent. You would never have noticed if an excited press had not trumpeted the non-news.
The stated reasons are also a snooze – Europe’s persistent recession (you already knew that) and a spring “swoon” in the US economy. You already knew that the US economy was going to slow as the year progressed because of pre