Friday, July 10, 2009

World economic reports (July 3-10): finding some turning points

Here in the US, markets are looking for the actual turning point, having priced in the "falling less quickly", or the "second derivative", story. Unfortunately, the turning points has yet to materialize in much of the domestic reports: industrial production remains in descent; housing moves laterally on the bottom; and trade is (maybe) showing some life.

However globally, the first derivative action (actual monthly growth) is more obvious: building permits in Canada were way up in May; auto sales in China continue to surprise, up almost 50% over the year; exports in South Korea are seriously less negative since 2008; and industrial production in Germany got a big May bump (almost back to 2005 levels of production). But it pretty much ends there this week: Eurozone retail sales continued to slide, -3.3% over the year in May.

Here are the global charts of the week

Finding a bottom: loss in goods export revenue is tapering off at -20% to -35% over the year (Note: since this post went up, China's June exports were reported to have fallen 21.4% over the year - a slower annual decline than in May).

The unemployment rate continues its relentless surge in Australia and Switzerland (The chart illustrates the annual change in the unemployment rate)

And some good(ish) news: the first derivative action

Auto sales in China are Red HOT

China's auto sales are up 47.7% over the year, its third consecutive increase in the annual growth rate.

Builders in Canada are planning ahead: residential and non-residential building authorization permits surged 15% and 14%, respectively, in May. Much of the residential growth was in the volatile multi-family space (single-family authorizations grew 1.4%); but new housing stock contributes to positive GDP growth.

And Industrial Production (IP) in Germany surged 3.7% in May, while UK IP fell 0.57%. Bot don't get too excited: German index shows that IP levels are almost back to those seen in 2005 (four years ago).

Finally, the bad news: Eurozone retail sales struggling to make headway....

Overall, this week's global economic reports show that the global economy is (likely) at the stabilization phase of the business cycle. Going forward, this column will be looking for global turning points in the data.

Rebecca Wilder


  1. Rebecca,

    Of course, markets cannot do anything as you say since any market is but mere abstraction -- "markets are looking for the actual turning point".

    Only men can act. Thus, it's bettors who look for signs (or excuses) to play a bet (go long or short) in any market.

    It's the cumulative action of alive men that push the prices of things in any market (e.g., stocks, commodities, bonds) higher or lower as long as new entrants believe that in any future, they too can sell higher when going long or sell even lower when going short.

    If only one day, others who attempt to write about economics and money would stop parroting the marketing rhetoric that has arisen from stock brokers, commodities brokers, idiot PhD economics professors and the like, that perhaps, one day, the everyday man can come to get money and credit and understand economics.

  2. China tracks auto sales from manufs. to dealers not from dealers to retail purchases