201705.16
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Good Month For Industrial Production, But Serious Questions Remain

Industrial Production rose sharply in April 2017, up nearly 1% month-over-month (seasonally-adjusted). It was the largest single month increase since February 2014 during the depths of the Polar Vortex. Steady contributions from the oil sector as well as a rebound (of sorts) in Motor Vehicle Assemblies added to the gains. Year-over-year, IP was up just…

201705.15
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Staying Stuck

The rebound in commodity prices is not difficult to understand, perhaps even sympathize with. With everything so depressed early last year, if it turned out to be no big deal in the end then there was a killing to be made. That’s what markets are supposed to do, entice those with liquidity to buy when…

201705.15
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Trying To Reconcile Accounts; China

Chinese economic data for April 2017 has been uniformly disappointing. External trade numbers resembled too much commodity prices, leaving an emphasis on them rather than actual economic forces. The latest figures for the Big 3, Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment, unfortunately also remained true to the pattern. Industrial Production had seemingly accelerated…

201705.11
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Hopefully Not Another Three Years

The stock market has its earnings season, the regular quarterly reports of all the companies that have publicly traded stocks. In economic accounts, there is something similar though it only happens once a year. It is benchmark revision season, and it has been brought to a few important accounts already. Given that this is a…

201705.09
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Liquidity Trap, Alright, But One With None

Unemployment in Brazil typically rises at the start of each year, a ritual accepted in that part of South America in a way that it isn’t here (residual seasonality). In 2013, for example, from December 2012 through March the rate rose by 1.1 percentage points. The following year, from December through March, it increased by…

201704.18
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New Patterns of Disturbance

Having finally established that the economy of the “rising dollar” was appreciably worse than first estimated, we can turn our attention back toward figuring out what that means for the near future and beyond. According to the latest estimates for Industrial Production, growth has returned but in the same weird asymmetric sort of way that…

201704.18
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Now You Tell Us

As we move further into 2017, economic statistics will be subject to their annual benchmark revisions. High frequency data such as any accounts published on or about a single month is estimated using incomplete data. It’s just the nature of the process. Over time, more comprehensive survey results as well as upgrades to statistical processes…

201704.17
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Assessing China’s Economic Risks

First quarter GDP in China rose 6.9%, better than expected and above the government’s target (6.5%) for 2017. It stands to reason, however, that if Communist officials thought they could get 6.9% to last for the whole year they would have made it their target, especially since 6.5% would be less than the GDP growth…

201703.24
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Durable Goods After Leap Year

New orders for durable goods (not including transportation orders) were up 1% year-over-year in February. That is less than the (revised) 4.4% growth in January, but as with all comparisons of February 2017 to February 2016 there will be some uncertainty surrounding the comparison to the leap year version. That would suggest that orders as…

201703.17
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Industrial Symmetry

There has always been something like Newton’s third law observed in the business cycles of the US and other developed economies. In what is, or was, essentially symmetry, there had been until 2008 considerable correlation between the size, scope, and speed of any recovery and its antecedent downturn, or even slowdown. The relationship was so…