Friday, December 31, 2010

USA & Global Economy: Encouraging News in December (GDP Charts) *Monthly Economic Review*

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USA & Global Economy: Manufacturing and Services Sectors Continue Expanding after Summer Slump


USA & Global Economy: Encouraging News in December
* Monthly Economic Review *

Although the EU Sovereign Debt Crisis continues, both the USA and Global Economy showed renewed economic recovery after the Summer Slump. Of course, all is not well: the USA financial system continues with problems and weaknesses, including a foreclosure fiasco and crisis, the USA unemployment rate remains high, the USA real estate is in a market depression, the USA cannot stop deficit spending, the USA has an ever increasing national debt, and the Federal Reserve continues quantitative easing aka monetizing and devaluing the U.S. Dollar. There does appear to be a Day of Reckoning for the USA on the horizon, although no one really knows when. The aftermath of the Credit Bubble and Great Recession will linger for a long time. However, the USA GDP is growing faster than projected and the risk of a double dip recession now appears much diminished.

Below are December post headlines from Boom Doom Economy,  Financial Controls, and Baidu Planet summarizing select economic data and news, in reverse chronological order. This is not a comprehensive list of key economic data. It is selected economic data that gives a general idea of the overall economic conditions, with the exceptions noted in the preceding paragraph. Further below is the historical and projected USA GDP per the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Also further below is the projected GDPs for the USA, Japan, the Euro Area, and Total OECD per the latest OECD economic outlook. The economic data for December will now begin and should indicate continuing economic recovery and expansion. Q4 2010 should be a better than initially projected quarter for the USA and Global Economy. Whether the pace of the economic recovery will continue on to Q1 2011 or will slow is the concern now.

USA Positive Economic Data and News
USA Weekly Leading Index at 33-Week High! (Charts) *Annualized growth rate continues positive!*
USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Drop Below 400,000! (Charts) *Lowest in 29 months, since July 2008*
USA Industrial Production at 27-Month High! (Charts) *Capacity utilization increases*
USA November Retail & Food Sales at 36-Month High! (Chart) *Near November 2007 peak*
USA Consumer Sentiment at 6-Month High (Chart) *2 consecutive strong monthly increases*
USA Total Consumer Credit Increases in October (Charts) *Revolving credit down 26th consecutive month*
USA Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI) Up +0.7% in November (Chart) "Sector continued expanding for 11th consecutive month"
USA Manufacturing PMI Dips -0.3% in November (Chart) "Sector continued expanding for 16th consecutive month"
Fed Beige Book: "USA Economy Continued to Improve" (Review) "Hiring activity showed some improvement"

USA Neutral and/or Negative Economic Data and News
Bank Failure Friday: No FDIC Closings on New Year's Eve! (Charts) *2010 final total 157, highest since 1992*
USA Monthly Consumer Confidence Index Dips in December (Chart) *Modest decline, consumers remain tepid*
USA GDP Q3 2010 Estimated at +2.6% (Charts) *Increase of +0.1% from prior estimate*
Federal Reserve: USA Economic Recovery Rate Insufficient (GDP Chart) *Not decreasing unemployment*
USA Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.8% in November (Charts) "Employment was little changed (+39,000)"

Global Positive Economic Data and News
China Manufacturing Expands at Slower Rate in December (Chart) "Conditions continue to improve"
Global All-Industry Output Index Down -0.2% in November (Chart) "Economic recovery continued"
Global Services PMI at 5-Month High (Chart) "Sector recovery extended into 16th successive month"
Global Manufacturing PMI at 4-Month High (Chart) "Severe slowdown has reached a bottom"
China Manufacturing PMI at 7-Month High (Video) "Strongest rise in overall new orders since March"

Global Neutral and/or Negative Economic Data and News
OECD: Euro Area Economic Survey (GDP Charts) "Recovery is now underway but will be muted"


USA GDP by Quarter

USA GDP by Quarter (Chart) The chart below is the annualized percentage change of the GDP (seasonally adjusted at annual rate) from the preceding quarter, QoQ, the most common GDP measure. As can be seen, there was a negative dip into the Great Recession beginning 2008 Q1, a rebound peaking with the 2009 Q4, a downward trend in 2010 Q1 and Q2. The USA economy appeared to be at a crossroads in Q2: a continuing downwards trend towards zero growth or a bounce upwards from there? The Q3 +2.6% is a positive bounce upwards. The chart covers the last 23 quarters (5+ years) of USA GDP as reported by BEA from 2005 Q1 through 2010 Q3.

The moving 4-quarter average (1 year) is now +3.25%, which is just above a break-even economy on jobs, creating a small net increase in jobs - but is not robust. The 23-quarter average is +1.23% per quarter, which is a stalled economy, a flat economy, that is not producing jobs and has an increasing unemployment rate. However, the current Q3 GDP +2.6% is well above this average.




OECD: GDP Growth Projections by Quarter

OECD: GDP Growth Projections by Quarter (Chart) Below is the OECD GDP Growth Projections by Quarter for the USA, Japan, the Euro Area, and the entire OECD. These are annualized percentage growth rates. The chart is for 10 quarters, from Q3 2010 through Q4 2011. The USA lowest quarter is +1.9% in Q4 2010 (now) and the highest is +3.7% in Q4 2012 (2 years from now). The Japan lowest quarter is +0.6% in Q2 2011 and the highest is +2.7% in Q1 2011 (next quarter). The Euro Area lowest quarter is +1.3% in both Q4 2010 (now) and Q1 2012 (next quarter). The highest quarter is +2.2% in both Q3 2012 and Q4 2012 (2 years from now). The Total OECD lowest quarter is +1.7% in Q4 2010 (now) and the highest is +3.2% in Q4 2012 (2 years from now). No negative GDP quarters are projected nor on the graph.




Links

USA & global economic news & analysis. There is always good/bad economic news, no matter how good/bad times are.

USA financial system, banking, Federal Reserve, USA & global economic news.

Baidu Planet
China economic & technology news. Baidu (BIDU) financial performance & stock analysis.


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USA Weekly Leading Index at 33-Week High! (Charts) *Annualized growth rate continues positive!*

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ECRI: Economic Weekly Leading Index and Annualized Growth Rate


USA Economic Weekly Index Jumps to 33-Week High!
USA WLI Annualized Growth Rate Continues Positive, at 31-Week High!

The Weekly Leading Index page has been updated with the latest report by the Economic Cycle Research Institute for the week ended December 24, 2010. The related charts (Weekly Leading Index and Annualized Growth Rate) have also been updated. A video of a recent interview of Laksham Achuthan, Managing Director of ECRI, discussing no double dip recession and no rapid recovery, has also been included.


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Drop Below 400,000! (Charts) *Lowest in 29 months, since July 2008*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report


USA Weekly Unemployment Claims at 29-Month Low!
4-Week Moving Average Lowest Since July 2008!
Post-Great Recession Cyclical Lows!

The Weekly Unemployment Claims page has been updated with the latest report by the U.S. Department of Labor for the week ended December 25, 2010. The related charts (4-Week Moving Average and Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims) for the past 52 weeks have also been updated.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

USA Monthly Consumer Confidence Index Dips in December (Chart) *Modest decline, consumers remain tepid*

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The Conference Board: Monthly Consumer Confidence Index


USA Monthly Consumer Confidence Index Dips in December

Official Statement by The Conference Board The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in November, decreased slightly in December. The Index now stands at 52.5 (1985=100), down from 54.3 in November. The Present Situation Index declined to 23.5 from 25.4. The Expectations Index decreased to 71.9 from 73.6 last month. Says Lynn Franco, Director of the Consumer Research Center at The Conference Board: "Despite this month's modest decline, consumer confidence is no worse off today than it was a year ago. Consumers' assessment of the current state of the economy and labor market remains tepid, and their outlook remains cautious. Thus, all signs continue to suggest that the economic expansion will continue well into 2011, but that the pace of growth will remain moderate."

Cycle History The current Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in December of 52.5 (preliminary) is down -59.4 and -53% from the cyclical peak of 111.9 in July 2007. The current CCI is up +27.2 and +108% from the cyclical bottom of 25.3 in February 2009. Therefore, the CCI continues much closer to the cyclical low than to the high.

Trend The current trend is now flat. The December CCI of 52.5 (preliminary) is now below the level 12-month moving average of 53.3, after being above in November and being below the prior 5 consecutive  months. The  current CCI is above the slightly ascending 24-month moving average of 49.3 and has been for 10 consecutive months. The current CCI continues above the 36-month moving average of 52.2 for the 2nd consecutive month, after being below the prior 5 consecutive months. (The 12-month, 24-month, and 36-month moving averages charts are not shown on this page).

Monthly Consumer Confidence Index (Chart) Below is a chart of the past 42 months of The Conference Board CCI (preliminary) from the July 2007 cyclical high of 111.9 through the latest month reported, December 2010. As can be seen, the CCI bottomed in February 2009 and the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. After a peak in May 2010 of 62.7, the CCI has been in a range from a low of 48.6 in September 2010 to a high of 54.3 in November 2010. The current CCI of 52.5 (preliminary) continues above the recent lows of 48.6 in September 2010 and 46.4 in February 2010.


Commentary The decline of the December Consumer Confidence Index to 52.5 (preliminary) is disappointing and unexpected. However, the CCI continues above the recent lows of 48.6 in September 2010 and 46.4 in February 2010.  In contrast, Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's December reading on consumer sentiment is at a 6-month high [USA Consumer Sentiment at 6-Month High (Chart) *2 consecutive strong monthly increases*]. Therefore, the overall downturn in the Consumer Confidence Index does not appear to be strong or a change in trend. The CCI continues closer to the cyclical low of 25.3 in February 2009 than the cyclical high of 111.9 in July 2007, as evidenced by the above chart.


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Friday, December 24, 2010

USA Weekly Leading Index at 32-Week High! (Charts) *Annualized growth rate turns positive!*

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ECRI: Economic Weekly Leading Index and Annualized Growth Rate


USA Economic Weekly Index Jumps to 32-Week High!
USA WLI Annualized Growth Rate Turns Positive, at 30-Week High!

The Weekly Leading Index page has been updated with the latest report by the Economic Cycle Research Institute for the week ended December 17, 2010. The related charts (Weekly Leading Index and Annualized Growth Rate) have also been updated. A video of a recent interview of Laksham Achuthan, Managing Director of ECRI, discussing no double dip recession and no rapid recovery, has also been included.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Steady at 420K (Charts) *4-week average up slightly*

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United States Department of Labor: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report


USA Weekly Unemployment Claims Steady at 420K
4-Week Moving Average Up, Still in August, 2008 Range

The Weekly Unemployment Claims page has been updated with the latest report by the U.S. Department of Labor for the week ended December 18, 2010. The related charts (4-Week Moving Average and Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims) for the past 52 weeks have also been updated.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

OECD: Euro Area Economic Survey (GDP Charts) "Recovery is now underway but will be muted"

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OECD Economic Survey of Euro Area (December 13, 2010)


OECD Euro Area Economic Survey: "Recovery is now underway but will be muted"

Quick Review The Organisation For Economic Co-Operation And Development has issued an Economic Survey for the Euro Area, the first since January, 2009. Overall, the OECD lists many actions and reforms needed by the Euro Area and forecasts a gradual economic recovery. The OECD headlined the Survey on their website more emphatically, "Urgent action needed to restore stability" and noted "major reforms are now needed to restore confidence and stability". The Economic Survey presents both a history of how the Euro Area arrived at the current crisis situation and then presents many advised actions and reforms. In a companion presentation to the Survey, "Imbalances in the Euro Area: Fiscal, Financial, and Structural Policies to Restore Stability", Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary-General Pier Carlo Padoan "forecasts the recovery to gain strength":
* Immediate recovery by trade and stock-building
* The recovery is now broad-based: consumption expanding for a year and investment picking up
Forecasts growth of 1.5% to 2% over the next years, gradually accelerating
* Inflationary pressures will remain weak
* Unemployment will remain above 9% over the next two years

Survey Summary The summary categories for the Survey Summary recap the major areas reviewed by the OECD and the related advised actions and reforms:
* Exiting from the crisis. A modest recovery is now underway, although risks remain. Financial conditions have strengthened. Activity has picked up, but the recovery is likely to be muted. Fiscal consolidation is necessary, although it may drag on growth in the short term.
* Resolving intra-euro area imbalances. Large current account deficits and surpluses in euro area countries in the run up to the crisis were associated with underlying economic, financial and fiscal imbalances.
* Avoiding unsustainable imbalances. A new cross-cutting approach to economic and financial management is required to stabilise national economies more effectively.
* Rebuilding the public finances. The fiscal position has deteriorated sharply, leading to large deficits and adding to already high debt levels in some euro area countries.
* Improving fiscal discipline. Many euro area governments failed to use economic good times to consolidate.
* Strengthening the banking system. Weaknesses in financial regulation and supervision created an environment prone to excessive risk-taking and unsustainable credit cycles in the euro area, as in other OECD economies.
* Managing cross-border risks. Close but incomplete banking integration in the euro area, together with the absence of a single EU system of bank regulation and supervision, created risks and complicated the resolution of cross-border difficulties.

Assessment and Recommendations The OECD then reviews how the Euro Area arrived at this economic situation and advised actions and reforms. The chapter headings are:
* The crisis is the first major test of the resilience of the euro area
* Large-scale government intervention supported the banking system
* Fiscal policy helped to cushion the downturn but the public finances are now in poor shape
* Monetary policy has provided stimulus
* The governance of the euro area could be strengthened
* Large imbalances in some euro area countries created problems
* Structural measures can help reduce imbalances
* A cross-cutting approach is needed to avoid harmful imbalances
* Surveillance and oversight of imbalances should be stepped up
* Fiscal discipline needs to be improved
* National fiscal frameworks should be stronger
* Stronger bank regulations are needed for financial stability
* Weaknesses in cross-border supervision remain a risk

OECD Economic Outlook In a previous
post [OECD: Economic Recovery Underway, Slower Than Expected (Video, Charts) *Challenge is self-sustained growth*], the OECD Economic Outlook (November 2010) presented GDP growth projections for Euro Area. These are included below.

OECD: GDP Growth Projections by Quarter (Chart) Below is the OECD GDP Growth Projections by Quarter for the USA, Japan, the Euro Area, and the entire OECD. These are annualized percentage growth rates. The chart is for 10 quarters, from Q3 2010 through Q4 2011. The USA lowest quarter is +1.9% in Q4 2010 (now) and the highest is +3.7% in Q4 2012 (2 years from now). The Japan lowest quarter is +0.6% in Q2 2011 and the highest is +2.7% in Q1 2011 (next quarter). The Euro Area lowest quarter is +1.3% in both Q4 2010 (now) and Q1 2012 (next quarter). The highest quarter is +2.2% in both Q3 2012 and Q4 2012 (2 years from now). The Total OECD lowest quarter is +1.7% in Q4 2010 (now) and the highest is +3.2% in Q4 2012 (2 years from now). No negative GDP quarters are projected nor on the graph.




OECD: GDP Growth Projections by Quarter (Chart) Below is the OECD GDP Growth Projections by Year for the USA, Japan, the Euro Area, and the entire OECD. These are annual percentage growth rates. The chart is for 3 years: 2010, 2011, and 2012. The USA is a lackluster +2.7% for 2010, dips to a mediocre +2.2% in 2011, and then increases to flat +3.1% in 2012.  Japan is a healthy +3.7% in 2011, dropping to a worsening +1.7% in 2012, and dropping even further to discouraging +1.3% in 2012. The Euro Area is a mediocre +1.7% in 2011, continues a flat +1.7% in 2012, and increases slightly to an ongoing mediocre +2.0% in 2012. The Total OECD is a reasonable +2.8% in 2011, dropping to a mediocre +2.3% in 2012, and rebounding to a disappointing +2.8% in 2012.



Economic Outlook Commentary The OECD statement said it all, "the challenge will be to guide the transition from a policy-driven recovery to self-sustained growth". That is, from government intervention, especially fiscal stimulus and quantitative easing, and hence increases in sovereign debt and ongoing debasements of currencies, to self-sustaining, growing economies. The USA and UK are of especial note facing this dilemma. The OECD GDP Growth Projections are hopefully low or this will be a protracted, and somewhat painful, recovery in the next 2 years. A GDP growth rate of +3.0% is considered "break-even" for employment - some jobs are being created but economic, and employment, growth is not robust. Based on this premise, the USA muddles along and achieves break-even in 2012, Japan and the Euro Area have problems ahead, and the Total OECD continues just below break-even. Overall, these projections are not positive or encouraging.


Euro Area Economic Survey
Official Summary by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development

The euro area has experienced a severe recession, followed by a sovereign debt crisis in some euro area countries, in the wake of the global financial crisis. This was the first major test of the robustness of the euro area in a downturn. Swift monetary policy easing, massive intervention to support the financial system and supportive fiscal policy helped to stabilise the financial system and mitigate the contraction in private demand.

Excessive economic, financial and fiscal imbalances built up in some euro area countries during the upswing, hindering the efficient operation of the monetary union, and led to growing vulnerabilities. These contributed to especially severe economic and fiscal crises in some countries, leading to spillovers mainly through financial markets across the euro area.

Exiting from the crisis. A modest recovery is now underway, although risks remain. Financial conditions have strengthened. Activity has picked up, but the recovery is likely to be muted. Fiscal consolidation is necessary, although it may drag on growth in the short term. As soon as upward risks to price stability in the medium term emerge, monetary policy stimulus should be withdrawn. Non-standard measures should continue to be wound down in line with improvements in the monetary policy transmission mechanism. It is essential that the banking system is restored to good health and remaining weaknesses resolved. The stress test exercise carried out at the EU level in 2010 was an important step forward, which has increased transparency and reinforced the credibility of the euro area financial sector. Structural reforms would facilitate on-going economic adjustment and lift growth prospects.
 
 
About the OECD

The OECD has 33 member countries, including the USA and Japan but not China and Russia. OECD brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to:
Support sustainable economic growth
Boost employment
Raise living standards
Maintain financial stability
Assist other countries' economic development
Contribute to growth in world trade
The Organisation provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies.

The 33 OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chili, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, (South) Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, plus the Euro Area and European Union. Accession countries are Estonia and Russian Federation. Enhanced Engagement Economies are Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Some Non-Member Economies are also assessed by the OECD.


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