The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Friday, January 20, 2012

More positive US economic data--and core inflation stirs

From UBS:

* The current activity index in the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey edged up to 7.3 from 6.8...These figures were slightly softer than suggested by the NY Fed measure (13.5 for current activity, 55.1 on an ISM-adjusted basis). However, both NY and Philadelphia surveys indicated rapid improvement in manufacturers’ expectations. The six month capex expectations measures have rebounded significantly from last year’s lows (see chart on following page), as have expectations for business conditions...The improvement in the outlook holds out some hope for faster hiring and capex.

* The CPI was unchanged m/m in Dec (cons 0.1%, UBSe 0.0%), with energy prices falling but core prices up 0.1%. Core prices were up 0.145% unrounded—on the high side of 0.1% expectations. In the 12 months through Dec, the CPI rose 3.0% and the core CPI 2.2%—at or above the Fed’s likely targets. The last five months of the year were slower, held back by anomalous disinflation in apparel, lodging away from home, recreation, and motor vehicles. That pattern has begun to reverse in recreation and apparel, while motor vehicles price deflation accelerated. Rents, meanwhile, continued to boost the core CPI as they have been.

* Jobless claims exaggerated by holidays but still trending down. Jobless claims fell 50k to 352k in the week of Jan 14 (cons 384k, UBSe 375k)...the trend has been downward, with the latest four-week average (379k) down 9k from a month earlier and 19k from two months earlier.