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."
Thursday, January 19, 2012
No surprise: More positive US economic data overnight
Strong manufacturing, improving housing
* Industrial production rose 0.4% in Dec (UBSe 0.3%, cons 0.5%) despite weakness in utilities (-2.7%), while manufacturing alone was a good deal stronger, rising 0.9% (UBSe 0.6%). The Dec surge more than offset the 0.4% drop in factory output in Nov, and gains were “widespread among the major industry groups” according to the Fed. The ISM index is suggesting a bit below a 5% annual rate of manufacturing output growth—slightly above the 4.0% pace registered in the past three months. The rise in the Empire State manufacturing index reported yesterday also signals acceleration. Inventory restocking is probably one motivation.
* Improving housing data: The housing market index rose to 25 in Jan (cons & UBSe 22) from 21 in Dec, extending the rise from a recent low of 14 in Sept. The architects billings index had risen sharply in Nov after Q3 weakness. In Dec, it held onto those gains, steady at 52.0. The mortgage applications purchase index bounced again, rising 10.3%w/w to reverse some of the turn-of-the-year weakness. Though the volatility, it appears to be trending sideways: At 195, it compares to a Q4 average of 181 and Q3 average of 190.