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, February 17, 2012

US jobless claims drop to 4yr low; mortgage defaults fall; Aussie rates rising

Solid increase in Aussie government yields overnight on the back of even more positive global economic data, which has surprised almost everyone (barring yours truly) on the upside. You can see from the chart below that 3 year Aussie govt bond futures prices have been declining fairly consistently since the RBA's December meeting (meaning future rates are rising)...

UBS reports:

* US: Jobless claims continue to drop, falling to 348k in the week of Feb 11 (UBSe & cons 365k) - to a 4 year low - from 361k a week earlier. (The Feb 4 week was revised from 358k.)

* US: [T]he core finished goods PPI rose an above-trend (and broad-based) 0.4% (cons 0.2%, UBSe 0.3%). Core prices were probably boosted by the tendency for firms to test pricing power at the start of the year.

* US: Housing starts rose 1.5% in Jan to 699k (cons 675k, UBSe 725k), and Dec was revised to 689k from 657k...

* US: The current activity index in the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey increased to 10.2 in Feb from 7.3 in Jan (cons 9.0, UBSe 9.5). Employment gains slowed, but new orders and shipments accelerated. The ISM weighted equivalent was little changed at 51.6 in Feb after 51.4 in Jan.

* US: Mortgage delinquencies fell to 7.6% in Q4 - the lowest since Q308 - from 8.0% in Q3...Delinquencies are showing broad-based, if gradual declines; the steady march of foreclosures probably reflects banks managing their inventories so as not to flood the home sales market with distressed sales.