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, March 8, 2012

More encouraging US economic data--although worrying surge in labour costs

From UBS:

* US: Feb ADP estimate of private payrolls was 216k (cons 215k) - and Jan was revised up a tad to 173k from 170k - in line with our 210k forecast (cons: 225k) for official private payrolls, but ADP errors can be large. That said, the ADP data continue to suggest private payroll acceleration. For total payrolls, we estimate 190k (cons 210k).

* US: Q4 productivity was revised to 0.9% (cons & UBSe 0.8%) from 0.7%, but unit labor cost was revised up sharply, to 2.8% (cons & UBSe 1.2%) from 1.2%.

* US: In addition to the larger-than-expected rise in Q4 ULC, the report also included a large upward revision to unit labor costs in Q3. Q3 ULCs were revised to +3.9% q/q from -2.1% q/q. The upward revision resulted in a 3.1% y/y pace in Q4 (the strongest rate since 2008), versus 1.3% y/y initially reported.

* US: The mortgage applications purchase index rose 2.1%w/w in the week of Mar 2 after rising 8.2%w/w in the prior week.