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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Amusing Or Bemusing?

Is this really good news?
U.S. workers took “an implicit pay cut” that will help companies sustain profitability as energy and commodity prices rise, according to Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist for iShares exchange-traded funds.
...
Real earnings fell 1 percent, the biggest decline since September 2008, for hourly workers and 0.4 percent for weekly employees from a year earlier.
This is represented as good news, but considering October, November and December 2008, one questions the theory.

Hint: It's not just us.

March 2008:
German retail sales plunged by 1.0 percent in March from the previous month, figures released on Monday by the national statistics office showed, as rising unemployment hit consumer sentiment.
...
On a 12-month basis, retail sales shed 1.5 percent, the Destatis statistics service said, even though March 2009 had two more working days than the same month a year earlier.
March 2011:
German retail sales fell in March, confounding expectations for an increase, as consumers bought fewer groceries and textiles during a month when inflation surpassed the 2 percent threshold.

Data published the Federal Statistics Office showed retail sales adjusted for consumer price rises declining by 2.1 percent month-on-month, and by 3.5 percent year-on-year.
Back in 2008, everyone was merrily forecasting that the ECB would cut rates as a result. Now everyone is forecasting that ECB will raise interest rates. Retail sales should be better in April this year because of a late Easter, and the UK and France did better YoY. Germans are more pessimistic than the French or Italians, and the Brits like to spend money almost as much as the Americans.

Update: Final word on March European retail sales. Fell 1% Month over month; 1.7% YoY.

Comments:
MOM,

"Amusing Or Bemusing?"

Abusing And Confusing! ;)
 
MOM,

"This is represented as good news, but considering October, November and December 2008, one questions the theory."

Survival and Prosperity: Gun Sales Brisk, Ammo Shortage Reported

"Got to wonder if this is 2008 all over again."

Ouch.
 
Mark - French retail sales fell 1%.

Germany is a stunner, because their unemployment is down into the 7s, which is a big notch below the last decade AVERAGE.

But most of the northern economies of Europe, which are pretty strong right now, rely much more heavily than the US on oil for space heating. The likely mechanism is that households were hit with very high expenditures to stay warm this winter in Europe. Also, April should be better because of the Easter calendar.

Regarding ammo: My infantry-training bro reported that he just got a very good deal on some high-quality German ammo. When I told him about the retail sales number he said "OH - that's why!"

On the one hand, it is always nice to know that Germans are not stocking up on ammunition, especially during spring, the traditional March-North-Invade-Poland season. On the other hand, if German consumers are feeling this strapped, the rest of Europe is probably not going to have a great year.
 
MOM,

"On the one hand, it is always nice to know that Germans are not stocking up on ammunition, especially during spring, the traditional March-North-Invade-Poland season."

I should not laugh but I do.

My word verification is "cologrue". I figure it is either a new German city on the Rhine, a prescription drug for economic constipation, or an exotic perfume for lipstick painted pigs!
 
"Cologrue" describes what is left of Cologne after the traditional German March-North-Invade-Poland season. That is, since the US got into the act.

Its our mongrel blood - we just aren't quite racially advanced enough to appreciate these spring festivals.
 
I assure you that my blood is as pure as the driven snow (the part under the tires anyway once the roads have been sanded, lol).
 
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