United States

A Mixed Bag of U.S., Canadian and Brazilian Data Releases Today

September 14, 2010

CANADA Labor productivity fell 0.8% last quarter, the most in over 2-1/2 years and the first drop in three quarters.  Canadian productivity growth has been no match for its U.S. counterpart, averaging 0.6% per annum in the five years to 2009 versus a 1.7% per annum pace of rise in U.S. productivity over that span.  […] More

Labor Market Better in Canada than the United States

September 10, 2010

Canadian employment rose 35.8K last month, which is the same percentage increase as a 271K gain in the U.S. labor market.  U.S. jobs contracted by 54K for a second straight time in August, by comparison.  Over the past five months, Canadian jobs expanded at a 3.6% annualized rate, three times as fast as the increase […] More

Worst U.S. Services Activity Since January, Poorest Compared to Euro Area in Nine Months

September 3, 2010

The Institute of Supply management reported a 2.8-point decline last month in the non-manufacturing U.S. purchasing managers index.  At 51.5, such was two points plus weaker than forecast, the lowest reading since January, and below the twelve-month average score of 52.3.  Sub-components of the survey like production (54.4) and orders (52.4) revealed slower rates of […] More

U.S. Regains PMI-Manufacturing Lead From Europe

September 1, 2010

The U.S. minus euro area PMI differential in manufacturing swung to +1.2 in August from minus 1.2 in July.  The spread had been negative in July for only the first time since December 2008, averaging +3.0 in that 18-month span and peaking in January 2010 at +6.0.  The U.S. purchasing managers index rose 0.8 points, […] More

Similar Canadian and U.S. Growth Trends

August 31, 2010

Canadian real GDP advanced 2.0% at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (saar) in the second quarter and by 3.4% between 2Q09 and 2Q10.  These results, announced earlier today, resemble U.S. trends.  The compositions of Canadian and U.S. growth were less similar.  In the comparative table below, “Cons” is an abbreviation for personal consumption, “Govt” stands […] More

Japanese and U.S. Government Bond Yields

August 17, 2010

Japan provides a good example of what happens to long-term interest rates when very low inflation or outright deflation occur. The ten-year JGB yield has averaged 1.45% since the end of 1997.  Such dropped below unity recently and is presently at 0.95%.  The yield first plumbed below 1.0% in 1998 during the Asian debt crisis, […] More

U.S. and Canadian Data Releases: Off the Track Observations

August 6, 2010

The U.S. unemployment rate has been 9.4% or greater for fifteen consecutive months, one-month short of the 16-month streak in which such occurred in 1982-3.  The broader unemployment/underemployment/discouraged worker rate of 16.5% is much higher now than then, and that figures is most likely well under-stated at present. U.S. private employment went up just 51K […] More

U.S. Economic Performance under Obama and Bush43

August 5, 2010

The most visited blog entry posted on Currency Thoughts was written August 19, 2008 and entitled How the U.S. Economy Performed Under Democrat and Republican Presidencies.  That article considered five criteria:  1) the dollar against the D-mark and/or euro, 2) change in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 3) real GDP growth, 4) employment growth, and […] More

Raising Very Low Central Bank Rates Easier Said Than Done

July 15, 2010

Having followed Bank of Japan policymaking since before Japan’s financial crisis, I was suspicious when consensus forecasts surfaced several months ago that the Fed funds rate would rise later this year.  I’m even doubtful about 2011.  A U.S. recovery had begun after mid-2009, and GDP growth accelerated to a 5.6% annualized pace in 4Q09 and […] More

U.S.-Euro Area PMI Spread in Manufacturing Collapses

July 1, 2010

The point differential between the U.S. and euro area factory purchasing manager indices narrowed 3.6 points to +0.6 in June, the least U.S.-advantageous spread since December 2008.  Sooner or later, the euro’s downtrend against the dollar was bound to impact the two economies’ relative standing in manufacturing, where currency swings can produce huge shifts in […] More