The Gold Standard | The third kind of lie

I was just marvelling at the US and European Statistics:

(1)    German retail sales (what is the quality of this data? – I do not know) declined 0.9% (m/m) in November. Expectation was for +0.2%.  Previous month was revised from +0.7% to -0.2%. The annual change in retail sales shows +0.8% against consensus of +0.7% for the month of November! October data, as one would expect, revised down to -0.6% from -0.4%. How does November retail sales annual growth come in at +0.8%?

Is there any link to German employment numbers and retail sales? The former looks too good. This latter piece of data now has notched up two back-to-back negative months.

(2)    French consumer spending records -0.1% in November. October revised to +0.1% from 0.0%. The annual change in November is reasonably consistent with the m/m number: -2.1% vs. -1.8% (exp.). October revised to -1.0% from -0.9%.

Surprising, in this case, is the consumer confidence indicator remaining unchanged at 80 in December from 80 in November!

(3)    In the case of the UK, Lloyds Business  Barometer indicator weakens to -23 from -20 in December. If you see the chart in Bloomberg, you will notice the dramatic collapse. M4 growth has collapsed. It is now contracting at 2.6% (y/y). Yet, PMI manufacturing ‘improves’ (second derivative). PMI Construction expands at an accelerating rate. PMI Services expands and accelerates too!

(4)    In the US, real disposable personal income (and this includes government transfers) is now contracting at 0.1%. Consumer credit is growing. Savings rate is  stuck below 4.0%. Personal Income transfers from government has stagnated, absent fresh fiscal stimuluses. No surprise that real disposable personal income has  stagnated. Real personal spending too is declining, although still positive. Yet, the US retail sales numbers look healthy! How?

(5)    The ECRI Weekly Growth Index is stuck at below -7 (it is -7.6) unlike in 2010 when it improved from the low summer readings.

What on earth is US S&P 500 doing near 1300?!

I think there is a lot of manipulation going on with the connivance of Treasury and Central  Bank officials in the US and in Europe, in propping up markets/asset prices.


DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.