Russian sanctions … and France

By Mike Peacock
May 13, 2014

After the EU widened its sanctions to include Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff, the commander of Russian paratroopers and two Crimean energy firms, Ukrainian prime minister Yatseniuk is in Brussels today for talks. The EU is looking to shore up the situation to allow national elections to take place on May 25 and, along with Washington, has set any disruption of that vote as a red line.

Spanish sums

By Mike Peacock
October 29, 2013

Spanish third quarter GDP figures tomorrow are likely to confirm the Bank of Spain’s prediction that the euro zone’s fourth largest economy has finally put nine quarters of contraction behind it, albeit with growth of just 0.1 percent.

Fed on guard over low U.S. savings rate

July 22, 2013

As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered what may have been his last testimony on monetary policy before Congress, most of the world’s attention was focused on what hints he might give about the timing of an eventual reduction in the pace of asset purchases.

Here come the downward U.S. GDP revisions again

July 16, 2012

It’s become an uncanny, almost seasonal pattern over the last few years: The economy perks up as a new year kicks into gear only to flail again by the time summer comes around.

U.S. retail sector perks up

March 13, 2012

One month’s data may not a trend make. Even so, this morning’s batch was pretty solid. U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 percent in February, the biggest gain in five months, and January’s numbers were revised up. Some of the rise reflected higher gas prices, but much of it appeared to be real.

Spy-in-the-Sky Data

December 13, 2010
Tuesday’s release of U.S. retail sales data could be more interesting than usual. Of course, it will give a hint about latest U.S. consumer spending patterns. But it may also give some idea of the effectiveness of a decidedly 21st century economic model — satellite data collecting. MallThomson Reuters Proprietary Research reported in late November that remote sensing metrics of U.S. shopping mall car parks correlate well with same-store sales data. Essentially, looking down on malls and seeing how many cars there are could give an early view of what the sales are likely to be. The conclusion from looking at the 10 weeks prior to the Black Friday, post-Thanksgiving weekend and comparing it with 2008 and 2009,  was that car park traffic in November points to stronger same-store sales. The monthly fill rate — the percentage of car park places – peaked at 53.0 percent on Black Friday, compared with 46.6 percent a year earlier. An index used by the Thomson Reuters team to gauge retail sales, was up 3.5 percent for November, compared with 0.5 percent a year earlier and -7.8 percent in November 2008.

Economy signs: Better-than-expected means what?

September 14, 2010

A customer counts his cash at the register while purchasing an item at a Best Buy store in Flushing, New York March 27, 2010.  REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi Better-than-expected retail sales data eased recession fears today but not by much. The lukewarm reaction from many analysts doesn’t exactly paint a clear picture for the economy.

Crouching Buyer, Hidden Bargain

January 15, 2009

The terrible U.S. retail sales  racked up in December — called a “horror show” by ING — were all the more gruesome because of the sales on offer to customers in the run up to Christmas. Shops weren’t exactly giving things away, but their generosity knew few bounds.

Jack’s shoes

December 8, 2008

Florsheim mens shoes are reasonably classy. They were imortalised, for example, by snappily dressed Jack Nicholson in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown“. He was rather distressed, film buffs will recall, by what a flood drainage canal did to them.