Thursday, September 22, 2011

Statistical Notes Thursday September 22

-Britain's August public sector deficit rose compared to the previous year, increasing the debt to GDP ratio to a new high. However, for the April-August period as a whole the deficit fell, though it is still far too high.

-Initial jobless claims fell slightly in the United States, but remains at an elevated level.

-The official growth rate in New Zealand slowed in the second quarter, to 0.1% (0.4% at an annualized rate) compared to Q1 2011 and 1.5% compared to Q2 2010. However, if you take New Zealand's impåroving terms of trade into account, growth was faster, 2.8% for the latest year (no indication of adjusted quarterly growth can be found, except that it was faster than the headline).

Meanwhile, New Zealand's current account deficit rose somewhat due to an increase in the investment income deficit.

-Consumer price inflation in Canada in August rose to 3.1% from 2.7% in July.

-Euro area PMI fell to a new low of 48.4 in September, while factory orders fell 2.1% in July compared to the previous month. Construction output by contrast rose in July by 1.4%.

-Real wages in Germany increased by 1.9% in the second quarter as nominal wages rose 4.2% and consumer price inflation was 2.3%.

-Portugal saw its current account deficit fall from €10.4 billion in January-July 2010 to €8.7 billion in January-July 2011, but that is still dangerously high.

-Ireland's current account balance in the second quarter was virtually unchanged, but unlike Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy it has already achieved a yearly surplus, albeit only a small one.

Also, Ireland has unlike the others positive economic growth.

-Japan saw its trade balance turn from a surplus of 64 billion yen ($0.8 billion) to a deficit of 775 billion yen ($10.2 billion). This is in part likely a result of the strong yen, but mostly a result of the earthquake/tsunami disaster earlier this year incapacitating some of Japan's export industry while increasing the need for imports of goods needed to repair the damage.

-South Korea saw employment grow by 2% in the year to August, causing unemployment to drop to 3% even as the labor force participation rate rose.

-Taiwan also saw employment increase by about 2%, also enabling a drop in the unemployment rate even as the labor force participation rate rose. At 4.45%, Taiwan's unemployment rate is higher than in for example South Korea and Hong Kong, but still a lot lower than in most Western countries.

Meanwhile, wages rose 2.6% in Taiwan the latest year, implying an increase in real wages of more than 1% given Taiwan's 1.3% inflation rate.


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