Saturday, August 29, 2009

Top 5 graphs of the week

Econ Grapher's Top 5 Graphs of the Week
There were a number of interesting data releases over the week, this article (the first in the series) sets out some of the more interesting graphs that were either updated, featured, or just generally of interest in the context of the week that was. In this article I show you graphs on US house prices, US consumer confidence, Japanese exports, Chinese loan growth, and a snapshot of US markets year to date. Enjoy, and be sure to look out for next week's top 5 finance and economics graphs of the week.

1. Green shoots in house prices?

This one paints a good picture of the US housing market, if you look carefully you can see what may be a tiny green shoot on the monthly % change data (but then it's not too hard to record gains when you've fallen that hard for that long).

2. US Consumer Confidence, or (still) Lack Thereof

The US consumer has become a little more confident, but sadly is still very depressed. With the high jobless rate, low house prices, questionable market outlook, and GDP record, it's hard to stay positive - but at least you can (*could) trade that clunker in for a new car.

3. Japanese Exports - Down, way Down, but not out yet

Were it not for China this chart may well look even poorer, Japan's exports have been hit hard - they're at low levels not seen since about 10 years ago. No surprise. The only good thing to say about this chart is the slight and gradual pick up in recent months, still it's likely a long hard road out.

4. China's Rapid Loan Growth

Beijing said to its banks that it wanted them to lend at least 5 trillion yuan in new loans - the total new loans in July YTD was about 7 trillion. This is fascinating in the global context - Russia's banks have completely tightened up, and in most western countries it is still very hard to get a loan (as well, there is less demand for loans as deleveraging is the word du jour). So it is unique and mostly state driven, and it is having a positive impact (on stock prices and property prices), and is among the factors that are helping China buy time while the rest of the world recovers... Next week I'll include a chart on China's money supply.

5. US Markets Year to Date... Draw your own conclusion!

I will let you draw your own conclusions, but I will give some context. The data is indexed at 100 at the start of the year, and I've used weekly % changes for the relevant closing metric. AIG is adjusted for the rejiggering of the shares on issue. The main indices give you a feel for the overall market sentiment, the interest rate gives you a feel for the inflation outlook and panic level (low i-rate means lots of buying i.e. lots of shelter seeking), and AIG and C give you a feel for relative optimisim (i.e. low prices on these two indicate a feeling that doom has not yet passed versus swing for the fences - we're out of the woods).

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