Rebecca Wilder’s economic updates (June 5 – 12): Waiting on the sidelines

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This post is a guest contribution by Rebecca Wilder*, author of the of the News N Economics blog.

This week’s economic reports show a global economy hanging in the balance: signs of stabilization present, but the lagged economic reports still show no decided turning points. Exports are crashing – China and Canada, who depend on exports to fuel economic growth, are seeing export income fall at an increasing annual pace. Canada’s housing market is suffering, but it’s decline is not even comparable to its southern neighbor. Unemployment rates surge as resource utilization falls precipitously, and taking prices down to negative territory. However, the recent uptick in oil – uptick! more like a rocket-powered boost – will relieve the drag on headline prices.

Exports continue to disappoint in China, Canada and the US. Foreign demand for economic growth is out for the count. From the WSJ:

“Although recent economic data offer increasing evidence of a recovering Chinese economy, the external environment remains weak, spelling ever more dependence on domestic demand for growth,” Morgan Stanley economists said in a note after the data were issued Friday, predicting Beijing won’t shift its monetary policy stance in the near term”.

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Canada’s housing market is taking a serious tumble. However, one cannot compare this housing market recessionary response to the meltdown in the U.S. The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, a bottom may be forming:

Housing starts are expected to improve throughout 2009 and over the next several years to gradually become more closely aligned to demographic demand, which is currently estimated at about 175,000 units per year.

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And reality rears its ugly head as unemployment rates surge in the US, Canada, and Australia.

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Inflation is (almost) negative across the board – Germany posts 0.0% annual inflation in May.

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The weak global economy will keep inflation low, but the surge in oil – already over 15% since the May average – will relieve the drag on headline inflation!

Industrial production may have found its bottom in the UK, but not in Germany! Germany, the Eurozone’s biggest economy, helped to push the Eurozone’s industrial production down 21.6% in April.

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Overall, signs of a bottom are certainly forming; however, we wait for a turning point to show up in most of the lagged reports (1-3 months).

Source: Rebecca Wilder, News N Economics, June 12, 2009.

* Rebecca Wilder is an economist in the financial industry. She was previously an assistant professor and holds a doctorate in economics.

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