Friday, 6 February 2009

Good news

Some positive signs. Apparently calling them "green shoots" is not politically correct, so the Telegraph has described them as "glimmers of hope" instead. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says:
The pace of economic decline is slowing. Housing sales are picking up, even if prices are falling. Credit markets have begun to thaw.

The Baltic Dry Index measuring freight rates for iron ore and other bulk goods has been creeping up...

The debt markets have opened like a flower in spring, at least in one sense. Companies issued $246bn (£171bn) in bonds in January, the most since the credit crisis began.
The bond issuance looks especially important. Remember when Robert Peston was terrified of the €1 trillion of debt that had to be rolled over or refinanced in 2009?
...interest spreads on three-month dollar Libor have come down to 1pc from the extremes above 2pc...

The rate for 30-year mortgages has fallen to 5.28pc from 6.5pc two months ago.

"China's manufacturing is no longer in free-fall," said BNP Paribas.

The inventory cycle of the OECD club of rich states may be turning...Michael Vaknin from Goldman Sachs said we are getting "closer to the point" in the re-stocking cycle where industrial output stabilises.
Of course, there are so many economic statistics to choose from that you can always find some that look good. We have to trust that the journalist is not being deliberately selective. I don't know who this writer is, so I can't vouch for that. But even if she is cherry-picking, it makes a nice change from the careful selection of the worst possible figures which has been so common in the last year.

Naturally, not everyone agrees with this analysis:
SocGen's perma-bear Albert Edwards said. "There is not a cat's chance in hell that this really is the bottom of the cycle."
There's always one.

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