Friday, June 11, 2010

Economics 11/06/2010: What's going up might be also going down

Irish retail sales have surprised on the positive side, posting a 0.3% increase yoy for sales ex-motors in April 2010. Sounds impressive, especially considering this was the first yoy increase since March 2008, or over some 25 months now. But hold on to that thought of a recovery signal. Check out the charts:
Things are still very much up in the air as to whether retail sales are actually on a mend or not. The figures above plot seasonally adjusted series ex-motors. More importantly, sales in the categories that are correlated with overall household investment activities - household equipment (down 3.1% in value mom, and down 1.2% in volume mom), electrical goods (-3.2% in value mom and 2.3% in volume mom) and Furniture & Lighting (down 5% in value and 6.2% in volume) - all signal no growth in the core leading indicator of a recovery - improved domestic investment. Only Hardware, Paint & Glass category related to investment showed increases of 2% and 4.2% in value and volume in mom terms.

Interestingly, Ireland bucked the EU-wide trend in April:
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