A Disconnect

How else would you describe it when you read this:

U.S. imports of goods, including clothes and furniture, in containers may grow as much as 15 percent into October as the global economic recovery encourages consumers in the world’s biggest market to spend more.

via U.S. container imports may rise 15% – Taiwan News Online.

And then compare it to charts like this?

Or this?

I included both 6mth and 12mth moving averages as a way to smooth out volatility and see the underlying trend in the data.  All of the moving averages show that either prices (in the case of the CPI) or the value of goods & services (in the Retail Sales Ex. Autos data) are falling.

I think there are two things at work here:

  • First, in looking at the CPI & Retail Sales data, the growth has already occurred.  Whatever pricing power increases we were going to get, we’ve already gotten.  The fact that freight companies are looking data about things that have already occurred is a little surprising.
  • Second, we may be talking about two separate issues.  If the value of goods being produced/shipped = prices paid X volume produced/shipped, we very well could see volumes increase in a time when prices paid are falling.  That wouldn’t surprise me either.  Also, that’s a deflationary signal.

But this last statement, is just silly.  Again, from the Taiwan News Online article:

“Virtually all of the ocean carriers now seem to accept there will not be an end to the growth,” Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which compiled the data, said in the statement. “Not a day goes by without a new announcement of additional services or reinstatement of services that had been withdrawn.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a statement made at a cyclical top to me…


1 Comment

Filed under finance, macro, Way Forward, You're kidding

One response to “A Disconnect

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention A Disconnect « Deep Thoughts by Professor Pinch -- Topsy.com

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