Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday Night Economic Assessment

The US Industrial economy dipped again last week (if pipeline scheduling is correct), while brisk consumer spending perked up a bit in the midst of a storm-tossed week (weather-wise).

The Production Index (In terms of its 28-day moving average of gas-flow scheduling into US industrial facilities) edged lower vs the previous week (second down week-in-a-row), falling to 110.8 from the prior weeks 111.8. In its dailies (as per the "Part 7" industrial daily posts on the IV-CWEI site) the week was somewhat soft throughout.

On a sector-by-sector basis... Paperboard, LNG, Auto, and Metals (including the Copper & Steel subgroups) all started January strong... while refining, Minerals & Mining, and Lumber started a bit weak to December

The paperboard-based Consumption Index conversely rose for its second week-in-a-row, rising to 132.5 from the previous weeks 131.0. In its dailies the week was somewhat soft, though the index itself (in terms of its 28-day moving average) benefited slightly as a softer week dropped off the other end.

The Inventories measure (the cumulative weekly difference between the Production Index and the Consumption Index) continued it's seemingly never-ending decline, remaining well-below pre-recessionary levels.

The weather added to the general malaise of the week, as blizzard-conditions appeared to hamper some markets in the industrial northeast.

Overall, maintained firmness in consumer spending, the deficit of the Production Index to the Consumption Index, and the deep and continuing decline of the Inventories Measure... all continue to underpin the economy, though flows still exhibit a stagnant-look which is worrisome. The continuing lag in the Production vs Consumption Index continues to hint to a shallowness in the productive end of the US economy... which is a continuing drag on employment and job-creation.