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The economic week in review: More troubling signs

Europe’s woes continued to weigh heavily on global markets this week. A summit of European leaders on Wednesday failed to reassure economists and investors that politicians can contain the growing risks of Greek exit from the euro and continental banking crisis. Here at home, data showed that the rate of price rises facing consumers rose […]

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The economic week in review: Timeo Danaos

Fear of the Greeks was the dominant economic theme of the week. Greece’s failure to form a new government after inconclusive parliamentary elections last week drove markets broadly lower as concerns mounted that Europe’s debt crisis may soon get a lot worse. Elsewhere, America’s central bank hinted that the world’s largest economy may require further […]

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The economic week in review: Fairly awful, actually

Aside from some unexpectedly upbeat news from manufacturers in the US and – to a lesser extent – China, this week saw the release of some truly awful economic data. Here’s the rundown. United States On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index – an indicator of future activity – defied consensus expectations […]

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Vehicle sales speak volumes

Last week’s post looked at the most expensive asset most of us will ever buy: property. This week we’ll take a look at vehicle sales and what they tell us about the economy as a whole. Cars, bakkies and trucks are expensive. For most of us consumers, after our houses, vehicles are the most costly […]

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Measuring consumer confidence

Last week’s post explained how to interpret economic indicators using gross domestic product as an example. This week, we’ll examine consumer confidence measures. Who are the biggest spenders in South Africa? Want to guess government? You’d be wrong. How about business? Wrong again. The correct answer is us. It’s not even close. South African household […]

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How to use economic indicators

Last week’s post introduced the concept of economic indicators and why you should pay attention to them. This week’s post explains how to actually use them. As a general rule, with most indicators, you must look for four things: movement, magnitude, trends and context. Each of these tells you something interesting, but you only get […]