lunes, 30 de abril de 2012

"The prettiest horse in the glue factory"

The US economy grew at a 2.2% annualized rate in the first quarter, a rate that only looks good in comparison to Europe's economic performance and the double-dip recessions into which Great Britain and Spain have fallen. In the fourth quarter of 2011, US GDP grew 3.0%.

The decline in the growth rate was not across the board. Personal consumption expenditures accelerated, rising 2.9% in Q1 (up from 2.1% in Q4). Government spending continued to contract (-3.9% in Q1) although at a slower rate than in Q4 (-4.2%). Government spending subtracted from GDP for the sixth consecutive quarter; it cut 0.60 percentage points from growth in Q1. A sharp drop-off in the growth rate of investment (from 22.1% in Q4 to 6.0% in Q1) pulled growth down in the first quarter of 2012. Inventories  contributed 1.81 percentage points to growth in Q4; in Q1, they contributed only 0.59 percentage points. Non-residential fixed investment reduced growth by 0.22 percentage points in Q1; in Q4, it added 0.53 percentage points to growth.

An interesting aside... To see how young US voters rank the importance of different issues, see the summary of Harvard University's Institute of Politics' "Survey of Young Americans' Attitudes Towards Politics and Public Service: 21st edition" at the following link:

lunes, 23 de abril de 2012

The US economy: before and after...

Take a look at a number of key indicators comparing how the US economy looks now compared to before the "Lesser Recession". Some fascinating charts....

viernes, 20 de abril de 2012

Cuidad Juarez, as seen from the US...

A review of a documentary on what's happening in Cuidad Juarez, "Murder Capital of the World", from today's New York Times. Here's the link:

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2012

Borrowing abroad...

In each of the last two years, the Mexican private sector's net foreign borrowing exceeded that of the public sector. Last year, the private sector borrowed (net) US$7.96 billion; the public sector borrowed US$5.63 billion. The private sector's total net foreign borrowing in the last two years totaled US$26.89 billion compared to US$19.30 billion for the public sector. Including the central bank's debt repayment reduces the two year public total to $16.08 billion.

domingo, 1 de abril de 2012

The Mexican election, as seen from New York...

Here's how a New York Times journalist portrays the presidential candidates... For the entire three page article, see the link below the quote.

"Enrique Peña Nieto, the telegenic front-runner sometimes called the Pretty Boy (or Gel Boy because of his styled hair), needs to persuade voters that he represents a new, corruption-free Institutional Revolutionary Party, or P.R.I., the party that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000. But can he prove he is not just a handsome meringue atop an old authoritarian party?
Josefina Vázquez Mota, a former education secretary under the current president, has perhaps a greater challenge. She has been called the Quinceañera Doll because she is always smiling, but her party — the P.A.N., orNational Action Party — has been in charge for 12 years, a time of rising violence and continued corruption. Can she convince Mexicans that she represents a break from her party and become the country’s first female president?
And even for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a liberal former mayor of Mexico City who lost the last election in 2006 by 0.6 percentage points, the past and future compete. The oldest of the candidates, sometimes called the Tired Has-Been, he must answer the question of whether he has put aside the radical populism of his last campaign to govern as a moderate."