Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius: Don’t Be Fooled by Inflation

Thursday, August 28, 2008 | 10:30 AM

This whole week, I've been out of the office, and of course, each data release is I didn't get a chance to review in real time had some significant hair on it.

Case in point: Durable Goods Orders. Indeed, yesterday's rally was (ostensibly) attributed to the surprising strength in Durables.

Only not so much.  When you consider the price rises that were included, the strength vanishes.

Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius:  Durable Goods Orders: Don’t Be Fooled by Inflation

Durable goods orders beat expectations with a 1.3% month-on-month increase in July.  But the apparent strength is due to higher prices, not stronger activity. In fact, deflating orders by the producer price index for durable manufactured goods shows a 9.4% year-on-year drop in real orders, the worst since early 2002. 

Even if we adjust for the unfavorable year-on-year comparisons that partly explain this plunge, the recent data look surprisingly similar to those seen in the runup to the 2001 recession.

Just like GDP -- preliminary revisions for Q2 was released earlier today -- and like retail sales, we see inadequate accounting for inflation that creates the illusion of growth.

We are a nation that is beyond denial -- we are kidding ourselves. If we don't start dealing with reality, it will be our undoing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 | 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack (1)
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» Is BEA Measuring Growth or Inflation? from The Big Picture
We noted earlier today that the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported revised Q2 GDP data at a better-than-expected annualized 3.3%. As discussed in the comments, the measure of Inflation is crucial to getting an accurate read on GDP (or Durable Goods).... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2008 12:01:41 PM

Comments

So what will Sir Goldilocks be crowing about tonight on his clown show?

A.) What recession? - Goldilocks lives!
B.) Obama's acceptance speech lifts markets
C.) Dems last day of convention spurs market rally in anticipation of GOP convention next week.
D.) All of the Above.
E.) None of the Above.

Hhhhhmmm, let me see. I'll go with A - the oldie but goodie - "Goldilocks Lives!"

Posted by: Jeff M. | Aug 28, 2008 10:35:11 AM

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