Archive for December, 2009

Something about time

December 31, 2009

I think it was reading Stuart Chase that first gave me the idea.  I just thought that it being New Year’s eve and all, surely there must be something special about this time.  But then I saw Cat sitting on the table, and thought, does it mean a special time for him?  And I decided it didn’t.  Now, if, God forbid, there had been an earthquake and the building had come down, that would have made a difference to my cat.  But (and here I pray for the best,) this time is like any other for him.  He doesn’t know its New Year’s eve.  And doesn’t care.  And since Cat is sitting right by me, thank God that all is well.

No, of course I agree, it is a social thing.  But I left out Social in choice.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment?

December 23, 2009

Seasonally adjusted unemployment?

There is this growing trend in the world of macroeconomic statistics, to seasonally adjust data.  Computation is cheap and easy, so why not compute?  Back in the days of the adding machine, it would have taken a lot more time and effort to seasonally adjust the data.  But think of what it is doing.  Was just reading in RGE Monitor about Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.  By having seasonally adjusted data quoted at me, I have lost the information that was there in the seasonal cycle.  Were I to do a univariate time series forecast, I would end up forecasting seasonally adjusted unemployment with the data at hand.  I would have lost the information in the cycle, which I need for a forecast.

And the point is, do I want to know how this December’s unemployment compares with other Decembers before it?  Not really.  What I want is an absolute number of the poor unemployed souls in the state of Hong Kong.  Each soul is dear to me.  And that I cannot get from seasonally adjusted data.

So there is and isn’t a place for seasonal adjustment, and I wish that in the future statistical agencies have the nous to give both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted data.

With every mistake…

December 21, 2009

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

Consumer credit from Z.1 December 10, 2009

December 13, 2009

There was a post I had written below which has disappeared.  I will try and reconstruct the contents here.  Maybe clarify ideas even further.

What would it profit anyone to create a debt slave?  In other words why do credit card companies lend to poor credit risks?  Let me try and remember the 4 C’s of lending.  Character, Capacity, Collateral and Capital.  Lending to someone who has no capacity to repay is poor lending.  Not prudent.

And Z.1 tells us credit card lending has been contracting.  Let us now look at Z.1.  This will update the data since the last post (the one that vanished).  That was only till September 17, 2009.  This will quote from the December 19, 2009 release.

D.2 Borrowing by Sector  (billions of dollars; quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted annual rates)
  Consumer credit
2007Q1 125.0
2007Q2 132.4
2007Q3 172.9
2007Q4 117.3
2008Q1 115.0
2008Q2 105.4
2008Q3 16.6
2008Q4 -76.4
2009Q1 -88.7
2009Q2 -120.8
2009Q3 -81.6


So: consumer credit has been contracting (always remembering that the negative figures above indicate a reduction in the stock of debt.)  People have been paying back their credit card debt.  Or companies have not been extending new credit.

My realization here is that credit card lending adds directly to aggregate demand for the products of the consumer goods sector.  Thus bolstering profits in those sectors.

On difference

December 9, 2009

Just putting it down in black and white for sake of clarity.

What is the difference that makes a difference and what is a difference that does not?  Everyone’s scheme of difference is different.  Yet there are universals.  Of feeling.  Of experience.  Hunger.  So: to put it in other words, what are those purposes to whose ends the means are fungible?  Some would here say ‘survival.’  Which makes it an economic question does it not?

So there is hunger and there is getting on.  Everybody is getting on.  But:  what is the scheme of difference that they are getting on in?  To me, an Alto and a Santro are purely fungible, what I need is someone to drive it.  But to some, the make of car they drive is a crucial element in their personality.  Different strokes for different folks.  But: there are universals.  Shared archetypes (everyone has had a mother they might have dreamed of.)  (Does my cat ever dream of his mother?)

Survival is a shared object (in the double sense of that word.)  It is a social undertaking.  A modicum of sociability is required for the work place so that the serious business of production may proceed.

Mortgages from Z.1 September 17,2009

December 3, 2009
  Households (billions of dollars, quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted annual rates)
  Home Mortgage
2003Q1 757.5
2003Q2 967.5
2003Q3 920.0
2003Q4 805.1
2004Q1 805.5
2004Q2 1004.2
2004Q3 868.6
2004Q4 1051.8
2005Q1 849.3
2005Q2 1051.9
2005Q3 1133.5
2005Q4 1109.2
2006Q1 1187.7
2006Q2 1153.1
2006Q3 878.1
2006Q4 691.2
2007Q1 771.9
2007Q2 759.1
2007Q3 475.0
2007Q4 603.8
2008Q1 252.4
2008Q2 -47.6
2008Q3 -267.7
2008Q4 -174.9
2009Q1 -6.2
2009Q2 -147.0


From Table D.2 Borrowing by Sector