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17 September 2018 China's August Activity Headlines are Misleading on Multiple Counts (Publication Centre)

The headlines of China's August activity data are missing the real story in recent months.

21 June 2019 Financial Markets in the Eurozone are now in Bizarro-World (Publication Centre)

Swoons in EZ investor sentiment are not always reliable leading indicators for the economic surveys, but it is fair to say that risks for today's advance PMIs are tilted to the downside, following the dreadful Sentix and ZEW headlines earlier this month.

9 November 2018 Ignore the Headlines the Tariffs are Starting to Hit China's Trade Flows (Publication Centre)

China's official, unadjusted trade data for October grabbed the headlines, as they look great at first glance.

10 July 2019 The BoJ Faces a Slew of Very Nasty Data, it Still won't Ease (Publication Centre)

We think Japanese monetary policy easing essentially is tapped out, both theoretically and by political constraints.

15 May 2018 Autos Likely Constrained April Retail Sales, Core Trend is Gently Upwards (Publication Centre)

The story of U.S. retail sales since last summer is mostly a story about the impact of the hurricanes, Harvey in particular.

22 February 2019 This Month's PMI Headline: Weak Manufacturing, Strong Services (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's February PMI data sent a clear message to markets.

25 February 2019 The IFO is still Bleak, but the German GDP Data are Nuanced (Publication Centre)

Friday's economic data in Germany left markets with a confused picture of the Eurozone's largest economy.

28 June 2019 Who Will get the Top Jobs in the EU, and Should Investors Care? (Publication Centre)

Last week's capsized European Council summit added to our suspicions that uncertainty over the EU's top jobs will linger over the summer.

23 March 2018 Don't Over-Interpret the Latest Soft Survey Data in the Eurozone (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's barrage of economic data in the Eurozone added to the evidence that economic momentum is slowing.

14 December 2018 Look Behind the Headlines for the Real Retail and Industrial Stories (Publication Centre)

We argued earlier this week that the data on the consumer economy are likely to be rather stronger than the industrial numbers.

10 April 2018 Falling Stock Prices Threaten NFIB Headlines, Labor Data Strong (Publication Centre)

It's probably too soon to expect to see a meaningful reaction in the NFIB small business survey to the drop in stock prices, but it likely is coming, and a hit in today's March report can't be ruled out entirely.

13 September 2018 China's Money Headlines Tell an Old Story Conditions are Loosening (Publication Centre)

China's M2 growth slowed to 8.2% year-over-year in August, from 8.5% in July

17 August 2018 Noisy Headlines Don't Change the Core Story Growth Still Solid (Publication Centre)

Your correspondent is headed to the beach for the next couple of weeks, with publication resuming on Tuesday, September 4.

27 September 2018 What to Expect From Today's 2019 Budget Headlines in Italy (Publication Centre)

Today is a busy day in the Eurozone economic calendar, but we suspect that markets mainly will focus on the details of Italy's 2019 budget.

29 July 2019 China's GDP Headlines Overstate Growth but Q2 Wasn't all Bad News (Publication Centre)

China's Q2 real GDP growth officially slowed to 6.2% year-over-year, from 6.4% in Q1, which already matched the trough in the financial crisis.

22 January 2019 Chinese GDP Growth was Much Weaker than the Headlines Suggest (Publication Centre)

Chinese GDP numbers always require a great deal of detective work, and yesterday's needed more than the norm; multiple rounds of revisions needed decoding.

28 Oct 2019 China's Q3 GDP was Dire, Official Headlines Don't Tell the Half of it (Publication Centre)

China's official real GDP growth slowed to 6.0% year-over-year in Q3, from 6.2% in Q2 and 6.4% in Q1. Consecutive 0.2 percentage points declines are significant in China.

21 February 2018 The ECB is in the Headlines, But Not Because of its Monetary Policy (Publication Centre)

Politics are once again encroaching on the economic story in the Eurozone. At the ECB, this week has so far been a tumultuous one.

17 Feb. 2016 Behind Utility-Hit Headlines, the Industrial Sector is Growing, Jus (Publication Centre)

If the collapse in oil sector capex and the strong dollar were going to push the industrial economy into recession, it probably would have started by now

8 Dec. 2015 Small Firms Are Struggling to Recruit, and Price are Nudging Up (Publication Centre)

The release of the NFIB survey at 6.00AM eastern time this morning--really, they need a new PR advisor--doubtless will bring a flurry of headlines about rising wage pressures, with the expected compensation index rising by a startling three points to a new post-crash high. But this is not news, nor is the high, stable level of hiring intentions; these key labor market numbers were released last week in the NFIB Jobs Report, which appears the day before the official employment report. The data are simply extracted from the main NFIB survey.

6 September. 2016 Too Soon to Breathe a Sigh of Relief on Recession Risk (Publication Centre)

The improvement in the August services PMI has generated hyperbolic headlines suggesting the U.K. is on a tear despite the Brexit vote. Taken literally, however, the PMIs suggest that the revival in business activity in August only partially reversed July's decline. Meanwhile, the impact of sterling's sharp depreciation on the purchasing power of firms and consumers has only just begun to be felt.

EZ Datanote: Advance PMIs, Germany, June (Publication Centre)

In one line: Manufacturing still looks terrible, but the remaining headlines are decent.

U.S. Datanote: U.S. Housing Starts, August (Publication Centre)

In one line: Headlines flattered massively by multi-family surge, but core single-family numbers decent too.

U.S. Datanote: U.S. Producer Prices (Publication Centre)

In one line: Noisy components depress the headlines, but hospital prices are accelerating.

6 February 2018 Welcome to the Chair, Mr. Powell - How was Your First Day? (Publication Centre)

The record 1,178-point drop in the Dow will garner all the headlines today, but a sense of perspetive is in order, despite the chaos. The 113-point, or 4.1%, fall in the S&P 500 was very startling, but it merely returned the index to its early December level; it has given up the gains only of the past nine weeks.

U.S. Datanote: U.S. Housing Starts, June (Publication Centre)

In one line: Headlines are misleading; core activity stable.

U.S. Datanote: U.S. Consumer Prices, April (Publication Centre)

In one line: Details indicate that downside pressure is much less than headlines suggest.

5 May. Mortgage Lending Concerns Will Ensure the MPC Doesn't Cut Rates (Publication Centre)

Barclays hit the headlines yesterday with an announcement that it is bringing back no-deposit mortgages for first-time buyers and raising its maximum loan-to-income ratio for borrowers with an income of more than £50K to 5.5, from 4.4. With other lenders likely to follow suit and the supply of homes for sale still extremely low, house price inflation likely will remain brisk this year.

13 June 2017 Solid Mexican Manufacturing Eclipsed By Other Key Sectors (Publication Centre)

Activity in the Mexican industrial sector cooled marginally at the start of the second quarter, but the drop was not as dramatic as the headlines suggested. Output fell 4.4% year-over-year in April, after a 3.4% increase in March.

13 Sept 2019 The ECB Fires Both Barrels It Won't Stop Until CPI is at 2% (Publication Centre)

The ECB disappointed slightly on the big headlines in yesterday's policy announcements, but it delivered shock and awe with the details

15 March 2019 China's Activity Data Aren't as Bad as they Look on the Surface (Publication Centre)

The headlines of China's main activity gauges paint a dreary picture of the start of the year, implying a slowdown.

15 October 2018 Below-Consensus CPI Data will Dull any Brexit Deal Rally in Sterling (Publication Centre)

Brexit talks will dominate the headlines this week, with the focal point set to be a meeting of the European Council on Wednesday, where E.U. leaders might give the green light for an extraordinary summit next month to formalise the Withdrawal Agreement.

12 March 2018 Weak Production Data Signal Soft January in Germany and France (Publication Centre)

Friday's industrial production headlines in the Eurozone were weak, but the details tell a more nuanced story.

12 April 2018 A Much-Needed Reality Check on the Eurozone Economy (Publication Centre)

Today's industrial production data in the Eurozone will extend the run of soft headlines at the start of the year.

1 May 2019 The Eurozone Economy Defied the Pessimists in the First Quarter (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's economic headlines in the Eurozone were pleasant reading.

10 February 2017 Still no Sign of a Sustained Trade Boost From Sterling's Depreciation (Publication Centre)

Today's trade figures likely will continue to show that the benefits from sterling's depreciation are being outweighed by the costs. Exports still are barely growing, but consumers are about to endure a substantial import price shock. The monthly trade deficit has been extremely volatile over the last year, generating a series of excessively upbeat or gloomy headlines. The truth is that the deficit has been on a slightly deteriorating trend, as our first chart shows. We think the trade deficit likely narrowed to £3.8B in December, from £4.2B in November, bringing it closer to its rolling 12-month average of £3.0B.

10 May 2017 German GDP Growth Likely Accelerated in the First Quarter (Publication Centre)

Yesterday's economic data in Germany cemented the story of a strong start to the year, despite the disappointing headlines. Industrial production slipped 0.4% month-to-month in March, pushing the year-over-year rate down to +1.9% from a revised +2.0% in February.

11 Nov 2019 Signs of Stabilisation in Chinese Trade, but don't Get too Excited (Publication Centre)

China's October foreign trade headlines beat expectations, but the year-over-year numbers remain grim, with imports falling 6.4%, only a modest improvement from the 8.5% tumble in September.

16 Nov. 2015 Ignore the Hysteria if Inflation Eased Further in October (Publication Centre)

October's consumer price figures, to be released tomorrow, look set to show CPI inflation easing to -0.2%, from -0.1%, below the no-change consensus and the lowest rate since March 1960. No doubt this will spark more hyperbolic headlines about the U.K.'s descent into pernicious deflation; ignore them. October's print will almost certainly represent the nadir and we think it will take only a year for CPI inflation to return to the MPC's 2% target.

15 Sept. 2015 August Retail Sales "Soft" Again? But the Real Story is Different (Publication Centre)

Today's wave of data will be mixed, but most of the headlines are likely to be on the soft side, so the reports are very unlikely to trigger a wave of last minute defections to the hawkish side of the FOMC. As always, though, the headlines don't necessarily capture the underlying story, and that's certainly been the case with the retail sales data this year. Plunging prices for gas and imported goods, especially audio-video items, have driven down the rate of growth of nominal retail sales, but real sales have performed much better.

26 Oct. 2015 Mexico's Private Consumption is the Key Driver of the Upswing (Publication Centre)

The tumultuous political and economic crises in Brazil continue to feed off each other, grabbing most of the LatAm headlines. Sentiment will remain depressed, and volatility and uncertainty will persist, hampering any real signs of stabilization in the near-term. The Pacific Alliance countries, by contrast, managed to grow at relatively solid rates during the first half of this year, after absorbing the hit from falling commodity prices.

18 Jan. 2016 Is it Time to Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater? (Publication Centre)

Investors have endured a severe test of their resolve in the last few months. Global equity markets have sunk more than 10%, eclipsing the previous low in September, and credit spreads have widened. The bears have predictably pounced and, as if the torrid price action hasn't been enough, media headlines have been littered with advice to "sell everything" and warnings of a 75% fall in U.S. and global equities. When "price is news" we recognise that views from well-meaning economists--often using lagging and revised economic data to describe the world--are of little value.

29 November 2018 The Bank's Brexit Deal Scenarios are Consistent with a May Rate Hike (Publication Centre)

Predictably, the Bank of England's estimate that GDP would plunge by 8% in the first year after a disorderly no-deal, no transition Brexit and that interest rates would need to rise to 5.5% to contain inflation grabbed the headlines yesterday.

30 October 2017 New Elections in Catalonia Beckon as Madrid Activates Article 155 (Publication Centre)

The headlines from Catalonia are as confusing as ever, but we are sticking to our view--see here--that regional elections are the only reasonable outcome of the chaos.

5 February 2019 Spain's Economy is Still the Unsung Hero in the Eurozone (Publication Centre)

The majority of headlines from last week's advance Q4 GDP data in the Eurozone--see here--were negative.

24 August 2018 What Probability are Markets Attaching to a No-Deal Brexit? (Publication Centre)

Speculation that the U.K. will end up leaving the E.U. in March without a deal has dominated the headlines over the last month. Politicians on both sides of the Channel have warned that the probability of a no-deal Brexit is at least as high as 50%, even though more than 80% of the withdrawal deal already has been agreed.

24 January 2019 Mr. Draghi Won't Help Already Dovishly-Inclined Markets Today (Publication Centre)

The ECB will deliver a carbon copy of its December meeting today, at least in terms of the main headlines.

21 September 2018 China's Belt and Road Initiative is Likely to Undergo a Major Rethink (Publication Centre)

China's once much-talked-about "Belt and Road Initiative" has gradually disappeared from the headlines over the past twelve months.

19 Sept 2019 Caught in the Lights Bi-directional Uncertainty Constrains the Fed (Publication Centre)

The Fed headlines yesterday carried no real surprises; rates were cut by 25bp, with a promise to take further action if "appropriate to sustain the expansion".

18 March 2019 CPI Inflation Likely Held Steady in February, but it will Pick Up Soon (Publication Centre)

While Brexit news will dominate the headlines again--see here for why the odds remain against Mrs. May winning the third "meaningful vote"--February's consumer prices report is the highlight in this week's congested economic data calendar.

2 May 2019 April Trade Data Point to a Potential V-Shaped Recovery for Korea in Q2 (Publication Centre)

Korean exports continued to fall year-over-year in April, but the story isn't as bleak as the headlines suggest.

Samuel Tombs

Samuel Tombs has more than a decade of experience covering the U.K. economy for investors. At Pantheon, Samuel's research is rigorous, free of dogma and jargon, and unafraid to challenge consensus views. His work focuses on what matters to professional investors: The links between the real economy, monetary policy and asset prices. He has a strong track record of getting the big calls right. The Sunday Times ranked Samuel as the most accurate forecaster of the U.K. economy in both 2014 and 2018. In addition, Bloomberg consistently has ranked Samuel as one of the top three U.K. forecasters, out of pool of 35 economists, throughout 2018 and 2019. His in-depth knowledge of market-moving data and his forensic forecasting approach explain why he consistently beats the consensus. Samuel's work on Brexit goes beyond simply reporting developments and is always analytical and unbiased, enabling investors to see through the noise of the daily headlines. While his analysis points to a particular path that politicians will take, he acknowledges the inherent uncertainty and draws out the economic and financial market implications of all plausible Brexit scenarios. Samuel holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College, University of London and an undergraduate degree in History and Economics from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining Pantheon in 2015, he was Senior U.K. Economist at Capital Economics. In 2011, Samuel won the Society of Business Economists' prestigious Rybczynski Prize for an article on quantitative easing in the UK. He is based in London but frequently visits our other offices. Recent key calls include: 2018 - Correctly forecast that GDP growth would slow and inflation would undershoot the MPC's initial forecast, prompting the Committee to shock investors and almost other economists by waiting until August to raise Bank Rate, rather than pressing ahead in May. 2017 - Argued that the MPC was wrong to expect CPI inflation to stay below 3% following sterling's depreciation. He also highlighted that economic indicators pointed to the Conservatives losing their outright majority in the snap general election.

Bloomberg - WaPo Op-Ed: 'This Is How Fascism Comes to America' (Media Centre)

Chief U.S. Economist Ian Shepherdson on Bloomberg Surveillance

Datanotes

Short, punchy analysis of major economic data, emailed within a few minutes of their release

Consistently Right

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