This post is a guest contribution by Rebecca Wilder*, author of the of the News N Economics blog.

This week was a little light on global data. Given that the trade data is looking “better” in some areas (which really means not falling as quickly in some cases, see this post and this post), it is likely that Q1 will be the worse quarter for many Asian economies who rely heavily on exports for growth. It’s bad, though, with Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore all falling 9% or more over the year! Inflation is slowing substantially in some areas, negative in others. And finally, it looks like US capital markets got a small bump in March, as foreigners returned to risk. Overall, the global economic reports remain in the red, but the shockingly bad reports are fading.

GDP in Asia: waiting to exhale


The chart illustrates annual GDP growth through Q1 2009 for Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Singapore. Looks bad, but Indonesia is showing some resilience, although GDP is now growing at its slowest pace since January 2004.

More scary inflation charts: disinflationary pressures strong – deflation in some


The chart illustrates annual inflation across key economies through April 2009. The UK is an interesting case: the British pound has been taking a beating and pressuring prices, and the consumer price index is holding on (can’t say the same for the retail price index) better than in other economies (US inflation now negative for two consecutive months). Today, though, S&P downgraded the UK outlook to negative, and the sterling took a hit; wonder what that will do to prices?

Amid a calm developing in capital markets, foreign investors returning to US-denominated risk


The chart illustrates the 12-month rolling sum of net capital inflows through March 2009, as reported by the Treasury International Capital data (TIC). Good thing for the Treasury, which is planning on running $trillion deficits in coming years, that foreigners might buy their notes. In March, foreigners showed a slight shift toward risk, with net long-term flows growing for the first time over the year since the end of 2008 (second time over the month).

Source: Rebecca Wilder, News N Economics, May 21, 2009.

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