Tag Archives | consumer spending

“US population is aging: older people tend to consume and spend less”

Its not just the UK that is seeing an earthquake taking place in consumer demand patterns, as the blog discussed last week.  The same earthquake is taking place in the world’s largest consumer market, the USA.  As the Wall Street Journal reports: “For the past three years running, unit sales of consumer products have been […]

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A New Year resolution

Do you recognise any of these women?  Pictured in an excellent Financial Times article they are (left to right), New York Style icon Iris Apfel; model and actress Marisa Berenson; model and actress Lauren Hutton; fashion designer Jenny Kee; actress Meryl Streep. Nothing difficult about that you may say - even if, like the blog, you remember […]

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Benzene challenges financial markets’ rosy view of the outlook

This is Budget week, when the blog prepares to present its Budget Outlook for 2014-16.  On Saturday, it reviewed its 2012 forecast.  And starting tomorrow, it will analyse auto markets – as these are the largest single driver of demand - before issuing its 2014 Outlook next Saturday. The chart above presents the dilemma facing companies, […]

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Markets in wait-and-see mode as holiday season arrives

Markets have moved into summer holiday mode in recent weeks whilst they wait for a new direction, as the chart shows.  It is therefore timely to look back over developments since the start of the year: The S&P 500 (purple) has been the clear winner, up 15%.  The key to its out-performance has been the central […]

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US consumer sentiment confirms Boom/Gloom Index weakness

It is now 4 years since the blog launched its IeC Boom/Gloom Index, as a way of measuring the difference between sentiment and economic reality. Its purpose then was as follows: “Markets are driven by two factors, sentiment and fundamentals: • Fundamentals can be followed by analysing hard data. In chemical markets, for example, key […]

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US job numbers still below 2008 levels

The US jobs market remains very fragile. That seems to be the key message from last week’s monthly job statistics. And, of course, if jobs are hard to get, then consumer spending and GDP will remain weak. The chart shows the monthly jobs trend since 2008: • The number of jobs dived to 134.4m by […]

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Simplicity is the new luxury

Today’s VUCA landscape (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is having a profound impact on consumers as well as companies. All of us are grappling with 3 key trends in our lives: • Life is too busy, particularly for women juggling home and work • Technology has become too complex for most of us to understand • […]

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US job news shows demographics slowing demand

Friday’s weak US jobs report seemed to surprise most of those Wall Street analysts who are supposed to understand this key subject. The reason is that they ignore the major demographic changes now underway. The chart above shows official US employment numbers since 1939 (blue column) and per capita disposable income since 1969 (red line), […]

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Growth in US jobs and disposable income no longer following historical trends

Short-term pressures have come to dominate financial markets in recent years. In turn, they have become dominated by high-frequency trading, which frequently accounts for over 60% of all market action. Their trading is not based on careful analysis, but on extremely fast ‘black box’ computing, which generates ‘trading opportunities’ in micro-seconds. Their power is enormous, […]

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Pensions fall as financial market turmoil continues

Increasing life expectancy is an enormous benefit for today’s population. We can all, whether in developed or developing countries, expect to live a decade or more longer than our grandparents’ generation. Yet pension systems haven’t adapted to this change. The money we now save is still only enough to pay for a few years of […]

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