Monday, March 26, 2012

Global Industrial Production

Despite all the natural and man-made disasters of 2011, global industrial production rose to a record high during the final month of last year based on an index compiled by the OECD for its 30 members of “advanced” economies and the six largest emerging economies. That index now exceeds the previous cyclical high during January 2008 by 3.8%. On the other hand, the index for just the 30 members was flat most of last year and remains 5.5% below its January 2008 cyclical (and record) peak. The resilience of the global economy in the face of the huge hit to Japanese manufacturing caused by the earthquake in March and the financial crisis in Europe is impressive.

Among the OECD economies, weakness in European production indexes has been offset by strength in the US. The Euro Zone 17 index of industrial production is down 3.5% over the past five months through January. Over the same period through January, the US manufacturing output index is up 3.4%. The latter did slow to a gain of 0.3% during February following 1.1% during January, which was revised upwards from 0.7%. Over the past three months through February, US manufacturing rose at an annualized rate of 9.6%, based on its three-month average.

TODAY’S MORNING BRIEFING BULLET POINTS: (1) Professor Bernanke explains it all. (2) Lessons learned from the 1930s. (3) Making new mistakes. (4) ZIRP no matter what. (5) Fizzle fears for a third year. (6) Two of the stool’s three legs are wobbling. (7) Spain’s pain. (8) A power struggle in China? (9) Spring break or spring wobble? (10) Underweighting Europe. (11) The global economy is slowing, not stalling. (More for subscribers.)

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