Thursday, December 17, 2009

Newspeak mot du jour: nothing is more expected than the unexpected

The fresh thin lustre on last week's rosy unemployment numbers has hardly set when today's news sober us up with an "unexpected rise in unemplyment". Oh la la, the unexpected! Now who would have thought!

Running "unexpected" in Google Trends, we notice an, um, unexpected trend in the media, with many gems over the last year announcing unexpected February new home sales, Retail sales fall unexpectedly in March, Retail sales dip unexpectedly, jobless claims rise (in August), Consumer confidence unexpectedly falls in Sept., New home sales unexpectedly tumble (October) , and the more recent New jobless claims fall unexpectedly to 457K.

Things were never so unexpected!

This picture is worth a thousand words, assuming each of these words has more value than the inflated "unexpected" (the media mentions of the word are on the lower pane):

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's NEVER the right time to discuss top sovereign-ratings changes, and pass the borek please

Moody's: Still too soon to discuss top sovereign-ratings changes - MarketWatch:
"While several Aaa-rated countries have 'lost altitude' within their current ratings category, many countries lower down the ratings ladder have shown better-than-expected resilience to the economic crisis. In fact, Chile, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Peru, Turkey, Indonesia have all received ratings upgrades during 2009."
Oh, so it's like credit rating inflation? Everybody else gets an upgrade instead of downgrading the elephant in the room?

Turkey is a nice one. Wikipedia tells us Turkey has taken a hit like everybody else - budget deficit swelling 13X and GDP shrinking by a record 13.8%. The Economist talked about Turkey's unemployment as "putting Turkey among the economies worst hit by the global recession." The IMF expects Turkish economy to shrink 5% in 2009.

But - but - not a single Turkish bank has gone under. OMG, here, take an upgrade for that, you resilient you!

No offense, but do you suppose there ever will be a proper time to discuss downgrades? It's just such an inappropriate topic.