Sales of women’s clothing, a traditional pillar of the holiday shopping season, are unusually weak so far this year, according to a major credit card company, an ominous sign for the retail industry.
From high-end dresses to bargain coats, spending on women’s apparel dropped nearly 6 percent during the first half of the Christmas season, compared with the same period last year, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company.
But all is not yet lost, SOME are doing just fine, thank you,
Spending on luxury items is up 10.8 percent, “which isn’t bad at all,” Mr. McNamara said.
Yes, at the top things are great.
A certain commenter might want to leave a message about heads on pikes, torches and pitchforks right about now…
Wholesale prices and retail sales jumped in November and jobless claims fell last week.
Wholesale prices shot up 3.2 percent, the biggest jump in 34 years, propelled by a record rise in gasoline prices. Meanwhile, consumers put aside worries about the weak economy in November to storm into the shopping malls, pushing up retail sales by the largest amount in six months.
This is actually a very big story. The world’s richest model (earned $30 million in 6 months this year) is now refusing to take her pay in dollars. She is insisting on Euros. This is huge because it will penetrate past the financial pages and cause people to start understanding what is going on – possibly starting a stampede from the dollar.
The world’s richest model has reportedly reacted in her own way to the sliding value of the US dollar – by refusing to be paid in the currency.
Gisele Bündchen is said to be keen to avoid the US currency because of uncertainty over its strength.
The Brazilian, thought to have earned about $30m in the year to June, prefers to be paid in euros, her sister and manager told the Bloomberg news agency.
Right, because in a free market, capitalist economy it would be wrong for home prices to drop and for me to have to spend less on the condo I’m looking to buy. Since when was it anybody’s job to artificially drive up the prices of homes in my or any other neighborhood? Since when is it wrong for someone else to have their home value decrease because of a market adjustment, but it’s right for me to have my future home cost increase because of an artificial intervention? They lose money, it’s wrong – I lose money, it’s right. Uh huh. I am just increasingly sick and tired of every bail out of the rich and the poor, from the right and the left, coming at the expense of those of us in the middle who never seem to get anything, except an increasingly large bill for helping everyone else at our own expense. I’m not opposed to helping others. I am opposed to never being on the receiving end of such help. The Republicans help one side, the Dems the other, and no one thinks of the middle.
People who did the RIGHT thing is losing out now. On Wall Street people who took depositor and stockholder money, gambled it away, and got rich in the process are getting sweet bailout deals. Fairness should become an issue in this.
There are plenty of big economic questions that will be answered in 2007. Will there be a global trade deal? Can the German economy shrug off the impact of higher taxes? Can China continue to grow at 10% a year? Will oil prices stay high or come crashing down? But they are all sideshows to the main event. The really crucial question for 2007 is whether it is the year when there is a run on the dollar. There are plenty of people out there – me included – who think the US currency is going to take a beating over the next 12 months.
… A high dollar meant exports into the US were cheap, and that kept both inflation and interest rates low. Easy credit terms meant that the US has had not one but two speculative booms over the past decade, the first in dot com shares, the second in the housing market. Growth has been artificially boosted and the trade deficit has exploded.
Now, though, things have started to change.
The dollar tumbled to a fresh 20-month low against the euro Tuesday after a government report showed demand for U.S.-made durable goods declined much more than forecast last month.
But the U.S. currency edged slightly higher versus the yen after data showed an unexpected increase in sales of existing U.S. homes in October and a solid reading from the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index.
Analysts say sentiment toward the dollar remains negative.
One of the enduring oddities of the international economy is the willingness of foreign investors — both private, official, and quasi-state — to hold dollar assets despite the very low returns on such assets, even when comparing in common currency terms. It is this anomaly that Krugman disucusses in an academic paper asessening the possibility of a dollar crisis.
Concerns about a dollar crisis can be divided into two questions: Will there be a plunge in the dollar? Will this plunge have nasty macroeconomic consequences?
The message appears to be that the dollar’s value is out-of-whack–too high–because nobody expects it to decline by a lot in the near future, and that expectation means that demand for dollar-denominated securities is high because U.S. interest rates are higher than interest rates in Japan and Europe. One again, it looks like there may well be lots of money left on the table.
In other words, we can avoid a recession even as we move to fiscal restraint if we allow currencies to float.
When the dollar falls, it means that everything from other countries costs much more. This supposedly is great for American manufacturers because our goods will cost much less to others, and we can start exporting (and hiring) again. Possibly even heading off a recesion. But my question is, how much has our manufacturing infrastructure eroded? CAN WE start manufacturing for domestic and export to pick up the opportunity of a plunging dollar?
Growing pessimism over the dollar facilitated a sell-off Friday that plunged the greenback to a 19-month low versus the euro and a nearly two-year low against the U.K. pound.
[. . .] There is also mounting concerns that central banks around the globe might begin to aggressively diversify their foreign reserves into euros and away from dollars, the long-standing reserve currency of choice.
On Friday, China warned other countries that holding excessive dollar reserves may not be a good idea.
Wu Xiaoling, a senior People’s Bank of China official, said Friday that continued weakness in the U.S. dollar poses a risk for East Asia’s foreign-exchange reserves, Market News International reported.