Prices in February rose 3.0 per cent compared with a year earlier, down from 3.5 per cent in January. New data from the ONS shows that static prices now, compared with rising prices a year ago, are largely behind the drop in the consumer prices index.
(Latest data is based on a new basket of goods, and no data based on the old basket was available from the ONS for a true comparison. Not even a whiff.)
There were downward contributions from: recreation and culture, particularly games, toys & hobbies; household bills, principally gas bills; household equipment; and alcohol & tobacco. The only significant upward pressure came from prices on women’s outer clothing.
Japan’s quarterly Flow of Funds data is out today which means an update on who is doing what in the huge Japanese government bond market.
The data is as of the end of December 2009. It covers both JGBs and Treasury Discount Bills and I’ve tried to group it in the same categories used by the Ministry of Finance. A few notes:
- Foreigners have continued to ditch Japanese government debt and are down to 6.2 per cent of the total market, the lowest since mid-2007.
Perhaps for old times’ sake, the inaugural meeting of a new uber-network took place at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt. The next one is being held at the central bank of Kuala Lumpur, and subsequent meetings are planned for Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The network consists of central banks, sovereign wealth funds, regulators, asset managers and retail banks. Membership is by invitation, and discussions are under the Chatham House rule. Reasons for meeting range from tips on investment strategies to regulation proposals. But one unnamed attendee observed “it ma[de] sense” for buyers and sellers of government bonds to get together. From ft.com:
Central banks and debt management offices are on a charm offensive
Dennis Lockhart, president of the Atlanta Fed, threw a wrench into the conventional interpretation of the Fed speak phrase “extended period.”
The common interpretation of “extended period” (as in, the Fed is expected to maintain exceptionally low rates for an “extended period”) is at least six months.