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Trading Economics: A Guide to Economic Statistics for Practitioners and Students


Author: Trevor Williams

Publisher: Wiley


Publish Date: June 9, 2014

ISBN-10: 1118766415

Pages: 282

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Today’s interconnected world, linked by freer trade, by some of the greatest movements of people through tourism and immigration the world has ever seen, by the movement of goods and services – all underpinned by new methods of open communication that were unimaginable a generation or so ago and involving more countries than ever before – means that an understanding of economics matters more than ever. It is no surprise, therefore, that headlines scream economic news, newspapers are full of stories based on statistics about economic performance within and amongst countries, government officials are constantly discussing the economy and there are pundits, radio and TV shows, some broadcasting 24 hours a day, with ‘experts’ claiming to know all sorts of things based on economic data. Then there are all the blogs, tweets and internet media channels to add to the mixture. With the cacophony of noise from these media, it is increasingly hard to discern the underlying economic trends from what are often conflicting data.

What has allowed today’s world to come into being is a belief that more trade is better than less trade, that producing goods and services where it is cheapest to do so allows for a rise in living standards for all concerned (though not all to the same extent). This outcome is based on one of the fundamental elements of economic rationale – the division of labour and comparative trade advantage. What is economics about, if not the production of goods and services to satisfy human wants and needs?

It is the acceptance of this notion across many societies around the world that has given rise to the explosive increase in global wealth that has taken place in the last 50 years and that we see all around us. This is why an understanding of economic statistics and what they mean is crucial. These statistics are the basis for individual, corporate and collective or societal decision-making. Governments use economic statistics to plan spending and policy; companies use them to decide when and where to produce goods and services; investors (including pension funds, insurance companies, individuals etc.) use them to decide where to put their wealth; and households use them to decide when to buy or sell goods and services.

These data drive trends in the financial markets. Without the constant drip feed of economic news, markets tend to drift. What they await – what they in fact need – is the next piece of new information to jolt them into action. The experience of recent years has taught us that financial markets do not inhabit a separate realm, detached from the ‘real economy’. Far from it – financial markets are fundamentally tethered to the real economy. They have an impact on us all. That is why they matter and why
understanding the data that drives the financial markets will support traders and practitioners in reading the markets more comprehensively and framing their own reactions accordingly.

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