Credit Crisis Diary: 13/06/2009


An economic indicator that is truly pants


Looking for a new economic indicator to track? Former Federal Reserve Governor Alan Greenspan has a suggestion.

According to MSN Money, one of Greenspan's favourite yardsticks is sales of men's underwear. Research apparently shows that blokes, slovenly coves that they are, stop buying new pants at the first sign of economic stress. Pant sales are, if you like, an early warning signal for the economy. Equally, when confidence improves, the underwear market is one of the first to benefit.

How Elle sent broker into a rage

Jeremy Batstone-Carr, the head of research at stockbroker Charles Stanley is an angry man – or at least he was until he got the fury out of his system yesterday, publishing a four-page rant on political uncertainty and what it does to financial markets. You get the picture from the title, "Out of sheer rage". Batstone-Carr obviously needs to go back to the yoga classes he admits to having recently given up on – apparently after being repeatedly laughed at by classmate Elle Macpherson.

The kind of advice you do without

Peta, the animal welfare charity, has some helpful advice for the Dairy Farmers of Britain, the struggling dairy products group currently laying off staff. It suggests the business drops cow's milk altogether and moves to soya milk production. You can see where Peta is coming from, but it's difficult to imagine dairy farmers giving up on cows.

Hornby's rebranding starts now

Mark Arthus, a self-styled branding expert is in touch to offer an opinion on Andy Hornby's appointment at Alliance Boots. Apparently, restoring Boots's brand value so that the high street chemist is once again a "staple diet in mum's shopping experience" – whatever that means – will be one of his biggest challenges. Arthus neglects to mention the challenge the former HBOS boss faces in restoring some faith in his own brand.

Striking at the heart of the free market

You've got to hand it to Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President. The left-wing firebrand is not afraid to take on the giants of global capitalism – he's just ordered Coca Cola to stop selling Coke Zero – nicknamed "bloke's coke" in Venezuela, for unspecified health reasons. Strangely, no such edict bans Diet Coke, an identical product that is branded differently. Still, no doubt that's next.

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