Latvian Hookers Signal No Recovery for Economy
May 27, 2009 11:02 AM   Subscribe

When the Baltic dry index seems run of the mill, analysts look for more unconventional global market indicators. Some suggest adultery sites and the prices sex-worker charges and as an economic metric. [via]

From the second link: "Of course, it is possible to detect some attention-seeking here. [These sites are] trying to drum up some customers with an eye-catching press release. In the calm and reasoned space that is the blogosphere, it isn’t unheard of for people to try and cause a stir just to become well-known. You have to shout to get yourself heard on the Internet."
posted by phyrewerx (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My new favorite rhetorical phrase: "What does that have to do with the price of whores in Latvia?"
posted by HumanComplex at 11:21 AM on May 27, 2009

The author of that story is Alaric Nightingale. wow.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2009

I've heard that the chinese are stocking up on raw materials, rather than just buying more treasuries. Kind of like survivalists buying gold, if the the US goes bankrupt, at least they'll have something concrete to show for their money. That may be the reason for the increase in the first link (shipping rates).
posted by 445supermag at 12:23 PM on May 27, 2009

Latvia scams:
We have learned from many first hand experiences that randomly calling an escort service can often result in an unhappy, alcoholic, middle-aged woman with bad hygiene showing up at your room. To make the situation worse they will typically demand at least 20 Lats to go away.
It is sort of an index of the current financial crisis.
posted by stbalbach at 1:46 PM on May 27, 2009

Hooray! John Hempton (of Bronte Capital in the last link) came out with this absolutely brilliant theory a while ago. He was spot on. Swedish banks are now reported on in the Baltics as often as the US reports on the Fed.

John also broke the largely unreported story that Hunter and James Biden's business was (unintentionally, it is assumed) fronting additional ponzi schemes beyond their Stanford Financial links. FT Alphaville followed up with a five-part series, coming to the conclusion that there's nothing clearly illegal, but still a ton of red flags.

Oh, and 445supermag, check out the Baltic chart. It's still pretty bad. The reason for the rise is simply that there was a slight underestimate of end demand. March and April started to see a bunch of last minute orders around the globe as inventories ran low.
posted by FuManchu at 2:50 PM on May 27, 2009

My new favorite obscure indicator is the monthly sales figure for titanium dioxide, which is a crucial component of house paint. (Slightly down from March to April.)
posted by A dead Quaker at 3:49 PM on May 27, 2009

Season variation. Titanium dioxide is the active ingredient in many sunscreens which would reduce titanium oxide consumption and prices in the spring/fall.
posted by Talez at 3:00 AM on May 28, 2009

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