Who cares?


Hume is wondering who cares about Europe. So he turned to the ultimate hoarder of data, Google. Hume would love to get his hands on the raw data, but the best he could do is Google Trends. It gives you search data on everything from sex, drugs and rock’n’roll to the weather and who is searching for it. So according to GT who cares about the Eurozone debt crisis?

Debt crisis searches peaked around the July 21st announcement that was to end the Eurozone crisis. But, after a sharp drop, searches reveal that concerns have started to rise again (surprise, surprise) as the crisis continues to deepen. All not-so-well and not-so-good. But who cares?

Google search trends for debt sustainability
Source: Google Trends

If you’re in the Orient, then perhaps it comes as no surprise that Asia’s financial centres of Hong Kong and Singapore care and have been busy searching for anything they could find on “debt crisis”. By language, Greek follows after English. But Chinese is third, ahead of other European languages (such as German).

Source: Google Trends
Google search trends for "debt crisis" by language
Source: Google Trends

 The solution to the Eurozone debt crisis is meant to be the EFSF (the European Financial Stability Facility). So, if you were really concerned about getting in to the nitty-gritty of how and whether the crisis was going to get resolved, you would probably Google EFSF. No surprises that Luxembourg ranks number 1. But, interestingly, its followed by Hong Kong, ahead of Greece, and Singapore ahead of Germany and Taiwan ahead of Switzerland.

Source: Google Trends

By city, Ixelles (home to the European Commission) tops the list. Followed by mostly European Financial centres (Luxembourg, Frankfurt etc.), but once again, East Asian Centres placed well, with Hong Kong, Nei-Hu (Taiwan`s shopping-eating district to be seen in) and Chou Japan (home of Mr and Mrs Suzuki`s central bank, the Bank of Japan … hmmm, I wonder what they think of all this) all on the leaders board.

Interestingly, Asian Banks aren’t particularly overweight on Europe. But this data exludes the Asian economies FX holdings. And FX reserves and international organsiations claims on Europe account for about 35% of total reserves and IO debt holdings.

Source: IMF conolidated portfolio investment survey, 2010

The upshot of all of this? Well, Torrens Hume is pretty sure that Europe has Asia’s attention. Perhaps some of Asia’s large reserve holding countries have a little more skin in the game than the rest of the world.

4 thoughts on “Who cares?

  1. Not too intelligible at all – in fact, I understand it, of course. Perhaps the least interested Western country is Australia, due to us being told continuously how well we are doing …. perhaps a future blog could deal with Australia’s economics and the inaccurate potrayal of the mining industry as contributing a very large part to Australia’s trade with the rest of the world (actually well under 10% I think).

  2. Ah Mr Kilmartin, thanks for the comment. TH reckons the Australians *are* pretty engaged. For Debt Crisis searches, Australia ranks ahead of Canada and the US. Question is why? Perhaps a lot of Greek migrants. Which makes TH wonder whether there have been an increase in funds flowing from Greece to Australia. Unfiortunately, not a lot of good data on that.
    He also likes the idea of looking at Australia’s trade . … And the very slick website.

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