Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Mixed views on business and consumer confidence

As usual, we are getting a mixed bag of economic news.

Following in the footsteps of Germany, French business confidence rose in June, with the INSEE business climate index rising to 99 from 97 in May. Italian business confidence, however, fell in June, with the ISAE institute's confidence index falling to 84.2, the lowest since November 2001, from 84.3 in May.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for the US rose to 105.8 in June from 103.1 in May. Germany's GfK consumer confidence index for July, on the other hand, dropped for the third consecutive month -- to 3.5 from 4.3 the previous month.

In Asia, things don't look much better.

Japan's retail sales in May declined 1.5 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from April but rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier.

Asian industrial production continues to be weak. Japan's industrial production in May dropped a seasonally-adjusted 2.3 percent from April. In South Korea, industrial production rose 0.5 percent in May, less than expected, according to Bloomberg.

We'll get a better indication of the economic outlook with PMI data due out over the next few days.

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