Saturday, 13 May 2006

Falls in US consumer sentiment, trade deficit and Chinese trade surplus, rise in inflation

A quick summary of yesterday's key economic data from the US reported by Reuters:

The University of Michigan's closely watched sentiment survey slumped to 79.0 in May from April's final 87.4, far below the median Wall Street forecast for a reading of 86.1...

Earlier, the Commerce Department said record high exports pushed the trade deficit down to $62 billion in March, its lowest since August and a second straight month of narrowing...

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the cost of imported petroleum jumped 11.5 percent in April, the biggest gain since March 2005.

The increase boosted overall US import prices by an unexpectedly sharp 2.1 percent in April, although nonpetroleum prices were flat, the report showed.

Meanwhile, yesterday also saw trade data released from China.

China's monthly trade surplus fell slightly in April to US$10.46 billion from March's US$11.2 billion, according to the General Administration of Customs...

The statistics show exports rose 23.9 per cent in April from a year earlier to US$76.95 billion, while imports rose 15.3 per cent year on year to US$66.49 billion.

As well as inflation data.

China's consumer inflation rate was 1.2 percent in April compared with the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday...

Inflation ran at 1.8 percent for all of 2005, coming in at 1.9 percent in January, then 0.9 percent in February and 0.8 percent in March.

Germany also saw an increase in inflation in April, but the outlook for economic growth in Germany in particular and Europe and the OECD area in general is good, according to the latest OECD indicator, summarised by Reuters.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the composite leading indicator for the 30-nation OECD area rose to 109.6 in March from a revised 109.2 the previous month. It climbed to 105.3 from 105.0 in February for all of the G7 countries combined.

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