Thursday, 3 August 2006

More signs of US slowdown, rates still likely to rise elsewhere

There were more signs of a slowdown in the US yesterday. From Reuters:

U.S. private sector employers created a smaller-than-expected 99,000 jobs in July, down from 368,000 in the previous month, a survey by a private employment service said on Wednesday...

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week ended July 28 decreased 1.2 percent to 527.6 -- its lowest since May 2002 -- from the previous week's 533.8.

But data elsewhere show that interest rates may still need to rise.

In Europe, industrial producer prices rose 0.2 percent in June in the euro area and 0.1 percent in the EU25. Compared to June 2005, industrial producer prices were up 5.8 percent in the euro area and 6.4 percent in the EU25. Significantly, excluding energy, producer price inflation accelerated to 3.0 percent in June from 2.7 percent in May, 2.2 percent in April, 1.8 percent in March and 1.7 percent in February.

In the UK, the Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply said its seasonally adjusted index for construction rose to 53.2 in July from 50.8 in June while the British Retail Consortium said shop prices last month rose 0.69 percent on the year, the biggest jump since July 2004.

The ECB and the BoE will be making interest rate decisions later today.

In the meantime, at least we know that some monetary tightening is taking place in Japan.

Japan's monetary base marked its biggest fall of 17.8 percent in July from a year earlier due to a sharp fall in the balance of current-account deposits held by financial institutions at the Bank of Japan, the central bank said Wednesday.

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