Saturday, 23 September 2006

Positive economic news from Europe and Japan

There was no major economic news from the US yesterday. Which means that positive news has a chance to take centre stage.

Europe saw industrial new orders bounce back in July. From Eurostat:

The euro area industrial new orders index increased by 1.8% in July 2006 compared to June 2006. The index decreased by 2.2% in June and rose by 2.8% in May. EU25 new orders grew by 1.6% in July 2006, after a fall of 1.0% in June and a rise of 2.4% in May. Excluding ships, railway and aerospace equipment industrial new orders grew by 1.1% in July 2006 in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU25.

In July 2006 compared to July 2005, industrial new orders increased by 9.7% in the euro area and by 9.5% in the EU25. Total industry excluding ships, railway and aerospace equipment grew by 9.8% in the euro area and by 9.1% in the EU25.

There were also positive data from France and Belgium. Bloomberg reports:

French consumer spending jumped and Belgian business confidence unexpectedly rose, in signs that Europe's economy may be weathering higher interest rates.

Purchases of manufactured goods in France, Europe's third- biggest economy, gained 3.3 percent in August, the most in seven years. In Belgium, the business-confidence index, considered a leading indicator for Europe, rose to 4.5 in September, counter to a drop expected in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

And in Japan, business confidence improved this quarter. The Japan Times reports:

Business confidence among large companies improved in the July-September quarter for the first time in three quarters on the back of rising corporate profits and economic growth, the government said Friday.

The index of business conditions at companies capitalized at 1 billion yen or more came to 10.5 for all industries, a jump from 1.8 in the April-June quarter, according to the survey conducted jointly by the Cabinet Office and the Finance Ministry...

Looking ahead, the business confidence index for large companies is projected to be 10.7 for the October-December quarter and 7.9 for the January-March quarter.

The poll also indicates companies remain bullish about boosting their capital investment in the current fiscal year, although the pace of growth is likely to slow in the second half of the period.

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