As expected, the Bank of England raised interest rates yesterday. Reuters reports:
The Bank of England raised interest rates on Thursday to 5.0 percent, their highest level in five years, but gave little sign it would hike again in the new year...
Explaining its second hike in three months, the BoE said pricing pressures were on the rise and money supply was increasing rapidly. But the central bank also said consumer spending was volatile and noted unemployment had gone up.
Yesterday's data at least supported the BoE decision, as Halifax reported that house prices rose 1.7 percent in October -- their sharpest monthly increase in six months -- after September's upwardly-revised gain of 1.2 percent while a survey of business conditions in the commercial property sector by property agency Savills Plc showed that building construction picked up at its fastest pace in seven months in October.
Another report from the UK by the Office for National Statistics showed that Britain's goods trade gap narrowed to 6.560 billion pounds in September from 6.856 billion in August.
The trade deficit for the US also narrowed in September. Reuters reports:
The Commerce Department said the U.S. trade gap totaled $64.3 billion in September, below Wall Street expectations for a $66 billion shortfall and down 6.8 percent from August...
Oil import prices fell for the first time in five months to $62.52 per barrel in September from $66.12 in August... The volume of oil imports also declined in September...
A second government report suggested falling oil prices could continue to help narrow the trade gap.
U.S. import prices fell 2 percent in October, or twice as much as analysts expected, due mainly to an 8.3 percent drop in petroleum prices, a Labor Department report showed.
Other data covered in the report:
The University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer sentiment in November was 92.3, down from October's 93.6, said sources who saw the subscription-only report. The median forecast of Wall Street economists polled by Reuters was for a reading of 93.6...
Also, the number of U.S. workers applying for jobless benefits fell to 308,000 last week, according to data on Thursday.
Data from the Commerce Department showed inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose by a larger-than-expected 0.8 percent in September, while sales fell for the first time in nearly a year.
The US trade deficit narrowed as China's trade surplus hit a new high in October. From Xinhua Online:
China's monthly trade surplus reached 23.8 billion U.S. dollars in October, 8.5 billion U.S. dollars higher than in September, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs.
In October, exports jumped 29.6 percent year on year to 88.1 billion dollars, while imports grew 14.7 percent to 64.3 billion dollars.
China is not the only country whose exports have done well recently. From Bloomberg:
German exports rose the most in more than four years in September as demand from Asia helped fuel growth in Europe's largest economy.
Sales abroad, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, climbed 6.6 percent from August, the biggest gain since June 2002, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said [Wednesday]. Economists predicted a 1.1 percent gain, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey...
In August, exports rose 0.5 percent, the statistics office said today. Imports increased 3.8 percent from August when they slipped 0.1 percent, the release showed.