Saturday, 26 April 2008

US economic indicators at recessionary levels, UK economy slows

Traders may be pricing in an end to Fed easing but the latest economic indicators continue to show a weak US economy.

US consumer sentiment hit a 26-year low in April. Reuters reports:

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its final index of confidence for April fell deeper into recessionary territory, to 62.6 from 69.5 in March and below economists' median expectation of 63.2 in a Reuters poll.

The April result is the lowest since March 1982's 62.0, when the "stagflationary" period of low growth and high inflation was still an issue for many Americans...

The report showed its reading on one-year inflation expectations climbed to 4.8 percent -- the highest since a similar reading in October 1990 -- from 4.3 percent in March.

Consumer sentiment is not the only indicator in recession territory. So is the ECRI's leading index, although here, there are some signs of improvement. Reuters reports:

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index edged up to 132.1 in the week to April 18 from 132 the prior week...

The index's annualized growth rate remained negative, but improved to minus 9.7 percent from minus 10.2 percent. It's the highest since minus 8.8 percent in the week ended February 1.

"WLI growth has recovered to an 11-week high, but remains deep in recession territory, therefore it is premature to forecast a business cycle recovery," [managing director Lakshman] Achuthan said.

Meanwhile, the UK economy is also showing signs of slowing. Again from Reuters:

Britain's economy grew at its weakest rate in three years in the first quarter as the credit squeeze tightened its grip, data showed on Friday.

The Office for National Statistics said the economy grew 0.4 percent in the first three months of the year, down from 0.6 percent in the previous quarter and as high as 0.9 percent at the end of 2006.

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