Friday, 25 July 2008

Global economic growth slowing

The tightening trend in global monetary policy may finally be at an end. From Bloomberg yesterday:

New Zealand's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 8 percent, the first reduction in five years, saying slowing economic growth will curb inflation.

Yesterday's economic reports show that global economic growth is slowing fast.

Bloomberg reports that Japanese exports fell in June.

Exports decreased 1.7 percent in June from a year earlier...

Imports climbed 16.2 percent to a record because of the surging oil costs...

Meanwhile, confidence in Europe is faltering.

The Ifo institute's German business confidence index dropped 3.7 points from a month earlier to 97.5 in July...

Confidence among Italian executives fell to the lowest since 2001 in July; French business sentiment was the weakest since May 2005; Spanish unemployment in the second quarter rose to the highest rate in 3 1/2 years; and Belgian business confidence this month dropped to the lowest since April...

Beyond the euro area, U.K. retail sales fell 3.9 percent in June after rising 3.6 percent in May, which was the biggest increase since the data series began more than two decades ago...

Measures of new business in Europe's manufacturing and services industry fell in July, a survey by Markit Economics showed today, while manufacturers' costs rose at the fastest pace in almost four years.

And the US economy shows few signs of recovering.

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in June to the lowest level in a decade as tumbling real- estate prices and consumer confidence signaled no end in sight to a housing recession now in its third year.

Resales dropped 2.6 percent to a lower-than-forecast 4.86 million annual rate from a 4.99 million pace the prior month, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median home price dropped 6.1 percent from June 2007...

The Labor Department earlier today reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest in almost four months, a sign the slowing economy is weakening the labor market. Applications increased by 34,000 to 406,000 in the week ended July 19.

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