Friday, 22 August 2008

UK retail sales rise but outlook for euro area and US remain weak

UK retail sales saw a surprise 0.8 percent rise in July.

Most other economic data released yesterday were not so positive, although there were hints of improvement.

Bloomberg reports that manufacturing and services industries continue to contact in the euro area.

Europe's manufacturing and service industries contracted for a third month in August as consumers and businesses reeled from July's record oil prices.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's composite index was at 48 after 47.8 in July, Reuters Plc reported...

Markit's manufacturing index was at 47.5 after 47.4 in July while the services index declined to 48.2 from 48.3.

The US economy faces a similar negative outlook. Again from Bloomberg:

The Conference Board's index of leading indicators fell 0.7 percent in July, more than triple the drop forecast by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News...

Five of the 10 indicators in today's leading indicators report subtracted from the index, led by declines in building permits and stock prices.

Other reports on the US economy were perhaps a little more hopeful.

For the first time since January 2007, Americans who said the economy will improve in the next six months outnumbered those who said it will get worse, according to results of the latest Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll issued today. Still, about three of every four people surveyed said the U.S. is on the wrong track...

Sagging orders and falling sales hurt factories in the Philadelphia region this month, a report from the Fed Bank of Philadelphia showed. Its general economic index rose to minus 12.7 from minus 16.3 in July...

Earlier today, a Labor Department report showed initial jobless claims fell to 432,000, a level that still indicates the labor market is deteriorating.

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