Friday the 13th brought out some horror statistics on the global economy.
Japan's industrial production fell 10.2 percent in January from a month earlier, even worse than the preliminary estimate of a 10.0 percent drop.
Nevertheless there was actually good news coming out from Japan on Friday, relatively speaking anyway. From Bloomberg:
Japan’s consumer sentiment rose for a second month in February as slowing inflation provided some relief to households facing job losses and wage cuts.
The confidence index rose to 26.7 last month from 26.4 in January, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. The index tumbled to 26.2 in December, the lowest since the government began compiling the figures in 1982.
Meanwhile, the eurozone economy is also suffering. From Bloomberg:
European retail sales fell for an eighth month in January as the global economic slump eroded consumer confidence and prompted households to curtail spending.
Sales in the euro region fell 2.2 percent from a year earlier after a 2.4 percent decline in December, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists forecast a 2.3 percent fall, according to the median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. From the previous month, January sales were up 0.1 percent. A separate report showed labor-cost growth slowed to 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter...
... European car sales plunged 18 percent in February as demand for BMW, Opel and Mercedes-Benz models declined, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said today.
Even resource-rich Canada is not escaping the global recession. From Bloomberg:
Canada’s recession is deepening, with reports today showing a record trade deficit amid vanishing automobile trade, and the highest unemployment rate since 2003.
The jobless rate rose to 7.7 percent in February from 7.2 percent as employers pared a net 82,600 workers, following January’s record decline of 129,000, Statistics Canada said today. The trade gap grew to C$993 million ($786 million), the largest since the agency began keeping records in 1971...
Exports fell 9 percent to C$31.7 billion in January, the lowest level since August 2003...
The slump in trade is worldwide. Bloomberg reports that US trade also suffered.
U.S. imports and exports both slumped for a sixth straight month in January in what may be the biggest collapse of world trade since the 1930s, raising the threat of protectionist measures to shield domestic industries.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in January to $36 billion, the lowest level in six years, on tumbling American demand for everything from OPEC oil to Japanese automobiles, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The Labor Department said prices of imported goods dropped for a seventh month in February, another byproduct of the global recession...
Imports slumped 6.7 percent to $160.9 billion, the fewest since March 2005, paced by a $4.3 billion plunge in purchases of crude oil. Demand for foreign automobiles fell by $3.3 billion...
... Exports decreased 5.7 percent to $124.9 billion, the lowest level since September 2006, as sales of automobiles, semiconductors, telecommunications gear and drilling equipment dropped...
As in Japan, though, the good news is that consumer confidence did not fall.
The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment was at 56.6 in March, compared with 56.3 in February. The gauge reached 55.3 in November, the lowest level since 1980.