Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Global confidence up but US retail sales fall

Confidence in the global economy has risen recently, the Bloomberg Professional Global Confidence Index climbing to 21.2 in April from 5.95 in March. Still, yesterday's data on US retail sales show that it is too soon to call a bottom in the economy, even if the Fed chairman thinks that the worst may be over.

From Bloomberg:

Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March as soaring job losses forced consumers to pull back.

The 1.1 percent decrease followed a 0.3 percent gain in February that was stronger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Auto dealers, electronics stores and restaurants led the decline.

Less consumer spending heading into the second quarter means the recession is likely to persist. Still, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said today there are signs that the “sharp decline” in the U.S. economy is slowing, indicating a potential “first step” toward recovery...

Another government report showed prices paid to U.S. producers unexpectedly fell in March after two months of gains, indicating the recession is keeping inflation under control.

The 1.2 percent decrease followed a 0.1 percent gain in February, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Excluding fuel and food, so-called core prices were unchanged. Over the last 12 months, wholesale expenses fell by the most in almost six decades.

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