Saturday, 13 June 2009

Most global economic indicators show improvement

The week ended with mostly positive data on the global economy.

In China, industrial production and retail sales both increased in May. AFP/CNA reports:

China's May industrial output and retail sales both grew at a faster pace than in previous months, the government said Friday, as massive stimulus measures introduced since last year kicked in...

Industrial production, a key gauge of activity in factories and plants across China, grew 8.9 per cent in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said - compared to a 7.3 per cent increase in April and 8.3 per cent in March.

Retail sales meanwhile grew 15.2 per cent in May, it said.

Japan is also looking better, with industrial production for April having been revised up. From Reuters:

Industrial output rose 5.9 percent in April, the biggest monthly gain since 1953, Friday's revised data showed, in another sign the economy may be picking up from its deepest recession in decades...

Even households are feeling better. From Bloomberg:

Japan’s household sentiment rose to a 14-month high in May, adding to signs that the deepest postwar recession may be easing.

The confidence index climbed to 35.7 from 32.4 in April, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. It has improved every month since tumbling to a record low of 26.2 in December. A number below 50 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

US consumer confidence has also improved. Bloomberg reports:

Confidence among U.S. consumers rose for a fourth straight month in June, reinforcing signs of an impending end to the recession, while prices of imported goods jumped as oil costs climbed.

The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment increased to 69, from 68.7 in May. The import-price index rose 1.3 percent in May, the most since July and in line with forecasts, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

The euro area, however, provided some disappointing data. From Bloomberg:

European industrial production dropped by the most on record in April as the worldwide recession ravaged demand for goods.

Production in the euro region plunged 21.6 percent from a year earlier, the most since the data series started in 1986, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists expected a 19.8 percent decline, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From March, output declined 1.9 percent.

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