Friday, 12 June 2009

US retail sales rise, China's fixed-asset investment surges

The US data on Thursday were somewhat encouraging. From Bloomberg:

Retail sales rose in May for the first time in three months, an increase driven almost solely by U.S. shoppers returning to automobile showrooms seeking bargains and the rising cost of gasoline...

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent, as forecast, after a 0.2 percent drop in April, the Commerce Department said in Washington. Sales excluding autos also increased 0.5 percent, led by gasoline as prices jumped last month...

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment insurance fell for the third time in four weeks, to 601,000, lower than economists had forecast. The number of jobless continuing to collect benefit payments still rose to a record for the 19th straight time, to 6.82 million.

Inventories at U.S. businesses fell in April for an eighth straight month, the longest stretch since 2002, as companies cut back in the face of slowing sales. The 1.1 percent decline in stockpiles followed a revised 1.3 percent drop in March and sales decreased 0.3 percent, Commerce also said today.

However, if US demand fails to pull the global economy out of recession, there is always China. From Bloomberg:

China’s spending on factories, property and roads surged by the most in five years as the government’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package countered a record slump in exports.

Urban fixed-asset investment climbed 32.9 percent in the five months to the end of May from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing. Overseas shipments declined 26.4 percent last month from a year earlier, the customs bureau said...

The slide in exports was the biggest since data began in 1995...

Even the Chinese export slump may be turning around.

Seasonally adjusted, the decline was a smaller 22.8 percent, and month-on-month shipments rose 0.2 percent, the customs bureau said. China’s export orders index advanced to 50.1 in May, marking the first expansion in 11 months, a government-backed manufacturing index showed previously.

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