Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Japanese and Chinese economies picking up

The Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged on Tuesday. AFP/CNA reports:

Japan's central bank on Tuesday held its rock-bottom interest rates steady to give the world's number two economy more time to recover from its worst recession in decades.

The Bank of Japan reiterated its view that Japan's economic conditions "have stopped worsening," but cautioned that much uncertainty remains because of the murky outlook for the global economy.

Also unchanged is the Japanese government's assessment of the economy. From Bloomberg:

The Japanese government said the economy is “picking up,” keeping its assessment unchanged after raising it for three consecutive months.

Meanwhile, Japanese household confidence appears to be picking up too. Bloomberg reports:

Japan’s household sentiment rose for a seventh month in July, adding to signs the world’s second- largest economy is edging closer to a recovery.

The confidence index climbed to 39.4 from 37.6 in June, 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.

China's economy appears to be picking up even faster. From Xinhua:

Urban fixed-asset investment rose 32.9 percent year on year in the first seven months. Retail sales, the main measure of consumer spending, rose 15.2 percent in July, following a 15 percent growth in June...

China's... July exports fell 23 percent from a year earlier, but increased 10.4 percent from June. Imports declined 14.9 percent year on year last month, but rose 8.7 percent month on month...

Among other statistics released Tuesday, industrial output climbed 10.8 percent in July from a year earlier, quickening from 10.7 percent in June and 8.9 percent in May. Power generation, an important indicator measuring industrial activities, expanded 4.8 percent in July.

But prices are still falling.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, dipped 1.8 percent in July from a year earlier. The producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, fell 8.2 percent year on year last month.

New lending in July cooled to 355.9 billion yuan, less than a quarter of the June total of more than 1.5 trillion yuan.

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