The end of the week did not start on a positive note as far as economic data were concerned. AFP/CNA reports the latest data on the Japanese economy.
Japan's unemployment rate is at a record high, data showed Friday, raising doubts about an economic recovery and piling pressure on embattled Prime Minister Taro Aso two days ahead of an election.
The jobless rate rose to a worse than expected 5.7 per cent in July, up from 5.4 per cent in June, the government said...
Consumer spending remains weak in Japan, leaving the economy highly dependent on exports. Household spending fell 2.0 per cent in July from a year earlier, sharply reversing a 0.2 per cent rise in June, data showed...
Deflation also deepened last month with core consumer prices dropping 2.2 per cent a year earlier - the fastest pace on record.
Core prices, which exclude those of volatile fresh food, fell for a fifth straight month after a 1.7 per cent decline in June, the government said.
However, the data out of Europe were a bit better.
Reuters reports a positive revision to UK GDP.
The economy shrank by a smaller-than-expected 0.7 percent in the second quarter of this year after official statisticians upgraded their estimates of industrial output, keeping alive hopes of a near-term recovery.
The Office for National Statistics said on Friday that the revisions reduced the annual drop in economic output to 5.5 percent from 5.6 percent -- though this is still the sharpest year-on-year fall since records began in 1955...
Economists had not expected a revision to the second-quarter GDP data, instead predicting that the ONS would stick with its 0.8 percent initial estimate for second-quarter contraction.
In the euro area, confidence about the economy is rising. Bloomberg reports:
European confidence in the economic outlook increased twice as much as economists forecast in August, adding to signs the region is emerging from the deepest recession in more than six decades.
An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 nations that use the euro rose to 80.6, the highest since October, from 76 in July, the European Commission in Brussels said today. Economists had predicted a two-point increase to 78, according to the median of 29 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
Still, much depends on what happens in the US, where the economic indicators came out mixed on Friday. From Bloomberg:
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in July as Americans jammed auto showrooms to take advantage of the “cash for clunkers” program while avoiding other purchases.
The 0.2 percent gain in spending was in line with forecasts and followed a 0.6 percent increase in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding cars, purchases were flat...
The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment dipped to 65.7, better than forecast, from 66 in July. A preliminary reading for August was 63.2.