Friday, 25 September 2009

Japanese exports, US existing home sales fall

Bloomberg's reports on Thursday's economic data show that the global economic recovery remains somewhat fragile.

The day started off negatively with Japan's August trade data.

Japan’s exports fell for an 11th month in August as the economic recovery struggled to gain traction.

Shipments abroad dropped 36 percent from a year earlier compared with a 36.5 percent decline in July, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. From a month earlier, exports fell 0.7 percent, the second straight decrease...

Imports fell 41.3 percent in August from a year earlier, leaving a trade surplus of 185.7 billion yen ($2 billion).

Later in the day, the US reported that existing home sales unexpectedly fell in August.

Sales of existing U.S. homes unexpectedly fell last month for the first time since March, signaling the housing recovery will be slow to gain speed.

Purchases dropped 2.7 percent in August to a 5.1 million annual rate, the second-highest level in the last 23 months, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median price dropped 12.5 percent from August 2008...

But the employment situation continues to improve.

Figures from the Labor Department today showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in two months, signaling the job market is healing. Claims fell to 530,000 from 551,000 the prior week.

In Germany, business confidence did show a rise in September, though by less than expected.

German business confidence rose to a 12-month high in September, indicating Europe’s largest economy will gather strength after exiting its worst recession since World War II.

The Ifo institute in Munich said today its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 91.3 from 90.5 in August. That’s the highest reading since September last year. Economists expected a gain to 92, the median of 40 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed. The index reached a 26-year low of 82.2 in March.

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