Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Confidence falls in US and Germany

Consumer confidence took a big fall in the US in February. Bloomberg reports:

Confidence among U.S. consumers fell in February to the lowest level in 10 months, a sign that concern about job prospects may hold back the spending needed to sustain the recovery.

The Conference Board’s confidence index slumped to 46, below the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, from 56.5 in January, a report from the New York- based private research group showed today...

On a more positive note, home prices rose again in December.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 U.S. cities increased 0.3 percent. Compared with December 2008, prices fell 3.1 percent, the smallest year-over-year decline since May 2007.

Meanwhile, confidence has also fallen among business executives in Germany. Bloomberg reports:

German business confidence unexpectedly fell for the first time in 11 months in February as the coldest winter in 14 years damped retail sales and construction.

The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, fell to 95.2 from 95.8 in January. Economists expected a gain to 96.1, according to the median of 37 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The index reached a 26-year low of 82.2 in March last year.

The news was not much better elsewhere in Europe.

Italian consumer confidence unexpectedly declined for a second month in February as job losses fueled concern about the economic outlook. In France, consumer spending dropped in January after the government trimmed a program to encourage new car sales.

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