Saturday, 27 February 2010

US and UK fourth quarter GDP revised up

The economic data on Friday were mostly positive.

US fourth quarter GDP was revised up. MarketWatch reports:

U.S. real gross domestic product increased at a 5.9% seasonally adjusted annualized pace in the final three months of 2009, revised up from 5.7% estimated last month. The revision was exactly in line with expectations of economists surveyed by MarketWatch...

Although GDP grew at the fastest pace in six years, final demand in the economy was tepid, rising 1.9% annualized, revised down from 2.2% earlier. Excluding exports, final sales to U.S. purchasers rose at a 1.6% annual rate.

Other US economic data were mixed. From Bloomberg:

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly dropped 7.2 percent in January to a seven-month low, indicating a lack of job growth is undermining government incentives to bolster the housing market...

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business barometer climbed to 62.6 this month from 61.5 in January. Readings greater than 50 signal expansion.

The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment for February dropped to 73.6 from 74.4 in January.

The UK also reported an upward revision to fourth quarter GDP. From Reuters:

The economy grew faster than previously estimated in the last three months of 2009 but the 18-month recession from which it emerged turned out to be deeper, revised official figures showed Friday.

Chancellor Alistair Darling welcomed the upward revision of fourth quarter GDP growth to 0.3 percent from an originally reported 0.1 percent but said there were still big risks and that support for the economy could not be withdrawn yet.

Meanwhile, Japan looks set to continue growing at the start of 2010. From AFP/CNA:

As overseas demand for Japan's cars, electronics and other goods has picked up, the country's industrial output rose 2.5 per cent in January from December, marking the 11th straight monthly gain, new figures showed...

However, deflation was still burdening the economy, as core consumer prices fell 1.3 per cent in January from a year earlier, marking the 11th straight month of decline, separate data showed Friday. The figure was in line with expectations.

Deflation is less of a concern in the euro area, where the inflation rate for January has been confirmed at 1 percent.

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