Saturday, 13 March 2010

Japanese and eurozone industrial production increase, US retail sales rise

There was good news from Japan on Friday with industrial production growth for January being revised higher. Reuters reports:

Japan's industrial output rose 2.7 percent in January, revised data showed on Friday, boosted by a sharp rise in production of cars and chemical products.

The figure compared with an initial reading of a 2.5 percent rise and a 1.9 percent increase in December, the trade ministry said.

Industrial production is also expanding in the euro area. Bloomberg reports:

European industrial output rose the most in two decades in January as the reviving global economy prompted companies to boost production of goods including steel and machinery parts.

Output in the economy of the 16 nations using the euro jumped 1.7 percent from December, the biggest increase since the euro-area data were first compiled in 1990, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. The January increase was more than double the 0.7 percent gain projected by economists, according to the median of 34 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. From a year earlier, output rose 1.4 percent, the first annual increase since April 2008.

Meanwhile, in the US, retail sales unexpectedly increased again in February. Bloomberg reports:

Americans braved blizzards and overcame job concerns to propel retail sales in February, pointing to a broadening in growth that will help sustain the expansion.

Purchases unexpectedly climbed 0.3 percent, the fourth gain in the past five months, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington...

Retail sales were projected to fall 0.2 percent, according to the median estimate of 77 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Forecasts ranged from a decline of 1 percent to a 0.9 percent gain. The Commerce Department revised January data down to show a 0.1 percent increase compared with an originally reported 0.5 percent gain.

Sales excluding autos rose 0.8 percent, exceeding all estimates of economists surveyed...

Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials ... sales increased 0.9 percent after a 0.6 percent gain, today’s sales report showed...

But consumer confidence has fallen again in March.

The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary report for March showed its index fell to 72.5 from a final reading of 73.6 in February. The index was forecast to rise to 74, according the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 68 economists.

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