There were some positive economic reports from Japan and Germany on Monday.
From Japan, Bloomberg reports improving confidence among merchants.
Confidence among Japanese merchants rose to the highest level in five months in February, a sign consumers are starting to benefit from the economic recovery.
The Economy Watchers index, a survey of barbers, taxi drivers and others who deal with consumers, climbed to 42.1 from 38.8 in the previous month, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. It was the third consecutive advance.
Other reports from Japan were also mostly positive. From Bloomberg:
Japanese corporate bankruptcies fell for a seventh month in February as emergency government programs helped companies stay afloat.
Business failures slid 17.3 percent from a year earlier to 1,090 cases, Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. said in Tokyo today, extending the longest streak of declines since 2005...
A global trade revival and stimulus spending has fueled Japan’s recovery from its worst postwar recession. Exports surged 40.6 percent in January from a year earlier, helping the country post an 899.8 billion yen current-account surplus, Finance Ministry figures showed today...
A separate report today showed bank lending declined for a third consecutive month as companies cut spending. Loans, excluding those by credit associations, dropped 1.6 percent last month from a year earlier, the Bank of Japan said.
There was also good news in Germany on Monday as industrial production rebounded in January. Again from Bloomberg:
German industrial production rose in January as energy output surged during the cold winter, helping to offset a collapse in construction activity.
Production rose 0.6 percent from December, when it fell 1 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists had forecast a 1 percent gain for January, the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows. From a year earlier, production increased 2.2 percent when adjusted for the number of work days.
Germany’s economic recovery stalled at the end of 2009, and the coldest winter in 14 years is damping growth at the start of this year. Still, factory orders surged 4.3 percent in January. The Bundesbank expects the economy, Europe’s largest, to expand 1.6 percent in 2010 after a 5 percent contraction in 2009, which was the biggest slump since World War II.