Saturday, 24 April 2010

Positive economic data for the US and Europe

The data on the US economy on Friday were mostly positive. Bloomberg reports:

Sales of new homes surged 27 percent in March and orders for most durable goods climbed, indicating the U.S. economy sped up heading into the second quarter.

The gain in new-home sales was the biggest in 47 years as buyers rushed to qualify for a government tax credit and the weather improved, a Commerce Department report showed. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years, excluding cars and aircraft, climbed 2.8 percent...

Total orders unexpectedly dropped 1.3 percent, depressed by a 67 percent plunge in demand for commercial aircraft.

Industrial orders in Europe were also up in February. Bloomberg reports:

European industrial orders rose more than economists forecast in February, led by demand for intermediate goods such as car engines.

Orders to industrial companies in the 16-nation euro area increased 1.5 percent from January, when they decreased 1.6 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists forecast an increase of 1 percent, according to the median of 20 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, February industrial orders jumped 12.2 percent.

Meanwhile, German business confidence rose in April. Again from Bloomberg:

German business confidence rose more than economists forecast to a two-year high in April as the global economic recovery boosted export demand and warmer weather allowed workers back onto construction sites.

The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, jumped to 101.6 from 98.2 in March. That’s the highest reading since May 2008. Economists expected a gain to 98.7, according to the median of 37 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Growth in the UK was somewhat disappointing though. Reuters reports:

The economic recovery lost ground in the first three months of this year as the harshest winter in three decades hit retailers and industry, official data showed on Friday...

The Office for National Statistics said GDP increased by 0.2 percent in the quarter, half the 0.4 percent rate forecast by analysts who had expected growth to continue at the same rate as in the last three months of 2009.

Despite the improving global economy, Greece has been forced into requesting aid on its debt. From Reuters:

Debt-stricken Greece appealed to its European partners and the IMF for emergency loans on Friday, yielding to overwhelming market pressure to start the first financial rescue of a member of the euro zone.

Prime Minister George Papandreou asked to tap the 45 billion euro ($60.5 billion) package after investors feared a default and pushed borrowing costs to record levels, undermining Athens' efforts to cut its 300 billion euro debt pile.

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