Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Confidence improves in Europe, existing home sales decline in US

Bloomberg reports that consumer confidence in the euro area improved in June.

European consumer confidence remained near the lowest in nine months in June as rising unemployment and a fiscal crisis clouded the growth outlook.

An index of consumer sentiment in the 16-nation euro region rose to minus 17.3 from minus 17.8 in May, the Brussels-based European Commission said today in an initial estimate. The May reading was the lowest since September 2009. The commission is scheduled to publish its monthly report on economic confidence, which includes the consumer-confidence gauge, on June 29.

Also improving in June was German business confidence. Again from Bloomberg:

German business confidence unexpectedly rose to a two-year high in June as the euro’s depreciation and a global economic recovery brightened the outlook for exports.

The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased to 101.8 from 101.5 in May. That’s the highest since May 2008. Economists expected a decline to 101.2, according to the median of 38 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Across the Atlantic, the news was significantly more downbeat. From Bloomberg:

Sales of U.S. previously owned homes unexpectedly fell in May as demand began to slip even before a government tax credit expires.

Purchases of existing houses, which are tabulated when a contract closes, decreased 2.2 percent to a 5.66 million annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. To receive a government incentive worth as much as $8,000, buyers must have signed contracts by the end of April and need to complete deals by the end of this month.

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