Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Japanese industrial production and consumer confidence up

There was good news for Japan on Tuesday. Industrial production for May has been revised up, RTTNews reports:

Japan's industrial production recorded a 0.1% monthly growth in May, final data from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Tuesday. The initial estimate for May had showed a 0.1% fall in production. Compared to May 2009, industrial output surged 20.4%.

In further good news for Japan, consumer confidence rose in June. Bloomberg reports:

Japan’s household sentiment rose for a sixth month in June, a sign that the world’s second-largest economy is sustaining its expansion.

The confidence index climbed to 43.5 last month from 42.8 in May, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. A number below 50 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

In contrast, consumer confidence in the UK fell in June. Reuters reports:

Consumer morale fell to its gloomiest level in a year in June, the Nationwide building society said on Wednesday, as the outlook for the economy and household finances darkened.

Nationwide's consumer confidence index dropped to 63 in June from 66 in May. Worse could lie ahead, given that the survey did not cover the period immediately after the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's austerity budget on June 22.

A mixed picture on inflation in the UK isn't helping confidence. Again from Reuters:

The Office for National Statistics said annual consumer price inflation eased to 3.2 percent last month from 3.4 percent in May, after prices rose 0.1 percent on the month. Inflation has been above the Bank's 2 percent target since December.

Many economists had anticipated a sharper decline and gilts fell and sterling rose on the news. Core inflation -- which strips out volatile energy and food prices -- unexpectedly rose to 3.1 percent, its joint highest on record, raising fears that price pressures are far more entrenched than previously thought.

Still, you can usually tell that global economic growth has been strong when the US trade deficit rises, as it did in May. From Bloomberg on Tuesday:

The trade deficit in the U.S. unexpectedly widened in May to the highest level since November 2008 as a gain in imports outpaced growth in exports.

The gap expanded 4.8 percent to $42.3 billion as U.S. companies imported more automobiles and consumer goods, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington...

Exports from the U.S. to the rest of the world increased 2.4 percent to $152.3 billion, reflecting gains in industrial materials, business equipment and semiconductors. Imports rose 2.9 percent in May to $194.5 billion, led by an increase in demand for cars, pharmaceuticals, toys and clothing from abroad.

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