Wednesday, 15 September 2010

US retail sales rise

US economic data on Tuesday were stronger than expected. Bloomberg reports:

Sales at U.S. retailers climbed in August for a second consecutive month, allaying concern the economy will stumble in the second half of the year.

Purchases increased 0.4 percent following a 0.3 percent gain in July, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Sales excluding automobiles advanced 0.6 percent, twice as much as the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News...

Inventories at all businesses increased 1 percent in July, the most since July 2008, the other report from the Commerce Department showed. Companies had enough goods on hand to supply 1.26 month’s worth of sales at July’s pace, the same as in the prior month.

Data elsewhere on Tuesday were not as positive.

In the UK, consumer confidence rebounded a little in August but Reuters reports that inflation persisted and house prices fell again.

British inflation defied expectations for a fall in August but property prices weakened further and the Bank of England's newest recruit signalled he was in no rush to raise interest rates.

Consumer price inflation held steady at 3.1 percent last month, more than a percentage point above target, after big rises in airfares and clothing prices offset easing fuel costs...

RICS's headline house price index dropped to -32 from -8, the sharpest one-month fall since June 2004, and newly-agreed sales suffered their biggest fall in two years.

In the euro area, industrial production unexpectedly stagnated in July. Bloomberg reports:

European industrial production unexpectedly stagnated in July, adding to signs that the euro region’s export-led recovery is losing momentum.

Economists had projected a gain of 0.1 percent in July, the median of 35 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey showed. In June, output in the economy of the 16 euro nations fell 0.2 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. A separate release showed that euro-region labor costs rose 1.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the weakest since the data were first compiled in 2000.

In Japan, revised July industrial production data turned an increase into a decrease. Again from Bloomberg:

Japan’s industrial production fell in July, the government said in revised figures today, reversing an initial estimate that showed output rose.

Factory output fell 0.2 percent from a month earlier, compared with the previously reported 0.3 percent gain, the Trade Ministry said in Tokyo today. Production fell 1.1 percent in June.

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