The Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged today. Bloomberg reports:
The Bank of Japan kept interest rates near zero and said it will examine ways to help strengthen the economic recovery.
Governor Masaaki Shirakawa “has instructed the staff to examine and report on another occasion, on possible ways to support private financial institutions in terms of fund provisioning with a view to strengthening the foundations for economic growth,” the central bank said in a statement today.
Economic reports released in Japan today mostly showed that the economy is continuing to grow.
Consumer prices excluding fresh food fell 1.2 percent in March from a year earlier, the 13th straight decline, the statistics bureau said today.
Other reports showed household spending rose 4.4 percent, the biggest advance since May 2004, and wages advanced for the first time in 22 months. Industrial production climbed 0.3 percent in March from February, when output declined for the first time in a year...
Job prospects improved in March, with the ratio of positions available to applicants climbing to 0.49, a Labor Ministry report showed today. The unemployment rate unexpectedly climbed to 5 percent as college graduates entered the labor market. The median estimate of economists was for the rate to stay at 4.9 percent.
Another report from Japan today showed that the Nomura/JMMA manufacturing PMI rose to 53.5 in April from 52.4 in March.
Thursday's economic reports from Europe and the US had also been mostly positive.
In Europe, Bloomberg reports an improvement in economic confidence.
European confidence in the economic outlook improved to the highest in more than two years and German unemployment plunged amid signs the euro-area recovery is strengthening even as Greece’s fiscal crisis spreads across the region.
An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 euro nations rose to 100.6 in April from a revised 97.9 in March, the European Commission in Brussels said today. That exceeded the 99.4 median estimate of 24 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. In Germany, the region’s largest economy, unemployment fell 68,000 to 3.29 million in April, almost seven times more than economists had forecast.
In the US, Reuters reports a fall in jobless claims.
The number of U.S. workers submitting new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, implying only a gradual labor market improvement even as the economic recovery broadens out...
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 448,000, the Labor Department said. That was slightly below market expectations claims would drop to 445,000...
Separately, the Chicago Federal Reserve national activity index rose in March, but still indicated below-trend growth.