Friday, 25 February 2011

Eurozone confidence up but US economic data mixed

It looks like the eurozone economy is maintaining its growth. From Bloomberg on Thursday:

European confidence in the economic outlook improved more than economists forecast to the highest in 3 1/2 years in February, led by surging optimism in Germany.

An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro region advanced to 107.8 from 106.8 in January, the European Commission in Brussels said today. That’s the highest since August 2007. Economists had forecast a February reading of 106.8, the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg survey showed. A gauge of German economic confidence rose to 116.8 from 115.5.

US economic data on Thursday, though, were mixed. Reuters reports:

New U.S. claims for jobless aid fell last week, indicating healing in the labor market, but declines in new home sales and orders for a range of factory goods in January showed the recovery remains uneven...

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits dropped 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 391,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, below economists' expectations for a fall to 400,000.

Separate reports from the Commerce Department showed orders for long-lasting manufactured goods excluding transportation items suffered the biggest drop in two years in January, while new home sales tumbled 12.6 percent as a homebuyer tax credit in California ended.

The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index for January also provided mixed signals.

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to –0.16 in January from +0.18 in December. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index made positive contributions in January, but they were offset by continued weakness in the consumption and housing category.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, edged up to –0.10 in January from –0.14 in December, increasing for the third straight month. January’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was slightly below its historical trend. With regard to inflation, the amount of economic slack reflected in the CFNAI-MA3 suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.

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