Friday, 29 July 2011

European sentiment worsens

Eurozone economic indicators came out weak on Thursday. Reuters reports:

Economic sentiment in the euro zone worsened more than expected this month with optimism fading in all sectors, data showed on Thursday, signalling slower expansion of the region's economy in the second half of this year.

The European Commission's monthly sentiment index, based on a survey of businessmen and consumers across the 17-nation euro zone, fell to 103.2 in July from 105.4 in June. This month's figure was the lowest reading since 102.2 in August 2010.

Thursday's economic data also came out negative in the UK, where retail sales fell at their fastest pace in a year in July according to the Confederation of British Industry's distributive trades survey and the Gfk's consumer confidence index fell five points in July to -30, nearing the two-year low of -31 hit in April.

There were better economic data in the US, however. Reuters reports:

The number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits hit a three-month low last week and contracts to buy existing homes rose in June, hopeful signs for an economy that has struggled to regain momentum.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 24,000 to 398,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, below economists' expectations for a fall to 415,000.

A separate report from the National Association of Realtors showed pending home sales rose 2.4 percent in June, the second straight monthly increase. Contracts usually lead sales by a month or two.

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