Saturday, 16 July 2011

US industrial production rises, eight European banks fail stress tests

US economic data were again mixed on Friday. Bloomberg reports:

Industrial production in the U.S. rose less than forecast in June, restrained by declines in the output of autos and business equipment.

The 0.2 percent increase in production at factories, mines and utilities followed a revised 0.1 percent decrease the prior month that was initially reported as a gain, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today. Economists projected a 0.3 percent rise in June, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Factory production was unchanged last month, while utility use rebounded...

Other figures from the Fed today showed manufacturing in New York state unexpectedly contracted for a second straight month in July. The so-called Empire State Index, which covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, rose to minus 3.8 from minus 7.8. Readings less than zero signal contraction.

The Labor Department said today that the consumer-price index decreased 0.2 percent in June. The so-called core measure, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.3 percent.

Consumer confidence slumped in July to the lowest level since March 2009. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of sentiment decreased to 63.8 from 71.5 at the end of June.

Meanwhile, confidence in Europe's banks remains shaky after the latest stress tests. Again from Bloomberg:

As many as 24 European banks will be under pressure to show they can raise capital after failing, or barely passing, a second round of stress tests by regulators.

Eight failed the European Banking Authority’s stress tests yesterday, with a combined shortfall of 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion). As many as 16 more will need to bolster capital after their core Tier 1 ratio dropped below 6 percent, little more than the assessment’s 5 percent pass-mark, the EBA said.

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