Friday, 16 December 2011

Global economic data weak except in the US

Economic data on Thursday were mixed.

The Bank of Japan reported a fall in the sentiment index for large manufacturers in December to minus 4 from 2 in September.

In China, manufacturing activity shrank in December but at a slower pace, with HSBC's manufacturing PMI rising to 49.0 in December from 47.7 in November. Another report showed that China's foreign direct investment in November fell 9.76 percent from a year earlier, the first year-on-year decline since July 2009.

In the UK, retail sales fell 0.4 percent in November while the Confederation of British Industry survey's total order book balance fell to -23 in December from -19 in November.

In the euro area, private sector activity shrank again this month but at a slower pace. Markit's composite PMI rose to 47.9 in December from 47.0 in November. The services PMI rose to 48.3 from 47.5 and the manufacturing index rose to 46.9 from 46.4.

As has been the trend recently, the best economic data on Thursday came from the US. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to 366,000 last week, the lowest since May 2008. Industrial production fell 0.2 percent in November but this was after a 0.7 percent increase in October. Furthermore, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its index of business conditions rose this month to its highest since March while the New York Federal Reserve reported that business activity in New York state is at its highest since May.

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