Friday, 27 January 2012

US economic data on Thursday mostly positive

Thursday's economic data indicated that the US economy maintained growth at the end of 2012 and is likely to continue to do so in early 2012.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to 0.17 in December from minus 0.46 in November. The three-month moving average rose to minus 0.08, the highest value since March 2011, from minus 0.19.

Economic growth is likely to be sustained in early 2012. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.4 percent in December following a 0.2 percent increase in November.

Boosting the outlook for the economy was a 3.0 percent increase in durable goods orders in December. An 18.9 percent jump in orders for civilian aircraft drove the increase but even excluding transportation equipment, orders were up 2.1 percent. Orders for nondefense capital equipment goods excluding aircraft rose 2.9 percent.

Not all the US data on Thursday were positive though.

New home sales fell 2.2 percent in December. That left new home sales for the whole of 2012 at a record-low level of 302,000.

New claims for unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to 377,000 in the week ended 21 January. However, the four-week average fell 2,500 to 377,500.

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