Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Spain in recession, US consumer spending increases

Monday brought more mixed economic data.

Europe predictably had the worst, with data confirming that Spain's economy has fallen into recession. It contracted 0.3 percent in the first quarter, the same as in the previous three months.

Adding to Spain's woes, Standard & Poor’s cut its credit ratings for 11 Spanish banks on Monday.

The German economy has been doing better. German retail sales rose 0.8 percent in March, rebounding from a 0.9 percent decline in February.

Meanwhile, lower inflation could help boost the eurozone economy. Inflation in the euro area fell to 2.6 percent in April from 2.7 percent in March, according to an initial estimate.

The US economy has been performing better than Europe, although it may have lost some momentum recently. Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in March after having increased 0.9 percent the prior month. After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending rose 0.1 percent in March. Disposable income rose 0.2 percent after accounting for inflation.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's business barometer fell to 56.2 in April from 62.2 in March.

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