Wednesday, 23 May 2012

US and Europe report better data, Japan sees rating cut

Economic data on Tuesday were mostly positive.

In the US, sales of existing homes rose 3.4 percent in April to its fastest pace since May 2010.

In the euro area, the consumer confidence index rose to minus 19.3 in May from minus 19.9 in April.

In the UK, the inflation rate fell to 3.0 percent in April from 3.5 percent in March.

Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development sees global economic growth easing just slightly to 3.4 percent this year from 3.6 percent in 2011 before accelerating to 4.2 percent in 2013. Growth among the OECD members is expected to ease this year to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent in 2011 and then rebound to 2.2 percent in 2013.

The main risk to the global economy comes from Europe's debt crisis. The OECD forecasts that the eurozone economy would shrink 0.1 percent this year before posting growth of 0.9 percent in 2013.

And yet, the euro area is not the only region with a heavy government debt load. On Tuesday, Fitch cut Japan's credit rating, citing the country's massive public debt. Japan's long-term foreign currency rating was downgraded to A+ from AA with a negative outlook.

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