Friday, 28 December 2012

US unemployment claims fall, new home sales rise, Japanese industrial output falls

US economic data on Thursday were mostly positive.

Applications for unemployment-insurance payments fell by 12,000 to 350,000 in the week ended 22 December. The four-week moving average fell to 356,750, the lowest since March 2008.

New home sales rose 4.4 percent in November to a 377,000 annual pace, the highest since April 2010.

However, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 65.1 in December from 71.5 in November.

Japanese economic data on Friday were mixed.

Industrial output fell 1.7 percent in November, reversing the 1.6 percent gain in October, which had been the first increase in four months. However, manufacturers surveyed by the government expect output to rise 6.7 percent in December and 2.4 percent in January.

Also signalling weakness for Japanese manufacturing was the Markit/JMMA manufacturing PMI, which fell to 45.0 in December, a 44-month low, from 46.5 in November.

More positively, Japan's unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in November from 4.2 percent in October while household spending rose 0.2 percent in November from a year earlier.

However, the core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh-food prices, fell 0.3 percent last month, pushing the 12-month rate down to -0.1 percent.

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