Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Economic data mixed, India raises interest rate again

Economic data on Tuesday were mixed.

In the US, retail sales fell 0.1 percent in September, dragged down by a 2.2 percent decline in sales at auto dealers. However, excluding automobiles, gasoline and building materials, retail sales increased 0.5 percent.

Still, the Conference Board did report that its index of consumer confidence for the US fell to a six-month low of 71.2 in October from 80.2 in September.

Meanwhile, US producer prices fell 0.1 percent in September, pushing the 12-month increase down to 0.3 percent, the smallest since October 2009.

However, home prices continued to increase in August. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9 percent. Compared to a year ago, prices rose 12.8 percent, the strongest increase since February 2006.

The housing market has also been strong in the UK, with mortgage approvals for house purchases rising to almost 67,000 in September, the highest level since February 2008.

Earlier in the day, Japan had reported that household spending rose 3.7 percent in September from a year ago while the jobless rate fell to 4.0 percent last month from 4.1 percent in August.

Even as global economic data have been coming out mixed, India's central bank remains focused on fighting inflation. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India decided to raise its benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75 percent. It was the second consecutive month that the RBI had raised its benchmark rate.

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