Tuesday, 10 January 2006

US consumer credit falls in November, European retail sales rise in December

Is the US consumer turning frugal? Reuters reports the latest consumer credit numbers.

U.S. consumer credit unexpectedly slid by $648.8 million in November, on a drop in loans for cars and boats, a Federal Reserve report showed on Monday.

After a record drop by a revised $8.4 billion in October, it was the first time since May-June 1992 that consumer credit has declined for two months in a row, the Fed said.

At least the European consumer has been doing his bit of late. From Bloomberg:

European retail sales rose in December by the most in at least two years, the Bloomberg purchasing managers' index showed, the seventh report in a week showing the region's economy is gaining momentum.

A seasonally adjusted index of sales in the dozen nations sharing the euro rose to 52.2, the highest since the series began in January 2004, from 50.7 in November, according to a survey for Bloomberg LP by NTC Research Ltd...

Rising retail sales echoed reports suggesting a revival in the euro-region economy. Confidence among investors in the dozen euro nations rose this month to the highest level since at least July 2002, the Sentix research group said today.

And it's pretty good in the UK too, at least in December.

U.K. stores' holiday sales rose by the most in more than a year and a half in December, driven by demand for food and goods such as jewelry and handbags, the British Retail Consortium said.

Revenue at stores open at least a year advanced by 2.6 percent, the group, which represents 80 percent of U.K. retailers, said today in London. The gain was the largest since May 2004 and compared with a 0.8 percent increase in November.

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