Wednesday, 18 January 2006

US industrial output shows strength in December; Japanese consumer confidence on uptrend

US industrial production was strong in December, reports Reuters.

Industrial production climbed 0.6 percent last month, as energy-related industries recovered from storms that battered the Gulf Coast last summer, while capacity utilization climbed to 80.7 percent, the highest level in over five years...

The Fed's industrial production report showed manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent in December even though motor vehicles and parts production fell 2.8 percent. Computer and aerospace output both gained.

Utilities' production climbed 2.7 percent and output at mines advanced 2.5 percent.

In the fourth quarter, industrial production increased at an annual rate of 3.8 percent. For the full year, production rose 3.2 percent...

A separate New York Fed report showed growth at New York State factories slowed in January with a drop in inventories although new orders remained positive.

But US consumer sentiment has deteriorated recently.

ABC News and the Washington Post said their Consumer Comfort Index fell to -13 in the week ended January 15, down from -8 the prior week.

Japanese consumer sentiment also shows a similar recent deterioration, although the longer-term trend is improving, reports Bloomberg.

Confidence among households with two or more people rose to 48.2 in the three months ending in December, the highest since the second quarter of 1991, from 44.8 in the third quarter, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo...

Unadjusted consumer confidence among households with two or more people fell to 46.5 in December from 48.2 in November, the Cabinet Office said. Overall confidence, which includes single households sank to 46.7 from 48.2.

The monthly consumer confidence indicator has fallen in the last month of every quarter for the seven quarters that the monthly data has been collected, according to Bloomberg data.

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