Saturday, 13 December 2008

US retail sales fall, Japanese consumer pessimism deepens

The US economy may be in recession but not all the economic news is bad, or as bad as expected. From Bloomberg:

U.S. retail sales fell for a record fifth consecutive month in November and wholesale prices tumbled as the deepening recession pulls inflation down.

The 1.8 percent decline in sales was smaller than forecast because discounts drew in more shoppers at department stores and electronic retailers, Commerce Department figures showed in Washington...

The Labor Department said its producer-price index fell 2.2 percent in November from the previous month, led by energy and food costs. The PPI was up 0.1 percent excluding those two items...

Consumer sentiment rose this month from a 28-year low, stoked by gas-price declines. The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to 59.1 from 55.3 in November.

But the economic gloom is spreading elsewhere.

To Japan, for example. From Bloomberg:

Japan’s consumers became the most pessimistic in at least 26 years, indicating their weaker spending may deepen the recession.

The confidence index dropped to 28.4 last month from 29.4 in October, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. It’s the lowest since the government began compiling the figures in 1982.

And Europe. From Reuters:

Industrial output in the 15 countries using the euro fell 1.2 percent on the month for a 5.3 percent annual drop, the sixth straight fall in annual terms and the deepest decline since July 1993, when it fell 5.5 percent, European Union statistics office Eurostat said on Friday.

Even supposedly fast-growing emerging economies are not immune to the slowdown.

Bloomberg reports slowing Chinese retail sales growth.

China’s retail sales grew at the slowest pace in nine months as the economy and inflation cooled and the global financial crisis damped consumer confidence.

Sales rose 20.8 percent in November from a year earlier to 979.1 billion yuan ($143 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said today, after gaining 22 percent in October. That was more than the 20.5 percent median estimate of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

AFP/CNA reports that Indian industrial production has shrunk for the first time in 15 years.

Industrial production contracted by 0.4 percent in October after expanding by 12.2 percent in the same month a year earlier, government figures showed. Output grew by a revised 5.45 percent in September.

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