Thursday, 5 May 2011

Economic data weaker than expected

US non-manufacturing activity came in well below expectations in April. Bloomberg reports:

Service industries in the U.S. expanded in April at the slowest pace in eight months as companies cut back in response to higher energy costs.

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non- manufacturing companies declined to 52.8 last month, lower than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, from 57.3 in March. Readings greater than 50 signal growth...

Employment also came in below expectations.

Employment at U.S. companies increased by 179,000 in April, the smallest gain in five months, according to figures today from ADP Employer Services. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 198,000 gain.

Eurozone data were also weaker than expected. Bloomberg reports:

European services and manufacturing growth accelerated in April, led by factory output, suggesting the 17-member euro-region economy is weathering surging energy costs and tougher budget cuts.

A composite index based on a survey of euro-area purchasing managers in both industries rose to 57.8 from 57.6 in March, London-based Markit Economics said in a statement today. That’s in line with an initial estimate on April 19. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Euro-region retail sales fell 1 percent in March from the previous month, when they rose 0.3 percent, the European Union’s statistics office said in a statement today...

The euro-area services indicator fell to 56.7 from 57.2 in March, Markit said, below a preliminary reading of 56.9 released last month...

It was the similar story in the UK. From Reuters:

Growth in the construction industry slowed more than expected last month, an industry survey showed Wednesday, casting further doubt on the strength of the country's patchy economic recovery.

The sharp fall in the Markit/CIPS construction PMI survey followed weaker-than-expected figures for mortgage and consumer lending from the Bank of England, as well as a marked decline in house prices.

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