Wednesday, 25 May 2011

US new home sales rise, eurozone industrial orders fall

Economic reports on Tuesday were mixed.

Bloomberg reports the US data:

Purchases of new houses rose in April for a second month as the market struggled to recover from a record low.

Sales climbed 7.3 percent to a 323,000 annual pace last month, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists called for sales at a 300,000 annual rate...

Another report today showed manufacturing, which led the economy out of the recession, may be cooling. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s factory index dropped to minus 6 this month, the lowest reading since April 2009. Negative numbers indicate manufacturing was shrinking.

In the euro area, Bloomberg reports that industrial orders fell in March.

European industrial orders declined more than economists forecast in March, led by a drop in demand for durable consumer goods, such as appliances and furniture.

Orders in the euro area slipped 1.8 percent from February, when they increased 0.5 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast a drop of 1.1 percent, the median of 17 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Orders jumped 14.1 percent from a year earlier.

But the euro area's largest economy had relatively positive data to report. From Bloomberg:

German business confidence remained unexpectedly unchanged in May as booming exports and rising company spending boosted economic growth.

The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, held at 114.2 from April. Economists forecast a decline to 113.7, the median of 24 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed...

German gross domestic product rose 1.5 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, the Federal Statistics Office said today. That’s the fastest growth since the second quarter of 2010. Exports advanced 2.3 percent and construction spending jumped 6.2 percent.

In the UK, retail sales slowed in May but were better than expected. Reuters reports:

Retail sales grew more slowly in May, although they beat expectations, and firms are cautious about the outlook for growth next month, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Tuesday...

The CBI Distributive Trades survey's reported sales balance fell to +18 in May from +21 in April. That was above analysts' expectations for a reading of +10, but below its long-run average.

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