Friday, 30 March 2012

US fourth quarter growth unchanged, eurozone economic sentiment and UK house prices fall

Annualised US fourth quarter GDP growth was confirmed at 3.0 percent on Thursday. Encouragingly, real gross domestic income increased 4.4 percent, up from 2.6 percent. Another report showing a decline in initial claims for unemployment benefits last week to 359,000, the lowest in nearly four years, suggests that the US economy is continuing to grow in early 2012.

The eurozone economy, though, continues to struggle. The European Commission's index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro area fell to 94.4 in March from 94.5 in February.

Elsewhere in Europe, the UK housing market has suffered a setback. Mortgage lender Nationwide reported on Thursday that house prices fell 1.0 percent in March, their sharpest monthly fall in more than two years in March. Also on Thursday, data from the Bank of England showed that approvals for home loans fell to an 8-month low in February.

Compounding the UK economy's difficulties, the GfK consumer confidence index fell to -31 in March from -29 in February.

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