Thursday, 22 November 2012

US economic data turn positive but Japan's trade deficit worsens

Wednesday's data showed that US economic indicators are coming out positive again as the effects of superstorm Sandy dissipate.

Markit's flash manufacturing PMI for November rose to 52.4 from 51.0 in October. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 41,000 to 410,000 last week. The final reading of Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's November consumer sentiment index came in at 82.7, slightly up from 82.6 in October but down from a preliminary reading of 84.9.

Leading indicators are also positive. The Conference Board's leading economic index rose 0.2 percent in October, slowing from 0.5 percent in September. The ECRI's weekly leading index rose to 125.7 in the week ended 16 November from 125.2 the previous week but its growth rate fell to 3.8 percent from 4.3 percent.

Japan's economy, though, showed further signs of weakness on Wednesday. Japanese exports fell 6.5 percent from a year ago in October. Imports were also down 1.6 percent from a year ago. That still left Japan with a trade deficit of 549 billion yen, the worst trade figure for October since 1979, when comparable data became available.

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