Saturday, 30 March 2013

US consumer spending rises, Japanese industrial output falls

US economic data on Friday were positive.

US consumer spending increased 0.7 percent in February, faster than the 0.4 percent rise in January. The increase was partly due to higher gasoline prices. After adjusting for inflation, spending was up 0.3 percent, the same rate as in January.

Meanwhile, personal income resumed growth in February, increasing by 1.1 percent after having declined 3.7 percent in January. Real disposable income rose 0.7 last month after having fallen 4.0 percent the previous month.

To add to the positive consumption picture, another report on Friday showed that the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose to 78.6 in March from 77.6 in February.

Data from Japan on Friday were mixed though.

Japan's jobless rate rose to 4.3 percent in February from 4.2 percent in January.

The country also remained in deflation, with core consumer prices falling 0.3 percent in February from a year ago.

However, household spending rose 0.8 percent in February from a year ago after adjusting for price changes.

Industrial production shrank 0.1 percent in February but manufacturers expect it to rebound 1 percent in March.

Indeed, Markit's manufacturing PMI for Japan rose to 50.4 in March from 48.5 in February, rising above the neutral 50 mark for the first time since May 2012.

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