Loads of Data on Final Trading Day of February

February 26, 2010

The dollar lost 0.4% against the kiwi, 0.3% relative to the euro and Swissy, 0.2% versus the Canadian dollar and 0.1% against the Australian dollar.  The U.S. currency is up 0.2% against sterling and 0.1% versus the yen.  The Wall Street Journal carries a story today about some hedge funds anticipating a secular decline of the euro.  Greek officials are reportedly trying to tie unpaid World War 2 reparations into an aid package from Germany.  Don’t they know that the issue of World War 1 reparations was a root cause of the second world war?

Stocks put in a better performance today.  In the Pacific Rim, bourses rose 1.0% in Hong Kong and Australia, 1.1% in India, 0.6% in Thailand and 0.5% in South Korea.  In Europe, the Paris Cac, British Ftse and German Dax are trading 1.0%, 0.9% and 0.8% higher.

Among ten-year sovereign bond yields, gilts and bunds are up 3 basis points and 1 bp.  JGB’s are unchanged.

Oil and gold prices have rebounded 0.3% to $78.43 per barrel and $1111.50 per troy ounce.

Japanese consumer prices slid 0.2% unadjusted in January and by 0.1% after seasonal adjustment, same as December’s monthly drops.  On-year total and core (excluding seasonal food) inflation were at minus 1.3%.  Non-energy, non-food consumer prices declined 1.5% in the latest statement year.  Tokyo’s CPI fell 1.8% in the year to February.

Japanese industrial production advanced 2.5% last month, more than twice as much as forecast after a 1.9% increase in December.  Output was 4.6% greater than the average 4Q09 level and 18.2% greater than in January 2009.

Japanese housing starts and construction orders in January were 8.1% below a year earlier and 15.7% above such, respectively.  Both results, like industrial production, were better than forecast.

Australian private credit grew 0.4% in January and 1.3% from a year earlier.  The Reserve Bank of Australia is widely expected to implement another 25-bp rate hike next week.  The labor market has been very strong.

New Zealand building permits fell 2.8% last month.  New Zealand’s trade balance swung back into surplus last month but for a bad reason, weak imports which were 12% lower than in January 2009 and at their worst level since February 2005.  New Zealand’s economy continues to flounder, unlike Australia’s.

Thailand’s $2.0 billion current account surplus last month surpassed expectations.  Factory output was 28.9% greater than in January 2009.  Business sentiment printed at 50.4, the same reading as in December.

Singapore industrial production increased 11.8% last month.  Hong Kong M3 in January was 9.4% greater than a year earlier.

British fourth-quarter GDP growth got revised to a gain of 0.3% from 0.1% reported originally but was still 3.3% lower than a year before.  Business investment sank 3.1% and by 14.2% on year.  Personal consumption increased 0.4% but dropped 3.1% in 2009 as a whole.  Government expenditures jumped 1.2%.  Exports went up 3.7% but not as much as imports, so net foreign demand exerted a 0.2 percentage point drag on GDP growth.  By industry, GDP was supported by rises of 0.5% in services and 0.8% in manufacturing by depressed by a 1.0% drop in construction.  The GDP deflator firmed 0.8%.

The U.K. Nationwide house price index fell 1.0% in February instead of firming moderately as expected.  The on-year comparison was a gain of 9.2%, however.

British consumer confidence rose three points to minus 14 in February.  That’s a four-month high.

Euroland consumer prices fell 0.8% in January and were just 1.0% greater than a year earlier.  Core inflation dipped a tenth to 0.9%.  Compared to inflation in the year to January 2009, the overall CPI was a tenth lower despite a swing in energy price inflation from minus 5.3% to plus 4.0%.  Non-energy consumer prices rose just 0.7%, down from a gain of 1.8% in the previous statement year.  Subdued and easing inflation is likely to delay the ECB’s first rate hike.

Four German states have each reported a monthly uptick of 0.2% in consumer prices, which is only half what analysts were forecasting.  On-year inflation rates ranged from 0.1% to 0.4%.

Italian producer prices increased 0.6% last month, more than forecast, but were 0.3% less than a year before.  Spanish consumer price inflation of 0.9% in February was somewhat less than anticipated.

Switzerland’s index of leading economic indicators unexpectedly improved to 1.87 in February from 1.81 in January.

Among the Nordics, Swedish retail sales increased 1.7% last month and by 5.1% from a year before.  Sweden’s SEK 7.5 billion trade surplus in January was a little less than forecast.  Danish GDP increased 0.2% last quarter but was 3.4% less than in 4Q08.  Norwegian factory sector wages increased 0.8% last quarter, which was more than in 3Q09.  Finnish retail sales fell 1.5% on year in volume terms in January.

In India, the fiscal 2011 budget was presented, calling for a deficit equal to 5.5% of GDP, down from 6.9% in FY10.

The Northeast of the United States has been battered by a monster storm of deep wet snow.  Scheduled U.S. data today include revised GDP, the Chicago PMI, existing home sales, and the U. Michigan index of consumer sentiment.  Canada reports its fourth-quarter current account, which will show a significant deficit.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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