A Ton of Data Releases as May Ends

May 31, 2011

The dollar at 15:00 GMT was down 1.0% against the kiwi, 0.8% versus the loonie, 0.7% against the euro, 0.2% against the Aussie dollar and 0.1% relative to the yuan.  The greenback has risen overnight by 0.4% against the yen and 0.1% against sterling and the Swiss franc.

Equities rose 2.2% in Hong Kong, 2.0% in Japan, 2.3% in South Korea, 1.9% in Taiwan, 1.6% in China, 1.5% in India, and 0.9% in Australia.  The German Dax and Paris Cac are 1.7% and 1.6% higher, and the British Ftse has climbed 0.7%.

Ten-year yields on sovereign German, Japanese and British debt advanced by five, four and three basis points.

Oil prices rose 2.1% to $102.74 per barrel.  Gold is steady at $1539 per ounce.

The Bank of Canada as expected left its overnight money target unchanged at 1.0%.  Canadian producer prices rose 0.5% in April and registered an unchanged 5.0% 12-month rate of increase.  Raw material prices leaped 6.8% on month and by 22.4% on year.

U.S. data were weaker than forecast.  The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index sank 5.2 points to a six-month low of 60.8 in May.  The Case Shiller house price index slid 0.2% on month but by 3.6% on year, the biggest such drop in 18 months.  The level of house prices hit a new post-crash low, matching the level of March 2003.  The Chicago regional PMI plunged 11 points to an 18-month low of 56.6.  The Milwaukee purchasing mangers index also fell more than expected.

Moody’s reported that Japan’s Aa2 sovereign debt rating is being reviewed for a possible downgrade. 

Japanese industrial production rose 1.0% in April but was still 14.0% lower than a year earlier.  Japanese housing starts in April were 0.3% greater than a year earlier after posting a 2.4% 12-month drop in March.  Construction orders, which had dropped by 11.0% in the year to March, were 31.4% higher in April than a year before.  The jobless rate, on the other hand, rose a tenth to 4.7% in April, posting the first increase in a half year.  Employment in April was 0.1% greater than a year before, and the job offers to applicants ratio dipped to 0.61 from 0.63, its first drop in 17 months.  Real household spending rose 0.2% on month in April, reducing the on-year rate of decline to 3.0% from 8.5% in March.  Labor cash earnings registered a much greater 1.4% on-year decline in April than had been anticipated.  Japan’s manufacturing purchasing managers index crossed over the 50 no-change line to 51.3 in May after scoring a 45.7 in April.  But motor vehicle production tumbled by a record on-year 60.1% in April.

South Korean industrial production rose less sharply than assumed in March, resulting in a 1.5% on-year drop.  Business sentiment in that economy weakened in the latest month for both manufacturers and non-manufacturers. 

New Zealand business sentiment improved to a 10-month high of 38.3 in May, a sign of recovery from the South Island’s earthquake earlier than year.  Australian building approvals fell 1.3% on month and 11.5% on year in April.  Australia’s current account deficit was AUD 10.447 billion in 1Q11. 

Euroland CPI inflation edged lower to 2.7% in May from 2.8% in April.  The jobless rate in the union was 9.9% for a third straight month in April.  It had been 10.2% a year earlier. 

Germany had a 7.0% unemployment rate in May.  Unemployment fell by just 8K, down from a 33K decline in April.  German retail sales rose 0.6% in volume terms last month and were 3.6% greater than a year earlier. 

Swiss GDP rose 0.3% in 1Q and by 2.4% on year.  The quarterly gain was less than half as much as expected, reflecting disappointing consumption and investment.

Danish GDP sank for a second straight quarter, a technical recession.  The drop was 0.5% after one of 0.2% in 4Q10.

French real consumer spending fell 1.8% in April and by 0.1% on year.  French producer prices rose 0.6% in April and by 5.8% on year.

Italy’s jobless rate slid to 8.1% in April from 8.3% in March.  Consumer prices firmed 0.1% in May and 2.6% on year, while the PPI in April advanced by 0.6% and 5.2% from a year earlier.

Sweden’s current account surplus widened to SEK 71.1 billion in 1Q11 from SEK 51.5K in 4Q10.  Norwegian retail sales volume were unchanged last month and 11.4% higher than in April 2010.

South African M3 money growth slowed to a 12-month 6.0% increase in April.  There was a 2.44 billion rand trade deficit that month. 

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2011.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.


Comments are closed.