Some Soft European Data Released

March 28, 2012

The dollar is narrowly mixed this Wednesday, with overnight declines of 0.3% against the yen and 0.2% versus the euro and Swiss franc offset by gains of 0.4% relative to the Australian dollar, 0.2% versus the kiwi and sterling and 0.1% against the loonie.  The yuan is unchanged.

Share prices slumped 2.8% in China.  Elsewhere in the Pacific Rim, equities fell 0.8% in Hong Kong and India, 0.7% in Japan, 0.4% in South Korea, and 0.3% in Malaysia and Thailand, but stocks climbed 1.0% in Australia and Pakistan.  The Paris Cac and German Dax are unchanged thus far, and the British Ftse is 0.1% lower.

Ten-year sovereign debt yields have dipped two basis points in Japan and by a single basis point in Germany and Britain.

Oil and gold prices settled back 0.9% and 0.6% to $106.34 per barrel and $1678.20 per ounce.

Britain’s current account deficit of GBP 8.45 billion in the final 2011 quarter was more than twice expectations.  The second half deficit of GBP 19.0 billion was 89% wider than the deficit in the first half of the year.

The contraction of British real GDP last quarter was revised to 0.3% (down 1.2% at an annualized rate) from 0.2%.  Production plunged 1.3% in the quarter and by 1.2% in 2011 as a whole.  Real GDP was only 0.5% greater than in the final quarter of 2010.  For 2011 as a whole, GDP grew 0.7% after a gain of 2.1% in 2010 and a plunge of 4.4% in 2009.  Personal consumption and gross fixed capital formation both fell by 1.2% in calendar 2011. 

French GDP rose 0.2% last quarter and was 1.4% greater than in 4Q10.  Such matched preliminary estimates.  Inventories exerted a 0.8 percentage point drag on GDP growth in the quarter.  GDP rose 1.7% in calendar 2011, similar to the 1.4% advance in 2010. 

Euro area M3 in February was 2.8% greater than a year earlier, accelerating from on-year growth of 2.5% in January.  The on-year pace in December-February was 2.3%, up from 2.0% in 4Q11.  In contrast, on-year growth in private credit and private loans decelerated in February to an anemic 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively.  Lending to firms was just 0.4% greater than in February 2011.

German CPI inflation slowed in March in five of six reporting states.  In Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia, the 12-month CPI increase returned to January’s 1.8% from 1.9% in February.  Non-energy CPI inflation was a mere 1.4%.

From February’s 23-month low of 91.5, Italian business sentiment recovered in March to January’s level of 92.1 but remained 2.3 points below the level of six months earlier.

Irish retail sales volume was 1.9% weaker than a year earlier in February and down 0.3% from January’s level.  Swedish consumer confidence stagnated in March, but confidence among manufacturers jumped 14 points to +1.  Iceland recorded a 6.4% on-year rise of consumer prices in March, in between February’s pace of 6.3% and January’s of 6.5%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia released a semi-annual survey of the local banking system that found such to be solid.

The 12-month rate of industrial output contraction in flood-stricken Thailand continues to recede.  Such was 3.4% last month after drops of 15.2% in January and 25.3% in December.

U.S. mortgage applications fell 2.3% last week on top of a 7.4% decline in the week of March 16.  The 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 4.23% was its highest since late November and up from 4.19% in the prior week and 4.06% from two weeks earlier.  The U.S. will release durable goods orders later this morning.  Public figures speaking today include U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner, Bundesbank President Weidman, and ECB Vice President Constancio.

Copyright 2012, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

Tags: , ,


Comments are closed.