Rare Chinese Trade Deficit

April 10, 2013

It’s been a pretty uneventful day so far.  Main data development was news of a $884 million Chinese trade deficit in March that follows surpluses of $15.25 billion in February, $29.15 billion in January and $31.6 billion in December.  On-year export growth slowed to 10.0% from 21.8% in February and 25.0% in January, while imports climbed 14.1% after an on-year drop of 15.2% in February.

Share prices are mostly higher.  Stocks closed up 0.7% in Japan, 1.0% in India, 1.2% in the Philippines, and 0.8% in Hong Kong and South Korea.  Equities edged 0.2% lower in Australia and China but in Europe show gains thus far of 2.1% in Spain, 1.3% in Italy and 1.2% in Germany and France.  The British Ftse is up 0.6%.

The dollar is up another 0.4% against the yen but still marginally short of the 100 threshold.  The U.S. currency has fallend 0.4% against the New Zealand and Australian dollars and 0.1% versus the loonie, euro, Swissie, yuan and sterling.

!0-year sovereign debt yields have risen by six basis points in Japan and three bps in Germany and Britain.

Gold and oil prices have drifted 0.4% and 0.3% lower to $1581.00 per ounce and $93.96 per barrel.

Japanese bank lending, a key barometer by which to measure the effectiveness of aggressive Bank of Japan stimulus in the future, recorded on-year growth of just 1.6% in March and 1.5% in the first quarter.

Consumer confidence weakened in Australia to a reading of minus 5.1% in April from +2.0% in March.

Several European countries reported industrial production.  In France, such rose by a greater-than-forecast 0.7% in February but fell 2.8% on year. Italian output posted drops in February of 0.8% from January and 3.8% on year and in December-February of 0.9% from September-November and 3.7% on year.  Spanish output declined 6.5% between February 2012 and February 2013.  Swedish output climbed 0.5% on month but declined 0.9% on year in February. Finnish output was 6.0% lower than a year before in February. Note that 2012 was a leap year.

Norwegian CPI inflation accelerated as expected to 1.4% in March from 1.0% the month before.  Producer prices in Norway posted a 3.4% twelve-month decline in March. Danish consumer prices ticked 0.2% higher on month and 0.9% higher on year in March.  On-year Portuguese CPI inflation that month was just 0.5%.  Romanian CPI inflation slowed more than forecast to 5.25% from 5.65% in February. 

South Korean M2 money growth accelerated from a 4.8% on-year pace in January to a six-month high of 5.3% in February, while South Korea’s jobless rate of 3.2% in March was a tad below expectations, and import prices plunged 10.8% from March 2012. 

The White House today will be sending a proposed $3.77 trillion fiscal 2014 budget to Capitol Hill, embodying a reduced deficit of $744 billion equal to 4.4% of GDP.  It’s the first sub-10% deficit of the Obama presidency.  FOMC minutes will be released at 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT).  No meaningful U.S. data releases are scheduled. 

Copyright 2013, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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