Busy Day of Data

February 26, 2015

A surprise 2.2% decline in Australian private investment last quarter rekindled speculation about an interest rate cut by the RBA.

British GDP grew 0.5% last quarter and 2.7% from the final quarter of 2013.  Average growth accelerated from 1.5% in 2013 to 2.6% last year.  The slowdown of growth in the final quarter from 0.7% in 3Q was attributed to deterioration in construction.  The monthly index of service sector activity increased 0.6% on month and 3.6% on year in December.

Eurozone money and credit expansion accelerated in January.  M3 money was 4.1% greater than in January 2014.  The 3-month rise from a year before advanced to 3.6% from 3.1% in October-December and 2.7% in September-November.  Loans to the private sector dipped just 0.1% on year in January versus declines of 0.5% in December and 0.9% in November, but lending to non-financial corporations still posted a hefty 1.2% on-year decrease.  Faster M1 growth of 9.0% was the drive of the quickening climb in M3.

Eurozone economic sentiment rose 0.7 points to a 7-month high of 102.1 in February.  All components of sentiment improved except for construction which stagnated. 

German labor statistics were better than forecast.  Unemployment fell by 20K in February, twice street forecasts.  The jobless rate stayed at 6.5%.  Employment grew 1.0% in the year to January 2015, compared to 0.6% in the previous twelve months.

German consumer confidence rose by 0.4 points to a 13-1/2 year high of 9.7 this month.

Sweden recorded a SEK 3.5 billion trade surplus last month, up from around zero in December, but exports and imports each posted month-on-month and on-year declines.  The surplus in 2014 of SEK 12.3 billion followed a surplus of SEK 44.9 billion in 2013.

Spanish GDP advanced 0.7% on quarter and 2.0% on year in the final quarter of 2014. 

Belgian consumer prices fell 0.4% in the year to February.  Icelandic consumer prices were 0.8% higher than a year earlier that month. 

Swiss industrial production rebounded last quarter and posted a 2.7% on-year advance.

Italian hourly wage cost inflation stayed at 1.1% in January. 

Austria’s manufacturing purchasing managers index rose 0.2 points in February to a 2-month high but was under the 50 no change level for a sixth straight time with a reading of 48.7.

New Zealand experienced its first trade surplus since last June.  It totaled NZD 56 million last month after a deficit in December of NZD 195 million.

Japanese stock and bond transactions last month generated a JPY 128 billion net capital outflow after a JPY 196 billion inflow in the prior week.  A plethora of Japanese statistics arrive Friday: unemployment, CPI, housing starts, industrial production, construction orders, retail sales, household spending, and auto output.

The dollar is unchanged against the yuan and loonie, down 0.5% relative to the kiwi, and up by 0.4% against the euro, 0.2% versus sterling and 0.1% relative to the yen, Swissie and Aussie dollar.

Share prices rose 2.5% and 1.1% in China and Japan but have fallen 1.8% in Greece, 0.9% in India, 0.8% in Taiwan and 0.6% in Australia.  Stocks are up 0.7% in Italy, 0.4% in Spain, 0.2% in France, 0.3% in Germany but unchanged in Great Britain and Switzerland.

Gold has risen 1.4% to $1,217.70 per ounce.  Oil, however, is down 1.2% at $50.36 per barrel.

Sovereign debt yields for 10-year maturities have slipped by four basis points in the U.K., 3 bps in Japan, 2 bps in Greece, and 1 basis point in Germany.

The United States has several data releases today: consumer prices, durable goods orders, the FHFA house price index, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, and weekly jobless insurance claims.  Canadian consumer prices are also due, as is the Mexican current account.

Copyright 2015, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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