Thursday, June 23, 2011

Statistical Notes Thursday June 23

-The British budget deficit (net borrowing) rose from  £25.9 billion in April-May 2010 to £27.4 billion in April-May 2011 despite higher revenues from the increase in VAT, suggesting a very weak underlying economy.

-Initial jobless claims rose in the U.S., indicating a very weak labor market.

-Euro area PMI fell from 55.8 to 53.6 in June, suggesting further deceleration of economic growth in the euro area.

-Good and bad news from Ireland. The good news is that the current account balance strengthened further, so that Ireland now has a surplus during the latest year of €1.2 billion, nearly 1% of GNP.  During the height of its housing bubble in 2007, it had a deficit of more than €10 billion, or more than 6% of GNP.

The bad news is that GNP fell as much as 4.3% from the previous quarter. Considering how fast growth was in the preceding quarters, this probably however at least partially reflects seasonal adjustment problems.

-The number of employed persons rose by 2.3% in Sweden in May , while the number of hours worked increased as much as 3.5%.  Unemployment is however still high at 7.9%.

-Consumer price inflation rose to a new high of 5.2% in May in Hong Kong. With the Hong Kong dollar pegged to the U.S. dollar while the yuan gradually appreciates, high inflation is likely to continue in Hong Kong.

A consolation for workers in Hong Kong is that average nominal earnings rose as much as 7.2% in March.

-Employment in Taiwan rose another 0.2% in May compared to the previous month and 2% compared to May 2010. helping to push down unemployment to 4.27%, the lowest since 2008.

-Unemployment in Israel fell to 5.8% in April, below the lowest level of 2008 (5.9%) and significantly down from the 7.7% high of 2009.


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