Friday, July 22, 2011

Statistical Notes Friday July 22

-Real retail sales rose slightly in Britain compared to both the previous month and a year earlier, while the budget deficit fell slightly.

-News from the U.S. housing market was mixed as housing starts and new building permits rose, while existing home sales fell slightly.

Meanwhile, general economic news suggested a slight strengthening of the economy. While initial jobless claims rose somewhat, they were still slightly below the 4 week average and the Philly Fed manufacturing index recovered from last month's low.

-Preliminary euro area PMI for July showed a continued slowdown, as the index fell from 53.3 to 50.8. Also confirming weakness was a drop in Construction spending in May, while an increase in May factory orders contradicted other data by suggesting strength.

-Singapore's GDP growth fell sharply, from 9.3% in the first quarter to just 0.5% in the second quarter. In part, this is a base effect as the extraordinarily strong Q2 2010 is used as reference, but there is no question that growth in Singapore has slowed dramatically.

-Inflation rose in India to 9.4%, increasing pressure on the Reserve bank of India to raise interest rates.

-Hong Kong saw employment increase 3.4% (full time employment was up 3.6%) during the latest year, pushing down the unemployment rate to 3.5% despite a big increase in the labor force participation rate.

Meanwhile, consumer price inflation accelerated to 5.6%.

-Taiwan saw a slight increase in its unemployment rate, from 4.27% to 4.35%, but that was more than entirely due to an increase in the participation rate as the employment rate also rose.


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