Europe - Economic Data & News 01 (May 08 - Oct 08)

Europe - Economic Data & News 01 (May 08 - Oct 08)

Postby kennynah » Wed May 07, 2008 5:27 pm

Euro Zone Manufacturing PMI Eases To 52.3 In February

3/3/2008 6:38:04 AM Euro zone's monthly Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing industry dropped to 52.3 in February from 52.8 in January, a final report from the Royal Bank of Scotland and NTC Economics revealed Monday. The reading for February came in line with flash estimate.

PMI readings among the big-four euro nations showed the widest variation for seven-and-a-half years, with continued robust growth in Germany.

RBS Chief Euro Area Economist, Jacques Cailloux said “The final PMI data for February signaled the resumption of slower activity in the Euro zone manufacturing sector due to the combined headwinds of slower economic growth in export markets, the strong euro and high commodity prices.”

Spanish Feb. PMI Registers Lowest Reading For Over Six Years

UK Feb. Construction PMI Falls More-Than-Expected

3/4/2008 5:43:17 AM UK's construction Purchasing Mangers' Index eased to 52.4 in February from 53.9 in the prior month, the latest report from Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and NTC Economics showed Tuesday. This was the lowest reading since June 2006. The reading declined more than the expected level of 53.

The report stated the UK construction economy pointed to a muted performance of the sector. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in construction sector and a level below 50 suggests contraction.

Roy Ayliffe, Director of Professional Practice at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said, “Although the construction sector started the year on a favorable note, latest data shows that it is undeniably starting to suffer from the tougher market conditions.”


Euro Zone Q4 Economic Growth Slows


3/4/2008 5:24:59 AM Euro zone economy grew 0.4% sequentially in the fourth quarter, the Eurostat said Tuesday. The economic growth eased from 0.7% recorded in the third quarter. The statistical office confirmed the fourth quarter sequential growth.

On an annual basis, Gross Domestic Product, or GDP rose 2.2% in the fourth quarter, revised down from 2.3% estimated earlier. In the third quarter, the GDP growth was 2.6%.

EU27 economy expanded 0.5% quarter-on-quarter and grew 2.6% from the prior year.


Euro Zone Producer Prices Grow In January

3/4/2008 5:39:12 AM As expected, the Euro Zone producer price index increased 0.8% month-on-month in January, faster than the 0.1% pace seen in December, the Eurostat said Tuesday.

On an annual basis, producer prices increased 4.9%, in line with expectations and higher than 4.3% in the prior month.

In the EU27, the index grew 1% on a monthly basis and 5.8% on an annual basis in January. The PPI grew 0.3% month-on-month in December, revised up from 0.2% earlier estimated. The year-on-year PPI growth is revised up to 4.7% from 4.5% for December.


Swiss GDP Growth Unexpectedly Accelerates In Q4

German Exports Grow In 2007; Trade Surplus Rises

3/4/2008 3:53:47 AM German exports grew 8.5% from the prior year in 2007, much larger than the 5.2% increase in imports, the Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday. The trade surplus increased to EUR196.5 billion from EUR159 billion in the year 2006.

German exports to EU nations increased 11.1% to EUR627.5 billion. Meanwhile, exports to third countries were up 4.1%, stayed far below average in 2007. Shipments to Russia surged 20.6% and exports to U.S. declined 5.9%.

Imports from China climbed 9.4% to EUR54.6 billion euros, while import of U.S. goods dropped 7.3% in 2007 and demand for Russian goods fell 4.2% (odd?).


Slovak Q4 Economic Growth Undergoes Upward Revision

Greek GDP Growth Slows In Q4


Euro Zone Retail Sales Recover In January

3/5/2008 5:27:16 AM Euro zone retail sales rose 0.4% month-on-month in January, reversing a 0.1% fall in December, the Eurostat said Wednesday. Economists were looking for 0.3% growth in January.

The retail sales index dropped 0.1% from the prior year, following a revised 1.8% decline in December. Retail sales number for December was revised from 2% fall initially estimated.

Retail sales in EU27 climbed 0.6% on a monthly basis and increased 1.8% from the previous year.



Swiss Jobless Rate Eases Slightly In February

German Factory Orders Fall In January


3/6/2008 6:28:46 AM Germany's manufacturing orders decreased 1.5% month-on-month in January, the German Economics Ministry announced Thursday. Economists had expected a fall of 0.4%. In December, new orders dropped by a revised 1.1%. Initially, a 1.7% fall was reported for December.

On an annual basis, orders in the manufacturing sector increased 9.5% versus 9.9% expected. The December growth was revised to 6.2% from 5.6% previously reported.

Dutch Feb. Annual Inflation Accelerates

German Labor Cost Index Rises In Q4

3/10/2008 5:04:32 AM The German labor cost index increased 1.1% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of the year, faster than 0.9% in the third quarter, the Federal Statistical Office said Monday.

On a sequential basis, labor costs were up 0.4%. In the year 2007, the labor cost index increased 0.9%, compared to 1.3% in 2006.


Czech Annual Inflation Remains Stable In February

Slovak Retail Sales Growth Accelerates In January

Norwegian Feb. Producer Price Index Growth Eases

Turkey's Industrial Output Strongly Recovers In January



German CPI Annual Inflation Holds Steady At 2.8% In February


3/14/2008 3:43:39 AM Germany's annual inflation remained unchanged in February.

The Federal Statistical Office, or Destatis, reported Friday that German consumer price index climbed 2.8% year-on-year in February, marking the same pace as in January. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.5% in February, reversing a revised 0.3% decline in January. The monthly fall in January was earlier reported as 0.4%. Thus, the flash estimates, released on February 29, were confirmed.

According to Destatis, the high year-on-year rate of price increase in February 2008 was largely due to markedly higher energy prices, both household energy and motor fuels. Excluding the price trend for mineral oil products, the year-on-year rate of price increase would have been 2.3%, the agency said.

Food prices accelerated 7.8% year-on-year. Prices of milk, cheese and eggs had a significant increase of 23.7%.

The latest report showed that harmonized CPI, or HICP, meant for EU purposes, climbed 2.9% year-on-year in February. The rate is same as in January.

The HICP inflation rate in the largest euro zone economy stays above the European Central Bank target, which is to keep inflation rates “below, but close to, 2% over the medium term”.

Compared to the previous month, the HICP was estimated to have moved up 0.5% in February.

The HICP estimate of February 29 was thus confirmed, the Destatis said.


French Business Sentiment Improves In February


Czech Industrial PPI Inflation Slows In February



Euro Zone Feb. Annual Inflation Accelerates


3/14/2008 6:17:31 AM Euro zone annual inflation stood at 3.3% in February, revised up from 3.2% estimated earlier, a final report from the Eurostat showed Friday. Annual inflation was 3.2% in January and 3.1% in December. A year ago, the annual inflation rate was 1.8%. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in February, in line with economists' expectations.

Consumer prices, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco rose 1.8% year-on-year, up from 1.7% in January.

EU annual inflation in February was 3.4%, unchanged from January. Monthly inflation came in at 0.4% in February.


UK Feb. Annual Inflation Accelerates


3/18/2008 5:59:08 AM UK's annual inflation stood at 2.5% in February, up from 2.2% in January, the Office for National Statistics, or ONS, stated Tuesday. The annual inflation rate came in line with economists' expectations. Annual inflation continued to stay above the central bank's target of 2%.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.7%, reversing a 0.7% fall in January. However, consumer prices rose less than the 0.8% expected by analysts. The core consumer price index climbed 1.2% annually in February, while economists were looking for 1.4% increase.

Further, ONS stated that the retail price index stood at 211.4, up from 209.8 in January. Compared to the prior year, retail prices growth was 4.1%, same as in January. Analysts expected 4.2% annual growth in retail prices. Excluding mortgage interest payments, retail prices were up 3.7%.


Swiss Q4 Industrial Output Growth Tops Expectations


Czech Seasonally Adj. Retail Sales Ex-auto Grow In January


Hungarian Construction Output Continues To Decrease In January

Finnish February Jobless Rate Eases


3/20/2008 3:52:12 AM German producer price inflation rose more than expected in February, official data showed Thursday.

The Federal Statistical Office indicated that producer prices rose at a faster pace of 3.8% year-on-year in February compared with 3.3% in January. The producer price index climbed more than the 3.4% expected by analysts. February's rate was the highest annual growth since December 2006, the report stated.

Annual rise in producer prices was mainly driven by cost of energy products, which climbed 7%. Excluding energy products, producer prices rose 2.7%.

The monthly growth in producer prices stood at 0.7%, down from 0.8% in January. Economists had expected producer price inflation to slow to 0.3%.

Electricity prices jumped 9.7% from the same month of last year, while it moved up 1.2% on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, natural gas prices dropped 2.1% annually and rose 0.9% over the previous month.

Prices of intermediate goods were up 3.2% year-on-year and consumer goods registered 4.5% annual growth. Engineering product prices increased 2.2%, while data processing equipment cost declined 29%.

Swiss Feb. Producer And Import Prices Rise Less-Than-Expected

Swiss February Watch Exports Increase

3/20/2008 4:32:27 AM Switzerland's watch exports value increased 18.3% year-on-year in February, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday.

The value of exports of wristwatches accounted for 1.2 billion francs, an increase of 18.8%. The report showed that exports of steel and gold wristwatches grew significantly.


UK February Retail Sales Unexpectedly Rise

3/20/2008 5:48:43 AM UK retail sales unexpectedly rose in February.

According to the Office for National Statistics, retail sales grew 1% month-on-month in February, in contrast to a 0.2% decline forecasted by economists.

On a year-on-year basis, retail sales were up 5.5%, much better than the 3.6% growth expected.

The ONS said, “Positive growth in retail sales continues, driven by food sales”.


French February Household Consumption Expenditure Increases More-Than-Expected

France's Basic Wage Growth Slows In Q4

Hungarian Retail Sales Drop In January

Italian Retail Sales Increase In January


Italian Consumer Confidence Falls To 4-year Low In March


CBI Cuts 2008 UK Growth Forecast

3/25/2008 2:19:38 AM UK's economic growth forecast for 2008 was downgraded and economic expansion is forecasted to be even slower in the next year, the Confederation of British Industry, or CBI, said Tuesday. The industry body cited the continued turbulence in the credit markets, rising commodity prices, and weakening domestic and global demand as the reasons.

In its latest quarterly forecast, the CBI sees UK economic growth at 1.8% for 2008, smaller than an earlier forecast of 2%. The business group also lowered its projection for 2009 and now expects growth of 1.7%. This is in contrast to the Chancellor's more upbeat growth projection of 2.25%-2.75% in the recent budget.

The CBI said, “Prolonged financial market freeze and rising inflation make for 'bumpier ride' in next two years”.

UK's Number Of House-buyers On Estate Agents` Books Decline In February - NAEA

3/25/2008 2:40:07 AM In the UK, the number of buyers registered on estate agents' books fell 12% month-on-month to 243 per agent in February, reports said Tuesday, citing data from the National Association of Estate Agents or NAEA.

The number of properties for sale dropped to an average 74 per estate agent in February.

The number of sales per agent stood at eight in February, unchanged from the previous month. However, this is down 38% from the same month last year.


German Construction Order Value Increases In January

3/25/2008 3:13:20 AM The total price-adjusted value of orders received in Germany's building construction and civil and underground engineering enterprises increased 10.7% year-on-year in January, the Federal Statistical Office reported Tuesday.

In building construction demand rose 13.5% and in civil and underground engineering, it increased 7.4%.

Meanwhile, the number of employees decreased 0.6% or 4,000 persons year-over-year to 681,000 at the end of January.


Spanish PPI Annual Inflation Stable In February


Swiss UBS Consumption Index Surges In February

Iceland's Central Bank Unexpectedly Hikes Policy Rate



German February Import Price Index Registers Highest Growth Since July 2006


3/28/2008 3:16:42 AM The German import price index increased 5.9% year-on-year in February, the Federal Statistical Office reported Friday. The statistical office noted that this is the highest year-on-year rate of price increase since July 2006, when the index climbed 6.3%.

In January, the import price index grew 5.2% followed by a 3.7% increase in December. On a monthly basis, import prices were up 1.1% in February.

The index of import prices, excluding crude oil and mineral oil products, was up 1.6% over the prior year.

Meanwhile, the index of export prices increased 2.2% year-on-year, quicker than 1.8% in January and 1.3% in December. Month-on-month export prices were up 0.6%.


UK House Price Inflation Slows To Lowest In 12 Years, Nationwide Says

3/28/2008 3:24:09 AM UK house prices dropped for the fifth month in a row in March, taking the annual house price inflation rate to its lowest level in twelve years.

The latest report from the Nationwide on Friday showed that house price annual inflation slowed sharply to 1.1% in March from 2.7% in February. The easing was much more than expected and the March rate is the lowest rate since March 1996. Economists were looking for a year-on-year rise of 2% for March.

On a monthly basis, house prices fell 0.6% in March, slightly more than the 0.5% dip in February. A moderate decline of 0.3% was expected.

The Nationwide noted that a clear change in sentiment since the late summer has led to the sharp slowing in house price growth. The trend was noticed even in the less volatile 3-month on 3-month series, on which house prices were 1.5% lower than three months ago.

“The outlook for UK house prices is clearly more downbeat than at the time of our November forecast”, the Nationwide said. The building society also said it expects the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to bring its interest rate cut forward to April, given the disturbance in the financial markets and the continued weakening in the housing market.


French Consumer Confidence Decreases In March

Swedish Feb. Retail Sales Grow More-Than-Expected

Slovak February Producer Prices Grow In February


Finnish Q4 Government Revenue Growth Exceeds Expenditure



German February Retail Sales Much Weaker Than Expected


4/1/2008 2:21:59 AM German February retail sales data came in much weaker than expected.

The statistical office Destatis said Tuesday that retail sales declined 1.6% month-on-month in February, while economists had forecasted a 0.5% rise. On a yearly basis, retails sales fell 0.3%, in line with expectations.

Further, the statistical office downwardly revised the growth numbers for January retail sales. The monthly increase for January was downgraded to 0.9% from the earlier estimate of 1.6%, while the annual rise was lowered to 0.3% from 0.6%.


German Jobless Rate Falls More-than-expected In February

4/1/2008 2:25:36 AM Germany's ILO jobless rate stood at 7.4% in February, down from 7.6% seen in January, the Federal Statistical Office reported Tuesday. Economists had expected the rate to reach to 7.5%. A year ago, the jobless rate came in at 8.7%.

Jobless rate for men decreased to 7.4% in February from 7.6% seen in the prior month. Similarly, the female unemployment rate fell to 7.4% from 7.5% logged in January.


Estonia's Industrial Production Grows In February
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 07, 2008 5:30 pm

Euro Zone Feb. Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall

4/3/2008 5:13:56 AM Euro zone retail sales volume dropped 0.5% month-on-month in February, the Eurostat indicated Thursday. This compares to a 0.5% growth in January. Economists had expected a monthly increase of 0.2%.

Compared to February 2007, retail sales dropped 0.2%, reversing 0.2% growth in January. Economists expected retail sales to remain flat in February.

Among the Member States for which data are available, total retail trade increased in fourteen Member States and fell only in Germany and Spain. The highest annual increases were recorded in Slovakia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Finland.

In EU27, retail sales increased 0.3% from the previous month and rose 2% annually.


BoE's Tucker Says CPI Inflation Is Very Likely To Rise Above 2% Target Near Term

4/3/2008 5:40:42 AM The consumer price inflation is very likely to rise to materially above the central bank's 2% target in the near term, the Bank of England's executive director and member of the Monetary Policy Committee Paul Tucker said Wednesday. The policymaker hinted at the possibilities of a gradual rate cut as the central bank tries to control rising inflation and an increase in credit costs.

Regarding the rise in inflation Tucker said, “The question is whether that unavoidable temporary rise will remain just that, temporary; or whether it will feed into medium-term expectations of inflation, and so get reflected in wages and prices going forward and, thus, in domestically-generated inflation.”

Both downside and upside risks to inflation over the medium term restricts the MPC not to favor a usual approach to demand management. While delivering a speech at the Institutional Money Market Funds Association Annual Dinner in London, Tucker stressed that the medium inflation will be stemming from the rise in commodity prices and the decline in sterling's exchange rate.

Tucker said, “Usually, the MPC would respond by cutting Bank Rate sufficiently to offset more or less entirely what we judged, over time, to be the impact of the tighter financial conditions on the path of spending, so as to ensure that aggregate demand remained broadly in line with the economy's productive capacity.” “But conditions do not favor such a “business as usual” approach to demand management.”

According to Tucker, given this unusual combination of significant downside and upside risks to the medium-term inflation outlook, the broad policy strategy is to “offset some but not all” of the adverse shock to demand from tighter credit conditions. Tucker believes this approach probably means allowing a degree of slack to develop in the economy, in the interests of avoiding taking risks with inflation on the upside.

Further, Tucker suggested that underpinning the credibility of the nominal anchor provided by the MPC's commitment to the inflation target will maintain scope to cushion the real economy from the effects of the stresses in the international financial system. The strategy will provide more durable support for demand and activity. In contrary, if the MPC has to adopt a course that let the inflation genie out of the bottle, Tucker stated that the Committee would be forced to tighten policy, exacerbating the slowdown in activity.

In February, UK's annual inflation stood at 2.5%, up from 2.2% in January, above the central bank's target of 2%. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.7%, reversing a 0.7% fall in January.

Underlining that source of downside risk to the outlook for demand and inflation, Tucker said that it is clear that credit conditions are unambiguously tighter than previous two months.

Regarding the MPC's March meeting, Tucker said, “I judged that an immediate further cut, following February's, might very easily have been misunderstood as a change of strategy away from the one focused on the medium-term outlook for inflation that I have spelled out this evening.”

With regard to financial system, Tucker stated, “Whatever path monetary policy takes in the UK in the months ahead, it is clear that the process of deleveraging in the financial system is not complete.”

Tucker concluded his speech saying “We must try to avoid a vicious circle in which tighter liquidity conditions, lower asset values, impaired capital resources, reduced credit supply and slower aggregate demand feed back on each other”.

Dutch Inflation Stable At 2.2% In March

French Q4 Construction Cost Index Up 4.84% On Year

Spanish Industrial Production Rises In February


French Budget Deficit Widens


French Construction Cost Index Climbs In Q4


German Industrial Orders Fall In February


4/4/2008 6:36:46 AM German industrial orders decreased 0.5% month-on-month in February, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology reported Friday. Economists had expected orders to recover by 0.8%. On an unadjusted basis, new orders rose 9% year-on-year, higher than 6.7% expected.

In January, orders decreased 0.7%, revised from 1.5% fall reported earlier. Year-on-year industrial orders increased 8.9%, slower than 9.5% estimated earlier.

Swiss Jobless Rate Falls In March


Estonia's March Annual Inflation Rate Drops


Estonia's Consumer Price Growth Slows In March


German Feb. Industrial Production Unexpectedly Grows


4/7/2008 6:25:40 AM German industrial production grew 0.4% month-on-month in February, following a revised growth of 1.4% in January, the Ministry of Economy and Technology indicated Monday. The initial growth estimate for January was 1.8%. Economists had expected industrial output to decline 0.4%.

The annual growth in industrial output stood at 6.1% in February, down from a revised 6.5% increase in January. Output grew more than the 5.3% expected by analysts.

French February Trade Deficit Narrows Lower- Than-expected


Austria's WPI Grows In March


Norwegian Feb. Industrial Output Falls


Finnish Economic Growth Increases In January


Czech Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Fall In March

Hungarian Feb. Industrial Output Growth Increases


Slovak Industrial, Construction Output Rise In February[/b]
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 07, 2008 5:31 pm

Czech Jobless Rate Falls In March

Greek Annual Inflation Stable In March

German Residential Building Construction Prices Increase In February

4/10/2008 3:05:57 AM Germany's construction price index for conventionally constructed new residential buildings rose 3% year-on-year in February, the Federal Statistical Office said Thursday.

The price index for non-residential buildings was up 3.2% for office buildings and rose 3.3% for industrial buildings. For road construction, the price index rose 4% year-on-year.

French Feb. Industrial Production Tops Consensus

German Econ Expected To Slow Due To Increased Global Risks
By Andrea Thomas

BERLIN -(Dow Jones)- Studies show rising costs and slackening foreign demand dragging on the German economy, the driver of euro-zone growth over the past year.

"The best years are over for now. Global conditions are the main reason for this, such as high energy and raw material prices," the IW economic research institute found in a survey of 2,000 companies released Monday.

Record euro exchange rates and soaring energy and commodity prices are taking their toll. IW forecasts export to slow to 4.2% in 2008 and to 3.5% in 2009, following 7.8% growth in 2007.

The German Finance Ministry said in its latest outlook published Monday that the coming months will be more difficult.

"The slowdown in incoming orders indicates that the speed of economic growth is likely to slow in the course of the year," the report said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is due to present its spring outlook report on Thursday. It sees as unlikely to cut its 2008 growth prediction of 1.7% growth this year that it provided in January, already marking a slowdown from 2.5% growth recorded in 2007

The BDI Federation of German Industries Monday said that German economic growth of up to 2% is still achievable this year because sentiment remains robust despite increased risks.

However, the group is aware that this is an ambitious forecast given the increased risks stemming from the international financial crisis, the strong euro, higher raw material prices and a possible recession in the U.S., BDI President Juergen Thumann said in a prepared statement.

The plant and machinery industry's group VDMA Monday also reiterated its 2008 forecast for 5% production growth in the sector, unchanged from its forecast in October.

"Although important conditions have changed and institutes are forecasting lower and lower, we are seeing no reason to change" our forecast, said VDMA President Manfred Wittenstein, adding that order books are full for the next 6.6 months.

"Not few companies are fully booked until the end of this year, some even into the year 2009," Wittenstein said. However he said that the 13.5% production rise during the first quarter of 2008 won't be maintained during the rest of the year.

"We expect clearly lower growth rates for the remainder of the year," he said. "The deteriorated investment goods economy, the undervalued dollar but also the fact that we are often work to our capacity limits are limiting the further growth and show skid marks in some sectors.


German Ifo April business climate cools significantly, misses consensus UPDATE
(Updates with comments by Ifo president Sinn)

MUNICH (Thomson Financial) - The Ifo research institute said its April business climate index fell to 102.4 from 104.8 in March, well below analysts' forecasts of a decline to 104.3.

The April business assessment index, which measures current conditions, dropped to 108.4 from 111.5 in March. The forecast was for a smaller decline to 111.0.

The business expectations index, which measures expectations for the next six months, slid to 96.8 from 98.4 in March. The consensus was for a drop to 98.0.

"After a brief brightening at the beginning of the year, the survey results indicate a slower pace of business activity," Ifo president Hans-Werner Sinn said in a statement.

In manufacturing the business climate indicator has clouded, both in regard to the current situation and the outlook for the next six months.

However, the survey participants remain optimistic in regard to foreign business, despite the strong euro, he added.

The increase in employment is expected to continue according to company hiring plans but will lose some momentum, Sinn said.

In construction the business climate indicator has risen as companies assess their current situation somewhat less critically and are more confident for the coming six months.

Both in wholesale and retail the business climate index has clearly fallen. The survey participants are much more dissatisfied with their current business situation than last month and have weaker expectations.


UK March retail sales fall at fastest pace since Jan 2007 UPDATE
(Adds analyst comment)

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Retail sales in the UK fell at their fastest pace in more than a year in March, though sales growth in January and February was revised markedly higher, official figures showed.

The office for National Statistics said retail sales dropped 0.4 percent in March from February, roughly in line with analysts' forecasts for a fall of 0.5 percent and the sharpest decline since January 2007's 1.7 percent fall.

However, conditions on the high street appear to be more rosy than anticipated as sales growth in January and February was revised significantly higher. January's growth was pushed up to 1.5 percent from the previous reading of 1.1 percent and February's growth figure was increased to 1.1 percent from 1.0 percent due to an updated register of businesses.

These upward revisions led to first-quarter growth of 2.0 percent compared with the previous three months, the strongest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2004 when it was 2.2 percent.

However, analysts questioned whether the strength of the underlying data can be trusted.

David Page, economist at Investec Securities, said the firm trend of sales "on face value reduces the odds of a near-term cut in interest rates", but he stressed the official figures are "totally at odds" with anecdotal evidence on the high street, as well as measures of consumer confidence that are at 15-year lows.

"The Monetary Policy Committee will be confused by this picture," Page said.

Vicky Redwood, economist at Capital Economics, agreed.

"The continued mixed news about the strength of the consumer sector boosts the chances that the MPC will proceed fairly cautiously in cutting interest rates," she said, noting that the firm official data contrast markedly with downbeat surveys and other snapshots of the high street.

Today's data showed that in annual terms, March retail sales were up 4.3 percent, down sharply from the previous month's figure. Annual growth in February was 6.3 percent, revised up from the first reading of 5.5 percent.

The three-month growth rate was 5.6 percent in annual terms, the strongest quarterly increase since November 2004's 6.2 percent.

Breaking the figures down by sector, predominantly food store sales fell 0.1 percent on the month for a 3.0 percent annual increase.

Predominantly non-food stores saw sales fall 0.7 percent in March from February, the weakest performance since January 2007's 2.6 percent fall. In annual terms, non-food sales were up 4.3 percent.

Textile, clothing and footwear shops saw annual sales drop for the first time in almost a decade. Sales edged down 0.1 percent in March, the first negative reading since December 1998's 0.8 percent drop. Month-on-month, sales in that sector were down 1.7 percent, the weakest since May 2007's 3.8 percent decline.

'Other stores', which comprise diverse areas like books, newspapers, mobile phones and games, saw the strongest three-month-on-three-month gain since records began in January 1986. The increase of 5.2 percent was largely due to sales of console games.

On the prices front there was continued deflation on the high street, indicating competition remains fierce. The implied price deflator doubled to -1.2 percent in March from -0.6 percent in February.

However predominantly food stores kept prices elevated, with a deflator of +2.3 percent, broadly in line with previous months.


Turkish Treasury: Econ Growth Seen Below Trend For 2 Yrs-IHA


German government expects economy to grow 1.2 percent in 2009 (eur/usd at 1.575)
FRANKFURT (Thomson Financial) - The German government expects the German economy to grow 1.2 percent during 2009, economy minister Michael Glos said.

Glos confirmed the government expects the economy to grow 1.7 percent this year.


Forex - Pound boosted by investors braced for sharper UK GDP slowdown

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - The pound rose after the release of UK GDP due to relief among some investors, who were braced for the growth figures to be worse than they turned out to be.

Official figures showed GDP grew by only 0.4 percent in the first quarter, a three-year low and down from 0.6 percent in the previous quarter. A majority of analysts were forecasting a 0.5 percent rate.

Despite the softer growth rate, the pound was bought up by investors comforted by the fact that growth did not post a nastier surprise.

"There is a certain amount of relief that the GDP didn't fall any further than it did," said Mitul Kotecha, head of forex strategy at Calyon.

He said there is also a view in the market that the pound has been oversold, particularly against the dollar and euro, in recent weeks, and that traders were waiting for the GDP data to buy back into the pound.

Upbeat retail sales and hawkish Bank of England minutes this week made a rate cut next month very unlikely and suggest monetary policy will loosen only gradually. Although the data kept the pound well-bid, the currency's value was limited by an appreciation in the dollar.

"The pound has been run by dollar moves recently, so this is also partly profit-taking on the dollar's gains," said Kotecha.

After the GDP data release, the pound rose to $1.9760, up from $1.9710 before the news and pushed the euro down to 0.7880 pounds from about 0.7900 pounds.


German Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Improves


4/28/2008 6:40:44 AM German consumer confidence unexpectedly went up in April, raising the forecast for May, results of a survey showed.

Monday, the Nuremberg-based GfK said its forward-looking consumer climate indicator is forecasting a value of 5.9 points for May, up from a revised 4.8 points in April. Initially, the April reading was forecasted at 4.6. Economists were looking for a reading of 4.5 for May.

“The consistently positive development of consumer mood in April has led to a marked rise in the consumer climate for the first time since July 2007”, the research group said.

The "GfK consumer climate MAXX survey” is based on around 2,000 consumer interviews conducted each month on behalf of the EU Commission.

The GfK said in a statement it was striking that all three indicators have gained significantly in April. Despite the persistent turmoil on the international financial markets and the high food and energy prices, German consumers appear to have regained their confidence once, the group added.

The research group also noted that the upswing on the job market and recent wage agreement contributed to expectations relating to the German economy in general and personal financial situations being assessed more positively. “This shows that conditions have improved so that the economic recovery originally forecast to take place at the beginning of the year, although delayed, is now imminent”.

The survey showed that economic expectations of German consumers are now rising dramatically. The corresponding indicator climbed 8.3 points to stand at 23.3 points. According to GfK, a further decline in the economic mood is not on the cards for now. “Consumers assume that the German economy is not in recession, but is likely to show signs of slowing down”.

Income expectations improved in April, rising for the third straight month. The relevant indicator rose to 10.5 from 1.5 in March. Another gauge reflecting the consumption and buying propensity moved up to minus 4.7 from minus 10.2 in the prior month.

Going forward, the GfK said the consumer climate recovery in the largest Eurozone economy should kick in somewhat later than was predicted last year. The group noted that inflationary pressure would need to ease again over the coming month to allow the consumer climate to develop positively in the long run.


Icelandic Annual Inflation Jumps In April

Finland's Consumer Confidence Eases In April

Finnish Retail Sales Decrease In March

Slovak Producer Prices Rise Less-Than-Expected

Hungarian Jobless Rate Remains Unchanged

Italian Business Confidence Deteriorates In April
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 07, 2008 5:56 pm

Hungary economy to see recovery despite global uncertainty, govt stable - PM

BUDAPEST (Thomson Financial) - Hungary's economic growth has bottomed out and will recover to 3 percent next year regardless of the uncertain growth prospects in the global economy, while the new minority government is stable, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

"We are in a different situation here than in the rest of Europe. "We reached the bottom (of the cycle) last year and are expecting 3 percent growth next year," said the leftist Gyurscany, pointing out the local economy was out of sync with that of the European Union.

Gyurcsany's socialists formed a minority government last month after a dispute with its partner resulted in the liberal party leaving the ruling coalition.

The central European economy of 10 million expanded at just 1.3 percent last year, its lowest level in a decade, as government measures to bring down the budget deficit slowed growth.

Growth in neighbouring Slovakia was 14 percent, while the Polish and Czech economies expanded around 6 percent last year. The so-called central European four joined the EU in 2004.

But economists believe Hungary's recovery remains vulnerable to a slowdown in the EU, to which the small and open economy sends around two thirds of its exports. Exports provided the motor of its meagre growth last year.

Hungary, which has been plagued by a boom-and-bust cycle in public spending since the end of communism, cut its budget deficit to 5.5 percent last year from 9.2 percent in 2006, and says it will make the EU's 3 percent of GDP cap next year.

But inflation, driven first by tax and regulated utility price increases in 2006 and then by shocks from food and oil prices from the middle of last year, has remained stubbornly high, edging down down to 6.7 percent in April from 8 percent last year.

Hungary's central bank have voiced concerns that one-off inflationary shocks will feed through into lasting price rises, pointing to high wage growth as an indication that expectations of price increases could be high.

Monetary policymakers, also worried about turmoil in financial markets that means investors require bigger returns to hold the country's riskier debt, raised base rates 75 basis points to 8.25 percent over the last two months, the first increase for 18 months.

"All of Europe is facing high inflation," said Gyurcsany. "In Hungary there was the added domestic impact (fiscal reforms). I cannot say how long the impact of external shock will last."

07 May 2008 09:30 GMT
BULLET: UK: BRC; UK April food prices +4.7% y/y, vs 4.1% y/y.


UK: BRC; UK April food prices +4.7% y/y, vs 4.1% y/y in March
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Thu May 08, 2008 4:51 pm

Estonian inflation jumps to 10-year high in April

GERMANY DATA: Industrial production decelerated (eur/usd shd get a hit as a consequence)

GERMANY DATA: Industrial production decelerated a bit more than expected in March to -0.5% on the month (MNI survey median -0.4%), while a revision cut February's gain in half to +0.2%, data released Thursday by the Federal Economics Ministry show.

The downturn -- the first since back-to-back declines in October and November -- may be a sign of a
weakening of the upward trend in industrial output that has helped power growth in the eurozone's largest economy.

Quarterly upturn in output in 1Q was +2.3%, following +0.7% in 4Q and +2.1% in 3Q.

-- See MNI MainWire for more details.
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Tue May 13, 2008 4:48 pm

(RTTNews) - UK annual inflation shot up in April and stood well above expectations.

Tuesday, a report from the Office for National Statistics showed that the consume price index annual inflation accelerated to 3% in April from 2.5% in March. Economists had expected the annual rate to edge up to 2.6% in April. Annual inflation continued to stay well above the central bank's target of 2%.

Month-on-month, consumer prices rose 0.8% in April, higher than the 0.5% expected by analysts.

The core annual inflation for April came in at 1.4%, slightly above 1.3% forecast.
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Re: Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 14, 2008 4:28 pm

14 May 2008 08:03 GMT


Dutch Q1 job vacancies down 7,000 to 242,000 - statistics office

AMSTERDAM (Thomson Financial) - The number of job vacancies in the Netherlands decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2008, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Corrected for seasonal effects, the CBS said there were 242,000 job vacancies in the first quarter, down 7,000 compared with the fourth quarter of 2007 and lower than the record 253,000 vacancies recorded at the end of September 2007.

CBS said the drop in the number of vacancies in the quarter was mainly visible in the commercial services sector, where the number dropped by 9,000 to 135,000 vacancies.

14 May 2008 08:34 GMT
Italy final April CPI slightly higher than preliminary reading

ROME (Thomson Financial) - Final consumer prices for April were slightly higher than the preliminary data released on April 30, the statistics office ISTAT said.

Consumer prices rose 0.2 percent month-on-month and increased 3.3 percent year-on-year.

14 May 2008 09:27 GMT
Greek February unemployment at 8 pct, same as January

ATHENS (Thomson Financial) - Greek February unemployment came in at 8 percent, the same rate as January, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said.

In February 2007, the unemployment figure was 9 percent.

The NSS said unemployment for women in February was down to 12.1 percent from 13.9 percent the year before, while unemployment for men edged lower to 8.0 percent from 9 percent.

The February unemployment rate for those aged between 15 to 24 year was 22.1 percent, down from 26.1 percent in February 2007.
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Re: Non-US Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 14, 2008 7:11 pm

14 May 2008 10:55 GMT

EUROZONE: Data released in the eurozone Wednesday,

** EMU: Industrial output contracted as generally expected on the month in March to -0.2% and gained 2.0% on the year as weak consumer durables led a decline that extended to all branches except energy,

** FRANCE: April HICP +0.4% m/m, +3.4% y/y after March +0.8%/+3.5%
- Matches MNI analysts survey medians of +0.4% m/m, +3.4% y/y

** FRANCE: Industry execs surveyed in April expected nominal investments to rise 8% this year, revising up their projection from January for a 7% annual increase.

** ITALY: Final April HICP rose 0.6% m/m, +3.6 y/y

** SPAIN: 1Q08 Real GDP growth fell to sa +0.3% q/q and nsa +2.7% y/y
- 4Q07 GDP was unrevised at +0.8% q/q and +3.5% y/y.
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Re: Non-US Economic Data - Ongoing

Postby kennynah » Wed May 14, 2008 7:56 pm

14 May 2008 11:51 GMT


Estonia's GDP growth slows to 0.4 percent in first quarter
TALLINN (Thomson Financial) - Estonia's gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, according to a flash estimate by Statistics Estonia. The Q4 growth figure was 4.8 percent.

Analysts had predicted on Tuesday that first-quarter economic growth would be between 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent.

The Q1 growth figure was the lowest in the last eight years, Statistics Estonia said.
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UK Govt: To Spend GBP300 Mil On Housing Availability 14may08

Postby kennynah » Wed May 14, 2008 8:21 pm

14 May 2008 12:09 GMT

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- The U.K. government will spend GBP300 million on improving housing availability, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday as he unveiled his plans for the next parliamentary session.

Speaking to lawmakers, Brown said the government would set up a GBP200 million fund, reallocating money to purchase unsold new homes. There will also be GBP100 million for shared equity schemes to allow more first-time buyers to purchase newly built homes.

Brown acknowledged earlier Wednesday that the housing market had deteriorated in recent weeks, with house prices falling in most of the main measures.

The next parliamentary session will begin in the autumn. Brown's statement was the draft version of the legislation to be introduced during that session.
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