Archive forJanuary, 2014

UK consumer confidence improves in January

Data from the research firm GfK NOP revealed that the UK’s consumer confidence index rose to -7 in January from -13 in December and came in better than the expected reading of -12.

Chinese manufacturing activity contracts in January

Final data from HSBC and Markit Economics revealed the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China slipped to 49.5 in January from 50.5 in December, also declining from the preliminary forecast of 49.6. The PMI reading fell into the contraction territory (<50) for the first time in six months due to sluggish growth of output and new business.

Turkey’s central bank announces huge hike in interest rates

In an emergency midnight policy meeting, Turkey’s central bank took a series of radical policy measures to tackle the prevailing weakness in its currency – lira. Among its key decisions, the bank raised the one-week repo rate to 10% from 4.5%. The central bank also increased its overnight lending rate to 12% from 7.75% and overnight borrowing rate to 8% from 3.5%. Besides, the late liquidity window rate was moved to 15% from 10.25%.

French unemployment number reaches a record high

Yesterday, the Labour Ministry revealed the number of unemployed people in France increased 0.3% m-o-m to a record 3.3 million in December. On y-o-y basis, the number of jobless persons advanced 5.7%. For the whole of 2013, approximately 177,800 people were added to the count of registered jobless people vis-à-vis 283,800 in 2012.

Eurozone on path of gradual recovery: ECB

On Friday, the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi stated that the Eurozone economy was recovering gradually. He repeated that the Eurozone inflation was likely to stay below the threshold of 2% for the coming two years. However, he also warned of a downside risk to the observed recovery in case the extremely low level of inflation continued.

UK house price index hits a record high

Today, a survey by Markit Economics and Knight Frank revealed that the gauge of sentiment regarding future house prices, among UK home owners, surged to a record high of 72.3 in January from 70.5 in December. However, the current house price sentiment index dipped to 58.7 from 59.4 in the preceding month.

BoE maintains support for existing low rates

Yesterday, Ian McCafferty, Bank of England’s (BoE) policy maker, stated business investment in the UK had been weak and was not likely to gather pace until the end of 2014. He added the central bank did not see an urgent need to raise borrowing costs even when the unemployment rate reaches the threshold of 7%. This eased investor concerns with regard to a near-term interest rate hike after recent reports indicated the jobless rate declined to 7.1% in the three months to November.

IMF raises global growth projections

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its global growth forecast for the current year to 3.7% from 3.6%, majorly on account of notable expansions in the US and the UK. UK’s GDP growth estimate was upgraded to 2.4% from 1.9%, while the US reading was revised upwards to 2.8% from 2.6%. In addition, Japan saw improvement in the reading to 1.7% from 1.2%.

Cash injection by PBoC soothes credit crunch concerns

Today, the PBoC infused nearly ¥255bn (US$42bn), into the financial system through reverse-repurchase agreements. Besides, the PBoC allowed small and medium sized banks in 10 regions to utilise the Standing Lending Facility (SLF) on a trial basis before the Lunar New Year holiday starting from 31st January.

UK house prices record largest monthly gains in January

Rightmove reported the average asking prices of a property in the UK advanced 1% m-o-m to £243,861 in January, marking the highest pace of monthly increase as of date. This reversed the sharp fall of 1.9% in December. On y-o-y basis, prices were up 6.3%, registering the biggest increase since November 2007.

Japanese government raises assessment of the economy

The Cabinet Office, in its monthly report, revised the assessment for Japan owing to recovery in the economy for the first time in six years. This upgrade was chiefly led by robust consumer spending and improvement in business investment. The report also stated that in the recent months, exports had been weak, while industrial output witnessed a modest increase. Another Cabinet Office report revealed that the consumer confidence index in Japan declined to a seasonally adjusted 41.3 in December from 42.5 in November, contrary to the forecasted increase of 43. The employment index edged up to 48.2 in December from 48.1 in the preceding month.

UK house price balance drops in December

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported the UK’s House Price Index declined to 56% in December from 58% in November, contrary to expectations of an improvement to 60%.

Eurozone industrial output growth picks up in November

Yesterday, Eurostat revealed that industrial production in the Eurozone grew 1.8% m-o-m in November, rising the highest since May 2010, after dropping a revised 0.8% in October. Industrial production was up 3% y-o-y in November, much higher than October’s revised 0.5% gain.

Foreign demand increases German machinery orders

The industry group VDMA reported that German machinery orders advanced 7% y-o-y in December after inflation adjustments. Domestic orders dipped 1%, while foreign orders climbed 12%. Strong foreign demand has raised hopes of a continuing revival of the country’ industrial sector.

Basel Committee decides to relax leverage ratio norm for banks

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) announced amendments in the definition of leverage ratio, which would allow banks to report lower overall risk. The decision is favourable for banks, which argued that the leverage rule, if implemented, could curb lending to consumers and businesses. According to the BCBS, the leverage ratio was adjusted after “thoroughly analysing bank data”.

Eurozone to witness low inflation for an extended period

According to statements from ECB’s President Mario Draghi, the Eurozone economy is expected to witness low inflation levels for a prolonged period of time. He once again assured of an accommodative monetary policy for as long as required.

Fed minutes raise concerns about utility of monetary stimulus

Minutes of the FOMC meeting in December showed that Fed officials expressed concerns about the declining utility of the quantitative easing programme and the possibility of excessive risk-taking in the financial sector.

UK shop price index plummets the most in seven years

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that heavy discounts offered by retailers to lure customers during the Christmas shopping season led to a 0.8% y-o-y drop in the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index in December, after a 0.3% decline in November. This was the sharpest rate of deflation since the start of the reading in December 2006. Food inflation slowed to 1.7% in December from 2.3% in November, while non-food prices were down 2.3% after falling 2%.

UK economy expands at a strong pace in Q4 2013: BCC

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed the UK’s economy expanded 0.9% q-o-q in Q4 2013, picking pace from the 0.8% growth in Q3 2013. The domestic orders balance improved to 35%, employment to 33% and employment expectations to 31%. BCC also warned of lingering concerns to the Eurozone’s economic recovery, which included inflation and challenging conditions for exporters.

Japan’s service sector growth picks pace in December

Research firm Markit Economics revealed that the Business Activity Index in Japan rose to 52.1 in December from 51.8 in November, recording its 14th consecutive month of gains (+50 reading). The Composite Output Index continued to display a robust growth rate with an unchanged index reading of 54.