Friday, March 19, 2010

20100319 1000 Global Economic News.

US initial jobless claims fell 5,000 to 457,000 in Mar 13 week after seasonal adjustment. The level was slightly above the 455,000 level expected by the market. The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 471,250, down 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 475,500. Heavy snowstorms in the Northeast shut down government offices in February. As a result, the Labor Department had a backlog of claims that it wasn't able to process on time, which inflated the numbers in the following weeks. The government said 4,579,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended March 6, the most recent data available. That's up 12,000 from the preceding week's revised 4,567,000 claims. (CNN Money)

US consumer prices in February rose amid higher energy costs, but the pace of price increases slowed for the second straight month. Inflation rose 2.1% yoy in February (+2.6% in Jan), driven by a 37% climb in gasoline costs during the period. On a mom basis, prices were unchanged. The so-called core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 1.3% yoy, the smallest gain since February 2004. Core CPI for the month rose 0.1% mom. (CNN Money)

The US government's unprecedented US$700bn economic bailout will actually cost taxpayers just 16% of that total, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released Wednesday. The Treasury's losses on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will total US$109bn over the program's lifetime, CBO latest estimates show. That's up US$10bn from the agency's January projection. (CNN Money)

A scaled-down, US$17.6bn jobs bill signed into law by President Obama on Thursday features a handful of benefits for business owners, but falls short of the sweeping hiring incentives President Obama and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill initially pushed for. The bill offers employers two tax breaks for qualifying new workers hired in 2010. Companies will be exempt from paying their share of Social Security payroll taxes. (CNN Money)

White House economic coordinator Lawrence Summers
Thursday slammed the intense and well bankrolled lobbying effort to block reform of financial system oversight by portraying the banks as underdogs and stressed that the system must be made safe from failure. Summers said the case for regulatory reform is clear. "All too often a system that is designed to diversify its spread risk has instead been a source of risk" producing an average of about one crisis every three years, starting with the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s. (Xinhua)

European exports rose 5.0% yoy in January as the global economy gathered strength. Imports rose 1.0% yoy, resulting in a trade deficit of €8.9bn in January (+€4.1bn in Dec 09). Economists had projected a €4.0bn trade deficit in January. (Bloomberg)

China was the only one of the euro area’s main trading partners to boost purchases of goods from the region last year as the Asian economy reinforced its position as the engine of global growth. Euro-area exports to China rose 4.0% in 2009. Overall shipments abroad from the 16-nation region fell 18.0%, with those to the US and the UK, the euro area’s biggest trade partners, declining about 20.0%. (Bloomberg)

The International Monetary Fund continues to provide technical assistance to Greece, but the country has not asked for financial support and Europe is expected to resolve the issue internally, an IMF spokeswoman said. An IMF team is currently in Greece as part of the technical assistance it is providing on the banking sector, but "We've often said that we expect eurozone countries to want to and plan to resolve this question by themselves," spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson said. (Xinhua)

Japan’s large manufacturers were optimistic for a third consecutive quarter. Sentiment among manufacturers with more than ¥1.0bn in capital was 4.3 pts in 1Q10 (13.2 pts in 4Q09). The increase was restrained by rising raw-material costs, which hurt food and chemical producers. A number greater than zero means optimists outnumber pessimists. (Bloomberg)

A rise in the yuan would be a disaster for labour-intensive Chinese exporters as frictions grow with the US and other Western powers over Beijing’s stable currency policy, said Zhang Wei, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Exporters in labour-intensive sectors with profit margin as low as 3.0% will face the immediate risk of going bust, he added. (Financial Daily)

India’s food-price inflation slowed to 16.3% yoy in the week ended 6 Mar, marking a four-month low as bigger winter crops boosted supplies of sugar and wheat. That compared to 17.8% yoy gain in the previous week.(Bloomberg)

India ’s credit rating outlook was upgraded to “stable” from “negative” by Standard & Poor ’s on optimism faster economic growth will help the government cut its budget deficit. “The revision in outlook reflects our view that India’s fiscal position could now begin to recover and that its economy will remain on a strong growth path,” S&P said, while maintaining the nation’s long-term local and foreign-currency rating at BBB-, the lowest investment grade. (Bloomberg)

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