Thursday, May 17, 2012

20120517 1340 Local & Global Economy Related News.

The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has received 2,019,924 income tax return forms as of 15 May, up 14.7% as compared with 1,761,503 forms last year. CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Shukor Mahfar said acceptance of the forms via e-Filing was very encouraging. The IRB's target to receive 2.5m income tax return forms via e-Filing would be realised by year-end, he said. (Bernama)

Japan: March machinery orders fall 2.8% from previous month
Japan’s machinery orders fell less than economists forecast in March, as earthquake reconstruction helped to support the nation’s growth. Bookings decreased 2.8% from the previous month, when they rose by the same amount, a Cabinet Office report showed in Tokyo yesterday. Orders can swing between gains and declines depending on the timing of major projects. Japan’s government may report today that the world’s third-biggest economy returned to growth in the first quarter after shrinking in the final three months of last year. Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and gains by the yen against the dollar may limit the full-year expansion by capping exports. (Bloomberg)

The Bank of Japan’s asset-purchase program hit a snag when financial institutions only agreed to sell ¥480.5bn of one- to two-year debt, less than the BOJ’s planned ¥600bn of purchases. (Bloomberg)

Japan’s tertiary industry index fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% mom in Mar to 98.6 (0.0% in Feb), missing forecasts for a contraction of 0.4%. (RTTNews)

South Korea’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in Apr (3.7% in Mar; 3.7% in Apr 2011) as the economy added 455,000 jobs compared with 379,000 a year earlier. (AFP)

Thailand’s manufacturing sector is only utilising about 60% of its production capacity due to last year’s floods, slow US growth and the European debt crisis, according to the Federation of Thai Industries. (Bangkok Post)

Euro: Greece prepares 17 June elections under caretaker government
A Greek caretaker government will prepare new elections probably on 17 June that are shaping up as a ballot on whether the country should remain a euro member. “Greeks are faced with two choices in this election,” Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy party, said in a statement on state-run NET TV. “We can change everything in Greece, together with a Europe that is changing. Or we can live through the horror and isolation of a euro exit and the collapse of all that we have built.” The new vote follows inconclusive 6 May elections that pushed a political party opposed to Greece’s international bailout into second place, raising the specter of Greece leaving the euro. (Bloomberg)

Euro: Inflation slowed in April, March exports declined
European inflation slowed last month and exports dropped in March as the euro region’s spreading fiscal crisis undermined the economy and consumer demand. The inflation rate in the 17-nation euro area fell to 2.6% from 2.7% in March, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said yesterday. That’s in line with an initial estimate published on April 30. Euro-region exports fell 0.9% in March from the previous month, when they rose 2.2%, it said in a separate statement. The euro-area economy is showing few signs of recovery after stalling in the first quarter as budget cuts and increasing unemployment undermine consumer demand and leave companies with little room to raise prices. (Bloomberg)

Euro-region exports fell 0.9% mom in Mar (+2.2% in Feb), whilst imports fell 1.1% mom (+3.2% in Feb), widening the trade surplus to a seasonally adjusted €4.3bn from €4.0bn. (Bloomberg)

The ECB has stopped providing liquidity to some Greek banks as they have not been successfully recapitalised, the ECB said. The ECB only conducts its refinancing operations with solvent banks. Banks which fail to meet strict ECB rules but are deemed solvent by the national central bank (NCB) concerned can nonetheless go to their NCB for emergency liquidity assistance (ELA). (Reuters)

The ECB is conducting a comprehensive review of all its policy tools and has no immediate plans to increase stimulus even as market tensions mount, two euro-area officials said. (Bloomberg)

UK: Unemployment extends decline in sign of stabilization
UK jobless claims fell for a second month in April and a wider measure of unemployment dropped in the first quarter, providing further evidence of stability in the labor market. Jobless-benefit claims fell by 13,700 from March, the biggest drop since July 2010, to 1.59 million, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Unemployment as measured by International Labour Organization methods fell to 8.2% in the first quarter from 8.3% in the three months through February. The figures provide a boost for Prime Minister David Cameron, with the economy in recession and his approval ratings at all-time lows. (Bloomberg)

US: Home starts join factories topping forecasts
Housing starts and industrial production exceeded forecasts in April, pointing to strength in the U.S. economy at the start of the second quarter. Starts rose 2.6% to a 717,000 annual rate from March’s revised 699,000 pace that was stronger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. Industrial production climbed 1.1%, the most since December 2010, the Federal Reserve said. The reports indicate the world’s largest economy is withstanding the fallout from the European debt crisis. (Bloomberg)

The US MBA purchase applications index fell 2.4% wow in the week ended 11 May (+3.4% in the prior week), whilst the refinance index gained 13.0% wow (1.3% in the earlier week). (Bloomberg)

US industrial production rose 1.1% mom in Apr (a revised -0.6% in Mar), more than doubling consensus of 0.5%, whilst the capacity utilisation rate rose to 79.2% (a revised 78.4% in Mar). (Bloomberg)

The US Federal Reserve sees a quick, sharp tightening of US spending as a "sizable risk" to the economy, minutes from its last FOMC meeting in Apr revealed. "Several" members of the Fed's interest rate-setting panel have expressed fears that uncertainty about dramatic budget cuts could curb business hiring and economic growth. "If agreement is not reached on a plan for the federal budget, a sharp fiscal tightening could occur at the start of 2013," the minutes noted. (Channel News Asia)

No comments: