- U.S. claims for jobless benefits plummeted to 335,000 last week, the lowest since January 2008, from 372,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The weekly number was much lower than economists had expected. Meanwhile, U.S. housing starts in December surged 12.1% to a 954,000-unit annual rate, the fastest pace in over four years, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.
- US consumer prices were flat in December, an indication that there should be room for the Federal Reserve to sustain its ultra-easy monetary police, according to data released by the US Labor Department.
- US retail sales in December rose by a better-than-expected 0.5%, according to the Commerce Department. The Empire Manufacturing Survey for January posted a reading of minus 7.8, although still indicating contraction, it is better than the reading of minus 8.1 the month before
- The Fed reported US industrial output gained 0.3% in December for a second straight month
- The Spanish Treasury on Thursday raised €4.505bn (US$6.037bn) at lower borrowing costs at its second bond sale of the year. The figure exceeded its target of €4.5bn. A total of €2.409bn two-year bond was sold at an average interest rate of 2.713%, below the 3.358% level at the auction in December
- Euro area international trade in goods surplus of €13.7 bn euro — The first estimate for the euro area1 (EA17) trade in goods balance with the rest of the world in November 2012gave a €13.7bn surplus, compared with €4.9bn in November 2011
- Greece on Tuesday raised a further €1.625bn (US$2.17bn) at a three-month treasury bills auction, according to a Public Debt Management Agency announcement. The agency secured a 4.07% interest rate, down from 4.11% in a similar sale in December
- GDP rose 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing today.
- Record high for tourist arrivals in December — The number of international tourist arrivals hit a record high in December at 2.4mn, up 30% YoY and up 15% MoM. The number of international arrivals in 2012 also reached a record high at 22.3mn, up 16% YoY. In 2012, East Asia was still the major market with 54% of total tourist arrivals. Strong growths were seen in China (+62% YoY), Russia (+25% YoY) and Japan (+22% YoY).
- The World Bank on Tuesday released its baseline economic forecast, predicting that the global economy would grow at a rate of 2.4% in 2013 before strengthening to 3.1% in 2014
- The trade deficit widened to US$48.7bn during November. Export prices, excluding agriculture, decreased by 0.2% while import prices, excluding oil, lost 0.1% in December.
- The German government slashed its 2013economic forecast from 1% growth to 0.4% on Wednesday, a day after official data suggested a significant slowdown of the German economy over the past year.
- Annual inflation in the 17-member eurozone stood at 2.2% in December 2012, the European Union’s (EU) statistical office Eurostat reported on Wednesday. This is the lowest annual inflation recorded in the 17-member single currency zone in about two years, but is still higher than the European Central Bank’s inflation target of 2%.
- Industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone fell 0.3% in November compared with output in October, reflecting the continued slowdown in the overall economy, official data showed on Monday
- Baht pace eases, but central bank warns against complacency — The baht appreciation has eased its pace, but the central bank is warning the market and investors that new developments abroad could abruptly change the trend