What happened this past week

Positive(s)

Local

  • Consumer confidence rises again — Consumer confidence rose for a fourth straight month in January, hitting a 16-month high, as concerns about global and domestic economic prospects eased and people’s incomes rose thanks in part to the nationwide daily minimum wage hike, says a local economist. The consumer confidence index climbed to 81.7 points last month from 80.2 in December, 79.1 in November and 77.8 in October.
  • LPG price float put off to April — The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) will delay the floating of the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) until April, when it will change the rules for the oil fund to help subsidize low-income people and food vendors. The government will push the “Ya Lieang Chang” program with a target to raise this to 100 locations, with each location having capacity to produce 1 MW, at investment cost of Bt5bn.

Global

  • US: Americans applying for initial jobless claims last week decreased to a seasonally adjusted 366,000, slightly higher than economists’ expectations, but lower than the previous week’s revised figure of 371,000, the Labor Department said Thursday
  • US: US service sector grows for 37th consecutive month in January
  • Europe: The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday kept interest rates unchanged and said the eurozone economy would gradually recover in the second half of 2013. ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference after a governing council meeting that medium to longer-term inflation expectations for the euro area remained firmly anchored in line with expectations. The ECB said economic weakness in the euro area would prevail in the early part of 2013, before gradually recovering later.
  • Europe: Markit’s Eurozone Composite purchasing manager’s index, which is seen as a good gauge of the region’s economic growth, rose to a 10-month high of 48.6 in January, up from 47.2 in December
  • UK: The Bank of England voted on Thursday to reinvest government bond holdings that mature in March and promised to provide more stimulus if needed for an economy that was recovering only very slowly. After a two-day meeting, the bank as expected kept its main interest rate at 0.5% and its target for gilt purchases at the previously agreed £375bn.

Negatives(s)

Global

  • The US nonfarm business sector’s labor productivity fell 2.0% in the fourth quarter of 2013 following a strong gain of 3.2% in the third quarter, while unit labor cost in the quarter rose 4.5%, according to a separate report by the Labor Department.
  • US: U.S. non-manufacturing sector expanded for the 37th straight month in January, but the sector grew at a slower pace than in December 2012, a widely recognized U.S. private survey revealed on Tuesday. The Non-Manufacturing Index (NMI), which measures activity in the U.S. service sector, dipped to 55.2% in January from 55.7% in December 2012, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said in its monthly survey.
  • Eurozone retail sales fall sharply – The European Union’s statistics agency said Tuesday that retail sales fell 0.8% in December from November and 3.4% compared with December 2011. The month-to-month drop was the largest since April 20012, while the annual decline was the largest since February 2009, when the euro-zone economy was mired in the global recession.
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