What happened this week 11.03.13 to 15.03.13



  • Fitch boosts credit rating – Ratings agency Fitch Ratings yesterday announced a one-notch upgrade in Thailand’s credit rating, supported by declining policy risk, stable finances and low public debt. The upgrade raises the country’s long-term foreign currency rating to BBB+ from BBB, with a stable outlook. The short-term foreign currency rating was also upgraded to F2 from F3, while the country ceiling was hiked to A- from BBB+. (Bangkok Post, 09/03/13)


  • US: US small business confidence continues to improve in February – U.S. small business confidence continued to improve in February as more owners planned to increase inventories and capital spending, a leading industry association said Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that its Small-Business Optimism Index rose 1.9 points to 90.8 in February from January, which remained on a par with the 2008 average and below the trough of the 1991-1992 and 2001-2001 recessions. The index fluctuated between 86.5 and 94.5 since the latest recession ended in June 2009. (Xinhua, 12/03/13)
  • US: The U.S. Commerce Department announced Wednesday that retail sales in February increased 1.1% from the previous month, the largest rise in five months, beating market expectation. US business inventories were up 1.0% in January, the biggest since May 2011, suggesting that demand will pick up, according to data also released by the Commerce Department Wednesday. US import prices rose 1.1% in February, driven by higher fuel prices, which followed an increase of 0.6% in the previous month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Export prices advanced 0.8% in February following a 0.3% increase in January. (Xinhua, 14/03/13)
  • US: US current account deficit narrows in fourth quarter — The US current account deficit shrank to US$110.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The decline in the current account deficit was due to an increase in the surplus in income and services, which was partly offset by an increase in the deficit on goods, the department said in a report. (Xinhua, 14/03/13)
  • US jobless claims fall — The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of Americans filing initial jobless claims last week dropped by 10,000 to 332,000 compared to the previous week’s revised figure of 342,000. The four-week moving average of the jobless claims also fell to a five-year low of 346,750. The average figure helps smooth out the week-to-week volatility. (Xinhua, 15/03/13)
  • Europe: Spanish treasury sells bond at lowest interest rates since 2010 – The Spanish Treasury enjoyed another successful bond auction on Thursday as it sold €803mn (US$1.04bn) on the market at the lowest interest rates since 2010. Bonds with 16- and 30-year life spans were offered with €134mn of bonds with a 16-year life fetching a rate of 5.258%, which is below the previous level of 5.822%. (Xinhua, 14/03/13)
  • China’s industrial value-added output rose 9.9% YoY in the first two months of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday. The pace was down 1.5 pps from the same period last year and down 0.4 ppt from the growth rate in December 2012, the NBS said in a statement on its website. (Xinhua, 09/03/13)
  • Investment in China’s property sector rose 22.8% YoY to 667bn yuan (US$106.2bn) in the first two months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Saturday. (Xinhua, 09/03/13)



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  • Europe: Inflation continues to slow down in recession-hit Italy – Italy’s inflation continued to slow down in February amid the deepest recession since 1992, data from the national statistics agency Istat showed on Tuesday. According to Istat, in February 2012, Italian consumer price index for the whole nation increased by 0.1% compared with the previous month and by 1.9% YoY, marking a record low since December 2010. (Xinhua, 12/03/13)
  • Europe: Eurozone factory output shows surprisingly big fall in January – Output at eurozone factories fell more than expected at the start of 2013 and production in France and Germany slipped in the latest sign the bloc is struggling to emerge from recession. Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 0.4% in January from December, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.1% fall. (Bloomberg, 13/03/13)
  • Greek jobless rate at 26% – Greece’s unemployment rate climbed to 26% in the last quarter of 2012 from 24.8% in the previous three-month period, showing the depth of a continuing recession and how difficult the government’s job will be to bring back jobs. The statistics service (ELSTAT) said 1.295mn Greeks were without work in the last quarter of 2012, while the jobless rate among those aged 15-24 climbed to 57.8% from 49.9% in the previous quarter. (Greek Reporter, 14/03/13)

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