What happened this week 05/08 – 09/08

Thailand

  • New stimulus measures shift focus away from SME assistance – The government’s latest stimulus package has the potential to spur economic growth since it is designed to break down barriers to business and investment rather than just boost tepid domestic consumption, says the central bank. (Bangkok Post, 08/08/13)
  • Confidence dips again – Consumer confidence dipped for the fourth consecutive month in July and hit a seven-month low, as consumers were worried about politics in the wake of anti-government protests. A survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported the consumer confidence index slipped to 80.3 points in July from 81.6 points in June. It was 82.5 in May, 83.7 in April, 84.8 in March and 84 in February. (Bangkok Post, 07/08/13)
  • Stimulus packages backed – The cabinet yesterday gave the nod to new stimulus packages to spur the economy, with the aim of boosting growth by one percentage point. The packages focus on boosting private consumption and private investment, speeding up the government’s budget disbursement and stimulating exports after the economy showed signs of slowing down. (Bangkok Post, 07/08/13)
  • Prasarn: Economy sturdy but vulnerable – Even though the Thai economy is relatively strong, it cannot withstand repeated attacks, says Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul. He said the economy’s strong fundamentals mean local political unrest and a limp global economy are unlikely to significantly hurt domestic consumption. However, if either situation becomes prolonged or more severe, then the Thai economy will inevitably be affected. (Bangkok Post, 06/08/13)
  • Business Development Dept to enhance cooperation with trade associations – Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar said yesterday that the Department of Business Development would draw up strategies for cooperation with the country’s 2,211 trade associations. (The Nation, 06/08/13)
  • Ampon tipped as BOT chairman – Ampon Kittiampon, secretary-general of the Cabinet; Pridiyathorn Devakula, former finance minister and ex-governor of the Bank of Thailand; and Narongchai Akarasenee, former commerce minister, have emerged as the major candidates for the position of central bank chairman. (The Nation, 05/08/13)

Global

  • US: The number of Americans who initially applied for unemployment aid last week edged up from a five-year low, but the four-week moving average, a less volatile measure of the claims, declined to the lowest level since November 2007. (Xinhua, 09/08/13)
  • US: U.S. mortgage applications increased 0.2% from a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended Aug. 2. Moreover, U.S. consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.9% in the second quarter, the Fed said on Wednesday. Revolving credit rose at an annual rate of 2.1%, while non-revolving credit added 7.5%. In June, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 5.9%. (Xinhua, 08/08/13)
  • US: The U.S. international trade deficit in goods and services decreased in June to the lowest level since October 2009, according to the Commerce Department. The trade gap plunged 22.4% to US$34.2bn in June, with exports rising to US$191.2bn and imports dropping to US$225.4bn. (Xinhua, 07/08/13)
  • US: Total U.S. non-farm employment increased by 162,000 in July, falling short of market consensus and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.4% from 7.6%pin June, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday morning. Among other economic data, U.S. consumer spending outpaced income growth in June, according to the Commerce Department. Personal income increased 0.3% in June, while personal consumption expenditures increased 0.5%. New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods rose in June for the third straight month, boosted by orders for durable goods, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed. (Xinhua, 0308/13)
  • US ISM New York Index rises to 67.8 in July – The US ISM New York Index jumped to 67.8 in July from 47 in June, the NAPM-New York reported today. (FXStreet.com, 02/08/13)
  • Employment Trends Index Rises in July – A compilation of U.S. labor-market indicators rose last month to its highest mark since June 2008, according to a report released Monday. The Conference Board said its July employment trends index rose to 112.16 from a revised 111.67 in June, first reported as 111.64. The latest index is up 4.1% from a year ago, though the board remained wary about the overall pace of jobs growth. (The Wall Street Journal, 05/08/13)
  • China: According to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing CFLP), China’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector improved slightly to 50.3% in July from 50.1% in June, above the boom-bust line of 50% for 10 months in a row, suggesting a moderate economic recovery trend. (Xinhua, 08/08/13)
  • China’s exports went up 5.1% YoY in July, recovering from a tumble in June. The country’s imports also surged 10.9%, according to customs data. Analysts believe that the trade data helped strengthen market expectations for China’s steady economic growth. (Xinhua, 09/08/13)
  • China: China’s machinery sector sees slow recovery in H1 – Data released by an industrial association on Tuesday indicates a slow-paced recovery in the nation’s machinery sector amid an economic slowdown. The sector’s industrial value-added output rose 9.2% YoY. The growth rate also marked a 0.2-percentage point rise compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the China Machinery Industry Federation (CMIF). (Xinhua, 06/08/13)
  • China: China’s non-manufacturing PMI rebounds to 54.1 pct in July – The purchasing managers index (PMI) for China’s non-manufacturing sector rebounded after falling for three consecutive months, according to official data released on Saturday. The non-manufacturing PMI stood at 54.1% in July, up from 53.9% for June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). (Xinhua, 05/08/13)
  • Europe: Greek unemployment rate reaches record high in May – Greece’s unemployment rate hit another record high in May of 27.6%, according to the country’s statistics body. The figure, from the Hellenic Statistics Authority, compares with a jobless rate of 23.8% in May last year. The biggest age group without a job remains those aged between 15-24, where the rate is 64.9%. (BBC News, 08/08/13)
  • Europe: Banque de France estimates 0.1% GDP growth in Q3 – France’s central bank Banque de France (BdF) on Wednesday announced said it forecast the French economy to grow by 0.1% in the third quarter of 2013 on expected improvement of domestic economic activities. According to the bank’s economic monthly report, “industrial production firmed slightly with most sectors improved or remained stable” in July. Capacity utilization gained 4 percentage points to 75.9%. (Xinhua, 07/08/13)
  • Portugal’s 2Q13 unemployment rate drops to 16.4% – Portugal’s jobless rate dropped to 16.4% in the three months through June, the first quarterly drop in two years as Europe shows signs of recovery. The rate fell from 17.7% in the first quarter and rose from 15% in the second quarter of 2012, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said today in an e-mailed statement. (Businessweek, 07/08/13)
  • German exports gained in June in signal economy gathered pace – German exports (GRBTEXMM) rose in June, adding to signs that the recovery in Europe’s largest economy is gaining traction. Exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, increased 0.6% from May, when they dropped a revised 2% that was less than originally estimated, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists predicted an increase of 0.9%, according to the median forecast of 13 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports fell 0.8%. (Bloomberg, 08/08/13)
  • Italy: Italy’s recession continues, industrial production shows signs of recovery – The second quarter of 2013 marked the eighth consecutive three-month period in which the Italian economic output contracted, the national statistics institute Istat said on Tuesday. Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.2% percent from April to June compared to the first quarter, and 2% compared to the same period of last year. (Xinhua, 06/08/13)
  • Germany: German industry orders surge on big-ticket demand – German industry orders beat forecasts in June, posting their biggest rise since October, as contracts for big-ticket items jumped and euro zone demand rebounded, suggesting manufacturing is gradually picking up after a weak start to the year. Contracts jumped by 3.8% on the month in June, data from the Economy Ministry showed. That was far better than the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a 1.0% rise, and overshot even the highest estimate for a 2.5% increase. (Reuters, 06/08/13)
  • US: The U.S. service sector expanded at a faster pace in July. The non-manufacturing index jumped to 56.0 from June’s 52.2, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected the index to rise to 53.0 in July. (Xinhua, 06/08/13)
  • France: IMF asks France to slow adjustment pace to back growth – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday asked Europe’s second largest economy to ease its pace of budgetary adjustment in 2014 in a bid to support a fragile growth recovery. In its regular review on France’s economy, the IMF hailed France’s “significant progress already achieved towards consolidating public finances,” but recommended “a smoother pace of adjustment than envisaged in the Stability Program to support the hesitant recovery.” (Xinhua, 06/08/13)
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