Economic Updates

The annual consumer price inflation in South Africa unexpectedly eased to 5.4% in January, the lowest level in five months and compared to a 5.7% rate recorded in December. On a monthly basis, consumer prices grew 0.3% in January, compared to a 0.2% gain recorded in the preceding month.

The average weekly earnings including bonuses in the UK rose 1.4% during the October-December period, weaker than the 1.5% increase recorded in the previous three months.

The jobless claimant count in the UK fell by 12.50K to 1.54mn in January compared to the 12.10K decline in the previous month.

According to the minutes of the latest BoE meeting, Governor Mervyn King and Paul Fisher joined David Miles, seeking an increase in asset purchases by GBP25.00bn. However, policymakers voted 6-3 to maintain the size of quantitative easing at GBP375.00bn.

On an annual basis, the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in Germany rose 1.9% in January, compared to a 2.0% rise in December.

On an annual basis, the Producer Price Index (PPI) in Germany rose 1.7% in January, compared to a 1.5% rise in December.

On a yearly basis, HICP in France dropped to 1.4% in January compared to a 1.5% growth in December.

The Centre for European Economic Research and Credit Suisse reported that, economic expectations index in Switzerland rose to a reading of 10.00 in February, from a reading of -6.90 in January.

On a yearly basis, the PPI in the US increased 1.5% in January, following a 1.3% growth in the previous month.

On a month-on-month basis, housing starts in the US dropped 8.5% to an annualised rate of 890.00K in January, from an upwardly revised estimate of 973.00K in December.

According to Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), for the week ended 15 February 2013, mortgage application volume in the US, on a seasonally adjusted basis, fell 1.7% from one week earlier.

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's latest monetary policy meeting has revealed that many policymakers were worried about the costs and risks in continuing with monetary easing and were divided over the future course of the bond purchase programme. The minutes also showed that policymakers would consider how to proceed with its Quantitative Easing programme in their monetary policy meeting scheduled next month.

The MNI flash business sentiment indicator in China has climbed to a reading of 61.80 in February compared to a reading of 55.20 posted in the previous month.

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