Monday April 24 2017
Singapore Inflation Rate Steady At 0.7% In March
Statistics Singapore | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Singapore rose 0.7 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, the same as in February and in line with markets expectations. The inflation rate remained at its highest level since August 2014, mainly driven by an increase in cost food and transport while cost of housing continued to fall.

Year-on-year, upward prices pressure came from: household durables & services (1.6 percent from 1.5 percent in the prior month, largely due to a  2.7 percent increase in household services & supplies); health care (2.8 percent from 2.6 percent, mainly driven by a 3.3 percent rise in medical & dental treatment and a 1.1 percent gain in medical products, appliances & equipment); transport (4.5 percent from 4.2 percent, mainly due to a 6.9 percent rise in private road transport and a 0.1 percent rise in other travel & transport); recreation & culture (0.3 percent from 0.5 percent, largely due to a 0.2 percent increase in newspapers, book & stationery and a 0.9 percent growth in holiday expenses); education (3.6 percent from 3.6 percent, due to a 3.7 percent rise in tuition & other fees and a 0.1 percent increase in school textbooks & related study guides) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.2 percent from -0.6 percent. In contrast, cost declined for: clothing & footwear (-0.9 percent from-0.2 percent); housing & utilities (-3.2 percent from -3.1 percent, largely due to a 4.0 percent drop in accommodation) and communication (-0.4 percent from  0.7 percent).

Prices of food rose 1.3 percent in March, the same as in February. Among food excluding food servicing services, cost increased for bread & cereals (0.7 percent); fish & seafood (2.3 percent); milk, cheese & eggs (0.5 percent); fruits (3.0 percent); vegetables (0.2 percent); sugar, preserves & confectionery (1.0 percent); non-alcoholic beverages (0.1 percent) and other food (0.7 percent). In contrast, prices fell for meat (-0.1 percent ) and oils & fats (-3.0 percent). Among food servicing services, prices increased for all categories: restaurant foods (1.2 percent), fast food (2.2 percent), hawker food including food courts (1.7 percent) and catered food (2.5 percent).

Core consumer prices, which exclude costs of accommodation and private road transport, went up 1.2 percent year-on-year, unchanged from the prior month.

On a month-on-month basis, consumer prices remained unchanged in March, the same as in a month earlier.




Friday April 21 2017
US Factory Activity Growth Lowest in 7 Months
Markit | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Markit US Manufacturing PMI fell to 52.8 in April of 2017 from 53.3 in March and well below market expectations of 53.5, flash figures showed. It is the lowest reading since September of 2016, indicating another slowdown in manufacturing growth from the near two-year high in January, mainly due slower expansion in output and new orders.

The main positive development was a slight rebound in manufacturing job creation from the seven-month low seen during March. 

Manufacturers were more cautious in terms of their pre-production inventories in April. The decline in stocks of inputs ended a six-month period of sustained inventory building. 

April data signalled a sharp and  accelerated rise in average cost burdens across the manufacturing sector. The rate of input cost inflation was the fastest since December 2013, which survey respondents linked to rising commodity prices (particularly metals). Meanwhile, pressure on margins from higher input costs contributed to the strongest increase in factory gate charges for almost two-and-a-half years.

Commenting on the flash PMI data, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit said:

The PMI data suggest the US economy lost further momentum at the start of the second quarter. The surveys are signalling a GDP growth rate of 1.1% after 1.7% in the first quarter. “The vast services economy saw the weakest monthly expansion for seven months and the manufacturing sector showed signs of growth slowing further from the two-year high seen at the start of the year, despite export orders lifting higher. “The labour market also continued to soften. The surveys signalled a marked step-down in the pace of hiring in March which has continued into April. The latest survey data are consistent with only around 100,000 non-farm payroll growth. “The survey responses indicate that some froth has come off the economy since the post-election bounce seen at the end of last year. However, with inflows of new business picking up slightly in April and business optimism about the year ahead also brightening, there’s good reason to believe that growth could revive again in coming months.” 




Friday April 21 2017
Mexico Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2007
Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in Mexico decreased to 3.2 percent in March of 2017 from 3.74 percent a year earlier and in line with market expectations. It is the lowest jobless rate since December of 2007. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it fell to 3.2 percent from 3.4 percent in February.

Compared to a year earlier, the unemployment rate declined for both men (3 percent from 3.8 percent) and women (3.5 percent from 3.6 percent). Among unemployed people, 17.4 percent had not completed secondary education and 82.6 percent had a higher education.

Those underemployed accounted for 6.5 percent of total employed, less than 7.3 percent a year earlier. 

The participation rate increased to 59.35 percent from 58.95 percent in March of 2016.




Friday April 21 2017
Canada Inflation Rate Down To 3-Month Low Of 1.6%
Statistics Canada | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Canada rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, easing from a 2 percent increase in February and below market expectations of 1.8 percent. Gasoline prices slowed and food and clothing cost declined.

Year-on-year, transportation cost rose 4.6 percent after increasing 6.6 percent in February, led by the gasoline index. Gasoline prices rose 15.2 percent, following a 23.1 percent increase in February. The purchase of passenger vehicles index was up 2.1 percent in the 12 months to March, following a gain of 3.6 percent in February.

The clothing and footwear index fell 0.9 percent, following a 0.9 percent increase the previous month. This turnaround was led by a decrease in the women's clothing index, down 1.0 percent, following a 3.5 percent increase. A larger year-over-year decline in the children's clothing index (-4.4 percent) more than offset a 0.3 percent increase in the footwear index.

Food cost went down for the sixth consecutive month, dropping 1.9 percent. Prices for food purchased from stores declined 3.6 percent while prices for food purchased from restaurants posted a 2.4 percent increase.

Shelter cost increases in March matched those of February, up 2.2 percent. The homeowners' replacement cost index was the main upward contributor to the 12-month change in the shelter index, up 4.0 percent, despite slowing growth since November 2016. At the same time, rent increased 0.6 percent, after posting a 0.5 percent increase for six consecutive months.

The recreation, education and reading index rose 3.6 percent, following a 3.3 percent gain in February. This acceleration was led by the travel tours index, up 6.8 percent, following a 0.5 percent decline the previous month. In contrast, traveller accommodation prices rose less in March than in February.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.2 percent, the same as in February.

The core index rose 0.3 percent on the month and 1.3 percent on the year.





Friday April 21 2017
Hong Kong Inflation Rate Rises To 0.5% In March
Census and Statistics Department |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Hong Kong increased 0.5 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, compared to a 0.1 percent drop in the prior month. The recovery in CPI was mainly driven by prices of housing, meals bought away from home and transport.

Year-on-year, prices recovered for housing (0.1 percent from -0.3 percent), meals bought away from home (2.7 percent vs -3.7 percent) and rose for transport (3.2 percent, the same pace as in February). Additional upward pressure came from miscellaneous goods and services (1.1 percent vs 1.2 percent), clothing and footwear (0.4 percent vs -3.3 percent) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (2.5 percent vs 2.7 percent). Meanwhile, prices fell less for durable goods (-3.1 percent vs -3.7 percent), food (excluding meals bought away from home) (-1.6 percent vs -3.7 percent) and electricity, gas and water (-1.2 percent vs -7.5 percent).

Underlying consumer prices, which exclude the effects of one-off government relief measures went up 1.3 percent compared to 0.7 percent in February. 




Friday April 21 2017
Hong Kong Jobless Rate Lowest Since 2014
Census and Statistics Department | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong declined to 3.2 percent in the three months to March 2017, from 3.3 percent in the previous period. It was the lowest jobless rate since June of 2014. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2 percent.

Compared to the three months to February, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 600 to 125 000 and the number of underemployed remained unchanged at 49 000.

Employment decreased by around 2 000 to 3 822 400  and while the labor force increased by around 3 600 to 3 947 400.

While there were only small movements in the unemployment rates of most of the major economic sectors when compared to the preceding three-month period, the unemployment rates of many sectors were generally lower than their year-ago levels amid the relatively favourable overall economic conditions on entering 2017. Specifically, thanks to the continued improvement of inbound tourism, the unemployment rates for all individual sectors in the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services) went down in January - March 2017 over the preceding period as well as a year earlier.




Friday April 21 2017
Spain Trade Gap Widens 48.3% YoY In February
Mineco |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The trade gap in Spain increased to EUR 2.61 billion in February of 2017 from a EUR 1.76 billion deficit a year earlier. It is the second biggest trade deficit since August of 2015 as exports increased 8.3 percent year-on-year and reached a new record high for a February month while imports rose at a faster 11.4 percent.

Exports went up 8.3 percent to EUR 22.08 billion, driven by sales of energy (57.2 percent), food, beverages and tobacco (9.3 percent), autos (6.8 percent), consumer goods (12 percent) and chemicals (5.9 percent). Exports increased to the European Union (9.5 percent), namely Italy (21.4 percent), United Kingdom (13.4 percent), France (6.3 percent) and Germany (2.9 percent). Outside the EU, shipments rose the most to Canada (12.9 percent), Georgia (116.4 percent), China (23.1 percent), South Korea (36.1 percent), Vietnam (23.8 percent), Morocco (11.8 percent), Brasil (11.2 percent), Mexico (13.2 percent), Colombia (13.4 percent), Ecuador (30.5 percent) and Australia (9.4 percent).

Imports advanced 11.4 percent to EUR 24.68 billion, mainly led by purchases of energy (89.7 percent), equipment goods (14.9 percent) and non-chemical semi manufactures (6.9 percent).

Spain recorded a EUR 1.09 billion trade surplus with the EU, higher than a EUR 0.82 billion surplus a year earlier. With non-EU countries, the trade deficit rose 43.1 percent year-on-year to EUR 3.7 billion.




Thursday April 20 2017
US Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected
DOL | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 10 thousand to 244 thousand in the week ended April 15th 2017 from the previous week's unrevised level of 234 thousand and above market expectations of 242 thousand.

Claims have now been below 300,000 for 111 straight weeks, the longest such stretch since 1970.

The 4-week moving average was 243,000, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 247,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.4 percent for the week ending April 8, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. 

The continuing claims drawn by workers for more than a week (the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment) during the week ending April 8 was 1,979,000, a decrease of 49,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 2,028,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since April 15, 2000 when it was 1,962,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,023,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,025,500. This is the lowest level for this average since June 17, 2000 when it was 2,016,750.




Thursday April 20 2017
Indonesia Holds Key Rate At 4.75%
Bank of Indonesia | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Indonesia's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate on hold at 4.75 percent at its April 20th meeting, as widely expected. Policymakers said the decision was in line with efforts to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability and to support sustainable economic growth. The overnight deposit facility rate and the lending facility rate were also left on hold at 4.0 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Excerpts from Bank Indonesia Press Release: 

Bank Indonesia continues to monitor various global and domestic risks. Globally, there are indications of a more promising economic outlook for advanced countries but several risks continue to demand vigilance, especially the current discourse on the Federal Reserve reducing its overall balance sheet along with geopolitical factors. At home, Bank Indonesia will monitor the impact of adjustments to administered prices (AP) on inflation as well as ongoing consolidation in the corporate and banking sector, which has undermined the impact of economic stimuli. Therefore, Bank Indonesia will constantly strive to strenghten its monetary, macroprudential and payment system policy mix to maintain macroeconomic and financial system stability. Furthermore, Bank Indonesia will continue coordinating with the Government to control inflationary pressures within the target corridor and accelerate structural reforms to support sustainable economic growth.

Economic growth momentum in Indonesia is expected to remain well in the first quarter of 2017, albeit below previous expectations. The main sources of the growth are stronger investment, solid consumption and positive export performance. First-quarter investment increased on building and non-building investment. Non-building investment improved on the back of commodity price hike, as reflected in the increase of heavy machineries sales for mining and farming. The hike in commodity prices also promoted export growth. Meanwhile, household consumption growth can potentially moderate slightly in the first quarter of 2017, indicated by slower growth of retail and automotive sales, as an effect of ongoing consolidation in the corporate sector. Economic growth is predicted to accelerate in the second quarter of 2017, supported by stronger investment and export performance, while consumption should remain relatively stable. Meanwhile, rising commodity prices and stronger demand due to the global economic recovery are expected to drive exports and investment. Looking forward, the role of fiscal stimuli, in terms of catalysing economic growth, should be maintained.

The rupiah continued to appreciate in March 2017, supported by macroeconomic stability and the positive perception of investors towards Indonesia’s promising economic outlook, coupled with easing global risks. Throughout the first quarter of 2017, the rupiah appreciated 1.09% (ytd) to close at Rp13,326/USD. Rupiah appreciation was driven by an influx of non-resident capital due to attractive domestic investment assets as well as sounder global factors. Foreign capital inflows were primarily drawn to stocks and government debt securities (SUN). Moving forward, Bank Indonesia will continue to stabilise rupiah exchange rates in line with the currency’s fundamental value, while maintaining market mechanisms.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded deflation in March 2017 as the supply of foodstuffs increased. CPI deflation was recorded at 0.02% (mom), contrasting inflation of 0.23% (mom) the month earlier. The main contributors were volatile foods after the harvests of several food crops boosted supply. Administered prices declined due to lower airfares, which reduced the impact of hikes to electricity rates. Moving forward, to maintain inflation within the target range of 4±1%, policy coordination between the Government and Bank Indonesia in inflation control requires constant strengthening, primarily in the face of adjustments to administered prices as part of the Government’s ongoing energy reforms, coupled with the expected seasonal spike of inflationary pressures during the approach to the holy fasting month.





Thursday April 20 2017
Japan Trade Surplus Narrows 17.5% YoY In March
Ministry of Finance | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Japan posted a JPY 614.7 billion trade surplus in March of 2017, smaller than a JPY 744.9 billion surplus a year earlier but above market expectations of a JPY 575.8 billion surplus, as exports rose less than imports.

In March, sales increased by 12.0 percent year-on-year to JPY 7,229.1 billion, compared to a 11.3 percent gain in a month earlier while market expected a 6.7 percent rise. It was the fourth straight month of increase and the fastest since January 2015, as sales went up for all commodities: manufactured goods (10.5 percent, namely iron and steel products: 15.6 percent, non-ferrous metals: 17.5 percent and rubber manufactured: 6.5 percent), machinery (14.0 percent, namely power generating machine: 13.5 percent, parts of computers: 16.3 percent, construction machines: 11.9 percent and heating or cooling machine: 18.9 percent), electrical machinery (10.9 percent, namely semiconductors etc: 7.6 percent, IC: 10.0 percent), electrical power machinery: 17.2 percent, electrical measuring: 13.0 percent and electrical apparatus: 22.9 percent), transport equipment (4.0 percent, namely parts of motor vehicles: 21.2 percent and motorcycles, autocycles: 9.6 percent), others (22.1 percent, namely scientific, optical instruments: 25.5 percent and blank/recorded media: 9.6 percent), chemicals (14.2 percent, namely organic chemicals: 17.5 percent and plastic materials: 12.4 percent), raw materials (24.0 percent), mineral fuels (33.8 percent) and foodstuff (13.9 percent).

Outbound shipments to China rose 16.4 percent (from 28.2 percent in February) and those to the US increased by 3.5 percent (from 0.4 percent). Sales also went up to Western Europe (6.7 percent from 4.2 percent), Oceania (23.9 percent from 23.6 percent), Russia (10.9 percent from 28.2 percent) and Africa (12.7 percent from -13.0 percent). In contrast, exports fell to the Middle East countries (-2.6 percent from -13.5 percent).

Imports jumped 15.8 percent to JPY 6,614.4 billion, following a 1.2 percent growth in the prior month and faster than consensus of a 10.4 percent growth. It was the biggest gain in three years, as purchases rose for all components: foodstuff (12.6 percent), raw materials (15.3 percent), mineral fuels (36.3 percent), chemicals (13.8 percent), manufactured goods (12.9 percent), machinery (6.1 percent), electrical machinery (10.6 percent), transport equipment (9.5 percent) and others (9.2 percent).

In February 2017, the trade surplus came in at JPY 813.4 billion.




Wednesday April 19 2017
New Zealand Inflation Rate At Over 5-Year High Of 2.2%
Statistics New Zealand | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

New Zealand’s consumer prices increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, up from a 1.3 percent gain in the previous period and above market expectations of 2 percent. It was the highest inflation rate since the third quarter of 2011, as prices for food and transport rose.

Year-on-year, cost for food rose 1.6 percent (from 0.6 percent in Q4 2016), boosted by a 4.4 percent gain in prices for fruit and vegetables.

Transport prices went up 3.5 percent (from -1 percent in Q4), with petrol (12 percent) partially offset by falls in other private transport services (vehicle relicensing fees).

Housing-related prices continued to grow, up 3.3 percent in the March 2017 year, the same rise as in the previous period. Prices increased for newly built houses, excluding land (6.7 percent), and for housing rentals (2.3 percent). Newly built houses, excluding land, were up 8 percent in Auckland and 3.6 percent in Christchurch.

Tradable prices increased 1.6 percent (from -0.1 percent in Q4), while prices for non-tradables advanced 2.5 percent (from 2.4 percent in Q4).

Excluding petrol, and cigarettes and tobacco, the CPI showed a 1.5 percent gain.

On a quarterly basis, consumer prices rose 1 percent, following a 0.4 percent increase in the previous period and above market expectations of a 0.8 percent gain. Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco rebounded 4 percent following a 0.3 percent decline in the previous quarter. The food group also rebounded 2.2 percent from 1.2 percent fall in December of 2016 quarter. Meanwhile, prices in the transport group grew at a softer pace of 0.8 percent (from 3.7 percent in the previous quarter).




Wednesday April 19 2017
Euro Area Trade Surplus Narrows In February
Eurostat | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The Eurozone trade surplus declined to €17.8 billion in February 2017 from €18.2 billion surplus in the same month of the previous year while above market expectations of €16.2 billion. Exports increased 4 percent to €163.2 billion while imports went up at a faster 5 percent to €152.6 billion.

Considering the first two months of the year, the trade surplus narrowed to €17.3 billion from €23 billion a year ago, as exports were up by 8 percent to €333.7 billion while imports rose 11 percent to €316.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the European Union recorded a €1.7 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world, compared with a €2.6 billion gap in February 2016. 

In January to February 2017, the trade gap rose to €14.8 billion, compared with €9.6 billion in the same period a year earlier, as exports went up by 11 percent to €287.6 billion and imports jumped 13 percent to €302.4 billion.

Exports of primary goods surged 27 percent to €42.9 billion, led by an increase in sales of energy (67 percent), raw materials and (26 percent) and food and drink (5 percent). Also, manufactured goods rose 9 percent to €233.4 billion, driven by chemicals (13 percent), machinery and vehicles (9 percent) and other manufactured goods (5 percent). Among trading partners, the biggest increases in exports were reported for Russia (30 percent), the US (10 percent), China (19 percent) and South Korea (15 percent). 

Imports of primary goods rose 39 percent to €91.2 billion, led by energy (64 percent), raw materials (16 percent) and food and drink (3 percent). Imports of manufactured goods increased 4 percent to €202.4 billion, driven by machinery and vehicles (7 percent) and other manufactured goods (2 percent). Among trading partners, the biggest increases in imports were reported for Russia (55 percent), Norway (44 percent); South Korea (31 percent) and  Canada (16 percent).




Wednesday April 19 2017
Euro Area Inflation Rate Confirmed At 3-Month Low
Eurostat | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in the Euro Area rose 1.5 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, easing from a 2 percent increase in the previous month and matching preliminary estimates. It is the lowest inflation rate in three months, due to a slowdown in prices of fuels for transport, heating oil and vegetables and a drop in cost of package holidays, final figures showed.

Year-on-year, prices rose less for fuels for transport (13.1 percent from 16.7 percent in February), heating oil (20.8 percent from 30 percent) and vegetables (5.8 percent from 16.2 percent). In addition, prices fell faster for telecommunication (-1.4 percent from -1.1 percent) and declined for package holidays (-3.9 percent). In contrast, prices of garments rebounded (0.4 percent from -0.1 percent).

By country, the highest annual rates were recorded in Latvia (3.3 percent from 3.2 percent), Lithuania (3.2 percent, the same as in February) and Estonia (3 percent from 3.4 percent in February). Inflation eased in Germany (1.5 percent from 2.2 percent), Italy (1.4 percent from 1.6 percent) and Spain (2.1 percent from 3 percent) and was steady in France (1.4 percent). 

Excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, consumer prices increased 0.7 percent, below 0.9 percent in each of the previous three months and the lowest since April of 2016. Excluding energy only, inflation also slowed to 0.9 percent from 1.2 percent in February.

The monthly inflation rate was 0.8 percent, compared to 0.4 percent in February.

Considering the European Union, prices rose 0.6 percent on the month (0.3 percent in February) and 1.6 percent on the year (2 percent in February).




Wednesday April 19 2017
Italy Trade Surplus Narrows In February
Istat | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

Italy's trade surplus declined to €1.84 billion deficit in February 2017 from €3.9 billion in the same month of the previous year while market expected €2.24 billion surplus. Exports increased by 2.3 percent to €34.9 billion, led by higher purchases of coke and refined petroleum products and vehicles; while imports grew by 9.1 percent to €33 billion, as purchases of crude oil and coke and refined petroleum products rose the most. With EU countries, Italy registered a trade surplus of €0.2 billion and with non-EU ones - €1.7 billion.

Year-on-year, exports rose 2.3 percent to €34.9 billion, boosted by higher sales of: coke and refined petroleum products (80.8 percent); vehicles (12.7 percent); chemicals (6.6 percent); and agriculture, forestry and fisheries products (5 percent). By main industrial groups, sales rose for: energy (75.6 percent); intermediate goods (2 percent) and consumer goods (0.9 percent).

The biggest increases in shipments were reported for: China (31.5 percent); Russia (25.4 percent); Spain (9.8 percent) and Poland (8.5 percent). 

Imports increased 9.1 percent to €33 billion, led by gains in purchases of: crude oil (105.3 percent); coke and refined petroleum products (53.6 percent); vehicles (13.8 percent); pharmaceuticals and chemicals (13.8 percent); and computers and electrical appliances (11.3 percent). By main industrial groups, purchases rose for: energy (57 percent); capital goods (6.9 percent); intermediate goods (4.1 percent); and consumer goods (3.8 percent).

The rise in imports mainly reflected the increase in purchases from OPEC countries (54.9 percent), Russia (33.2 percent), Turkey (19.3 percent), Austria (8 percent) and Spain (10.5 percent) and India (38.5 percent).




Wednesday April 19 2017
South Africa Inflation Rate Down To 6-Month Low
Statistics South Africa | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in South Africa increased 6.1 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, lower than a 6.3 percent rise in February and below market expectations of 6.3 percent. It is the lowest inflation rate in six months due to a slowdown in food inflation.

Year-on-year, prices rose at a slower pace for food and non-alcoholic beverages (8.7 percent from 9.9 percent in February); clothing and footwear (4.5 percent from 4.8 percent) and restaurants and hotels (6.1 percent from 6.4 percent). In contrast, inflation was steady for recreation and culture (3.7 percent) and accelerated for housing and utilities (5.7 percent from 5.6 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (7.5 percent from 7.4 percent); transport (7.7 percent from 7.2 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (3.2 percent from 2.8 percent) and education (7 percent from 4.6 percent).

Annual core inflation which excludes cost of food, non-alcoholic beverages, petrol and energy fell to 4.9 percent from 5.2 percent. It is the lowest rate since January of 2013.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent, below 1.1 percent in February and boosted by cost of housing and utilities (0.9 percent); education (7 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.5 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (1.7 percent).




Wednesday April 19 2017
Malaysia Inflation Rate Highest In Over 8 Years
Statistics of Malaysia l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Consumer prices in Malaysia rose 5.1 percent year-on-year in March of 2017, compared to a 4.5 percent increase in February and below markets expectations of a 5.3 percent rise. It was the highest inflation rate since November 2008, as prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages and housing and utilities increased further while cost of transport surged.

Year-on-year, upward prices pressure came from: food & non-alcoholic beverages (4.1 percent from 4.3 percent in February); alcoholic beverages & tobacco (0.2 percent from 0.2 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (2.1 percent from 2.2 percent); furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance (1.5 percent from 1.5 percent), health (2.6 percent from 2.4 percent), transport (23.0 percent from 17.9 percent), recreation services & culture (3.0 percent from 3.1 percent), education (1.7 percent from 1.7 percent), restaurants & hotels (2.3 percent from 2.3 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (1.3 percent from 1.4 percent). In contrast, downward prices pressure came from: clothing and footwear (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent) and communication (-0.2 percent from -0.3 percent).
 
Among food & non-alcoholic beverages, customers had to pay more for most categories: food (4.3 percent from 4.5 percent); food at home (4.1 percent from 4.8 percent); rice, bread & other cereals (0.7 percent from 0.8 percent); meat (3.7 percent from 4.6 percent); fish & seafood (5.2 percent from 4.5 percent); oils & fats (38.8 percent from 38.3 percent), fruits (3.7 percent from 3.4 percent); vegetables (4.8 percent from 9.5 percent); sugar, jam, honey, chocolate & confectionary (1.5 percent from 0.4 percent); food products (5.0 percent from 5.3 percent), food away from home (4.4 percent from 4.1 percent). Meanwhile, prices of coffee, tea, cocoa & non-alcoholic beverages fell 0.4 percent (from -0.2 percent), and milk & eggs (-0.4 percent from 0.2 percent).
 
Core consumer prices went up 2.5 percent year-on-year, the same as in the prior month.
 
On a monthly basis, consumer prices decreased by 0.1 percent in March, following a 1.3 percent rise in a month earlier and marking the first drop since September 2016. Prices fell for: food & non-alcoholic beverages & tobacco ( -0.3 percent); clothing and footwear (-0.1 percent); transport (-0.3 percent), recreation services & culture (-0.2 percent).In contrast, cost went up for furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance ( 0.1 percent), health (0.2 percent), restaurants & hotels ( 0.2 percent) and  miscellaneous goods and services (0.1 percent), communication (0.1 percent) and education (0.1 percent), and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (0.1 percent). Cost was flat for housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels.
 
 
 
 
 




Tuesday April 18 2017
Russia Jobless Rate Falls To 5.4% In March
Federal State Statistics Service | Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com

The unemployment rate in Russia declined to 5.4 percent in March of 2017 from 5.6 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 5.6 percent. A year ago, the jobless rate was 6 percent.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 117 thousand to 4.109 million. Compared to March of 2016, the number decreased by 458 thousand.    

The number of economically active people decreased by 200 thousand to 75.9 million, representing 52 percent of total population. Compared to March of 2016, the figure declined by 200 thousand. 

Real wages increased 1.5 percent year-on-year, following 1 percent rise in February and below market expectations of 2 percent. Nominal wages went up 5.8 percent to RUB 37,640 (5.6 percent in February) and real disposable income fell 2.5 percent, following a 3.8 percent slump in February.




Tuesday April 18 2017
US Industrial Production Rises As Utilities Output Rebounds
Federal Reserve | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

US industrial production rose by 0.5 percent month-over-month in March 2017, following a 0.1 percent gain in February and matching market expectations. Utilities output jumped 8.6 percent, the largest gain on record, while manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent, missing consensus of a 0.1 percent gain.

Utilities output jumped 8.6 percent, the largest gain on record, recovering from a 5.8 percent drop in the previous month, as the demand for heating returned to seasonal norms after being suppressed by unusually warm weather in February. Also, mining output edged up 0.1 percent after rising by 2.9 percent in the previous month.

By contrast, manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent, following a 0.3 percent increase in February and missing expectations of a 0.1 percent gain, due to a large step-down in the production of motor vehicles and parts. Factory output aside from motor vehicles and parts moved down 0.2 percent.

Compared to the same month of 2016, industrial output rose 1.5 percent, as output rose for manufacturing (0.8 percent), utilities (4.6 percent) and mining (2.9 percent).

For the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 1.5 percent.

Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.4 percentage point in March to 76.1 percent, a rate that is 3.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.




Tuesday April 18 2017
US Housing Starts Fall More Than Expected
U.S. Census Bureau | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts in the United States slumped 6.8 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1215 thousand in March of 2017, following an upwardly revised 1303 thousand in the previous month and much worse than market expectations of a 3 percent drop. It is the lowest rate in four months, led by drops in the Midwest.

Single-family housing starts, the largest segment of the market shrank 6.2 percent to 821 thousand. In addition, the volatile multi-family segment declined 6.1 percent to 385 thousand. Starts slumped in the Midwest (-16.2 percent to 155 thousand), the West (-16 percent to 284 thousand) and the South (-2.9 percent to 645 thousand) but rose 12.9 percent in the Northeast (to 131 thousand). 

Building permits increased 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1260 thousand, more than market expectations of a 2.8 percent rise. Building permits for multi-family units jumped 18.3 percent to 401 thousand while single-family authorizations dropped 1.1 percent to 823 thousand. Permits went up in the West (16.7 percent to 315 thousand), the Northeast (15.5 percent to 134 thoudand) and the South (6 percent to 619 thousand) while fell 22 percent to 192 thousand in the Midwest.  





Tuesday April 18 2017
Irish Trade Surplus Falls From Record High As Imports Rise
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted trade surplus decreased by 9 percent to €4,736 million in February 2017 from a downwardly revised record high of €5,187 million in the previous month, as imports jumped by 16 percent while exports rose at a slower 3 percent, preliminary figures showed. Meanwhile, the non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 39.1 percent year-on-year to €4,265 million.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports increased by €800 million, or 16 percent, to €5,883 million from the previous month; and exports increased by €349 million, or 3 percent, to €10,619 million, preliminary figures showed.

The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 39.1 percent year-on-year to €4,265 million, as exports increased by €1,303 million, or 15 percent, to €9,738 million, due to higher sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (37 percent), and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (28 percent).

Exports to the UK increased by €189 million, or 19 percent, to €1,162 million. The main products accounting for this increase were exports of chemicals and related products which increased by €158 million, or 58 percent, to €433 million. The EU accounted for €4,853 million, or 50 percent, of total goods exports, of which €1,115 million went to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,945 million, or 30 percent, of total exports.

Meanwhile, imports rose by €105 million, or 2 percent, to €5,473 million compared with February 2016, mainly due to higher purchases of petroleum (25 percent). By contrast, imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines dropped 31 percent.

The EU accounted for 63 percent of the value of goods imports in February 2017, with €1,219 million, or 22 percent, of total imports coming from the UK. Imports from the UK decreased by €54 million, or 4 percent, compared with February 2016., mainly due to small decreases in the imports of food and live animals and machinery and transport equipment. The US with €767 million, or 14 percent, and China with €283 million, or 5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.

In the first two months of the year, the trade surplus increased to €8.5 billion from €6.8 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 12 percent to €19.2 billion while imports rose 3 percent to €10.7 billion.