March 14, 2014 1:11 pm

Brazil had a better than expected start to the year with its monthly economic output figures showing a recovery from December’s dismal results, while the UK’s widening trade deficit underscored the domestic nature of the economy’s recovery.


Germany: The final reading of the consumer price index, as measured across the eurozone, came in as expected at 1 per cent, higher than the broader eurozone’s 0.8 per cent, but still half of the European Central Bank’s target for the currency bloc of close to 2 per cent.

Czech Republic: Industrial production rose 5.5 per cent year on year in January, slower than analysts had been anticipating. The rise was helped by an increase in the car industry and metal products. Seasonally adjusted from December output dropped 0.5 per cent. The current account deficit reached €370.9bn, wider than economists were forecasting.

Netherlands: The trade balance widened to €4.3bn in January. Exports by volume edged up 0.6 per cent and fell 1.2 per cent by value. Imports increased 0.3 per cent by volume and fell by 2 per cent by value.

UK: A sharp fall in exports widened Britain’s trade deficit in January and underlined that the country’s recovery remains reliant on domestic demand. The overall trade deficit was £2.6bn in January, up from £0.7bn in December. The deficit in goods expanded from £7.7bn to £9.8bn. The official data come a week before George Osborne’s Budget, in which he has hinted at announcing new measures to try to “rebalance” the economy towards higher net exports and business investment.

Eurozone: Employment rose 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, seasonally adjusted from the third, according to Eurostat. The data underscore the incremental improvements in the economy, which is gradually recovering from its worst recession since the formation of the currency bloc. Employment in the broader EU bloc of 28 countries also rose 0.1 per cent during the quarter.


Brazil: The monthly indicator of gross domestic product for January came in better than expected, rising 1.3 per cent month on month. Economists had been expecting expansion of 0.9 per cent, giving Brazil a relatively optimistic start to the year. Barclays Investment Bank pointed out that while during the month retail sales and industrial production both outperformed, it was a “partial bounce back from a very depressed December . . . and not a new upward trend”.

Barclays added: “But it does dampen risks that the economy was stalling or moving into a recession.”

US: The producer price index for final demand fell 0.1 per cent in February, seasonally adjusted, according to the labour statistics bureau. Economists had expected a 0.2 per cent increase. The index excluding food and energy (which are more volatile) fell 0.2 per cent, compared with economists’ expectations for a 0.1 per cent increase. The fall was mainly due to a decline in final demand for services, while that for goods increased, the bureau said.

Asia Pacific

India: Wholesale price inflation slowed to 4.68 per cent year on year in February – the slowest rate since June 2013. Food inflation dropped to 8.1 per cent from 8.8 per cent in January, while core inflation edged up to 3.15 per cent from 3.02 per cent.

Singapore: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 2.8 per cent in December from 2.9 per cent the year before. Local employment helped the number of employed people grow 4.2 per cent year on year.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.6 per cent month on month in January, though they were up only 0.2 per when motor vehicles are excluded. Sales were 0.1 per cent higher year on year, though they were 9.2 per cent higher when motor vehicle sales were excluded.

Japan: Industrial production rose 3.8 per cent month on month in January as shipments increased 5.1 per cent. Inventories contracted 0.9 per cent and the inventory ratio was down 5.4 per cent.