13 March 2020
Eurozone industry output jumped in January before virus blow. Eurozone industrial production expanded for the first time in five months in January, data from Eurostat showed on Thursday, in a sign that a recovery in the currency bloc was underway before the coronavirus epidemic began hitting the economy last month. Industry output in the 19 countries that share the euro was up by 2.3 percent month-on-month in January, when the US and China signed an initial deal to resolve the trade dispute between them. Economists had forecast a moderate increase in production of 1.4 percent for January after December's initially estimated fall of 2.1 percent. Compared to the same month last year, industrial production fell by 1.9 percent, slower than the 3.6 percent decline logged in December and against economists’ forecasts of a drop of 3.1 percent.
UK house price inflation gathers momentum in February: RICS. A gauge of British house prices rose at the fastest rate in nearly four years in February as the residential property market rallied for a third consecutive month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said on Thursday. The house price balance rose sharply to 29 percent in February from 18 percent in January. This was also above economists' expectations of 20 percent. However, a survey conducted by RICS also showed concerns over the potential impact of the coronavirus on the market. “For now at least, feedback around expectations are consistent with activity levels continuing to strengthen albeit relatively modestly,” Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’s chief economist, said in a statement.
US core inflation softens in February. A key measure of US consumer prices rose in February by the most in five months, but could drop in the coming months as the coronavirus outbreak depresses demand for some goods and services, outweighing price increases related to shortages caused by disruptions in the supply chain. The Labour Department said on Wednesday that the Consumer Price Index inched up 0.1 percent last month, matching its January increase. Compared to a year earlier, prices rose by 2.3 percent. Excluding volatile items such as food and energy, prices went up by 0.2 percent in February and 2.4 percent compared with a year earlier. The report showed that inflation in the US is still mild, a trend that has been in place since the 2007 – 2008 financial crisis.
India's retail inflation rate in February stood at 6.58 percent, according to data released this week. Retail inflation for January was 7.59 percent. February core inflation came in at 4.1 percent against 4.8 percent in January. Food prices, which are a gauge of changes in kitchen budgets, stood at 10.81 percent in February against 13.63 percent a month ago. In its February policy review, the country’s central bank left interest rates unchanged and said that it would maintain the accommodative stance as long as necessary to revive growth, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target.
Australian consumers shaken by coronavirus fear. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index fell to 91.9 in March, from 95.5 in February, due to coronavirus concerns and the resulting financial markets turmoil. Sentiment moved further below the 100-mark, indicating more pessimists than optimists among Australian consumers. Moreover, the index is at its worst reading since end 2014 as well as the second-lowest reading since the global financial crisis in 2008 - 2009. March’s fall was broad-based. Consumers’ outlook over the general economic situation in the year ahead plummeted further into pessimistic territory and their expectations over the general economic situation in the next five years also lost ground, although the fall was less pronounced. This likely caused a plunge in households’ willingness to buy major household items.