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  1. #141
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    European Economics Preview: U.K. Public Sector Finance Data Due


    Public sector finance from the U.K. is the major statistical report due on Tuesday, headlining a light day for the European economic news. Elsewhere, Spain is set to raise a maximum EUR 4 billion from the issue of short-term debt.
    Earlier in the day, Eurozone finance ministers reached an agreement over a second bailout worth EUR 130 billion for Greece.
    At 2.00 am ET, the Federal Customs Administration is slated to release Swiss external trade data. The trade surplus is forecast to rise to CHF 2.5 billion in January from CHF 2.01 billion in December.
    In the meantime, Statistics Finland is scheduled to issue labor force survey results for January.
    Swiss M3 money supply for January is due from the Swiss National Bank at 3.00 am ET. M3 money supply growth accelerated to 7.7 percent in December from 7.3 percent in November.
    In the meantime, Hungary's gross wages for December are due. Economists forecast gross wages to rise 6.2 percent annually compared to November's 6 percent growth.
    At 4.30 am ET, the Office for National Statistics is set to issue public sector borrowing figures. U.K. public sector net borrowing, excluding interventions, are seen at -GBP 6.3 billion in January compared to GBP 13.7 billion in December.
    Elsewhere, Spain is set to enter the debt market. The government aims to get EUR 1.5 billion from 3-month treasury bills and EUR 2.5 billion from 6-month treasury bills.

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  2. #142
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    China Manufacturing Sector Contracts For Fourth Month

    China's factory activity shrank for a fourth consecutive month in February, as weak domestic demand as well as external weakness added downside risks to growth, a survey by Markit Economics revealed Wednesday.
    The rate of contraction in the manufacturing activity, however, eased with the HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index rising to a four-month high of 49.7 in February from 48.8 in January. Nevertheless, with the reading being below 50, the sector is experiencing contraction.
    The manufacturing output index was also at a four-month high of 50.1, bouncing back from 47.6 in January.
    While output remained broadly unchanged, new orders continued to contract. New export orders shrank in February following an improvement in the previous month.
    Growth remains on track of slowdown, despite the marginal improvement in the headline flash PMI led by quickened production after the Chinese New Year, HSBC chief economist Hongbin Qu said.
    "With a meaningful rebound of domestic demand not in sight, external weakness is starting to bite, adding more downside risks to growth," the economist said, adding the People's Bank of China after delivering this year's first RRR cut, should step up policy easing as inflation pressures continue to ease.
    Input prices remained unchanged during the month, while output prices continued to fall, albeit at a moderate pace, according to the survey.
    Last week, the People's Bank of China decided to cut the banks' reserve requirement rate by 50 basis points for the second time in three months to boost lending amid sluggish economic growth.
    The new CRR at 20.5 percent for large commercial banks will be effective from February 24. The Chinese economy expanded 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, the slowest pace in more than two years, as a result of sluggish external demand and Beijing's past policy tightening to contain inflation and property prices.
    Despite the slowdown in growth, the central bank refrained from an interest rate reduction. According to the latest official data, inflation accelerated for the first time in six months in January, triggered by higher spending during the Lunar new years holidays.
    Inflation rose to a three-month high of 4.5 percent year-on-year in January from the 4.1 percent in the previous month.

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  3. #143
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    European Economics Preview: German, U.K. GDP Data Due

    Revised quarterly national accounts data from Germany and the U.K. are expected to dominate the economics scene on Friday. Elsewhere, Italy is set to enter the debt market today with a bond auction.
    At 2.00 am ET, the Federal Statistical Office is scheduled to release German final GDP figures for the fourth quarter. The prior estimate showed a 0.2 percent quarterly contraction in the fourth quarter GDP.
    French consumer confidence survey results are due at 2.45 am ET. The consumer sentiment is seen rising to 82 in February from 81 a month ago.
    The Czech statistical office is set to publish consumer and business confidence survey data at 3.00 am ET. In the meantime, Spain's producer prices and Hungary's retail sales are due. Spain's producer price inflation is seen at 4.3 percent in January, down from 5.2 percent in December.
    At 4.00 am ET, Italy's retail sales for December are due. On a monthly basis, sales are forecast to drop 0.5 percent month-on-month after falling 0.3 percent in November.
    Half an hour later, second estimates of U.K. GDP is due from the Office for National Statistics. According to the previous estimate, the economy contracted 0.2 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter.
    Italy is slated to raise a maximum of EUR 3 billion from the auction of Zero Coupon Bonds maturing on January 2014. The government also plans to issue inflation indexed bonds, with a maximum target of EUR 1.5 billion.

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    European Economics Preview: Eurozone M3 Data Due

    Producer prices from France and private sector credit from Eurozone are the major statistical reports due at the start of the week, headlining a light day for the European economic news.
    The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors held over the week end in Mexico demanded Europe to strengthen its bailout fund before leading economies provide extra support to raise the resources of the International Monetary Fund.
    At 2.45 am ET, the French statistical office Insee is scheduled to issue producer price figures for January. Annually, producer prices are forecast to rise 4.1 percent after increasing 4.7 percent in December.
    The European Central Bank is scheduled to issue euro area M3 money supply for January at 4.00 am ET. Annual growth in M3 is forecast to rise to 1.8 percent from 1.6 percent in December.
    In the meantime, Italy's business confidence is due. Business sentiment is forecast to fall to 92 in February from 92.1 a month ago.
    Germany's Bubill auction is due at 5.00 am ET. The government target to raise EUR 3 billion from the issue of securities maturing on February 2013.
    In the meantime, Italy aims to raise a maximum of EUR 8.75 billion from 6-month treasury bill auction and EUR 3.5 billion from flexible T-bills.

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    Japan Retail Sales Rise Unexpectedly On Vehicle Demand

    Retail sales in Japan increased unexpectedly in January due to a surge in motor vehicle sales, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Tuesday.
    Sales rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in January, against economists' expectations for a 0.1 percent decline. This was the second consecutive increase after a 2.5 percent rise in December.
    Sales of motor vehicles climbed 24.3 percent from January last year. This followed a 14.9 percent increase in December. Clothing sales increased 1.4 percent annually, while sales of food articles rose 0.6 percent.
    Meanwhile, sales of machinery and equipment, general merchandise as well as fuel declined during the month.
    Large retail store sales were down by an annual 1 percent. This was, however, better than the forecast for a fall of 1.1 percent after an upwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in December.
    The data also showed that wholesale sales were down 3.6 percent on year and commercial sales lost an annual 2.1 percent.
    Following the upbeat retail sales data, yen advanced against other major currencies in early Asian deals today.
    Earlier this month, the central bank increased the size of its asset purchase by JPY 10 trillion to JPY 30 trillion, after the economy contracted more than expected by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

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    Japan Housing Starts Decline Again

    Japan's housing starts decreased for the fifth consecutive month in January, but at a slower-than-expected pace, data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism showed Wednesday.
    Housing starts fell 1.1 percent year-on-year in January. However, the rate of decline was weaker than the 3.3 percent drop expected by economists and 7.3 percent fall recorded in December.
    The seasonally adjusted annualized housing starts totaled 822,000 in January compared to 783,000 a month ago. Economists expected an increase to 808,000.
    Construction orders received by 50 big constructors in Japan surged 24.6 percent from last year after slowing to a growth rate of 1.5 percent in December.

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    European Economics Preview: Eurozone Flash Inflation, Unemployment Data Due

    Flash inflation, unemployment and results of the Purchasing Managers' survey from Eurozone are due on Thursday, headlining a hectic day for the European economic news.
    At 1.30 am ET, the French statistical office Insee is scheduled to issue ILO jobless rate for the fourth quarter. The jobless rate is forecast to rise to 9.6 percent from 9.3 percent in the prior quarter.
    Swiss GDP figures are due from the Federal Statistical Office at 1.45 am ET. Economists expect the economy to shrink 0.1 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter.
    At 2.00 am ET, Ireland's manufacturing PMI for February is due.
    Hungary's Central Statistical Office is slated to release producer price data at 3.00 am ET. Producer price annual inflation is seen rising to 8.2 percent in January from 7.5 percent in December. In the meantime, manufacturing PMI figures from Poland, Turkey and Norway are due.
    At 3.45 am ET, Markit Economics is set to publish Italy's manufacturing PMI. The index is forecast to rise to 47.1 in February from 46.8 a month ago. Final French and German manufacturing PMI figures are due at 3.50 and 3.55 am ET, respectively.
    The Eurozone manufacturing PMI, due at 4.00 am ET, is expected to match the flash estimate of 49 in February.
    Half an hour later, U.K. Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI is due. The index is seen easing to 52 from 52.1 in January. In the meantime, auction results from Spain and France are due. The Spanish government plans to obtain funds in the range of EUR 3.5 billion and EUR 4.5 billion. The treasury will issue bonds maturing in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
    The French debt management agency AFT aims to raise a maximum EUR 8 billion from the issue of long-term bonds.
    Eurostat is set to release Eurozone flash inflation and unemployment data at 5.00 am ET. Inflation is seen at 2.6 percent in February, the same rate as in January. The jobless rate is forecast to remain unchanged at 10.4 percent in January.

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    Eurozone Leaders To Decide On Firewall By End-March: Van Rompuy

    Eurozone leaders will likely decide on the adequacy of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by the end of March, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Thursday.
    Following the fist session of the European Council, he said "Eurozone leaders will reassess the adequacy of the overall ceiling of the EFSF/ ESM firewall by the end of the month." They have also agreed to accelerate the payments of the pending capital for the ESM, he added.
    EU heads of state or government on Thursday re-elected Van Rompuy as President of the European Council for a second term of two and a half years. His term will run till November 30, 2014 from June 1, 2012.
    He was also designated as president of the Euro Summit for the same term of office.
    Van Rompuy lauded the decisive legislative actions taken by Greek authorities over the past ten days. "Eurozone leaders support the efforts undertaken by Greece to strengthen the country's institutional capacity," he said.

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    European Economics Preview: Eurozone Retail Sales Data Due

    Retail sales and results of the Purchasing Managers' survey from Eurozone are due on Monday, headlining a light day for the European economic news.
    At 3.00 am ET, Turkey's consumer and producer prices are due. Annual inflation is forecast to slow to 10.48 percent in February from 10.61 percent in January.
    At 3.15 am ET, the Federal Statistical Office is set to publish Swiss retail sales figures for January. Sales were up 0.6 percent year-on-year in December.
    Markit Economics is slated to release Italy's services PMI at 3.45 am ET. Thereafter, final French and German PMI figures are due at 3.50 and 3.55 am ET.
    At 4.00 am ET, Eurozone final PMI data is due. The composite PMI is expected to match the flash reading of 49.7 in February.
    Italy's statistical office Istat is scheduled to issue producer price data at 4.00 am ET. Economists forecast producer price inflation to ease to 3.4 percent in January from 4 percent in December.
    Half an hour later, Eurozone sentix investor confidence is due. The index is seen improving to -5 in March from -11.1 a month ago. In the meantime, U.K.'s services PMI is due. The services PMI is expected to dip to 54.9 in February from 56 in January.
    Eurostat is scheduled to issue January retail sales data at 5.00 am ET. Eurozone retail sales are forecast to drop 0.1 percent month-on-month after easing 0.3 percent in December.

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    RBA Keeps Cash Rate Unchanged At 4.25%

    The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday decided to keep its benchmark cash rate unchanged at 4.25 percent for a second consecutive time, as economic growth is expected to be close to trend and inflation close to target. The decision was in line with economists' expectations.
    In a statement today, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said the Board judged that the current setting of monetary policy was appropriate for the moment.
    "Should demand conditions weaken materially, the inflation outlook would provide scope for easier monetary policy," he said. Most information on the Australian economy continues to suggest growth close to trend overall, with differences between sectors and considerable structural change, the policymaker noted.
    Stevens said interest rates for borrowers have generally risen slightly since the Board's previous meeting, but remain close to their medium-term average. Despite a fall in the terms of trade, the exchange rate has risen over recent months, the policymaker noted.
    He said that consumer price inflation has declined as expected and will fall further over the next quarter or two. Over the coming one to two years, and abstracting from the effects of the carbon price, the bank expects inflation to be in the 2-3 percent range.
    Regarding economic developments in Europe, Stevens said the acute financial pressures on banks in Europe have been alleviated considerably by the actions of policymakers, though there is more to do to put European banks and sovereigns onto a sound footing for the longer term and Europe will remain a potential source of shocks for some time yet.
    RBA said growth in China, Australia's major trading partner, has moderated as was intended. However, most indicators remained quite robust overall. Earlier last month, the central bank trimmed the economy's growth forecast to 3.5 percent for the year ending June 2012 from the previous forecast of 4 percent. Downgrading the outlook, the RBA said it reflects the weaker outlook for global economic growth, with the uncertainty about the European situation expected to weigh on household and business spending decisions.
    The Australian Bureau of Statistics is slated to publish the preliminary gross domestic product figures for the December quarter on Wednesday. The economy is forecast to expand 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter, slower than the 1 percent growth in the preceding three-month period.

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