US And Europe Growth, S Africa And Brazil Weakness

Taylor Scott International News By Catherine Contiguglia Diverging fortunes between emerging and advanced economies played out in economic data on Tuesday, as European and US indicators pointed to steady growth, while in South Africa the business climate deteriorated and Brazil’s industrial output declined. Africa South Africa: The overall business climate declined in August according to the SACCI Business Confidence Index, which fell to 90.5 in August compared with 90.7 in July. “The continuing lack of economic momentum, ongoing labour disruptions of the economy and the slowdown in growth in the Brics countries are important factors affecting business confidence at present,” the report said. On a year-on-year basis, improved levels of merchandise import and export volumes made notable positive contributions to business confidence, while the financial environment, inflation and the falling value of the rand had a negative impact on business confidence, the report said. Americas Brazil: Industrial output fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.0 per cent, almost cancelling out June’s 2.1 per cent expansion, the government statistics office reported. However, it maintained a 2.0 per cent growth on the year. The annualised rate remained on an upward trend started last December with a 0.6 per cent improvement in July, its highest level since November 2011. US: The purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing came in at 55.7, up from 55.4 in July, as the industrial sector held up despite sharp cuts to US public spending and a slowdown in emerging markets. The data add to evidence of resilience in the US economy that may give Fed officials confidence to start reducing the pace at which they add extra stimulus to the economy. Expectations had been for a drop in the PMI to 54. The index is based on a survey of purchasing managers by the Institute for Supply Management and a figure of 50 divides expansion in the sector from contraction. Asia-Pacific Australia: The current account deficit increased by 7 per cent, or A$610m to a total of A$9.3bn in the second quarter as the primary income deficit rose 6 per cent. Import growth outpaced exports, increasing A$1.8bn, compared with a A$1.6bn increase in exports, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported. The net goods and services surplus fell 2 per cent to A$7.1bn in the second quarter, which is expected to detract 0.04 percentage points from the second-quarter GDP growth. The net International Investment Position liability position decreased A$31.8bn since the end of March to A$816.9bn, while the net foreign equity liability fell to A$54.8bn. “We have left our preliminary forecast for Q2 GDP unchanged at 0.6 per cent as stronger-than-assumed public spending offset slightly weaker net exports,” said Barclays economist Kieran Davies. Public demand fell 5.6 per cent in the second quarter, but only because of the government sale of port assets to the private sector – excluding these transactions, public demand rose 1.6 per cent, adding 0.3 percentage points to GDP. Retail turnover rose slightly by a seasonally adjusted 0.1 per cent in July compared with June, and by 1.9 per cent in July on the year. The rise was led by household goods, which rose 1.8 per cent, followed by food sales, which rose 0.5 per cent, which were offset by a fall of 7.9 per cent in department stores. Japan: Summer bonuses rose in July by 2.1 per cent compared with the year before, government data showed, a sign of higher business confidence. However, the rate of wage growth overall slowed down as inflation continued to pick up. The growth rate of labour cash earnings fell to 0.4 per cent in July after a 0.6 per cent growth in June, as bonuses accounted for 27 per cent of total earnings in July, compared with 40 per cent in June. “Unless we see a further acceleration in regular earnings, wage growth may . . . drop to around 0 per cent in coming months,” an eCapital report said. However, more positively, the labour market is seen to be tightening, unemployment is down and profitability of Japanese companies is improving. “However, if the government is successful in boosting female labour force participation, this could put downward pressure on wages,” the report said. Europe EU and eurozone: Industrial producer prices, excluding the energy sector, rose 0.3 per cent in the euro area in July compared with June, and by 0.6 per cent on the year. In the EU’s 28 members, those prices rose 0.4 per cent on the month, and by 0.8 per cent on the year, Eurostat reported. Prices in the energy sector increased 0.8 per cent in the euro area and by 1.2 per cent in the EU in July compared with the previous month. The highest index increases were seen in the UK, up 1.9 per cent, and Greece, by 0.9 per cent. The largest decreases were in Estonia, where PPI fell 5.0 per cent, and Slovakia, by 0.5 per cent. Czech Republic: The economy grew 0.6 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year, but shrank 1.3 per cent compared with the same period last year. Though demand from major trading partners started to thaw out, investment activity fell and an “unusually cold and long winter” hurt gross value added activity such as construction, the statistics office reported. The stocking up on tobacco products at the end of last year caused “uneven contribution of the excise tax from tobacco products,” the statistics office said, which had a strong effect on quarterly GDP results. UK: The construction sector continued to improve with accelerated expansion of output and new business volumes, putting the headline Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI at a rate of 59.1 in August compared with 57.0 in July. Residential construction was the strongest performing sector, followed by civil engineering. UK construction companies reported higher client spending and new work increases related to housing and public sector infrastructure. Switzerland: The economy expanded 0.5 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year on higher private consumption, according to the government. Household final consumption expenditure increased 0.7 per cent, with healthcare a key factor in growth, while general government final consumption grew 0.1 per cent. Fixed investments increased 1.4 per cent because of higher investments in machinery and equipment. Meanwhile, the trade balance worsened and contributed negatively to GDP growth in the second quarter, as exports shrank 0.9 per cent on the quarter while imports rose 1.4 per cent. The services sector continued to recover with 1.6 per cent growth compared with the first quarter, while production in industry and construction suffered and brought down the GDP results. Turkey: Consumer prices eased 0.1 per cent in August compared with the month before, but rose 8.17 per cent on the year, the government statistics office reported. The steepest increases in prices were for education, which rose 1.19 per cent on the month, followed by the hospitality industry, where prices increased 0.76 per cent, and transportation, which grew 0.7 per cent. However, those increases were offset by decreases of 3.62 per cent in clothing and footwear, followed by food, which fell by 0.77 per cent. Producer prices on the other hand grew on the month by 0.04 per cent, and by 6.38 per cent compared with last year. The PPI increased 0.48 per cent on the year for agriculture, and by 7.59 per cent in industry. With additional reporting by Robin Harding in Washington Taylor Scott International

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