U.S. Consumer Confidence Deteriorates In September Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:29:00 +0200

A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed a deterioration in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of September.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 199.8 in September from a revised 120.4 in August. Economists had expected the index to slide to 120.2 from the 122.9 originally reported for the previous month.

"Consumer confidence decreased slightly in September after a marginal improvement in August," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Confidence in Texas and Florida, however, decreased considerably, as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma."

She added, "Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers' assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace."

The report said the present situation index fell to 146.1 in September from 148.4 in August, as consumers saying business conditions are "good" decreased to 33.9 percent from 34.5 percent and those saying business conditions are "bad" increased to 13.8 percent from 13.2 percent.

On the other hand, the expectations index rose to 102.2 in September from 101.7 in August, with the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months inching up to 20.2 percent from 19.8 percent.


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U.S. New Home Sales Unexpectedly Plunge 3.4% In August Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:22:00 +0200

New home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly showed a sharp decrease in the month of August, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said new home sales tumbled by 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 560,000 in August from the revised July rate of 580,000.

The decline surprised economists, who had expected new home sales to climb to a rate of 583,000 from the 571,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected decrease in new home sales reflected a notable decline in sales in the South, which plunged by 4.7 percent.

New home sales in the West and Northeast also slumped by 2.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, while new home sales in the Midwest were virtually unchanged.

The report also said the median sales price of new homes sold in August was $300,200, down 6.2 percent from $319,900 in July but up 0.4 percent from $298,900 in the same month a year ago.

The Commerce Department said there were an estimated 284,000 houses for sale at the end of August, representing 6.1 months of supply at the current sales rate.

Last Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing an unexpected decrease in existing home sales in the month of August.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.35 million in August after tumbling by 1.3 percent to a rate of 5.44 million in July.

The continued decrease surprised economists, who had expected existing home sales to edge up to an annual rate of 5.46 million.

With the unexpected decrease, existing home sales fell to their lowest annual rate since hitting 5.34 million last August.


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Mexico Jobless Rate Rises First Time In 9 Months Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:17:00 +0200

Mexico's unemployment rate rose for the first time in nine months in August, figures from the statistical office INEGI showed Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate edged up to 3.3 percent from 3.2 percent in July. The latest figure was in line with economists expectations.

The increase was the first since November last year, when the jobless rate climbed to 3.7 percent.

On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate climbed to a three-month high of 3.53 percent from 3.41 percent in July. Economists had expected 3.42 percent.


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*U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Drops To 119.8 In September Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:01:00 +0200

U.S. Consumer Confidence Index Drops To 119.8 In September


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*U.S. New Home Sales Plunge 3.4% In August Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:00:00 +0200

U.S. New Home Sales Plunge 3.4% In August


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Philippine CB Unlikely To Change Policy Stance Soon: Capital Economics Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:30:00 +0200

The latest policy statement suggest that the Philippines central bank is likely to leave rates on hold both this year and next, Alex Holmes, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

The Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, governed by Nestor Espenilla, held the overnight reverse repurchase facility steady at 3.0 percent on September 21.

Headline inflation rebounded over the past couple of months, but remained comfortably within bank's 2 to 4 percent target range, the economist observed. The acceleration is largely driven by a pickup in fuel inflation.

Core inflation figures suggest that underlying price pressures remain in check.

Looking ahead, one-off factors may cause inflation to rise next year, the economist said.

In its statement, BSP highlighted the expected impact on inflation of the first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Plan, which includes the introduction of new consumption taxes, Holmes noted.

However, any impact on inflation is likely to be transitory and policy makers generally don't adjust monetary policy in response to one-off increases, the economist added.

On the back of movements in the peso and oil prices, the BSP revised up slightly its inflation forecast for this year and kept its forecast for 2018 at 3.2 percent.

The bank is also confident about the outlook for economic growth, noting that the "outlook for domestic economic activity remains firm."

Capital Economics expects the economy to expand at a decent pace of 6.5 percent annually in this year and 2018.

"Tightening policy in the developed world is unlikely to prompt BSP to act either," Holmes pointed out.

The start of balance sheet normalization by the US Federal Reserve last week and the ECB's hints of tapering its asset purchase programme may be a cause for concern, Holmes noted.

Nonetheless, the Philippines has a balanced current account and low foreign currency debt and, besides, as in the rest of Emerging Asia, there is little connection between QE and capital outflows from Filipino assets.

"Overall, there was nothing in today's statement that would suggest BSP is in any rush to hike rates," Holmes said.

"Hence, in contrast to the consensus, we expect no change to the policy rate this year or next."


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Correction: UK Budget Logs Lowest Deficit For August In 10 Years Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:15:00 +0200

Note: Correction from source

The UK budget deficit decreased to its lowest August level since 2007 on higher sales tax, official data revealed Thursday.

Public sector net borrowing excluding interventions decreased by GBP 1.2 billion from the previous year to GBP 5.7 billion in August, the Office for National Statistics reported.

This was the lowest August borrowing since 2007. The deficit was also well below the expected level of GBP 7.1 billion.

As a result, the budget deficit for the first five months of the fiscal year fell by GBP 0.1 billion to GBP 28.2 billion. The government forecast budget deficit of GBP 58.3 billion for the year ending March 2018.

In August, revenues increased by 3.5 percent year-on-year as VAT advanced 5.6 percent, which was the highest on record for August. Due to timing, self assessed income tax fell 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile expenditure dropped 0.1 percent with interest falling 3.8 percent.

Even assuming there is a bit of a deterioration, the Chancellor is still likely to have some extra money to play with - on top of the scope already contained within his fiscal mandate, Paul Hollingsworth, a UK economist at Capital Economics, said.

As a result, some easing back on austerity to help households struggling in the face of the squeeze on real incomes looks likely, he noted.

Public sector net debt totaled GBP 1,773.3 billion at the end of August, which was equivalent to 88.0 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of GBP 150.9 billion on August 2016.


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Hong Kong Trade Deficit Widens In August Tue, 26 Sep 2017 09:49:00 +0200

Hong Kong's foreign trade deficit increased in August from a year ago, as imports grew faster than exports, the Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday.

The visible trade deficit widened to HK$35.5 billion in August from HK$32.1 billion in the corresponding month last year. The deficit also rose from HK$29.6 billion in July.

Economists had expected the shortfall to drop to HK$28.0 billion.

Exports rose 7.4 percent year-over-year in August, faster than the 7.1 percent growth economists had forecast.

Imports climbed 7.7 percent in August from last year, exceeding the expected increase of 6.1 percent.

"Looking ahead, the improving global economy will likely bring further support to Asia's as well as Hong Kong's exports in the near term," a government spokesman said.

"However, uncertainties in the trading environment are still salient, as the global monetary environment could be complicated by US monetary policy normalisation and possible policy actions by other major central banks in the period ahead."

"Moreover, the possible rise in protectionist sentiment, Brexit-related negotiations and elevated geopolitical tensions in various regions are also sources of concern."


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Euro Slides Against Most Majors Tue, 26 Sep 2017 09:21:00 +0200

The euro weakened against most major currencies in the European session on Tuesday.

The euro fell to more than a 2-month low of 0.8754 against the pound, from an early high of 0.8799.

Against the U.S. dollar and the yen, the euro dropped to a 1-month low of 1.1810 and nearly a 2-week low of 131.88 from early highs of 1.1861 and 132.52, respectively.

If the euro extends its downtrend, it is likely to find support around 0.85 against the pound, 1.16 against the greenback and 129.00 against the yen.


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*Euro Drops To More Than 2-month Low Of 0.8754 Against Pound Tue, 26 Sep 2017 09:06:00 +0200

Euro Drops To More Than 2-month Low Of 0.8754 Against Pound


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