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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Middling global economic data overnight...

According to UBS (summary only):

* EU: The EU summit concluded. Treaties on the ESM (€500bn plus the remaining €250bn in the EFSF rolled into it) and 'fiscal compact' were approved. However, still yet to be finalised is the Greek PSI which seems more closely linked to the troika program - with a financing gap of about €15bn which has to be filled by either further Greek austerity or the ECB (or more precisely the Eurosystem, i.e. the national central banks), with haircutting the ECB highly contentious. Meanwhile, leaders seemed to signal willingness to provide additional funding to Portugal.

* US: The Conference Board consumer confidence index fell 3.7 points (5.7%) to 61.1 in January (cons 68.0, UBSe 67.0) after 14.3 and 9.6 point gains the prior two months. Much of the pullback was current conditions (38.4 after 46.5), as current labor market perceptions weakened a bit (net 37.4% saw jobs as hard to get, up from 35.0%), though longer-term assessments continued to strengthen.

* US: The Chicago PMI also slipped in January, to 60.2 (UBSe 64.5, cons 63.0) from 62.2 in December. The growth-related details showed modest declines in new orders (63.6 after 67.1 in Dec), production (63.8 after 65.0) and employment (54.7 after 59.2).

* US: S&P/Case Shiller (SP/CS) composite 20 home prices also fell a bit more than expected: -0.7% in Nov (cons & UBSe -0.5%) after a 0.7% decline in Oct (was -0.6%).

* US: The housing vacancy rate edged down to 2.3% in Q4 from 2.4% in Q3 and 2.7% a year earlier. The rental vacancy rate fell to 9.4% in Q4 from 9.8% in Q2 but unchanged from a year earlier. It is still down from 10.7% two years ago, consistent with some ongoing upward pressure on rents (and inflation).

* US: The ECI rose at the same pace in Q4 as in Q3, with wages and salaries continuing to rise moderately and benefits reaccelerating after Q3 softness.

* UK: The number of mortgage approvals in December nudged up to 52.9k - albeit consensus 54.0k - after a downwardly revised 52.6k (was 52.9k), but within the 51-53k range since October.

* EU: The Eurozone unemployment rate was 10.4% as expected in December, although Germany's unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to 6.7% in January (mkt: 6.8%), from 6.8%.

* EU: Weak consumer spending data across Europe in December: German retail sales fell 1.4% m/m, bringing the y/y into the negative (-0.9%), well below consensus (0.8% m/m, 0.9% y/y). French consumer spending also disappointed: -0.7% y/y and -3.1% y/y (mkt: 0.2% m/m, -2.1% y/y).