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Prospects Daily: US consumer confidence falls; inflation moderated in Chile, Peru and Mexico but rose slightly in Brazil

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Financial Markets…U.S. Treasuries slid for the first time in four days, with the benchmark note yields 3 basis points to 1.62%, as a government report showed U.S. employers added more than forecasted jobs in November. U.S government bonds have advanced 2.8% this year as of yesterday, after gaining 9.8% in 2011 and 5.9% in 2010.

The Eonia swap rate (an estimate of compounded overnight borrowing costs in euros over the next three months) fell to 4.5 basis points on Friday, the lowest level since July, as investors speculated the European Central Bank is open to cut interest rates further. And the 3-month euro interbank offered rate (or Euribor), bank-to-bank lending rate, fell at a record low of 0.187%.

The dollar strengthened against the yen and euro following encouraging U.S. jobs data, climbing 0.3% to 82.66 yen and 0.4% to $1.2913, respectively. Meanwhile, Canadian dollar rallied versus its U.S. counterpart, climbing 0.3% to 98.82 cents per U.S. dollar, as the country’s unemployment rate fell to 7.2% from 7.4% last month.

High-income Economies…U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose by 146,000 in November, suggesting that the impact of Hurricane Sandy on overall U.S. employment had been limited. But the rate remains well below the 200,000-250,000 monthly gains needed for a sustained improvement in the labor market as employers remain reluctant to hire amid U.S. “fiscal cliff” risks. The unemployment rate, however, edged down by 0.2 percentage points to a four-year low of 7.7%, mostly because of people dropping out of the labor force.

Reflecting uncertainties relating to impending tax increases and spending cuts, the outlook of U.S. consumers deteriorated sharply in December, with the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index falling to 74.5 in December, the lowest since August, from 82.7 in November.

German industrial production fell 2.6% (m/m) in October, a faster pace of decline compared with a 1.3% drop in September, suggesting that the Euro Area debt crisis is taking a toll on Europe’s largest economy. Earlier data had shown that industrial orders were supported by strengthening foreign demand (partly from developing countries), but domestic demand has continued to weaken.

U.K. industrial production fell 0.8% (m/m) in October, a slower pace of decline than the 2.1% monthly fall in September. On a year-on-year basis, industrial output was 3% (y/y) lower in October, compared with -3.2% (y/y) in September.

Revised data showed that Greek GDP shrank a slightly smaller 6.9% (y/y) in the third quarter, compared with a 7.2% decline reported earlier.

The pace of economic contraction in Czech Republic accelerated in the third quarter to an annualized pace of about 1.2% (q/q) from 0.8% recorded in the second quarter. On a year-on-year basis, Czech Republic’s GDP contracted by 1.3% (y/y) in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 1% (y/y) decline in the second quarter.

Hungary’s GDP continued to contract in the third quarter at an annualized pace of about 0.8% (q/q). On a year-on-year basis, Hungary’s GDP contracted by 1.5% (y/y) in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 1.2% (y/y) declined in the second quarter.

Developing Economies…The Central Bank of Egypt held its benchmark overnight deposit rate steady at 9.25%. Headline inflation rose to 6.7% in October from 6.22% in September on a sharp rise in the prices of butane gas cylinders, partly due to bottlenecks in distribution channels, despite moderating food prices.

Brazil’s inflation accelerated insignificantly in November to 5.53% (y/y) from 5.45% in October with the prices of all key components in consumer basket showing insignificant rise.

Chile’s inflation moderated to 2.1% (y/y) in November from 2.9% in October.

Mexico’s inflation moderated to 4.18% in November from 4.6% in October on easing of food prices following a temporary spike related to adverse weather and the outbreak of avian flu in western Mexico.

Peru's central bank held its policy rate unchanged at 4.25%. Peru's inflation rate slowed to 2.66% in November under the central bank’s 3% inflation target from 3.25% in October on moderating food prices.

Malaysia's exports fell 3.2% (y/y) in October from 2.6% increase in September  on continued weak demand from major trade partners and moderating prices for Malaysia's commodity exports (palm oil and crude rubber).


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