Germans turn cautious
Consumers in Germany appear to have become a bit more cautious following a sharp rise in confidence in recent months, a new poll found yesterday. “In August, consumer sentiment was mixed. Consumers are expecting only a modest economic recovery in the coming months,” market research company GfK said in a statement. “This explains the slight drop in income expectations, albeit from a very high level. At the same time, the propensity to spend has risen to the highest level since 2006.” Overall, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to slip to 6.9 points next month from 7 points this month, it said.
Rise in French jobseekers
The number of jobseekers in France climbed for the 27th consecutive month last month despite a moderate return to economic growth in the first half of the year, the labor ministry said on Tuesday. The number of jobseekers reached 3.28 million people, up 6,300 people from June, but the ministry said that the gain had slowed in the period to a 0.2 percent rise from the previous month and 10 percent year-on-year. The data was “an encouragement to keep to the road chosen,” French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. Earlier this month, the finance ministry announced a modest recovery in economic growth of 0.5 percent that it hailed as an encouraging sign of a much needed turnaround.
Private sector loans decline
Lending to businesses in the debt-mired eurozone contracted sharply last month, data published by the European Central Bank showed yesterday, a potential source of concern for economic recovery. Private sector loans dropped by 1.9 percent last month in a year-on-year comparison, the bank said, after already contracting by 1.6 percent in June. The Frankfurt-based bank also published its latest money supply figures, a preliminary indicator of inflation, showing a 2.2 percent increase last month after a rise of 2.4 percent in June.
FOOD AND DRINK
F&N spins off property unit
Singapore-based food and beverage conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N) said on Tuesday it was spinning off its property business months after the firm was bought by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. The move is aimed at paving the way for further growth for both the food and beverage business as well as the property segment, F&N said in a statement. The property unit had S$9 billion (US$7 billion) of assets as of June. The company said it plans to list its property arm, Frasers Centrepoint Ltd, on the Singapore Exchange, where F&N is already listed. F&N shareholders will receive, at no cost, two Fraser Centrepoint shares for every share owned through a “dividend in-specie” distribution, the statement said.
US home prices up 12.1%
Home prices in 20 major US cities were up 12.1 percent in June from a year ago, but the pace of monthly gains slowed from May, according to data released on Tuesday. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite index rose 2.2 percent in June from May, according to data that was not seasonally adjusted. In May, the month-on-month gain was a stronger 2.5 percent. Only six cities had prices rising faster in June than the prior month, compared with 10 in May. On a 12-month basis, June’s 12.1 percent reading was stronger than the 11.9 percent rise in May and analysts’ estimate of 12.0 percent.