German retail sales up
German consumers returned to the shops last month, official data showed yesterday, exceeding analysts’ forecasts who had reckoned on a fourth monthly drop in retail sales in Europe’s biggest economy. Retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month from April, according to provisional adjusted figures by the federal statistics office Destatis. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast an average 0.3 percent drop, on the heels of declines in the three previous months. Although the figure for April was revised upwards, it still showed a fall of 0.1 percent.
South Korean output falls
South Korea’s industrial output fell 1.4 percent on-year last month, government data showed yesterday, dampening hopes for a recovery fanned by a brief turnaround in April. Shipments of machinery and oil-refinery goods sagged amid global economic uncertainties.
In the previous month, the output posted a revised 1.6 percent expansion, reversing two months of contraction. Seasonally adjusted, the output last month also fell 0.4 percent from the previous month, a reverse from a revised 0.6 percent increase in April when the month-on-month output expanded after three months of contraction.
UK consumer confidence up
British consumer morale has risen to its highest level in just more than two years this month, boosted by increasing optimism about the economy and a greater willingness among households to splash out on big purchases. Market research company GfK yesterday said that its monthly consumer confidence index rose to minus-21 this month from minus-22 last month. That was its highest level since May 2011 and matched expectations in a Reuters poll. The data adds to signs from industry surveys that Britain’s still-weak economy is gaining steam. The Bank of England forecasts 0.5 percent growth in the current quarter, up from a 0.3 percent expansion in the first three months of the year.
GM not hiking Peugeot stake
US auto giant General Motors (GM) said on Thursday it had no intention of investing further in Europe’s second-biggest car company, PSA Peugeot Citroen, after reports the Peugeot family had sought its help. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Peugeot had approached GM in recent months seeking a cash injection and an expansion of its current 7 percent stake. “Our position remains unchanged: we have no intention of investing additional funds into PSA at this time,” a GM spokesman said in an e-mail. “We will not comment on speculation.”
Temasek eyeing US, Europe
Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings is looking to increase its investments in US and European firms even though both regions remain mired in economic uncertainty, a report said. Temasek is “more bullish than most people” on both regions, as it seeks to capitalize on US companies’ edge in sectors like energy, healthcare and technology and European firms’ global reach, a top executive told the Wall Street Journal. “The luxury for us is that we are a long-term investor,” Temasek president for the Americas Boon Sim was quoted as saying in an interview published on Thursday. This “gives us the ability to make investments in the country we like at the time we like,” Sim said.