German Chancellor Angela Merkel added to the public support seen recently from other EU leaders as she backed ECB moves to help reduce the borrowing costs for indebted eurozone countries. She called for swift fiscal policy integration, stating that time was running short. Merkel has been under growing pressure to ease bailout terms to stop further contagion across the eurozone.
A further sign that the UK recession may not be as deep as feared came as retail sales rose by 0.3% in July, with June’s data revised to a 0.8% rise from the previously reported 0.1%. This better than expected data gives hope that consumer spending will help lift the economy out of recession.
A mixed day of US data as new home construction unexpectedly fell in July and gains from June were revised lower. The Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell by 1.1%. However, building permits, a good indicator of future construction activity, rose 6.8% to 812,000 units, the highest figure since August 2008. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed survey reveal US manufacturing contracted in August for the fourth consecutive month.
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