New economic data released today from France and Germany show a smaller level of quarterly contraction than most economists had expected. France’s GDP was unchanged in the second quarter but strong enough to surpass expectations of a .01 decline.
Germany’s GDP grew .03, a slight beat from estimates of .02, but still down from .05 in the previous quarter. German investor confidence fell again in August, marking the fourth straight month of decline.
Alan Brown, a senior adviser from Schroders, spoke today on Bloomberg’s Surveillance about the significance of German consumer confidence.
“We’ve got soft economic numbers pretty much everywhere, I would hold on the German confidence level and pay more attention to it than the GDP” he said.
Meanwhile, Euro area GDP is down 0.2% during 2nd quarter 2012 compared to the previous quarter or -0.4% compared with 2nd quarter 2011.
U.S Retail Sales Data
For the month of July retail sales rose .08 percent versus the consensus of .03 percent, signalling the largest monthly increase since February and a comfortable beat over June’s previously reported 0.5 percent drop, according to the Commerce Department.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the American economy.
Improving retail sales data combined with an improving jobs report for July could make the hurt the chances for further stimulus measures taken by the Federal Reserve since the data points show an improving U.S. economy.