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REVIEW OF LAST WEEK'S DATA

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Japan's industrial output fell in July for the fourth consecutive month, prompting further concerns about the falte...
Japan's industrial output fell in July for the fourth consecutive month, prompting further concerns about the faltering domestic economy. The drop was much bigger than expected and comes as the Japanese government works on a Y10,000bn (£67bn) economic stimulus package to be announced in October.

Japanese labour market data also reflected the sombre economic mood. While unemployment in July was unchanged from June at 3.2%, the unemployment rate amongst young people, (15 to 24 year olds), rose sharply from 5.7% to 6.1%. Retail sales growth also dropped more sharply than expected, although apparently this partly reflected volatile weather conditions in July.

The latest UK Purchasing Manager's survey brought encouraging news on inflation as the price index fell from 70.6 in July to 62.2 last month. While input prices remain high the survey suggests that they have clearly peaked. The overall index remained unchanged at 52.1, broadly in line with market expectations.

In the US labour market data revealed stronger than expected employment growth in August, with non-farm payrolls up almost 250,000. However, this number does not look quite so strong given that there was a sharp downward revision to July's payrolls from +55,000 to +6,000. The strong data in August also reflected a significant rise in government jobs, which does not reveal anything about the private sector.
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