RTTNews - Tuesday, the day remained busy in Europe with some key data released from major Eurozone economies. Industrial orders in the euro area declined for the eighth consecutive month in March as the economy slipped into a deep recession in the first quarter, official data showed. But, the pace of decline slowed in March.

Germany confirmed the record contraction in first quarter GDP on easing global demand. Further, consumer confidence in the largest Eurozone economy remained unchanged in June, as economic expectations brightened, offsetting the slight decline in income expectations, results of a key survey indicated.

In France, consumer spending unexpectedly increased in April on higher expenditure on automobiles, official data showed.


Year-on-year, Eurozone industrial orders plummeted 26.9% in March versus a revised 34.2% decline in February, the European Union's statistical office Eurostat revealed. Economists had predicted a 30.6% decline. This was the eighth straight month of decline in orders.

The European Central Bank said the euro area current account deficit totaled a seasonally adjusted EUR 6.5 billion in March, down from EUR 7.8 billion deficit in February. On an unadjusted basis, the current account deficit widened to EUR 3.5 billion in March from EUR 2.1 billion in February.

In a detailed report, Germany's Federal Statistical Office said the largest Eurozone economy contracted 3.8% on a sequential basis in the first quarter, which was the fourth straight quarter of decline and the biggest fall since records began in 1970. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the gross domestic product had slipped 2.2%.

The forward-looking consumer confidence index for Germany came in at 2.5 points in June, unchanged from May, market research group GfK said. It matched economists' expectations. The German consumer climate has remained stable since March.

Separately, the statistical office announced that the import price index dropped 8.6% year-over-year in April, compared to the 7.1% fall in the previous month. This was the highest price decline since March 1987. Economists were looking a decline of 7.7%.

French households spent 0.7% more in April than in March, statistical office INSEE said. Meanwhile, economists had forecast a decline of 0.3% for April. The increase was led by a 3.7% increase in spending on automobiles and a 0.8% growth in expenditure on durable consumer goods.

Italy's trade balance with non-EU countries was a deficit of EUR 76 million, down from EUR 1.77 billion deficit in the same month a year earlier, the statistical office Istat said.

The Netherlands' Central Bureau of Statistics said the business confidence rose 0.1 points to minus 17.3 in May, compared to the minus 17.4 in April. Economists had predicted a reading of minus 16.8.

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia said in a report that the job vacancy rate stood at 0.7% in the first quarter, up from 0.6% in the previous quarter.

In other news, the European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said the central bank sees neither deflation nor high inflation in the foreseeable future. He said the risk of medium term inflation driving factors is generally low and controllable.

Fitch Ratings affirmed Cyprus's long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA minus', with a stable outlook.

Statistics Finland said in a report that the jobless rate increased further to 8.8% in April from 8.3% in March. Economists expected the rate to be only 8.6%.

The National Bank of Belgium revealed in a report that the business confidence indicator rose to minus 27.6 in May from minus 29.4 in April. Economists had expected a reading of minus 27.5.

Rest of Europe

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office announced that the employment increased 0.8% year-on-year in the first quarter, slower than the 1.6% in the previous quarter. Economists were looking for a decline of 0.1%. The employment level stood at 3.957 million in the first quarter, down from 3.963 million in the preceding quarter. Economists had predicted the employment level at 3.92 million.

The UBS said its consumption indicator for Switzerland fell slightly to 0.92 in April from 0.99 in March, resuming the downtrend after a rise in March. The indicator has thus remained below its long-term average of 1.50 for seven months.

Statistics Iceland said the consumer price index or CPI rose 11.6% year-on-year in May, slower than an 11.9% rise in the preceding month.

Statistics Lithuania announced that export prices decreased 0.3% month-on-month in March, after falling 0.5% in February. Meanwhile, import prices declined 0.2% month-on-month in March, after falling 0.8% in February.

Poland's retail sales at current prices rose 1% year-on-year in April, reversing a 0.8% fall in the previous month, the Central Statistical Office said. The agency also reported that Poland's jobless rate decreased to 11% in April from 11.2% in March. Economists expected the rate to be 11.2%. The jobless rate decreased for the first time in five months in April.

Statistics Sweden said in a report that the jobless rate stood at 8.3% in April, same as in March. The jobless rate came in line with economists' expectations.

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