Friday, no major statistical reports were released, except UK's mortgage approvals and M4 money supply, as most of the markets were closed for the Labor Day.


Ireland was the only Eurozone economy that released statistical data. The country's Central Statistical Office announced that the volume of retail sales rose 5.7% month-on-month in February, compared with a 20.5% drop in the previous month. Year-on-year, retail sales dropped 20.9% in February, after falling 26.6% in January.

Elsewhere, the Irish KBC/ESRI consumer sentiment index moved up to 46.8 in April from 44.1 in March, the Economic and Social Research Institute said. In April, the current economic conditions dropped to 75.1 from 76.2 in March. However, the forward-looking expectations index rose to 27.7 from 22.5 in the previous month.

Rest of Europe

UK mortgage approvals reached a ten-month high in March suggesting an improvement in the housing market, a Bank of England report revealed Friday. However, the growth in overall net lending to individuals hit a record low.

Mortgages approved in March totaled 39,230, larger than February's 37,716 and the six-month average of 32,473. But it stood below the expected level of 40,000. Approvals for re-mortgaging came in at 31,746, higher than in February.

Overall lending to individuals increased GBP 885 million in March, lower than February's increase of GBP 1.5 billion and the previous six-month average. The increase seen in March was the lowest since records began in 1993.

Further, the central bank said consumer credit increased a net GBP 0.1 billion, unchanged from revised February figures, but below the previous six month average. While net credit card lending grew GBP 0.3 billion, net other loans and advances dropped GBP 0.1 billion

The Building Societies Association's calculation also showed an increase in the UK mortgage approvals during March. Mortgage approvals by building societies in March were GBP 1.54 billion compared to GBP 742 million in February.

In a separate report, the BoE said M4 money supply grew 0.2% month-on-month in March, revised from an initial estimate of zero growth. Compared to the previous year, M4 money supply rose 17.8% in March, revised up from a 17.6% increase reported originally.

Elsewhere, reports on the U.K. PMI suggested improvement in the manufacturing sector in April. Reports said citing data from the Markit Economics that the CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, climbed to 49.2 from a revised 39.5 in March.

According to the Insolvency Service, there were 4,941 compulsory liquidations and creditors' voluntary liquidations in England and Wales during the first quarter of 2009. This represents a 7.1% increase over the previous quarter and a 56% year-over-year growth.

The Statistics Denmark announced that the retail sales rose 0.1% month-on-month in March, compared with a 1% increase in the previous month. Year-on-year, retail sales dropped 3.7% in March, after falling 8.9% in February.

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