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U.S. Auto Sales May Have Stalled in August August vehicle sales, to be released tomorrow, may have run at a 12.1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The pace averaged 12.5 million in the first half before slowing to 12.2 million in July. The August 2010 sales rate was 11.5 million, according to Autodata Corp.

German Retail Sales Were Unexpectedly Unchanged Last Month After June Gain Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, were unchanged from June, when they jumped 4.5 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists had forecast a 1.5 percent decline, the median of 20 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows. Sales fell 1.6 percent in the year.

Euro-Zone Inflation Steady In a preliminary estimate from Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency, consumer prices stayed at 2.5% in the 12 months to August. In July the rate fell to 2.5%, having climbed to 2.7% in the 12 months to June.

Euro-Zone Sentiment Dives Sentiment among euro-zone companies and consumers plunged in August, the latest sign that steep declines in equity markets earlier in the month, public anger over the second bailout of Greece and signs of feeble growth in Germany are taking a severe toll on the economic outlook.

[EUECON]

Outcry over Berlusconi budget reversal Bank of Italy warns of weak growth amid austerity measures. Silvio Berlusconi’s decision to backtrack on his emergency austerity budget and scrap a proposed tax on the wealthy has triggered a popular outcry while risking market confusion and fresh confrontation with the European Central Bank.

Home Prices Below Year Earlier The spring-summer selling season pushed unadjusted U.S. home prices higher in June from a month earlier, but prices remain below year-earlier levels, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indexes.

Consumers Ramp Up Spending Consumer spending posted strong gains in July despite weak income growth, the latest sign the economy gained some momentum at the start of the third quarter before the stock market began its recent gyrations.

ICSC Weekly Chain Store Sales: +0.1% W/W, vs. -1% last week.+3% Y/Y, vs. +3% last week.

Economy Deeply Divides Fed Fed officials are as deeply divided as they’ve been in decades about how to spur the flagging economy, records show. Officials considered a range of actions—which included setting numerical targets for inflation and unemployment, rejiggering their holdings of Treasury securities and trying to push already-low short-term interest rates a little closer to zero, all with the purpose of boosting markets and economic growth. They also considered doing nothing.

Fed’s Kocherlakota Suggests Dissent Won’t Be Repeated One member of the troika who opposed the Fed’s recent decision to keep rates at rock bottom levels for two years suggested he won’t be repeating his disagreement at coming central bank gatherings. The reason? With the Fed having made its pledge, “I believe that undoing this commitment in the near term would undercut the ability of the Committee to offer similar conditional commitments in the future.”

India’s Economy Grows 7.7% India’s economy grew 7.7% in the April to June period from the year earlier, the slowest pace in six quarters, confirming fears that a series of interest-rate increases, combined with the global slowdown and a lack of local reforms have kept growth well below the government’s estimate.

[IECON]

South African Growth Falters South Africa’s economy grew just 1.3% in the second quarter from the first three months of the year, a slower-than-expected pace out of step with the country’s ambition to be seen as a muscular emerging market for the continent.

GM slashes prices to keep lead in China The US automaker is sacrificing profit margins to maintain market share in China, cutting prices of low-cost minivans by as much as 15 percent to offset slowing sales in the world’s largest vehicle market.

 

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