Obama’s push for military action in Syria faces headwinds from an American public that increasingly is wary of overseas entanglements and doubtful that an attack would benefit the U.S.
Economic growth in the major advanced economies is expected to continue at a similar pace in the second half of 2013 as in the second quarter. In the three largest OECD economies, the US, Japan and Germany, activity is expected to expand by about 2 ½ per cent annualised in the third andfourth quarters. France is forecast to grow by about 1½ per cent annualised in the second half of the year, while in Italy growth is expected to remain mildly negative.
GDP growth in China is forecast to pick up to about 8% by the final quarter, after a slowdown in the first half of 2013. Even that would represent a slower rate than in recent years, however.
Industrial output and investment both strengthening
The national statistics bureau said on Tuesday that industrial output grew 10.4 per cent year on year in August, up from a 9.7 per cent pace in July and beating market forecasts. Retail sales were up 13.4 per cent year on year, accelerating from 13.2 per cent growth in July. Fixed-asset investment, expressed in year-to-date terms, rose 20.3 per cent in August, up from 20.1 per cent in July. (…)
The good economic news is also being reflected in China’s asset markets, with property prices growing at more than 10 per cent a year and stocks rallying over the past two months. (…)
Consumer prices rose 2.6 per cent from a year earlier, just a touch below July’s 2.7 per cent pace, the statistics bureau said on Monday.
Taiwan’s exports grew more quickly in August, another sign that Asian exporters are starting to feel the pull from the gradual strengthening of demand in the U.S. and other major markets.
The island’s exports rose 3.6% last month from a year earlier to $25.64 billion, picking up from July’s 1.6% rise, Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance said Monday.
In August, Taiwan’s exports to China, its biggest export destination, rose 3.6% from a year earlier, accelerating from 1.1% on-year growth in July.
Exports to the U.S., another major export market, grew 0.9% from the same period last year, tapering from the 1.4% on-year growth in the previous month, while those to Europe were up 4%, slowing from 6% growth in July.
Taiwan’s imports in August unexpectedly fell 1.2% to $21.06 billion, compared with 2.89% growth forecast by economists in the survey but improving from July’s 7.6% decline.
The ministry said imports of capital-generating equipment fell 7.7%, while that of consumer goods such as smartphones also dropped 9.1%.
In addition, Taiwan’s industrial production rose 2.1% on-year in July, following five straight months of decline, propelled by basic metals and chemicals.
Asia’s more export-oriented economies have seen some reason for optimism lately. July industrial production numbers from South Korea, Singapore and Thailand—all countries that depend heavily on trade—suggested that export-oriented sectors such as high-tech performed solidly, despite disappointing headline numbers, according to J.P. Morgan.
Consumers’ revolving credit, which primarily reflects money owed on credit cards, fell by $1.84 billion, or at a 2.6% annual rate, in July from a month earlier, the Federal Reserve reported Monday. That came after a 5.2% drop in revolving credit in June.
The report showed that Americans stepped up other types of borrowing, namely to buy cars and go to school. Nonrevolving credit, which reflects mostly auto and student loans, rose by $12.28 billion, or 7.4%, in July. That caused overall consumer debt, excluding mortgages, to grow at a 4.4% annual rate in July from June.