China posted a merchandise trade surplus of $54.47 billion in November. That was well above forecasts for $41.00 billion following the $45.41 billion surplus in October. Exports added 4.7% on year, shy of forecasts for 9.0% following the 11.6% surge in the previous month. Imports tumbled an annual 6.7% versus forecasts for 4.0 percent after gaining 4.6% a month earlier.
Japan GDP Revised Down To 1.9% On Year In Q3
Japan’s GDP declined a downwardly revised 1.9% on year in the third quarter of 2014, confirming the country’s slide into recession. The headline figure missed forecasts for a decline of 0.5%, which would have been an improvement over the 1.6% decline in last month’s preliminary estimate. GDP had tumbled 7.1% in the second quarter, due in large part to a sharp decline in consumer spending following the implementation of a consumption tax hike in April. On an annualized quarterly basis, GDP dipped a downwardly revised 0.5% shy of expectations for -0.1% and falling below the preliminary reading of -0.4%.
ECB Leaves Rates Unchanged For Third Month
The European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady at a record low for a third straight month. The Governing Council held the refinancing rate at a record low 0.05%, following its final rate-setting meeting for the year, in Frankfurt. The decision was in line with economists’ expectations. The bank also left unchanged the deposit rate at -0.20% and the marginal lending rate at 0.30%. The three main interest rates were lowered by 10 basis points in September.
Bank Of England Maintains Status Quo
The U.K. central bank once again left the benchmark interest rate steady at a record low as policymakers feel no pressure to raise rates, given the below-target inflation, strong economic activity and rising employment. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England decided to hold the key bank rate at 0.50% and the size of asset purchases at GBP 375 billion. That was in line with economists’ expectations. The rate has been at a record low since early 2009 and is expected to remain so at least until the final quarter of next year.
U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Pull Back To 297,000
After reporting an unexpected increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the previous week, the initial jobless claims moved back to the downside in the week ended November 29th. The initial jobless claims fell to 297,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 314,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to pull back to 295,000 from the 313,000 originally reported for the previous week.