Eurozone (February 2004)
The Reuters Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index recorded 52.5 last month a level unchanged on the high seen in January. The latest reading registered an improvement in manufacturing business conditions for the sixth month in a row.
    However, growth both of output and new orders slowed slightly during the month. Employment meanwhile fell at a marginally faster rate as firms sought to boost productivity in the face of the strong euro and sharply rising input prices.
    The Eurozone comprises the eight largest European economies (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain) within the twelve-nation euro currency zone.
    The PMI provides the first indication each month of Eurozone business conditions, based on data collected from purchasing executives in around 3,000 companies. It is compiled on behalf of Reuters by NTC Research.
Data sourced from: NTC Research; additional content by WARC staff

Japan (January 2004)
Government data released late last week indicated notable rises during January both in industrial production (+3.4%) and household expenditure -- also 3.4% -- and way ahead of analysts' consensus growth forecast of 0.4%.
    On the debit side, however, unemployment rose during the month and there were omens that the pace of output and spending gains may not be sustainable.
    But on balance, opined economists, Friday's data underscores that Nippon's economy -- the world's second-largest -- continues to recover steadily. This assessment was underpinned by robust housing starts and construction data.
    In last year's fourth quarter, the nation's GDP sprinted ahead at an annualized rate of 7%, its most spectacular growth since the cresting of the land-and-stock-price bonanza in 1990.
Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff

USA (Q4 2003)
America's economy grew slightly faster in the three months to December 31 than earlier projected, thanks to businesses upping both spending and inventories, reported the US Commerce Department on Friday. Aided by the moribund dollar, exports registered their biggest increase since late 1996.
    GDP rose at an annualized rate of 4.1% -- exactly half its searing performance in Q3, but still a solid achievement by any other criteria and a marginal increase on the government's earlier estimate of 4%. A survey by Dow Jones and CNBC had predicted the revised growth figure to be just 3.7%.
    This trend augurs well for job creation, opined John Lonski, an economist with Moody's Investors Service, adding "it wouldn't be surprising if non-farm payrolls were growing by 225,000 jobs a month by the end of 2004".
    Business spending in Q4 soared 9.6%, a sharp increase from the previous estimate of 6.9%, while expenditure on equipment and software rocketed 15.1%. However, spending on non-residential structures dropped 7.1%.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff