Yesterday Bank of England data revealed that mortgage approvals fell to 70,309 from 76,753, which is the biggest drop in more than six years, and took the number of sales back to levels not seen since last October. Business lending also suffered a knock after Bank of England data showed that bank loans to the corporate sector declined against January figures
Britain's factory sector also suffered a slowdown in growth last month driven by a drop in exports. However, the sector did continue to expand - but at its slowest rate in eight months to 55.3. The drop was due to a slower rise in output and new business. New export orders weakened further, to the slowest pace of growth for ten months, with a strong pound also likely to be a contributing factor. It seems Britain is still struggling to rebalance its economy a few days after the UK current account deficit widened alarmingly.
France’s factory sector has posted its biggest jump in output in 33 months, returning to growth for the first time in two years. The French manufacturing PMI jumped to 52.1, up from 49.7 in February, the highest reading since June 2011. That also ended a two-year period of continuous sub 50 readings, buoyed by solid growth of new orders. Manufacturing in Spain and Italy also showed improvement from last month but Germany showed a slight decline
Europe's unemployment crisis has eased a little -- with the number of people out of work across the Eurozone dropping by 35,000 in February. That means there are still 18.965m people out of work in the Eurozone, and 25.92m across the EU. Italy's jobless rate hit a fresh record high of 13%, and Spain's remained more than twice the Eurozone average at 25.6%
Greece will receive its next aid payment, worth over €8bn -- but it will be split into three payments. In Athens, Eurozone finance minister has agreed that Athens has done enough to earn the next slice of its bailout However, it is only proposing disbursing €6.3bn right now. The remaining €2bn will be split into two €1bn slices, which will only be handed over if Greece implements further milestones agreed with the Troika.
US factories reported a surge in output, and new orders, which suggests the American economy began spring in pretty decent shape after the disruption caused by last winter's storms The Institute for Supply Management's survey of the sector rose to 53.7, up from 53.2 -- showing that growth accelerated last month.
This morning Nationwide's latest report shows that London house prices have surged by 18% over the last year, double the national average of 9.2%. The strongest annual price rise in a decade. At 9.30am we have UK construction figures for March expected to come in slightly higher at 63 and then at 10.00am we have Eurozone GDP for the final quarter of 2013 is expected to remain unchanged. Later on in the afternoon we have US mortgage applications and the ADP unemployment change.
12.00pm – USD – MBA Mortgage Approvals: Previously shown a 3.5% fall.
13.15pm – USD – ADP Employment Change (Mar): Expected to show an increase to 195,000.
15.00pm – USD – Factory Orders (Feb): Expected to increase to 0.9%.