U.S. consumer prices rose for a fifth straight month in June as the cost of gasoline and a range of other goods increased, further signs of firming inflation that strengthen the case for an interest rate hike this year.
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent last month after increasing 0.4 percent in May. Last month's increase pushed the year-on-year CPI rate into positive territory for the first time since December. The energy-driven disinflationary trend appears to have run its course, with producer prices rising in June for a second straight month.
Housing starts surged in June and building permits soared to a near eight-year high. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week affirmed the U.S. central bank was keen to start raising interest rates later this year.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said ground breaking for new homes increased 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.17 million units in June. Permits for future home construction increased 7.4 percent to a 1.34 million-unit rate, the highest level since July 2007.
The acceleration in housing activity should ease concerns that economic growth slowed at the end of the second quarter after a surprise drop in retail sales in June and continued weakness in manufacturing.
Greek banks have reopening after three weeks of closures sparked by the deadlock over the country's debt. Athens reached a cash-for-reforms deal aimed at avoiding a debt default and an exit from the Eurozone.
Several restrictions remain in place, including a block on money transfers abroad, and Greeks also face price rises with an increase in VAT. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has said Germany is prepared to consider further debt concessions to Greece.
09:30 – GBP: UK Public Sector Borrowing for June