Holiday season

Retail sales in Japan are accelerating; US holiday season is buoyant for traders: Macro Snapshot

Retail sales in Japan rose for the third consecutive month in November, a positive sign for businesses in the country.

Sales rose 1.2% in November — on a monthly basis. This was due to higher spending on clothes and cars, which rose 7.5% and 7.2% respectively, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Economy and Trade.

In annual terms, retail sales rose 1.9% in November, accelerating from 0.9% the previous month.

Meanwhile in the United States

Spending on clothing, jewelry and electronics drove U.S. vacation sales up 8.5% from a year ago, according to a Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

Online and in-store sales increased as consumers sought out freebies earlier than usual. Additionally, stores have been trying to introduce more promotions to boost the holiday shopping season despite supply chain issues, Bloomberg reported.

The holiday season is defined as November 1 to December 24.

Turkish business confidence

Turkey’s real sector index fell 2.3 points to 106.1 in December, the country’s central bank said.

This development is explained by a significant drop in the sub-index of the general business situation, which fell to 77, against 90.6 the previous month.

This comes against the backdrop of the country’s continued trend of lowering interest rates amid strong inflationary pressures.

Moreover, the survey – conducted by Turkey’s central bank for manufacturing companies – showed that companies’ statements about current and future orders have deteriorated.

On the other hand, total employment and production volume are expected to increase over the next three months.

China’s Industrial Profits

Industrial profits of Chinese companies grew at an annual rate of 38% during the January-November period, according to data from the country’s official statistics agency.

In particular, the profits of mining companies have fueled this increase, increasing by more than 180% during the same period.

However, profits rose at a 9% annual rate in November, decelerating significantly from October’s 24.6% jump.

This was attributed to falling prices for some commodities, a failing real estate market and weaker consumer demand.

Germany’s declining surpluses

Current account surpluses in Germany are beginning to decline, providing relief to major trading partners.

Europe’s biggest economy has recorded the biggest current account surplus for four consecutive years until 2019.

That made them the world’s largest creditor, prompting global calls for them to be cut, The Wall Street Journal reported.

For example, the United States has long claimed that these large surpluses partly lead to global economic imbalances. The IMF and EU were also among those urging Germany to reduce its surplus, but the German government said there was little that could be done about it.

Germany’s current account surplus – as a percentage of GDP – is expected to fall to 5.5% next year, the lowest level since 2005. It’s also less than the peak of 8.6% recorded in 2015.

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