Fresh U.S. data added to hopes for the recovery of the global economy. U.S. inflation numbers were tame, but economic growth is showing signs of accelerating.
New applications for unemployment benefits in the United States dropped to a near four-year low last week, according to a government report on Thursday, pointing to continued improvement in the labour market. The Labour Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 50,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000, in the week ended January 14. This was the lowest level since April 2008 and the biggest drop since September 2005.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumer prices were flat for a second straight month in December as gasoline fell and food rose moderately, government data showed on Thursday, suggesting scope for further monetary easing should economic growth falter.
U.S. housing starts fell in December as groundbreaking on rental property posted a big decline, splashing some cold water on hopes the still-weak housing sector could boost economic growth this year.
The Philly Fed activity numbers were lower than expected for January at 7.3 versus forecast 10.0 and lower than previous 10.3.