Positive data for euro zone and US

WASHINGTON • Growth momentum in the euro zone could pick up this month after new orders rose last month at the quickest pace in half a year, according to Markit Economics.

A Purchasing Managers' Index gauging economic activity in the region climbed to 53.9 from 53.6 in September, the London- based company said yesterday, below an Oct 23 estimate of 54.

The European Central Bank will decide next month whether it needs to add to its €1.1 trillion (S$1.7 trillion) quantitative easing programme or cut record-low interest rates again.

Across the Atlantic, the US trade deficit narrowed sharply in September to its lowest level in seven months as exports rebounded, a tentative sign that the worst of the drag from a stronger dollar may be over.

The Commerce Department said yesterday the trade gap fell 15 per cent to US$40.8 billion, (S$57 billion), the smallest deficit since February. Lower crude oil prices also helped to curb the import bill.

Exports in September rose 1.6 per cent to US$187.9 billion, with exports of services hitting a record high. Imports fell 1.8 per cent to US$228.7 billion, the lowest level since February.

Trade had a neutral impact on gross domestic product for the third quarter, which expanded at a 1.5 per cent annual rate. Companies added 182,000 workers last month, which meant steady improvement in the US job market, according to private figures from the ADP Research Institute.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'Positive data for euro zone and US'. Print Edition | Subscribe