Economic news across the globe has quietly picked up pace today, this is amidst global growth concerns which came to the fore in the wake of recent market turmoil. In the UK, the just out economic data revealed that the nation’s trade deficit with the rest of the world widened in the fourth quarter, likely dragging on economic growth. Meanwhile, figures also showed that the UK trade gap in December narrowed more than estimates. This morning also saw a raft of relatively unimpressive German data. German factory output unexpectedly contracted in December and the nation’s trade surplus narrowed far more sharply than had anticipated. Later, the NFIB’s small business optimism and JOLTS job opening numbers are scheduled for release in the US.
Earlier today, the preliminary German GDP reading showed that the economy grew at a steady yet modest pace in the fourth quarter of 2015, primarily due to robust domestic demand. In a short while, market attention will be on the Euro zone GDP data which is anticipated to show that the year-on-year GDP reading slowed in the final three months of last year. A soft result will likely heighten expectations of the European Central Bank's (ECB) stimulus expansion in its policy meeting in March. In the UK, the just out data showed construction output slipped more than estimates for the fourth quarter, despite a December pick-up. Later in the day, spotlight will be on US retail sales figures which will give clues to the state of consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy.