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Business activity in the Chicago area unexpectedly increased at a notably faster rate in the month of October, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 66.2 in October from 60.5 in September, with a reading above 50 indicating an increase in regional business activity.

The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the business barometer to dip to a reading of 60.0. The unexpected increase lifted the barometer to its highest level in a year.

A significant improvement in new orders growth contributed to the increase by the business barometer, with the new orders index jumping to a one-year high of 73.6.

The production index also rebounded following a sharp drop in the previous month, while the employment index rose to its highest level since last November.

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Consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by more than previously estimated in the month of October, according to a report released by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan on Friday.

The report said the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for October came in at 86.9 compared to the mid-month reading of 86.4. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

With the unexpected upward revision, the index rose from the final September reading of 84.6 to reach its highest level since July of 2007.

"The gains in confidence over the past three months point toward improved holiday spending by consumers," survey director Richard Curtin said, according to Reuters.

He added, "Overall, five years after the start of the recovery, consumers have finally begun to adopt the expectations and behaviors that have driven past expansions."

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Business activity in the Chicago area unexpectedly increased at a notably faster rate in the month of October, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 66.2 in October from 60.5 in September, with a reading above 50 indicating an increase in regional business activity.

The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the business barometer to dip to a reading of 60.0.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Personal spending in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the drop in spending accompanied by weaker than expected personal income growth.

The Commerce Department said personal spending dipped by 0.2 percent in September after climbing by 0.5 percent in August.

The modest pullback came as a surprise to economists, who had expected personal spending to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Real spending, which is adjusted to remove price changes, also slipped 0.2 percent in September following a 0.5 percent increase in the previous month.

Additionally, the report said personal income edged up by 0.2 percent in September following a 0.3 percent increase in August. Economists had expected income to rise by another 0.3 percent.

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Personal spending in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of September, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, with the drop in spending accompanied by weaker than expected personal income growth.

The report said personal spending dipped by 0.2 percent in September after climbing by 0.5 percent in August. The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected spending to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Additionally, the Commerce Department said personal income edged up by 0.2 percent in September following a 0.3 percent increase in the previous month. Economists had expected income to rise by another 0.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Eurozone inflation rose slightly in October but it remained consistently below 1 percent, signifying the risk of deflation in the currency bloc. At the same time, the unemployment rate held steady at an elevated level in September. Inflation rose marginally to 0.4 percent in October from 0.3 percent in September, flash data from Eurostat showed Friday.

Italy's consumer prices rose unexpectedly in October, preliminary figures from the statistical office ISTAT showed Friday.

The consumer price index edged up 0.1 percent annually following 0.2 percent fall in September. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent drop. The latest increase in prices was the first in three months.

Core inflation, which excludeds fresh food and energy prices, rose to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent.

Month-on-month, consumer prices climbed 0.1 percent, also in contrast to expectations for a 0.1 percent drop. In September, prices rose 0.4 percent.

The harmonized index of consumer prices, which is meant for EU comparison, rose 0.2 percent annually in October, rebounding from a 0.1 percent drop in September. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent fall.

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Russia's central bank lifted its key rate sharply by a bigger-than-expected 150 basis points to counteract the slide in ruble and rising inflation.

The Bank of Russia decided on Friday to raise its key rate to 9.50 percent from 8 percent. The bank was expected to hike its rate by 50 basis points.

This was the fourth interest rate increase this year. The rate has been hiked by a cumulative 400 basis points since February.

Inflation is set to remain above 8 percent till the end of 2014 and in the first quarter of 2015, the bank said in a statement. Aggravation of geopolitical tensions, restrictions imposed on external trade and the resulting impact on the ruble exerted strong upward pressure on inflation.

The bank said it will continue to take measures aimed at slowing inflation to the target of 4 percent in the medium term. If the external conditions improve and inflation show a stable downward trend, the bank will start easing monetary policy, it added.

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Hungary's industrial producer prices fell for the seventh consecutive month in September, figures from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office showed Friday.

The producer price index dropped 0.7 percent year-on-year following 0.4 percent fall in August. Prices have been declining since May.

Month-on-month, producer prices edged up 0.1 percent after a 0.7 percent gain in August. Prices rose for the fourth month in a row.

Separately, the statistical office announced that trade surplus decreased to EUR 279 million in August from EUR 496 million in the same month last year. Exports declined 4 percent annually and imports fell 0.6 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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The unemployment rate in Italy increased unexpectedly in September, a report from the statistical office Istat showed Friday.

The jobless rate rose to 12.6 percent in September from 12.5 percent in August. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to come in at 12.4 percent.

The total number of unemployed people increased to 3.24 million in September from 3.18 million in August.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among the youth decreased to 42.9 percent from 43.7 percent in August.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Turkey's trade deficit decreased more than expected in September, preliminary figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed Friday.

The foreign trade deficit narrowed to $ 6.93 billion in September from $ 7.56 billion in the same month of the previous year. Economists had expected the deficit to decrease to $ 7.13 billion.

Exports increased 4.6 percent year-over-year in September while imports fell 0.2 percent.

In the January to September period, total trade deficit of the country fell to $ 61.14 billion from $ 75.25 billion in the same period last year.

by RTT Staff Writer

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France's producer prices declined less-than-expected in September, figures from the statistical office INSEE revealed Friday.

Producer prices in the French market dropped 1.4 percent annually, which less than the 1.7 percent decline forecast by economists. In August, producer prices had fallen 1.4 percent.

On a month-over-month basis, producer prices recovered by 0.5 percent in September, defying expectations for a 0.1 percent drop, after falling for two consecutive months. In August, prices had fallen by a revised 0.4 percent.

The monthly increase was mainly attributed to the rise in prices for mining and quarrying products, energy, water.

Prices in the foreign market advanced 0.3 percent month-over-month but declined 0.7 percent year-on-year.

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Estonia's industrial production increased at an accelerated pace in September, figures from Statistics Estonia showed Friday.

Industrial output rose 3.6 percent year-on-year in September after the 2.7 percent growth in August.

Manufacturing output climbed 6.8 percent in September. Meanwhile, mining output and electricity, steam and hot water supply fell 14.3 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively.

On a month-over-month basis, industrial output rebounded by 1.3 percent following the 2.3 percent drop in August.

by RTT Staff Writer

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The Bank of Japan expanded its massive quantitative and qualitative easing unexpectedly as policymakers assessed it necessary to achieve the 2 percent inflation target even after a sales tax hike in April.

In a 5-4 vote, the Policy Board led by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda decided to raise the monetary base at an annual pace of about JPY 80 trillion. The earlier plan was to increase it by about JPY 60-70 trillion.

The bank will lift its purchases of Japanese government bond purchases so that the outstanding amount will rise by around JPY 80 trillion compared to the earlier target of JPY 50 trillion.

Further, it will extend the average duration of JGB holdings to around 10 years from 7 years.

The bank will also triple their purchases of exchange-traded funds and Japan real estate investment trusts. Accordingly, the outstanding amount of exchange-traded funds will rise at an annual pace of around JPY 3 trillion and real estate investment trusts by around JPY 90 billion.

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Singapore's unemployment edged down unexpectedly in the third quarter, preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) revealed Friday.

The overall jobless rate decreased to 1.9 percent quarter-over-quarter in the September quarter from 2 percent in the second quarter. Economists had expected the jobless rate to remain unchanged at 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the citizen unemployment rate and the resident unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

At the same time, the number of employed people in Singapore increased by 27,100 in the third quarter compared with second quarter's gain of 27,700.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Final demand producer prices in Australia advanced 0.2 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday - after easing 0.1 percent in the previous three months.

The increase was mainly due to rises in the prices received for building construction (+1.0 percent), and was partly offset by falls in the prices received for electricity supply; gas supply; and water supply, sewerage and drainage services (-3.6 percent) and petroleum refining and petroleum fuel manufacturing (-5.4 percent).

On a yearly basis, PPI gained 1.2 percent after climbing 2.3 percent in the second quarter.

Domestic prices added 0.2 percent on quarter and 1.3 percent on year, while import prices fell 0.4 percent but gained 0.1 percent on year.

Intermediate demand producer prices fell 0.1 percent on quarter and gained 0.9 percent on year.

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Final demand producer prices in Australia were up 0.2 percent on quarter in the third quarter of 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday - after easing 0.1 percent in the previous three months.

The increase was mainly due to rises in the prices received for building construction (+1.0 percent), and was partly offset by falls in the prices received for electricity supply; gas supply; and water supply, sewerage and drainage services (-3.6 percent) and petroleum refining and petroleum fuel manufacturing (-5.4 percent).

On a yearly basis, PPI gained 1.2 percent after climbing 2.3 percent in the second quarter.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Consumer prices in Japan added 3.2 percent on year in September, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday - below expectations for 3.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the August reading.

Core consumer prices gained 3.0 percent - matching forecasts and down from 3.1 percent in the previous month.

Among the individual components, prices for fuel climbed 5.3 percent on year, followed by food (5.1 percent), recreation (4.7 percent), miscellaneous (4.5 percent), furniture (4.2 percent), clothing (2.8 percent), communication (2.4 percent) and education (2.2 percent).

On a monthly basis, overall CPI added 0.2 percent and core inflation was flat.

Individually, prices for clothing jumped 6.1 percent on month, followed by food (1.2 percent) and medical care (0.1 percent).

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Private sector credit in Australia was up 0.5 percent on month in September, the Bank of Australia said on Friday - above forecasts for a 0.4 percent gain, which would have been unchanged from the August reading.

Housing credit was up 0.6 percent on month, the bank said, while personal credit added 0.2 percent and business credit gained 0.5 percent.

On a yearly basis, private sector credit climbed 5.4 percent - above expectations for 5.3 percent and up from 5.1 percent in the previous month.

Housing credit jumped 6.8 percent on year, while personal credit added 1.0 percent and business credit advanced 3.8 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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