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Consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated by less than previously estimated in the month of February, the University of Michigan revealed in a report on Friday.

The report said the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for February came in at 95.4 compared to the preliminary reading of 93.6.

The upwardly revised reading came in well above economist estimates of 94.0 but remained below the eleven-year high of 98.1 set in January.

Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said, "The small overall decline from January still left consumer confidence at the highest levels in eight years."

"It is hard not to attribute the small February decline to the temporary impact of the harsh weather, as declines that occurred in the Northeast and Midwest were triple the average loss," he added.

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Pending home sales in the U.S. rebounded in the month of January, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Friday, with the increase reflecting improved buyer demand.

NAR said its pending home sales index climbed 1.7 percent to 104.2 in January after falling 1.5 percent to an upwardly revised 102.5 in December.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

With the increase in January, NAR said the pending home sales index reached its highest level since August of 2013.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said homebuyers were able to overcome tight supply to sign contracts at a pace that highlights the underlying demand that exists in today's market.

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Business activity in the Chicago area unexpectedly contracted in the month of February, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer tumbled to 45.8 in February from 59.4 in January, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in regional business activity.

Economists had expected the business barometer to show a much more modest decrease to a reading of about 58.7.

With the much bigger than expected decrease, the business barometer fell to its lowest level since July of 2009 and pointed to the first contraction since April of 2013.

The steep drop by the business barometer came as the production, new orders, order backlogs and employment indexes all suffered double digit losses and fell below the key 50 level.

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Economic growth slowed by even more than previously estimated in the final three months of 2014, according to a revised report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The report said U.S. gross domestic product increased by a downwardly revised 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 2.6 percent growth. The growth represents a notable slowdown from the 5.0 percent jump seen in the third quarter.

Despite the downward revision, the pace of GDP growth during the fourth quarter still came in slightly above economist estimates for a 2.1 percent increase.

The Commerce Department said the slower than previously estimated growth primarily reflected a downward revision to private inventory investment and an upward revision to imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP.

Imports soared by an upwardly revised 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously estimated 8.9 percent jump.

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Latvia's economy grew at a faster pace than estimated earlier during the fourth quarter of 2014, latest data from the Central Statistical Bureau showed Friday.

Gross domestic product increased an unadjusted 2.1 percent year-on-year, which was faster than the 1.9 percent reported earlier. Seasonally adjusted annual growth figure was also revised higher to 2.1 percent from 2.4 percent.

Quarter-on-quarter, GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in the final three months of 2014, which was faster than the 0.4 percent growth estimated earlier. In the third quarter, growth was 0.5 percent.

For full year 2014, economic growth was 2.4 percent versus 4.2 percent in 2013.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Economic growth slowed by even more than previously estimated in the final three months of 2014, according to a revised report released by the Commerce Department on Friday.

The report said U.S. gross domestic product increased by a downwardly revised 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 2.6 percent growth. The growth represents a notable slowdown from the 5.0 percent jump seen in the third quarter.

Despite the downward revision, the pace of GDP growth during the fourth quarter still came in slightly above economist estimates for a 2.1 percent increase.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Croatia's economy grew for the first time in more than three years in the final three months of 2014, preliminary figures from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics revealed Friday.

Gross domestic product rose a non-seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent year-on-year following 0.5 percent fall in the third quarter.

The economy grew for the first time since the third quarter of 2011, when GDP rose 0.4 percent. Latest growth was led by exports, which rose 4.5 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, GDP rose 0.4 percent annually after a 0.6 percent slump in the previous quarter. Sequentially, GDP remained flat in the fourth quarter after a 0.2 percent growth in the previous three months.

For the full year 2014, GDP declined 0.4 percent.

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Germany's consumer prices in February rose unexpectedly from a year ago, after declining for the first time in more than five years in the previous month, preliminary data from Destatis revealed Friday.

The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent year-on-year following 0.4 percent fall in January. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent decline. The January decrease was the first since September 2009.

The pace of decline in both energy and food prices eased in February. Energy prices dropped 7.3 percent versus a 9 percent slump in the previous month. Food prices decreased 0.4 percent, which was less than the 1.3 percent fall in January.

On a monthly basis, the CPI climbed 0.9 percent in February after a 1.1 percent slump in the previous month. The increase exceeded economists' prediction for 0.6 percent gain.

The harmonized index of consumer prices, or HICP, dropped 0.1 percent annually in February, which was less than the 0.5 percent fall expected by economists. The index, which is meant for EU comparison purposes, declined 0.5 percent in January.

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Greece's economic growth in the fourth quarter was less than estimated earlier, latest figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority showed Friday.

Gross domestic product increased a non-seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent year-on-year following 2 percent growth in the third quarter. Fourth quarter growth was earlier estimated at 1.5 percent. The economy expanded for a third consecutive quarter.

However, seasonally adjusted data revealed that the economy contracted sequentially in the fourth quarter for the first time since the final three months of 2013. The pace of contraction was 0.4 percent, which was worse than the 0.2 percent reported earlier. In the third quarter, growth was 0.7 percent.

The year-on-year growth on a seasonally adjusted basis was revised down to 1.3 percent from 1.7 percent. In the previous quarter, annual growth was 1.5 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Lithuania's economy grew in the fourth quarter at a slightly faster pace than estimated earlier, latest figures from the statistical office showed Friday.

Gross domestic product grew a seasonally-and-working-day adjusted 2.5 percent annually in the fourth quarter, which was slightly faster than the 2.4 percent reported earlier. Growth was 2.7 percent in the third quarter.

Sequentially, adjusted GDP grew an unrevised 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter following 0.5 percent in the previous three months.

Full year 2014 growth was also revised up to 3 percent from 2.9 percent, on an adjusted basis.

Lithuania joined the Eurozone on January 1, taking the total number of countries with euro as the currency to 18.

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Ireland's retail sales volume increased for the third straight month in January at a faster pace, figures from the Central Statistical Office showed Friday.

The volume of retail sales climbed a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent month-on-month in January, much faster than December's 0.7 percent increase, which was revised upwardly from 0.5 percent. In November, sales had risen 0.8 percent.

Excluding motor vehicles, sales volume dropped 0.1 percent in January from the previous month and grew 4.8 percent from the previous year.

Year-on-year, retail sales volume surged at a faster pace of 8.8 percent in January, after a 5.6 percent growth registered in the preceding month, revised from 5.1 percent.

The value of retail sales also increased in January. It rose 2.9 percent from the previous month, after a 0.2 percent slight increase in December. It was the third consecutive monthly rise.

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India's government sees room for big bang reforms and robust economic growth in the fiscal year ending March 2016, the Economic Survey 2014-15, released the Finance Ministry, said on Friday.

Economic growth is expected to exceed 8 percent in fiscal 2015-16 and, at market prices, the new estimate implies growth of 8.1-8.5 percent in 2015-16, the survey said.

The flagship annual document was prepared by the finance ministry's Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey 2014-15 in parliament on Friday, ahead of the Federal Budget on Saturday.

Decisive shifts in policies, a persistent, encompassing, and creative incrementalism in other areas could cumulate to "Big Bang" reforms, the survey said.

"India has reached a sweet spot—rare in the history of nations—in which it could finally be launched on a double-digit medium-term growth trajectory," the report said.

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Sweden's producer prices dropped at the start of the year, after falling slightly in the previous month, figures from Statistics Sweden showed Friday.

The producer price index rose 0.2 percent year-on-year in January, in contrast to a 0.1 percent decrease in December.

Export prices climbed 1.5 percent annually in January, while import prices declined by 3.1 percent.

Prices for domestic supply fell for the second straight month in January by 2.1 percent, following a 2.0 percent fall in the prior month.

On a monthly basis, producer prices dipped 0.2 percent in January.

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The Czech economy expansion in the fourth quarter was faster than initially estimated, latest data from the Czech Statistical Office showed Friday.

Gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent year-on-year, which was faster than the 1.3 percent growth estimated earlier. Meanwhile, the third quarter growth figure was revised lower to 2.2 percent from 2.4 percent.

Quarter-on-quarter, GDP increased 0.4 percent in the final three months of 2014, which was double the 0.2 percent growth estimated initially. The economy grew 0.4 in the third quarter.

The full year 2014 growth was confirmed at 2 percent, which was largely led by foreign demand.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Sweden's retail sales increased at a faster-than-expected pace in January, after falling in the previous month, figures from Statistics Sweden showed Friday.

Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent month-on-month in January, exceeding economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent rise. In December, sales had dropped 0.6 percent.

The retail sales volume climbed by an unadjsuted 3.5 percent annually in January, slightly faster than December's 3.4 percent growth.

Retail sales for consumables grew 3.8 percent and that for durables advanced by 5.2 percent.

Consumers are more optimistic regarding their personal economic situation now compared to the previous month, which may benefit the retail sector, the think tank HUI Research said. The outlook for 2015 is retail sales growth of 3 percent. A continuing low interest rate, low inflation and wage increases could indicate a good retail year, it added.

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Italy's EU measure of inflation rose for the first time in three months in February, defying expectations for a decline, preliminary data from the statistical office ISTAT showed Friday.

The harmonized index of consumer prices, or HICP, edged up 0.1 percent annually after a 0.5 percent fall in January. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent slump.

On a month-on-month basis, the HICP increased 0.3 percent in February, in contrast to economists' prediction for 0.3 percent decline. In January, the index dropped 2.5 percent.

The consumer price index declined 0.2 percent annually in February, which was less than January's 0.6 percent decline. Economists had expected a 0.5 percent fall.

On a monthly basis, the CPI climbed 0.3 percent in February, which was faster than economists' forecast of 0.1 percent gain. In January, the index fell 0.6 percent.

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The unemployment rate in Hungary rose in the three-month period to January, figures from the Central Statistical Office showed Friday.

The jobless rate climbed to 7.4 percent in the November to January period from 7.1 percent in the October to December period. A year earlier, the unemployment rate was at 8.8 percent.

The number of unemployed persons increased to 330,200 in the three months ended in January from 318,500 in the previous three-month period.

At the same time, the youth unemployment rate, which applies to the 15 to 24 age group rose to 18.9 percent from 18.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Denmark's economy grew for a sixth consecutive quarter in the three months ended December last year, preliminary figures from Statistics Denmark revealed Friday.

Gross domestic product grew a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent from the third quarter, when it rose 0.5 percent, revised from 0.4 percent reported earlier. Economists had expected zero growth for the fourth quarter.

Household consumption rebounded with a 0.8 percent gain in the fourth quarter after a slump in the previous three months. Exports rose 0.8 percent, doubling the 0.4 percent gain in the previous quarter.

Gross fixed capital formation grew 1.6 percent, which was faster than 1.1 percent in the previous quarter. Investment growth was led by construction excluding housing and machinery and equipment.

Public consumption stagnated in the fourth quarter.

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Norway's retail sales decreased unexpectedly in January, figures from Statistics Norway showed Friday.

The retail sales volume, excluding vehicle sales, fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent month-over-month in January after the 0.2 percent rise in December. Economists expected sales to remain unchanged.

On a year-over-year basis, sales rose by a working-day adjusted 1.4 percent in January. In December, sales had increased 2.6 percent.

Data from Norway's labor and welfare agency NAV showed that the unemployment rate in the country edged down as expected.

The jobless rate slid to 3 percent in February from 3.1 percent in January. This was in line with the consensus estimate.

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The eurocoin indicator, which measures the current economic situation in the euro area, rose for the third successive month in February, a survey by the Bank of Italy and the Centre for Economic Policy Research showed Friday.

The eurocoin indicator rose to 0.23 in February from 0.16 in January. It was the highest figure since July, when the score 0.27.

The rise in February was due in part to the moderate expansion of economic activity registered in the fourth quarter of last year and in part to a broad-based improvement in household and business confidence, the think tank said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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