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HEADLINE:   Overseas Headlines: June 13, 2012

· (Highlighted Story) Retail sales declined by 0.2% in May as demand for building materials sagged and falling gasoline prices weighed on receipts at service stations. The same Commerce Department report also showed a revision in April’s sales to a 0.2% fall as opposed to the previously reported gain of 0.1%. Retails sales last month were hindered by a 2.2% drop in sales at gasoline stations after a decline of 1.4% in April. Gasoline prices fell 17 cents in May to $3.79 a gallon. Retail sales, excluding gasoline, rose marginally by 0.1% after easing 0.1% in April.
The decline in retail sales in May indicates a slight falloff in the U.S. economic recovery  as the pace of consumer spending slows adding to weak job data in recent times. The decrease in gasoline prices does however offer some respite as it provides households with greater discretionary income and helps to keep inflationary pressure contained. By keeping inflation low, the Federal Reserve has some scope to aid the sputtering recovery.

· Wholesale prices in the U.S. dropped in May by the most since July 2009 as the producer price index fell 1%, following a 0.2% decrease the in April. This as costs of energy and food decreased, easing pressure on companies to pass expenses to customers. The core measure, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.2% for a second month. Slower global growth has tempered demand for raw materials allowing producers to hold down costs and preserve margins.

· For April, output in the 17-nation euro area slipped 0.8% from March, when it decreased a revised 0.1%, the European Union’s statistics office reported today, led by a drop in Germany, adding to signs of a deepening economic slump. From a year earlier, production fell 2.3%. In the 27-nation EU, output fell 0.4% in the month and 1.7% in the year. German industrial output fell 2% in April from the previous month, when it rose 0.9% while Italy and Spain reported monthly declines of 1.9% and 0.7% respectively.

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