The preliminary estimate of Q1 GDP (released on May 15) showed a contraction of 0.1% (q-o-q) as rising unemployment impeded consumer spending and falling manufacturing output weighed on activity. The jobless rate climbed to 8.1% in March from 7.7% in February, driven by a rise in youth unemployment. Manufacturing production declined by 2.0% (m-o-m) in March, sinking to its lowest level in three years. Our panel has left its 2013 GDP forecast unchanged last month. Meanwhile, lower fuel and food prices resulted in inflation cooling to 2.6% (y-o-y) in April from 2.9% in March.
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