Economic update: Awful Chinese trade numbers, ugly Greece output data, IMF cuts global growth forecast, Mortgage applications fell for the 8th week of the last 9

Awful Chinese trade numbers, ugly Greece output data, and a possibly big speech by Ben Bernanke after the bell.

There was some nasty data out of China overnight. Exports fell -3.1%, and imports fell -0.7%, both missing expectations by wide margins.

Meanwhile, Japanese consumer confidence slipped -1.4 points in June to 44.3. It’s the first time in six months the index fell, and all four components — income, jobs, spending and livelihood — were down.

Greece’s production index fell -4.6% versus -1% expected.

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IMF cuts global growth forecast amid cooling conditions in China and European recession

The International Monetary Fund has cut its outlook for the global economy, as emerging market nations like China slow, and Europe’s recession deepens.

It is the fifth time since early last year that the IMF has trimmed its forecasts.

It now expects global growth of 3.1 per cent, down from the 3.3 per cent it tipped back in April.

It tips US growth of 1.7 per cent, down from 1.9 per cent in April.

Wholesale Inventories Fall, Likely Will Slow Economic Growth 

U.S. wholesale inventories fell in May by the most in over a year and a half, the second straight monthly decline and a sign that restocking by businesses could weigh against economic growth in the second quarter.

China Trade Data Suggest Deeper Slowdown

JPMorgan as Biggest Underwriter Sees More Losses

Chinese Cash Squeeze Causes Auto Dealer Panic, Group Says

The Housing Unrecovery: Mortgage Application Drought Continues

The unaffordability-train rolls on in the US housing market. While it may destroy the housing-recovery-will-save-us meme (even as homebuilder stocks are the worst performing since the FOMC and many are sliding to 52-week lows), the facts are that a rising mortgage rate (now over 4.50% for the first time in 2 years) does reduce dramatically what the average household can afford to pay (given that people – unlike banks and governments – have limited incomes and balance sheets). Mortgage applications fell for the 8th week of the last 9 at the fastest year-over-year pace in 3 years and slumped to 2 year lows. This bodes extremely ill for home sales and the ‘recovery’ upon which it has already become dependent (as we noted here).

Worst Year-over-year change in 3 years…

Here Comes Stall Speed: Barclays Cuts Q2 GDP Forecast To 0.6%

S&P Downgrades Italy, Cites Weak Prospects 

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded Italy’s credit rating, saying the country’s economic prospects are weakening.