European stocks climb; German retail sales rise less than expected - European stock markets traded higher Thursday, helped by progress in the U.S. debt ceiling bill as well as signs of life in the Chinese manufacturing sector.

At 03:20 ET (07:20 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.7% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.6% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.3%.

Data released earlier Thursday indicated Chinese manufacturing activity grew more than expected in May, with the Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index coming in at 50.9 in May, more than the forecast 50.3 as well as the prior month’s 49.5.

This private survey contrasted with the weak official government data released earlier this week, and offered hope of a recovery in this major regional growth engine, which also acts as a major export market for many of Europe’s largest companies.

The economic news in Europe was less impressive, as German retail sales rose less than expected in April from the previous month, climbing 0.8% month-on-month.

Sales were expected to increase 1.0% on the month, and on an annual basis this translated into a fall of 4.3%.

Manufacturing PMI data for much of Europe are due later in the session, and are expected to show a sector still troubled by soaring prices and disrupted supply lines.

However, the main focus Thursday will be the May inflation number for the eurozone. 

Figures from a number of individual countries have shown that inflation pressures are easing, and thus there is potential downside to the expected 7.0% annual figure for May.

Global sentiment had received a boost late Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill to suspend the debt ceiling late Wednesday. 

It now heads towards the Senate, raising optimism that a default in the world’s largest economy, which would have had severe economic consequences, can be avoided. 

In corporate news, Remy Cointreau (EPA:RCOP) stock rose 1.4% after the French spirits group reported a higher-than-expected rise in operating profit for its 2022/23 fiscal year, although the maker of Remy Martin cognac and Cointreau liquor stuck to its cautious outlook for this year on the back of expected weaker U.S. demand.

Oil prices reversed early losses after the positive private survey of Chinese manufacturing activity offered hope of an economic recovery in the world’s largest crude importer.

The market had earlier dipped after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an unexpected, large build in U.S. crude stocks last week, rising by around 5.2 million barrels, triggering fears of oversupply in the largest consumer in the world.

By 03:20 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% higher at $68.36 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.5% to $72.95. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,974.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0675.

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