The Lastest Macroeconomic News

27.02.2007 21:27 The Conference Board consumer confidence index hits five-and-a-half year high

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had marginally increased in January, improved in February. The Index now stands at 112.5 (1985=100), up from 110.2 in January. The Present Situation Index increased to 139.0 from 133.9. The Expectations Index edged up slightly to 94.8 from 94.4 last month.The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. "Consumer Confidence now stands at a five-and-a-half year high (August 2001, 114.0), as improving present-day business conditions and an easing in the proportion of consumers claiming jobs are hard to get have combined to lift consumers` spirits", - Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center said.

24.02.2007 17:24 Japan`s economy grew 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2006

The Japan`s economy grew 1.2 percent in real terms in the October-December period, an annualized rate of 4.8 percent, according to a preliminary government report. The quarterly rise marks the eighth straight quarterly increase since the January-March period in 2005, the Cabinet Office report showed. A rebound in consumer spending, which plunged in the summer due to cooler weather, and strong investment in plant and equipment is believed to be behind the rise, suggesting the economy was being boosted by domestic demand. The nominal GDP, which reflects price changes, increased 1.2 percent for the last quarter compared with the previous quarter, and 5 percent at an annualized rate. The quarterly rise was the first increase in the last two quarters. The figures also indicated that the situation in which real growth rates exceed nominal growth rates, resulting from a drop in price levels, had ended after eight successive quarters since the October-December period in 2004.

21.02.2007 20:26 Russia`s industrial production index stood at 108.4 percent in January 2007

Russia`s industrial production index stood at 108.4 percent in January 2007 (compared to the same month a year ago) against 104.4 percent in January 2006, the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry`s documents state. The acceleration in industrial production growth in January is attributed chiefly to a considerable increase in the manufacturing industry (117.3 percent against 104.1 percent in January 2006). Manufacturing expanded amid a relatively small advance in mining (104.2 percent against 100.9 percent in January 2006) and a decline in the generation and distribution of electricity, gas, and water. The industrial production index is calculated for the following entities: mining and processing companies, as well as electric power, gas and water generating and distributing enterprises, based on the dynamics of 730 of the most important commodities. Industrial production growth is forecast to reach 4.2 percent in 2007, up from 3.9 percent in 2006.

19.02.2007 21:50 Russia`s economics ministry reduced GDP growth forecast for 2007-2010

Russia`s economics ministry said it has reduced its GDP growth forecast for 2007 to 6.1% from 6.2%, and for 2009 to 5.9% from 6%. The Economic Development and Trade Ministry also said it has left its GDP growth forecast for 2008 and 2010 unchanged - 5.9% and 6.1%, respectively. The ministry said direct foreign investment in Russia by 2010 could grow 41.9% on 2006, to $44 billion. "The volume of direct foreign investment in 2006 was $31 billion, and it could grow to $44 billion by 2010," the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said on its Web site in its scenario for the country`s social and economic development until 2010. It also said inflation in Russia will be at 6.5-7.0% in 2008, 6.3-6.8% in 2009, and 5.8-6.5% in 2010. Russia`s national statistics body said January 31 that the country`s gross domestic product grew by an estimated 6.7%, year-on-year, in 2006, to 26.621 trillion rubles ($1.002 trillion). Inflation in Russia stood at 9% in 2006.

16.02.2007 22:00 Industrial production in the U.S. fell last month by the most in more than a year

Industrial production in the U.S. fell last month by the most in more than a year as companies delayed orders and makers of autos and building materials reduced stockpiles. Production at factories, mines and utilities dropped 0.5 percent after a 0.5 percent December increase, the Federal Reserve said. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, declined to 81.2 percent in January from 81.8 a month earlier. The decrease suggests a diminishing threat of production bottlenecks that can lead to faster inflation. Manufacturing, which accounts for about four-fifths of the industrial production, fell 0.7 percent last month after rising 0.8 percent the prior month. Excluding autos, factory production fell 0.4 percent, after increasing 0.8 percent in December.

14.02.2007 22:36 the World Bank`s projection for China`s GDP growth in 2007 remains unchanged at 9.6%

China`s economic growth is expected to fall to 9.6% this year from 10.7% last year amid a mild slowdown in exports, the World Bank said. Export growth is likely to decline to 20% this year, from 24% in 2006. "A resilient world economy means that export demand prospects remain good, although less buoyant than in 2006", - the report said. The World Bank said productivity growth meant exporters would probably be able to continue absorbing the effect of a rising currency and the gradual lowering of export tax rebates. Investment, a main engine of growth in the world`s fourth largest economy in recent years, is unlikely to slow drastically in early 2007, while consumption should grow solidly.

12.02.2007 22:30 Eurozone economy will be in a strong position this year

Eurozone`s gross domestic product probably grew 2.6 percent in 2006, and this year was also likely to top existing forecasts of 2.1 percent, said European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. "The current economic situation remains very positive", he added. Growth in 2005 was a paltry 1.4 percent in the Eurozone, and Germany`s resurgence after years in the doldrums has convinced politicians, economists and investors alike that Europe is back on track after several years of economic drift. Two million jobs were created in 2006 and an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent was the lowest since records started being published by EU statistics office Eurostat, Almunia said, promising revisions to official growth forecasts for February 16.

08.02.2007 20:56 Russian GDP index signals slower manufacturing growth

The Russian Gross Domestic Product Indicator, produced by NTC Research for VTB Bank Europe, pointed to a further marked rate of economic growth at the start of 2007. The indicator posted 7.4 percent, slightly above the average annual rate of growth signaled during 2006 which, at 7.3 percent, was the highest calendar average since 2000. However, the indicator signaled a slowdown in growth for the third successive month from the 2.5-year peak of 7.8 percent registered last October. The All Industry Index rose slightly in January, to 58.9, from levels of 58.5 recorded during November and December. Inflation in Russia in January 2006 amounted to 1.7%, the Federal State Statistics Service said. Inflation in January 2006 ran at 2.4%, and in January 2005 - 2.6%. Average daily price growth in the country in January 2007 was 0.054%, compared with 0.077% in January 2006. The government forecasts price growth in 2007 of 6.5%-8%.

06.02.2007 21:47 Economic growth in the eurozone is expected to be at 2.5 percent of GDP in 2006

Economic growth in the eurozone would be at 2.5 percent of GDP in 2006 and was expected to see a further upturn, Bank of Spain said. The eurozone economy is currently enjoying the strongest growth since the turn of the century, pumping unexpected revenues into government coffers. Real GDP in the eurozone decelerated slightly in Q3 2006 (0.5%) after the strong increase registered in H1. The prospects for economic growth remain however positive. Real GDP is expected to rise by 0.7% in Q4 2006, followed by 0.3% in Q1 2007 and 0.5% in Q2. Industrial production should continue to expand, but at lower rates, owing to the expected slackening in world trade. Domestic demand is bound to exhibit resilience. Consumption should remain robust after a temporary slowdown in Q1 2007 associated with the German VAT hike. Investment should expand at a constant but still strong rate. On the technical assumption that oil prices stay within a range of USD 60-65 per barrel of Brent and that the dollar/euro exchange rate fluctuates around 1.30, consumer price inflation is expected to jump, reflecting the VAT rise in Germany, to 2.1% in Q1 2007 before decreasing to 1.7% in Q2.

04.02.2007 11:42 U.S. ISM Manufacturing Index Falls to 49.3 in January 2007

The Institute for Supply Management`s manufacturing index fell to 49.3, the lowest since April 2003, from December`s 51.4, the private industry group said today in Tempe, Arizona. Readings less than 50 signal contraction. The report suggests last quarter`s production slump may carry over into 2007 as construction slows and automakers trim inventories of unsold vehicles. A factory setback would restrain growth and keep Federal Reserve policy makers on the sidelines, neither raising nor lowering interest rates, in coming months. The manufacturing index was projected to rise to 51.7, according to the median estimate of 72 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The index averaged 53.9 in 2006. The supply managers` group`s measure of prices paid for raw materials rose to 53 from 47.5 the month before. The Tempe, Arizona-based institute`s new orders index, which makes up about a third of the total, fell to 50.3 from 51.9. The production index, a measure of work being performed, dropped to 49.6 from 52.4. The inventory index slumped to 39.9, the lowest since February 2002, from 48.5. The 8.6-point decline was the biggest since 1984. The large correction in inventory may shorten the factory slowdown, some economists said.

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