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28.09.2008 21:40 US GDP has grown at a 2.8% pace in the second quarter of the year

US economy has run at a faster pace from April to June than in the first three months of the year, although not as fast as expected by the analysts, according to data released by the US Commerce Department. Real Gross Domestic Product has grown at a 2.8% pace in the second quarter of the year, up from the 0.9% increase posted in the first quarter, although preliminary estimations had advanced a 3.3% GDP growth in the quarter. This economic acceleration comes, mainly from exports, real personal consumption expenditures, non-residential structures, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, partially offset by negative contributions on private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and equipment and software. The Price Index for Gross Domestic Purchases has increased 4.2% in the second quarter, up from the 3.5% increase posted in the first quarter. Excluding food and energy, the Core GDP Price index has grown at a 2.2% pace, the same as in the first quarter. Personal consumption expenditures rose 1.2% in the second quarter, up from the 0.9% increase posted in the first quarter.

25.09.2008 21:37 The International Monetary Fund cuts Russia GDP forecasts for 2008 and 2009

The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for Russia and said it had told Moscow not to intervene on the equity market or use its national wealth fund to give loans to commercial banks. While it saw no systemic risk to the banking system from the global financial market turmoil, the IMF cut its 2008 growth forecast to 7.1 percent from 7.8 percent, and its 2009 forecast to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent from 7.3 percent. "The less favourable external environment and the downturn in Russian financial markets will cause some weakening in GDP growth," said Poul Thomsen, the deputy director of the European department of the IMF. "But Russia is well positioned to avoid a sharp and lasting reduction in growth, provided the policy response is appropriate and timely," he added. He said the IMF`s 13.8 percent inflation forecast for 2008 was "subject to more uncertainty" in the current environment. The IMF sees net capital inflows into Russia of between zero and $15 billion in the full-year 2008, down from a record of more than $80 billion seen last year.

23.09.2008 23:04 Japan`s industrial production gained 1.3 percent in July 2008

Japan`s industrial production rebounded in July as demand in Asia helped exporters withstand a slump in shipments to the U.S. Factory output gained 1.3 percent from June, the Japanese government said. Japan`s output gap, a gauge of the economy`s supply and demand balance, was revised down to minus 0.4 percent for the April-June quarter, a research report by a Cabinet Office economist showed. That would mean supply exceeds demand in the economy, indicating weak inflationary pressure from the demand front. But annual inflation hit a decade high in July due largely to high fuel and food prices. Central banks see the output gap as an important variable for determining monetary policy as they try to balance growth, employment and inflation by tweaking interest rates. The downward revision to the output gap from an initial estimate of minus 0.2 percent -- the first negative reading in nearly two years -- was due to a revision to second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data released on Sept. 12. The world`s second-largest economy shrank by an annualised 3.0 percent in price-adjusted terms in the quarter, compared with an initial reading of a 2.4 percent contraction.

18.09.2008 20:43 Russia`s industrial production grew 5.3 percent in January-August 2008

Russia`s industrial production grew 5.3 percent in January-August 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in a statement today. In August 2008, the industrial production index stood at 104.7 percent against August 2007 and 99.1 percent in comparison with July 2008. The primary sector saw only a small increase in industrial production (up 0.2 percent) in the first eight months of 2008 compared to the same period of 2007, while the figure climbed 7.6 percent in the manufacturing sector. Power, gas, and water production and distribution rose 4.2 percent, whereas oil output (including gas condensate) inched down 0.7 percent to 325m tonnes. Natural gas production edged up 1.2 percent to 434bn cubic meters, and energy output went up 4.1 percent to 680bn kilowatt-hours. The production of passenger cars and trucks jumped 19 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

15.09.2008 21:05 US Industrial Production declines 1.1% in August; Capacity Utilization at 78.7

Industrial production in the U.S. fell in August by the most in almost three years as the slowdown in consumer spending prompted automakers to cut back. The 1.1 percent decrease in production at factories, mines and utilities was more than forecast, Federal Reserve figures showed. Car output slumped 12 percent, the most in a decade, and declines ranged from semiconductors to building supplies. Industrial production was forecast to drop 0.3 percent, according to the median estimate of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. July`s reading was revised down to a 0.1 percent gain from the 0.2 percent previously estimated. The Fed`s production report also showed that capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, decreased to 78.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2004. Capacity was estimated to fall to 79.6 percent, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Factory output, which accounts for about four-fifths of industrial production, dropped 1 percent after a 0.1 percent increase the prior month, the report showed. Production at utilities fell 3.2 percent, reflecting a cooler August than usual, economists said. Mining output, which includes oil drilling, decreased 0.4 percent.

09.09.2008 22:19 Global economy faces its most difficult test in many years, says IMF`s Lipsky

The global economy faces its most difficult test in many years with growth slowing sharply as high commodity prices put pressure on inflation, a senior International Monetary Fund official said. IMF first deputy managing director John Lipsky said global growth was set to slow further in the second half of 2008, and continued financial sector strains were a major risk to the chances of recovery in 2009, on top of high oil prices. Commodity prices remained high and volatile, bringing risks of knock-on inflation effects, but recent sharp falls in oil prices should lessen short-term inflation pressures in the developed world, he told a conference. Central banks in advanced economies could afford to keep interest rates on hold. In regions with high real rates, they could look out for easing price pressures which would allow them to loosen policy later, he said. "Against the backdrop of protracted financial strains and dramatic surges in commodity prices, the global economy is confronted with its most difficult set of circumstances in many years," he said. "The good news is, we are only three to six months from the bottom, when the upturn begins." Speaking at the same conference, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the European Union needs to take urgent action to avoid a prolonged economic downturn and return to stronger growth. Lipsky said the IMF was still reviewing its forecasts, which are due to be updated in its World Economic Outlook next month. But the fund saw global growth slowing from 5 percent in 2007 to about 3 percent late in 2008, reaccelerating towards 4 percent in 2009. The IMF`s last forecasts in mid-July were for global growth of 4.1 percent in 2008 and 3.9 percent in 2009. A G20 source told Reuters last month that these would be downgraded to 3.9 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2009. Lipsky said the 2009 pickup would be driven by an unwinding of the effects of the past 50 percent increase in oil prices and a bottoming in the U.S. housing sector. Oil traded at a five-month low below $105 per barrel on Tuesday. In the United States, the IMF expected growth of about 1 percent in 2008 on a fourth-quarter-on-fourth-quarter basis, recovering gradually to about 1.5 percent in 2009, Lipsky said. This calculation was different from the annual growth rates forecast in its headline projections, he stressed. In mid-July, the IMF forecast U.S. growth of 0.3 percent in 2008 and 1.9 percent in 2009 on a Q4/Q4 basis, with full-year growth seen at 1.3 percent in 2008 and 0.7 percent in 2009. In the euro area, the IMF projected growth on a Q4/Q4 basis at about 0.75 percent in 2008 and about 1.5 percent in 2009, from 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively in mid-July. Lipsky said that although the IMF expected commodity prices to remain high in real terms, slower growth and cheaper oil should help to contain inflation pressure in advanced economies. "Thus, policymakers can afford to keep rates on hold in the face of elevated headline inflation, while watching closely for signs of easing price pressure that would permit a more accommodative stance in economies with relatively high real interest rates," he said. The European Central Bank held rates at 4.25 percent last week but is expected to cut them in mid-2009 and the Bank of England`s next move is also likely to be a cut. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to stay on hold for now, after cutting rates in the past year. Lipsky said that in emerging markets inflation pressures were growing while real interest rates remained low and some central banks may be "behind the curve" with their monetary policy. "Policies in these instances need to be tightened, lest central banks run the risk that hard-won policy credibility could be eroded. In some cases, allowing greater exchange rate flexibility would provide room for operating a more independent monetary policy." The IMF saw growth in emerging and developing economies of just over 6 percent in 2008 on a Q4/Q4 basis, broadly in line with the IMF`s mid-July outlook.

03.09.2008 22:38 Eurozone Q2 2008 GDP Revised Down On Yr To +1.4%

The euro-zone economy grew at the slowest year-on-year pace in almost five years in the second quarter of 2008, while it was also confirmed that the area`s quarterly performance was the weakest since records began. European statistics agency Eurostat Wednesday said year-on-year economic growth in the 15 countries that share the euro was just 1.4% compared with a 2.1% gain in the first quarter of the year. This was a downward revision from the original estimate of a 1.5% increase and is the lowest level of growth since a 1.2% gain in the third quarter of 2003. The 0.2% quarterly contraction reported in the preliminary release was confirmed. That was the first contraction since records began in the first quarter of 1995 and compared with an increase of 0.7% in the first quarter of the year. The downward revision to the annual growth rate was unexpected as economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast that both the quarterly and year-on-year measures would be unrevised from the preliminary reading. The weakness was led by household expenditure, which posted its weakest performance since records began, declining 0.2% on the quarter and rising just 0.4% on the year. In the first three months of 2008, household expenditure was flat on the quarter and grew 1.2% in year-on-year terms. Exports also declined on the quarter by 0.4% in April through June, a huge drop from the 1.8% gain reported in between January and March. On the year, exports grew at a weaker pace of 3.6% compared with a 5.4% gain in the first quarter, Eurostat said. Among the three major euro-zone economies, German growth contracted 0.5% on the quarter between April and June, while in France and Italy economic growth slipped 0.3% in the same period. Despite the weakness reported here the European Central Bank - which meets Thursday - is widely expected to keep key interest rates on hold at 4.25% until the end of year as inflation remains at a high level of 3.8%. Eurostat also reported that in the broader 27-country European Union, the economy contracted 0.1% on the quarter and grew 1.6% on the year.

28.08.2008 21:26 The US economy grew at a revised 3.3% annually in the second quarter of 2008

The US economy grew at a revised 3.3% annually in the second quarter of 2008, the Commerce Department said, much higher than its first estimate of 1.9%. The rebound was linked to strong US exports, helped by the weak dollar, while government tax rebates also boosted consumer spending. GDP grew at a rate of 0.9% in the first quarter, after a 0.2% contraction in the last three months of 2007. The data showed that exports grew at an annualised rate of 13.2%, higher than the government`s initial estimate of 9.2%. Imports fell at a rate of 7.6% as the US economic slowdown reduced demands for goods made overseas. The improved trade balance added 3.1 percentage points to second-quarter GDP, the biggest since 1980. The slowdown in the housing market was evident, as builders cut back and businesses reduced their spending. Consumer spending, boosted by the government`s $600 tax rebate payments, rose by 1.7%, slightly higher than the previous quarter`s 1.5%. Some observers said that the figures lent support to the argument that the US was not heading for a recession.

26.08.2008 22:22 Russia`s GDP grew 7.9 percent in January-July, 6.9 percent in July 2008

RIA Novosti cited Mr Elvira Nabiullina Economic Development Minister of Russia as saying that Russia`s GDP grew 7.9% in January to July 2008. He said that "The growth rates of gross domestic product remain rather high. It was 7.9% in the first seven months". The RF Federal Statistics Service announced recently the real cash income of Russia`s population soared 7.0% YoY in July. On average, the real income stepped up by 7.4% YoY from January through July. The real income increased 1.8% on month in July of 2008. Russia`s GDP growth amounted to 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, and was severalfold greater than in developed countries, Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported today. During the same period, GDP rose 2.6 percent in Germany, 2.5 percent in the US, and 2.3 percent in the UK. At the same time, Russia`s consumption expenditures are nearly two times higher than GDP growth rate. In particular, Russia`s household consumption expenditures surged 14.1 percent in Q1 2008, while in some developed countries the figure was lower than GDP growth rate.

21.08.2008 22:05 Japan`s merchandise trade surplus tumbled 86.6 percent to 91.15 billion yen in July 2008

Japan`s merchandise trade surplus tumbled 86.6 percent to 91.15 billion yen ($830.5 million) in July from a year earlier, missing the consensus forecast, as surging prices of crude oil and other commodities lifted imports, the Ministry of Finance said. The surplus in July was much smaller than the 225.1 billion yen economists had expected. The finance ministry said exports rose 8.1 percent to 7.63 trillion yen while exports by volume rose 7.4 percent, the first rise in two months. In June, export by volume posted a 1.4 percent fall, the first fall in 16 months. By market, exports to the United States fell 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight month of decline and the longest stretch since Japan`s exports to the world`s biggest economy fell for 14 straight months until February 2004. But the annual decline slowed from a 15.4 percent drop in June, which was the biggest since a 21.1 percent fall in November 2003. Exports to the European Union rebounded 4.1 percent in July following a 11.2 percent decline in June, which was the steepest since March 2002. In addition, exports to Asian countries rose 12.7 percent, much faster than a 1.5 percent increase in June. Meanwhile, imports increased 18.2 percent to 7.54 trillion yen in July, the tenth straight monthly rise. In July, crude oil imports surged 69.1 percent as the average price of crude oil jumped 89.2 percent to a record $131.50 a barrel. Imports of other commodities also increased due to rising prices, with imports of coal jumping 109.7 percent and liquefied natural gas up 59.3 percent.

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