The Lastest Macroeconomic News

24.03.2008 23:01 Russia raises 2008 GDP growth forecast to 7.1 pct, inflation to 9.5 pct

The economic development ministry raised its forecast for economic growth in 2008 to 7.1 pct from 6.7 pct, and its inflation forecast to 9.5 pct from 8.5 pct, Russian news agencies reported. Gennady Kuranov, director of the macroeconomic forecasting department said, cited by Interfax: "The inflation forecast has been raised because of the rise in food and wheat products prices". Russia`s economics ministry also raised its 2008 forecast for the annual average price of Urals oil, a benchmark blend, by 16% to $86 per barrel, a high-ranking ministry official said. "The oil price is rising. The average price will be approximately at the level of $86 per barrel. However, in the second half of the year, prices will go down," Gennady Kuranov said. The ministry earlier raised its Urals forecast for the year in late January, from $56 to $74. In 2006 the annual average price for the Urals oil was $61 per barrel.

23.03.2008 12:58 Euro area industrial production grew by 0.9% in January 2008

In January 2008 compared with December 2007, seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.9% in both the euro area (EA15) and the EU27. In December 20073 production remained stable in both zones. In January 2008 compared with January 2007, industrial production rose by 3.8% in the euro area and by 3.5% in the EU27. In January 2008 compared with December 2007, production of capital goods increased by 2.7% in the euro area and by 2.5% in the EU27. Durable consumer goods grew by 1.9% and 1.5% respectively. Intermediate goods rose by 0.8% in both zones. Non-durable consumer goods gained 0.6% in the euro area and 0.8% in the EU27. Production of energy fell by 2.9% and 2.1% respectively. In January 2008, among the Member States for which data are available, industrial production rose in ten, remained stable in the United Kingdom and fell in three. The highest increases were registered in Lithuania (+5.9%), Poland (+5.7%) and Slovakia (+4.6%), while the largest decrease was recorded in Portugal (-1.7%). Euro area annual inflation was 3.3% in February 2008, up from 3.2% in January. A year earlier the rate was 1.8%. Monthly inflation was 0.3% in February 2008. EU annual inflation was 3.4% in February 2008, unchanged compared to January. A year earlier the rate was 2.1%. Monthly inflation was 0.4% in February 2008.

19.03.2008 21:37 Russia`s industrial production grew 7.5 percent in February 2008

Russia`s industrial production rose 7.5 percent year-on-year in February, Rostat reported. Analysts polled by the Russian news agency forecast that industrial production rose by 5.5 pct last month. In January-February industrial production rose 6.0 percent year-on-year. Russia`s Mininstry of Economic Development and Trade forecasts that industrial production will grow 5.7 percent in 2008. Russia`s finance minister said he expected the country`s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by at least 7.0 percent this year, agreeing with views that there were signs of overheating. Alexei Kudrin, speaking in parliament, also said M2 money supply would rise by 35-40 percent this year, down from 48 percent last year, while bank lending will increase by 30-40 percent, down from 50 percent last year.

18.03.2008 21:29 US February industrial output down 0.5 pct, capacity utilization 80.9 pct

Output US factories, mines and utilities declined in February at the sharpest pace since October as capacity utilization fell to its lowest level in more than two years, the Federal Reserve said. Output US factories, mines and utilities declined in February at the sharpest pace since October as capacity utilization fell to its lowest level in more than two years, the Federal Reserve said. Output in February fell 0.5 pct, steeper than the 0.1 pct fall expected, while factories were using 80.9 pct of their capacity, down from 81.5 pct in January. Economists polled by Thomson`s IFR Markets had predicted a slight fall to 81.3. That`s the lowest level of utilization since November 2005. The Federal Reserve keeps a close watch on the operating rate to see if it is approaching levels where bottlenecks could develop and threaten to boost inflationary pressures. Manufacturing production fell 0.2 pct in February, while mining output rose 0.4 pct. Utility output plunged 3.7 pct in February after rising 2.2 pct in January.

14.03.2008 22:43 Japanese economy grows 3.5 percent in fourth quarter of 2007

Japan`s economy grew at a brisk 3.5 percent annualised pace in the fourth quarter of 2007, showing unexpected resilience in the face of growing fears of a US recession, official figures showed. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.9 percent compared with the previous quarter, unchanged from the initial estimate, the Cabinet Office said. The government said corporate capital investment in new equipment and factories increased by 2.0 percent quarter-on-quarter, down slightly from an initial 2.9 percent rise. Private and household consumption both grew by a tepid 0.2 percent. The Japanese economy is gradually rebounding from recession in the 1990s but consumer spending has remained sluggish, raising worries that the export-led recovery could be hit hard by a global slowdown. Despite the better than expected GDP data, concerns about the health of the world`s second largest economy have grown amid fears of a US recession that could hit Japanese exports and corporate earnings. The government also reported that Japan`s current account surplus grew 8.1 percent in January from a year earlier to 1.24 trillion yen (12.0 billion yen) as exports grew and income on overseas investments rose. The figure was ahead of market expectations for a surplus of about 1.21 trillion yen.

11.03.2008 23:04 Chinese economist predicts GDP growth of about 10%, inflation - 4.8%

Renowned Chinese economist Li Yining said here on Monday that China`s economy might grow by about 10 percent in real terms this year, higher than the government 8-percent target. The predicted growth, which is lower than last year`s 11.4 percent, does not mean a "big slowdown" of the Chinese economy, Li told a group of Chinese and foreign reporters. Li is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People`s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China`s top political advisory body now in its annual full session. Another CPPCC member, Director Liu Shucheng of the Institute of Economy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences echoed Li`s view, saying, "It`s out of question that the economy would maintain a growth rate of around 10 percent this year". Premier Wen Jiabao told the parliament on Wednesday that China`s gross domestic product (GDP) should grow by 8 percent on the basis of improving the economic structure, productivity, energy efficiency and environmental protection. Li also ruled out the possibility that the Chinese economy would slow down soon after the Beijing Olympic Games. As for the government target to control consumer price rise at 4.8 percent, Li predicted "the goal could be reached unless international oil price continues to grow or emergencies or severe natural calamities take place".

09.03.2008 14:07 The US economy has slowed down since the beginning of the year

The economy has slowed down since the beginning of the year in two-thirds of the US Federal Reserve`s regions and growth is subdued in the others, the Fed`s Beige Book regional survey said, although no region reported an actual contraction. Eight of the 12 regional Fed banks "cited softening or weakening in the pace of business activity, while the others referred to subdued, slow or modest growth", the summary of anecdotal reports from the regional banks said. Two-thirds of the banks also said there were "tight credit standards" in their area and all but two districts had declining loan demand. Some regional banks also cited indications of declining loan quality. Housing was described as "weak" and home sales "low" all across the country. There were increasing reports that commercial real estate demand had also begun to slow down. Retail spending reports were "generally downbeat", with auto sales particularly "slow or sluggish". Manufacturing was "mixed but, on the whole subdued", the Beige Book said. All districts, the summary noted "mentioned caution or concern on the part of at least some segments of manufacturing".

06.03.2008 22:19 Eurozone GDP grew 2.6 pct in 2007 and 0.4 pct in the fourth quarter

Eurozone GDP grew 0.4 pct in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, and was up 2.2 pct year-on-year, EU statistics office Eurostat said. The quarter-on-quarter figure is unchanged from Eurostat`s provisional estimate, but the year-on-year rise is revised from an earlier 2.3 pct. In the third quarter, GDP was up 0.8 pct from the second quarter and was up 2.7 pct year-on-year. Eurostat gave a breakdown of fourth-quarter GDP for the first time. It said household consumption fell 0.1 pct quarter-on-quarter, while investment was up 0.8 pct. Meanwhile, exports increased 0.5 pct and imports fell by 0.4 pct. In 2007 Eurozone GDP grew 2.6 pct. The European Central Bank cut its forecast for 2008 Eurozone GDP growth to 1.7 pct from 2.0 pct and its projection for 2009 growth to 1.8 pct from 2.1 pct. Meanwhile, the ECB raised its forecasts for euro zone inflation to 2.9 pct from 2.5 pct in 2008 and 2.1 pct from 1.8 pct in 2009.

29.02.2008 21:46 U.S. Q4 2007 GDP rises at 0.6% annual rate, up 2.2% for 2007

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 0.6% in Q4 2007, below the consensus estimate, as activity in construction and consumer spending declined, The U.S. Commerce Department announced. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the economy to grow at a 0.7% annualized rate in Q4 2007. The economy grew at a 4.9% pace in Q3 2007, the Commerce Department said. For 2007, the economy grew at its weakest pace in five years, with GDP increasing at an inflation-adjusted 2.2%. GDP increased 2.9% in 2006. In 2007 the nation`s GDP totaled $13.84 trillion, not adjusted for inflation. In Q4 2007, a stronger performance in trade offset sub-par performances in consumer spending, business investment, residential investment, and inventories.

27.02.2008 22:25 Bernanke says weak growth may prompt fresh rate cuts

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that weak US economic growth may prompt the central bank to cut short-term interest rates further if needed. Bernanke said "downside risks" to growth were buffeting the world`s largest economy, but stressed the Fed was ready to unleash fresh rate cuts if economic momentum is threatened, despite heightened inflation worries. "It is important to recognize that downside risks to growth remain," Bernanke said in remarks prepared to support the Fed`s semiannual economic report to Congress. "The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will be carefully evaluating incoming information bearing on the economic outlook and will act in a timely manner as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks," the Fed chairman told the House Financial Services Committee. Bernanke said a multiyear housing market slump and a financial market credit crunch were threatening growth and had created a "distinctly less favorable" economic picture. In a bleak appraisal, the Fed chairman said consumer spending appeared to have slowed "significantly" and that other reports in recent weeks "suggest sluggish economic activity in the near term."

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