The Lastest Macroeconomic News

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."

24.02.2008 16:23 US economy may still avert recession - ECRI

A weekly gauge of future U.S. economic growth fell in the latest week, and even though its annualized growth rate has reached readings seen in a recession, there might still be a chance to reverse it, a research group said. The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index fell to 132.3 in the week of Feb. 15 from 133.1 in the prior week, which was revised from 133.4. The index fell due to higher interest rates and slower housing, offset in part by a rise in money supply and stock prices, said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI. The index`s annualized growth rate plunged to minus 10.2 percent from minus 9.2 percent, reaching its lowest reading since the week of Oct. 26, 2001, when it was minus 11 percent. "With WLI growth deep in negative territory, due mainly to weakness in the financial and construction sectors, the U.S. economy is on the verge of a recession," said Achuthan. "However, due to unusual factors affecting the manufacturing sector, it may still be possible for quick stimulus to avert a recession."

19.02.2008 21:53 Russian industrial output grew 4.8 pct year-on-year in January 2008

Russian industrial output grew 4.8 pct year-on-year in January, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Analysts forecasted growth of 4.9 pct. However, this was well below the 8.4 pct year-on-year industrial growth seen in January 2007. Compared with December, industrial production fell 14.1 pct. Russia`s industrial production rose 6.3% in 2007, year on year, Rostat said. The figures surpassed preliminary forecasts that suggested the figure would reach around 4-5%. Russian manufacturing, which posted a 4.4% growth in 2006, showed a 9.3% rise last year. Experts say that the overall growth indicates that Russia successfully coped with the "first wave" of the U.S. subprime loan crisis in August 2007 and ensuing global downturn. Deutsche Bank forecasts 6.2% growth in industrial production, with GDP reaching 7% in 2008.

17.02.2008 19:35 Japan GDP grows 0.9 percent in Q4 2007, beats forecast

The Japanese economy grew 0.9 percent in real terms in the fourth quarter, or at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent, buoyed by brisk capital investment and consumer spending, the Cabinet Office said. In addition, rising demand from emerging markets such as China lifted Japan`s exports, helping the world`s second-largest economy expand for the second straight quarter. The growth was ahead market expectations. Ten economists polled by Thomson Financial News were looking at 0.4 percent expansion for the quarter and an annualized pace of 1.5 percent, on average. Gross domestic product for the third quarter was revised down to show a rise of 0.3 percent compared to the 0.4 percent growth reported in December. Annualized, GDP grew 1.3 percent, slower than the 1.5 percent growth announced earlier. GDP in nominal terms, or before adjusting for inflation, rose 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter and at an annualized rate of 1.2 percent. The GDP deflator, which measures the degree of deflation, fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier, after declining by a revised 0.6 percent in July-September.

16.02.2008 19:11 U.S. January industrial production up 0.1% as expected for 2nd month

U.S. January industrial production avoided a recessionary foray below zero, managing a second small monthly increase, the Federal Reserve reported. The output of U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1%, the same as the revised December growth and right on the number analysts were expecting. February`s capacity utilization rate also held steady, at 81.5% for the third month in a row. Manufacturing avoided negative territory in January, with no change in production following a revised 0.2% gain in December. A 1.3% drop in motor vehicles and another drop in housing-related products were offset by gains in computers and other business equipment and in non-durable goods. Utilities benefited from cold-weather demand with output rising 2.2%. Mining fell 1.8% as oil and gas well drilling declined. Year-over-year U.S. industrial production was up 2.3%.

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