The Lastest Macroeconomic News

09.07.2007 23:01 Russia`s trade surplus dropped 17 percent in the first five months of 2007

Russia`s trade surplus dropped 17 percent to USD260.7bn in the first five months of 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier, the press office of the Russian Federal Customs Service reported today. Russia`s exports edged up 9.3 percent to USD128.6bn. Meanwhile, exports to CIS and non-CIS countries grew 7.4 percent and 21.7 percent to $109.5bn and $19.1bn, respectively. Imports stood at $68bn in January-May 2007, which is 52.4 percent higher than in the same period in 2006. Imports from CIS amounted to $11.1bn (up 44.4 percent) and at $56.9bn up 54 percent) from non-CIS countries. Therefore, Russia`s trade according to the service`s data, amounted to USD196.6bn in January-May 2007, which is 21.1 percent higher than in the first five months of 2006. Russia`s oil exports amounted to 101.562m tonnes in January-May 2007, which is nearly 8 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, oil exports grew 4.9 percent to $40.819bn in money terms. Exports to non-CIS countries stood at 93.919m tonnes (up 7.43 percent), worth a total of $38.282bn. Oil exports to CIS amounted to 7.643m tonnes (up 14.7 percent) worth $2.538bn. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, output of oil and gas condensate edged up 1.7 percent to 41.4m tonnes.

04.07.2007 21:45 The Japan`s sentiment index for large manufacturers stood at 23 in June

Confidence at major Japanese companies is at least as strong as three months ago, a closely watched Bank of Japan survey showed Monday, possibly reinforcing expectations that the central bank will raise interest rates in August. The quarterly tankan survey, which polls more than 10,000 companies nationwide, showed that the sentiment index for large manufacturers stood at 23 in June, unchanged from the previous survey in March. A similar index for large non-manufacturers was unchanged at 22. The yen`s recent weakness and healthy profit growth has buoyed sentiment at Japanese companies. Still, confidence has slipped a bit from December, when the major manufacturers` index rose to 25, the highest in about two years. The results confirm the government`s view that the economy is steadily expanding, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said. But any interest rate decision, he added, would be left up to the Bank of Japan.

02.07.2007 21:30 Russia`s PMI index dropped to 53.0 in June from 54.4 in May

Growth momentum of the Russian manufacturing sector weakened slightly in June, marking the first slowdown in growth in the sector since February, according to London-based VTB Bank Europe`s survey of the Russian manufacturing sector released Monday. The seasonally adjusted headline manufacturing purchasing managers` index (PMI) dropped to 53.0 in June from 54.4 in May, VTB Bank Europe said. Readings above 50.0 signal an increase on the previous month while readings below 50.0 signal a contraction. The Russian manufacturing PMI declined in June following a three-month rise that peaked in May as new orders and output growth weakened in the past month, while export orders registered a relatively sharp decline, Chris Green, senior economist at VTB Bank Europe Research, said. Furthermore, June saw the weakest growth in overall job creation in the past six months. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of US manufacturing activity rose to 56.0 in June, its highest level in 12 months, from 55.0 in May. The Global Manufacturing PMI, produced by JP Morgan with research and supply management organisations rose to 54.4 in June from 54.1 in May, its highest level since last September.

28.06.2007 23:02 Russia saw its GDP surge by 7.7 percent in the first five months of 2007

Russia saw its GDP surge by 7.7 percent in the first five months of 2007 (compared to 6 percent in January-May 2006), and by 7.9 percent in May 2007, Russia`s Economy Minister German Gref told journalists today. Gref explained that in May 2007 the Russian economy managed to overcome a certain slowdown in the GDP growth registered in April and recovered its pace seen in Q1. The minister referred to increased investment demand and expanding construction and manufacturing as the chief driving factors. Thus, net of seasonal and calendar factors, the monthly average GDP growth is set at 0.7 percent. Gref elaborated that industrial production rose by 7.4 percent, agricultural production by 2.3 percent and construction by 25.2 percent in 5M 2007. Meanwhile, manufacturing grew by 11.9 percent in 5M 2007, while mining by 3.4 percent alone, which the minister believes to be a positive sign. Russia is likely to revise its GDP growth forecast upwards as it should reach 7 pct in 2007, Russian media reported Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref as saying. "Soon from now, we`ll see our GDP forecast raised from 6.5 pct to 7 pct for 2007", - he said.

26.06.2007 21:13 U.S. New-Home Sales Decreased 1.6% in May

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. dropped in May, signaling demand is still faltering in the second year of the housing slowdown. Sales fell 1.6 percent to an annual pace of 915,000 last month from a revised 930,000 rate the prior month that was lower than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The supply of unsold homes at the current sales pace rose. A jump in mortgage rates this month and a glut of unsold properties on the market will continue to discourage home construction, economists said. The housing slump, already the worst since 1991, will restrain the economy for the rest of the year and potentially into next. The median price of a new home fell 0.9 percent to $236,100 last month from $238,200 a year earlier, today`s sales report from Commerce showed. Sales of new homes were down 16 percent from the same time last year. The number of homes that are completed and waiting to be sold fell by 2,000 to 177,000.

25.06.2007 21:26 The IFO business climate index fell from 108.6 to 107.0 in June

The IFO business climate index fell from 108.6 to 107.0 in June, falling short of the estimate of 108.4. The expectations index came out at 102.8, down from 104.8 in the previous month. The current assessment index declined to 111.4, below the estimate of 112.5 and the prior reading of 112. IFO, one of five institutes that produce twice-yearly forecasts for the German government, also increased its prediction for growth this year to 2.6 percent from a December estimate of 1.9 percent. The economy`s expansion will slow to 2.5 percent next year, Ifo said in an e-mailed report. The economy grew 2.8 percent last year. But IFO`s projection is lower than that of other forecasters. The Kiel-based Institute for World Economics, one of the five, said June 14 that economic growth will accelerate to 3.2 percent this year. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts the pace of growth will hold at 2.8 percent.

21.06.2007 00:00 US Industrial Production Unchanged in May; Capacity at 81.3%

Industrial production in the U.S. stalled last month as mild weather reduced demand for electricity and manufacturers of cars and machinery scaled back. Production at factories, mines and utilities was unchanged in May following a 0.4 percent gain in April that was smaller than originally reported, Federal Reserve figures showed. Economists had forecast industrial production would rise 0.2 percent after a previously reported gain of 0.7 percent the prior month, according to the median of 79 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, fell to 81.3 percent from 81.5 percent the prior month. Factory output, which accounts for about four-fifths of the total, rose 0.1 percent after a 0.2 percent increase the prior month, according to the Fed`s production report. Mining output, which includes oil drilling, increased 0.5 percent last month, after falling 0.6 percent. Utility production fell 1.3 percent after increasing 3.4 percent, the report showed.

18.06.2007 22:38 Japan Says Economy Is Recovering, Production Weak

Corporate profits in Japan are improving although production remains weak, the government said, maintaining its monthly assessment that the world`s second- largest economy is recovering. "The economy is recovering, despite weakness in industrial production in some sectors", - the Cabinet Office said in its monthly economic report in Tokyo today. Japan`s longest postwar expansion is in its 65th month. The Cabinet Office upgraded its evaluation of consumer spending to "picking up" from "showing signs of picking up". Households increased spending for a fourth month in April, capping the longest winning streak in three years even as wages declined for a fifth month. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota said the recovery in private consumption remains fragile. Spending "isn`t that strong as wage growth has stalled", - she told reporters in Tokyo today.

14.06.2007 22:21 Statistics service confirms Russia`s GDP at 7.9% in the first quarter of 2007

Russia`s National Statistics Service released official data Thursday confirming that the country`s GDP growth in the first three months of 2007 was 7.9%, up three points year-on-year. The Finance Ministry forecasts GDP growth for the whole of 2007 at 6.5%-6.7%. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank expect Russia`s GDP to expand more than 7% in 2007. Chief Economist for Russia John Litwack said GDP would grow by more than 7% in 2007, which is considerably higher than the government`s forecast of 6.5%. According to the World Bank, economic growth also facilitated an increase in wages: "Current trends in wage growth, together with the continued real appreciation of the ruble, suggest that the average monthly dollar wage in Russia for 2007 should exceed $500". In the current situation, Russians would like their wages to grow faster than inflation, which went up to 4.7% in January-May, according to the Russian government. The World Bank reported that official estimates placed wage growth at 18.5% in January-April.

12.06.2007 21:44 Japan`s GDP grew at an annualised pace of 3.3 percent in the first quarter

Japan`s economy grew at an annualised pace of 3.3 percent in the first quarter, much faster than previously thought as firms raised capital spending on new plant and equipment, the government said Monday. Japan`s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.8 percent in the three months to March, the Cabinet Office said, better than an initial estimate of 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter and an annualised rate of 2.4 percent. It was a ninth straight quarter of growth for the world`s second largest economy, although slower than the three months to December when GDP grew by a revised 1.3 percent quarter-on-quarter. The main reason for the upward revision was an upgrade to corporate capital spending to a 0.3 percent gain quarter-on-quarter compared with a 0.9 percent drop previously, after the fourth quarter`s 2.7 percent expansion.

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