The Lastest Macroeconomic News

21.04.2014 15:47 China GDP Growth Slows to 7.4%

China`s gross domestic product growth slipped in the first quarter to its slowest level in 18 months as the world`s second-largest economy continued to downshift. Reduced momentum in investment and consumption - key drivers of the economy - were behind the moderately weaker quarterly growth. The 7.4% growth over the year-earlier period was below the 7.7% level seen in the fourth quarter of 2013, and slightly below the target of "about 7.5%" set by China`s leadership for all of 2014. But it came in slightly above economists` expectations, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of analysts. The weakened growth signals more choppy waters ahead for the world economy, as China is a major global growth engine. The slightly faster-than-expected result also muddies the waters on whether Beijing will step up measures aimed at supporting growth. In early April, the government announced a series of "mini-stimulus" measures to offset recent slippage in trade and industrial production. These included the acceleration of planned spending on railroad infrastructure and a razing and rebuilding program for shantytowns. Further weakness moving into the second quarter could prompt planners to double down on these more modest investments, although few expect a major stimulus of the sort seen in late 2009 after the global financial crisis. Industrial production grew 8.8% in March, slightly below analyst expectations of 9%. This compares with 8.6% year-over-year growth in January and February, which were combined to limit distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday, according to the bureau. Fixed-asset investment - covering areas such as machinery, land and buildings - edged up to 17.6% in the first quarter, slightly below expectations, compared with 17.9% year-over-year in January-February. Analysts attributed the result in part to problems in the housing sector. Retail sales, meanwhile, posted 12.2% year-over-year growth for March, in line with the consensus and a modest increase over the 11.8% year-over-year rise seen in January and February.

18.04.2014 16:13 Russian economy hit by Ukraine fallout; 0% growth in 2014 possible

Russia`s economy has been hit hard by the Ukraine crisis, prompting finance officials to cut growth forecasts for this year to near zero and draining the country`s hard currency reserves as investors flee an uncertain market, Kremlin officials disclosed. In an address to the lower house of parliament, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said $63 billion had been converted from rubles to hard currencies and taken out of the country in the first quarter of this year. If that pace of capital flight continues, Russia could easily surpass the $120 billion lost at the height of the global economic crisis six years ago. "The acute international situation of the past two months" was to blame, Ulyukayev said, referring to the unrest in neighboring Ukraine following the Feb. 21 ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich, a Kremlin ally. Russian troops then seized the strategic Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, raising the threat of international sanctions on Russia`s vital energy trade. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov also issued an ominous forecast for the national economy at a government meeting a day earlier, the Russia Today news agency reported. "GDP growth is estimated as rather low, 0.5%. Perhaps it will be around zero," Siluanov said of the expansion outlook this year. Russian economic growth already dropped from 4.3% in 2011 to 1.3% last year. Russian financial planners had predicted 2.5% GDP growth this year, before the Ukrainian turmoil and the Kremlin`s widely condemned Crimean land grab.

14.04.2014 15:30 Euro zone`s February output suggests gradual recovery strengthening

Output at the euro zone`s factories rose broadly in line with expectations in February, driven by production of intermediate and non-durable goods, suggesting the bloc`s recovery is gradually strengthening, EU data showed. industrial output in 18 countries using the single currency rose 0.2 percent on the month, in line with market expectations. A revised for January was flat, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics office. Compared with the same period last year, industrial output increased by 1.7 percent in February. That was slightly above the expectations of analysts polled by Reuters, who foresaw a 1.5 percent rise, after downwardly revised 1.6 percent growth in January. The monthly rise was driven by 0.6 percent growth in production of intermediate goods. Output of non-durable consumer goods was up 0.5 percent, Eurostat said. Capital goods` output in the bloc remained stable. Production of durable consumer goods fell 1.2 percent on the month and the highly volatile production of energy down by 1.7 percent. Analysts say modest increases in industrial production supported belief that recovery of the 9.5 trillion-euro economy continues to firm gradually. The euro zone recovery modestly accelerated to 0.3 percent growth, quarter on quarter, in the final quarter of last year. Eurostat will publish a flash estimate for first-quarter GDP growth on May 15. The situation in the euro zone`s southern countries, continued to improve in February, after they imposed austerity measures and wide-reaching structural reforms aimed at cleaning up public finances and restoring sustainable growth. Compared with the same period of the last year, industrial production rose by 4.1 percent in Portugal, 3.2 percent in Spain and 1.4 percent in Greece, which returned to the bond market last week for the first time since 2010. Europe`s strongest economy, Germany, reported a 4 percent rise on the year in February, after a 4.1 percent jump a month earlier.

10.04.2014 21:07 Thinktanks raise German growth forecast to 1.9 pct

A group of four leading economic institutes raised their forecast for German growth in 2014, saying that Europe`s largest economy would accelerate its growth thanks to strong domestic demand. In a joint report released on Thursday, the four institutes said German gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 1.9 percent in 2014, higher than their previous forecast of 1.8 percent last autumn. Domestic demand would be the main driver, said the group of institutes, which include DIW in Berlin, Ifo in Munich, IW in Halle and RWI in Essen. "The German economy is experiencing an upturn in spring 2014," said the institutes, noting increasing output, number of new orders, improving employment situation, as well as sentiment among companies and consumers. Thanks to a recovering economy in the rest of eurozone, which is Germany`s most important trading partner, external uncertainties continued to fade, despite the deteriorating demands from emerging markets. At the start of 2014, investment activity gained momentum, and construction was also boosted by a mild winter, said the institutes. They expected production to increase significantly during the rest of the year. Private consumption, bolstered by faster increase of disposable income and rising employment level, would make the biggest contribution, they said. Investment, driven by low interest rates, strong financial position of governments and a high level of confidence in corporations, would also stimulate growth, according to the thinktanks. "International trade, by contrast, is not expected to provide any impulse," read the report, citing larger increase in imports than in exports due to steep increase in investment.

09.04.2014 17:04 IMF cuts Russia growth forecast to 1.3 % over geopolitical risk

The International Monetary Fund has sharply downgraded the Russian growth forecast to 1.3 percent in 2014, as the crisis in Ukraine continues to rattle investors and send capital flowing out. Based on what has happened, growth in Russia is lower than what it would have otherwise been, Olivier Blanchard, the IMF Director of Research told reporters in Washington DC. Blancard warned of massive capital outflows and investor hesitation over the geopolitical events unfolding in Ukraine. The Ukraine crisis sparked a rapid outflow of capital, and by the end of March, $70 billion is estimated to have escaped. In all of 2013 $63 billion flowed out of the country, according to Deputy Economic Minister Andrey Klepach. Russia is the world`s fifth largest economy by purchasing power, and the growth forecast was cut 0.6 percent from the institution`s original 2 percent forecast. Growth in 2015 will be 2.3 percent according to the IMF`s April 2014 growth report. There are probably two main channels effecting Russia from an economic point of view. First is the investment climate, and the hesitation by investors on putting or leaving money in Russia, so one can except fairly substantial outflows, Blanchard said. Another reason for the downgrade is that the IMF expects Russia will have to hike interests rates which could spur further inflation. The Washington DC-based fund predicts inflation will slow to 5.8 percent but that price growth will continue to accelerate was the ruble weakens. The ruble has so far weakened 7.5 percent against the dollar in 2014.

09.04.2014 14:54 IMF: World economy is stronger but faces threats

The global economy is strengthening but faces threats from super-low inflation and outflows of capital from emerging economies, the International Monetary Fund warned. The lending organization expects the global economy to grow 3.6 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2015, up from 3 percent last year. Those figures are just one-tenth of a percentage point below the IMF`s previous forecasts in January. The acceleration is being driven mostly by strong growth in advanced economies, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and a modest recovery in the 18 nations that use the euro currency. By contrast, developing nations, particularly Russia, Brazil and South Africa, are now expected to grow much more slowly than the IMF forecast three months ago. Russia`s economy will likely suffer as a result of its fight with the U.S. and Europe over the Ukraine. Others face high interest rates, which are intended to fight inflation but could slow growth. The IMF, in its World Economic Outlook report, sharply upgraded its growth forecasts for the U.K., Germany and Spain. It expects the eurozone to grow 1.2 percent in 2014 and 1.5 percent in 2015 after shrinking 0.5 percent last year. Both estimates are one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the IMF`s January forecasts. The IMF made no changes to its forecasts for U.S. growth, which it estimates at 2.8 percent this year and 3 percent in 2015. Japan, however, is forecast to expand just 1.4 percent next year, down from the IMF`s previous projection of 1.7 percent, and just 1 percent in 2015. Higher sales taxes are expected to weigh on growth. Growth in China, the world`s second-largest economy, is expected to continue its slowdown from its double-digit pace of a few years ago. That will have repercussions for many nations that export raw materials and parts to Chinese factories. China is projected to expand 7.5 percent in 2014 and 7.3 percent in 2015, down from 7.7 percent last year.

08.04.2014 21:55 Property prices in Dubai rise 33%, expected to rise further

Residential property prices in Dubai are expected to continue their upward trend over the remainder of 2014, but at a slower rate, a new report by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said. The real estate investment and advisory firm said in its `Dubai Real Estate Market Overview Q1 2014` report that the emirate`s residential market maintained its momentum with average prices increasing 33 per cent year-on-year, with average rents improving 23 per cent. While the market remains shy of its 2008 peaks in most locations, prices in some areas have now reached peak levels, the report said, observing that activity in Dubai`s real estate investment market remained strong. The JLL report noted that Dubai`s real estate market commenced 2014 with optimism, driven by last year`s strong performance and continued economic growth. This optimism remains focused on the residential sector, which witnessed increased prices and rents across all areas, with rates growing faster in secondary locations. The retail, hotel and industrial segments continue to experience growth, while the office sector remains more selective. In its market overview, the real estate consultancy firm said that the Dubai economy is expected to sustain its growth momentum. According to the Department of Economic Development, the GDP of Dubai will grow 4.7 per cent in 2014. Tourism, trade, transportation and real estate are all witnessing strong performance and will continue to be the main drivers of the economy.

08.04.2014 14:48 Russia looks east as it seeks to rebalance trade interests

As Russia`s relations with Europe turn sour, Dmitry Kobylkin should be a worried man. The governor of Yamal-Nenets, a vast territory straddling the Arctic Circle, runs one of Russia`s most resource-rich regions but it is also one of the most dependent on Europe, where most of its abundant oil and gas is sold. But Mr Kobylkin smiles. China tells us: give us gas! he says. For them, it is important to have a partner who can supply gas for at least 200 years. We can do that. With its economy reeling from the geopolitical crisis sparked by its annexation of Crimea, Moscow is turning to Asia for help. The Asia-Pacific region is the centre of world economic growth, said economy minister Alexei Ulyukaev. We have not developed co-operation with these regions as actively as we would have liked. Russia`s trade with China, Japan and South Korea combined was $150bn last year three times less than with Europe. The three east Asian countries accounted for just $6.1bn of the $496bn foreign direct investment stock in Russia as of the end of 2012. Russian analysts say the country`s falling-out with the west will act as a catalyst to change that.

06.04.2014 17:24 Playing Russian Roulette With Sanctions and Oil Prices

Enacting sanctions against a country supplying 12% of the world`s oil sounds like a one-way ticket to a price spike. But that ignores Russia`s other role as an oil consumer. Over the past five years, Russia has accounted for 11% of the world`s growth in oil consumption. And sanctions look more likely to affect that than the supply side. Tighter sanctions could disrupt Russian oil exports if, say, they target its financial sector. Barring a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, though, the West is unlikely to contemplate cutting off banks in Russia. Oil demand would surely crumble. Over the past five years, producing 1 million rubles (about $27,800) of Russian GDP has required input of about 27 barrels of oil. All else being equal, economic growth of 1.1% would see oil demand expand by just 36,000 barrels a day, about one-third of the IEA`s forecast. Under the recession scenario, oil demand would shrink by 59,000 barrels a day, a swing of 163,000 from the IEA`s projection. These calculations don`t take account of other factors that could affect oil demand, but one thing is certain: Since at least 1993, Russian oil demand always has fallen when GDP has shrunk. With all these moving geopolitical parts, a one-way upward bet on oil looks decidedly simplistic.

02.04.2014 21:10 U.S. GDP Grew 2.6% In The Fourth Quarter 2013, Up From Last Estimate

Real people helped drive U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of last year. But the jury of economists is out on whether consumers will continue coming out. Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that real GDP - which measures output produced in the United States - grew at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013. The third - and final - estimate is up 20 basis points from the 2.4% second estimate BEA put out in February, but still below the 3.2% advance estimate released in January. The figure shows fourth quarter growth relative to the third quarter, when real GDP increased 4.1%. The improved estimate, BEA explained in a release, reflects larger than previously estimated personal consumption expenditures but a largely consistent economic picture. Consumption gains were partially offset by smaller than previously estimated private investment in inventories and intellectual property products. Averaged across the four quarters of last year real GDP added 1.9% in 2013 from 2012. Full year-over-year growth is compared to 2.8% in 2012.

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