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World Economy Review - December 2007

The World Bank released figures for its latest estimates of individual country and world GDP. These estimates are based on the International Comparison Program (ICP) of prices conducted in 2005 for 146 countries.
The principal outputs of the ICP are estimates of Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) benchmarked to the year 2005. PPPs are used instead of exchange rates to convert national economic measures such as gross domestic products into a common currency. By taking account of price differences between countries, PPPs allow comparisons of market size, the structure of economies, and what money can buy.
The report also provides estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for 146 economies, along with GDP per capita, and their price level index (PLI), which shows which economies are cheapest and which are most expensive when currencies are converted using market exchange rates.
The report showed that twelve economies account for more than two-thirds of the world`s output. Seven of them are high-income economies (United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and, Spain), and five are developing or transitional economies (China, India, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico). The five largest developing economies account for more than 20 percent of global output and over 27 percent of the world expenditures for investment purposes.
Overall, the 2005 benchmark results showed that the size of the world economy measured in PPP terms is smaller than previous estimates. By that measure, the U.S. share was just 23% of global gross domestic output; China`s economy shrank by 40% to $5.3 trillion, about 10% of global GDP. Under the calculations, India had 4,0% of global GDP, Russia had 3,1%. Also, Russia dominates the CIS regional economy with three-fourths of the total and two-thirds of the investment shares.
Measured by GDP per capita, the five richest economies were Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway, Brunei Darussalam, and Kuwait. Collectively, they account for less than 1 percent of the world`s output. Seventeen economies have a GDP per capita of less than $1,000. The world average is approximately $8,900 per capita.

Economy of The United States

The U.S. economy expanded at its fastest rate in four years during the third quarter, the government confirmed on Thursday, though it has slowed sharply since and is expected to keep doing so in 2008. The Commerce department said gross domestic product, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, expanded at a 4.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter - a final reading on performance that was unrevised from the estimate it made a month ago. Third-quarter growth was the strongest since GDP expanded at a 7.5 percent rate in the third quarter of 2003.
Faster exports and increased inventory-building accounted for the pickup in third-quarter growth from the second quarter`s 3.8 percent pace, but many economists say the ongoing drag from a weak housing sector and credit market turmoil will slow fourth-quarter expansion to 1 percent or less. Spending on new-home building contracted at a 20.5 percent rate during the third quarter, the steepest fall in more than 16 years, since a 21.7 plunge at the start of 1991 when the economy was headed toward a recession. The GDP report showed a price gauge closely watched by the Fed - personal consumption spending excluding food and energy - rising at a revised 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter instead of the 1.8 percent it estimated a month ago. Prices rose at a more modest 1.4 percent pace in the second quarter.
US industrial production rose substantially faster than expected last month on a rebound in auto production and continued business equipment investment. The Commerce Department reported the output of US factories, mines and utilities was up 0.3 pct in November compared with a median 0.1 pct rise expected by economists. November`s operating rate was 81.5 pct of capacity, below the expected 81.7 pct rate, but edging up from the revised 81.4 pct rate in October.
Manufacturing production was up 0.4 pct last month after falling 0.6 pct in October. It got a big boost from 1.9 pct growth in the auto industry that followed three straight monthly declines. Automakers were getting back to normal operations after strikes and labor negotiations disrupted the assembly lines. The mining category, which includes oil wells, benefited from higher prices and had 1.1 pct higher output. Total US industrial production for November was 2.1 pct higher than a year earlier.
Sales of new U.S. homes fell in November to the lowest rate since 1995. New single-family home sales dropped 9 percent to an annual rate of 647,000 in November from a downwardly revised pace of 711,000 in October, the Commerce Department said. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 720,000. The housing report suggested the new home market may have more room to fall as the inventory of houses for sale rose to 9.3 months` supply from 8.8 months in October. The median sales price of new houses sold in November dipped to $239,100 from $240,100 a year earlier. The number of homes for sale at the end of November decreased 1.8 percent to 505,000, the fewest in two years.

Economy of The European Union

Euro zone GDP grew 0.7 pct in the third quarter from the second quarter, and was up a revised 2.7 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 2.6 pct. In the second quarter, GDP was up 0.3 pct from the first quarter and was up 2.5 pct year-on-year.
Eurostat gave a breakdown of third-quarter GDP for the first time. It said household consumption rose 0.5 pct quarter-on-quarter, while investment was up 0.9 pct and government spending was up 0.6 pct. Meanwhile, exports increased 2.5 pct and imports rose 2.7 pct. Household consumption made a positive contribution of 0.3 percentage points to the quarterly GDP figure, while investment made a positive contribution of 0.2 points.
Eurozone`s industrial production increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% month-on-month in October, the statistical office Eurostat reported. According to revised data, production in September fell 0.8%, slightly more than the 0.7% estimated earlier. Economists were looking for a 0.2% increase for October.
On a monthly basis, production of capital goods increased 1% in October, while intermediate goods output climbed 0.6%. Production of durable consumer goods as well as non-durable consumer goods remained stable. Output from energy decreased 1.2%. On an annual basis, industrial production rose 3.8% in October, better than a revised 3.3% increase in September. Initially, the September rise was recorded as 3.5%. Economists had expected an annual growth of 3.7% in industrial output.
In the EU27, output from industries climbed by a seasonally adjusted 0.5%, compared to a fall of 0.6% in September, revised down from 0.5%.
Eurozone inflation hit a six-year high of 3.1 per cent in November, according to revised figures that will encourage the European Central Bank to keep talking tough on future interest rate moves. Preliminary figures had shown an annual inflation rate of 3 per cent, up from 2.6 per cent in October. The upwards revision highlights the impact of the global surge in oil and food prices.
ECB forecasts show eurozone inflation returning to its target of an annual rate "below but close" to 2 per cent in 2009. But Yves Mersch, Luxembourg`s central bank governor, said the forecasts assumed that higher oil and food prices would not push up wage settlements.
The euro zone had a higher-than-expected trade surplus in October despite a continued rise in the euro as exports grew faster than imports, the European Union`s statistics office said. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the trade surplus of the 13 countries using the euro totalled 6.1 billion euros ($8.75 billion), up from 2.4 billion a year before and 3.7 billion in September, Eurostat said. Economists polled by Reuters had on average expected a surplus of 4.1 billion euros for October. Exports grew by 11 percent year-on-year in October, while imports rose 8 percent. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus was 4 billion euros, up from 3.6 billion in September with exports up 2.3 percent against the previous month and imports rising 2.0 percent. More detailed data for October was not yet available, but January-September figures showed substantial increases in the trade surplus with Britain and a fall in the trade gap with Russia compared with the same period of 2006.
Economic growth in Eurozone would be only about 2,0% in 2008. This view was outlined by Michael Deppler, IMF Director for Europe, at the Council of Economics and Finance Ministers (Eurogroup) in Bruxelles. Joaquín Almunia, Commissioner responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs, agreed with M. Depplerom. He`s declared, that the European Commission will be compelled to lower even more the forecast for economic growth of Eurozone next year in case of preservation of the high prices for oil, strong euro and the limited conditions for loans. Earlier, the European Commission has published the forecast for economic growth in Eurozone (13 states) and 27 countries of the European Union. It said that economic growth in Eurozone would slow down to 2,2% in 2008 in comparison with the current forecast for 2007 - 2,6%.

Economy of Asia

Japan`s economy grew less than originally thought in the third quarter because of a downward revision in corporate capital investment, the government said, clouding the outlook for the world`s No. 2 economy. The economy expanded at a 1.5 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, worse than the preliminary estimate of 2.6 percent, according to figures released by the Cabinet Office. The disappointing numbers come amid worries that Japan`s growth might take a hit from a possible slowdown in the U.S. economy, which is wrestling with a credit crisis, as well as higher raw material prices. Capital spending, which accounts for 15 percent of gross domestic product, was revised down to a 1.1 percent on-quarter rise from a preliminary 1.7 percent increase. Inventories subtracted 0.1 percentage point from growth. Consumer spending, which makes up about 55 percent of the economy, was unchanged from a preliminary 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter rise.
Japan`s industrial output fell a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in November from a month earlier as semiconductor processing equipment makers and semiconductor chip makers reduced production, according to preliminary data released by the government on Friday. The rise in factory output was slightly smaller than the market`s consensus forecast for a fall of 1.7 percent and followed a 1.7 percent rise in October. Year-on-year, industrial output increased 2.9 percent in November after rising by 4.7 percent in the previous month. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry predicted that industrial output will rise by 4.0 percent in December from November, but will stay flat in January from December. The ministry maintained its view that the trend in industrial output is gradually picking up. "Industrial output has maintained a firm trend, but we would like to watch closely if there will be any fallout from the subprime loan mess and adverse impact from the introduction of tighter building permits", - a ministry official said.
The economists of eight scientific research institutes said the japanese economy will grow 2.1 percent in price-adjusted real terms in FY 2008. They predicted investments in housing market to grow 10.0 percent and export to increase 5.0 percent. Earlier, Bank of Japan said the Japanese economy will grow 2.0 percent in in the fiscal year starting from April, backed by firm domestic demand under stable prices. The GDP deflator, one of the broadest measures of price trends that is used to derive real GDP from nominal GDP by adjusting for price changes, is seen rising 0.1 percent in fiscal 2008/09, which would be the first rise in more than a decade. Underlining tepid inflation, the overall consumer price index is expected to rise 0.3 percent in fiscal 2008/09, following a 0.2 percent gain expected in the current fiscal year, according to the projections. This year Japan`s GDP will grow 1.3 percent.

Economy of Russia

Russia`s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.7% in January-November, the Economic Development and trade Ministry said Thursday. In November, GDP grew 7.4%. GDP growth remained high in November 2007, although it slowed a little compared to October. Monthly GDP growth averaged an impressive 0.6 percent, net of seasonal factors. Russia`s fast economic development was triggered by high investment and consumer demand and foreign trade growth. Industrial output rose 6.3% on the year in January-November. In November, industrial output rose 4.7% on the year. Fixed asset investment rose 17.2% on the year in November. The figure for January-November was not provided. In January-November 2006, GDP rose 6.8%, the ministry said earlier. The ministry said earlier that it expected GDP to grow 7.6%, fixed asset investment to increase 20% and industrial output to increase 6.0% in 2007.
Russia`s industrial output increased 6.3 percent in January-November 2007 compared to the same period in 2006, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service reported today. Industrial production grew 4.7 percent in November 2007 compared to that of the same month a year earlier, but slid 0.8 percent from the previous month. Processing industry grew 9.4 percent during the first eleven months of 2007 compared to January-November 2006, contributing the most to overall industrial growth. The primary sector edged up 2 percent, while the production and distribution of energy, gas, and water dropped 1.3 percent. In January-October 2007 Russia`s industrial output grew 6.5% year-on-year. Industrial growth in October increased 6.1% year-on-year.
Russia`s trade surplus dropped 13.3 percent to $104.2 billion in January-October 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier, the Federal Custom Service (FCS) reported. According to the FCS, the foreign trade turnover increased 19.9%, to $452.5 billion in the reporting period. Exports amounted to $278.4 billion in January-July 2007, an increase of 11.9 percent from the same period of 2006. Imports totaled $174.2 billion, up 35.4 percent in the reporting period compared to the first seven months of 2006. Russia`s foreign trade surplus is expected to reach $129bn-103bn in 2007, down from $140bn in 2006, head of the Economy Ministry`s macroeconomic forecasting department Andrei Klepach said. Current account balance has dwindled as well to some $78bn compared to $96bn a year earlier. According to the Economy Ministry, trade surplus will drop to $13bn by 2010 and shift to a trade deficit in 2011. Current account balance will become negative as well by 2010, the ministry estimates.
The Russian Economy Ministry has raised its GDP growth estimates for 2007 from 7.4 to 7.6 percent, as stated in Minister Elvira Nabiullina`s report. The increase has been driven by the acceleration of economic growth in 2007. As reported earlier, GDP grew 6.6 percent during the previous year. To a large degree, economic growth was underpinned by a high level of investment activity. Fixed investment is expected to be up nearly 20 percent by the end of 2007, prompted largely by private investment growth. Investment from federal sources does not exceed 19 percent, having shrunk considerably over the past three years. Moreover, a significantly faster-then-expected rate of inflation was indicated as an alarming signal in the Economy Minister`s report. - 30.12.2007 14:02