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30.06.2008 21:08 Euro zone inflation leapt to a record 4.0 percent in June 2008

Euro zone inflation leapt to a record 4.0 percent in June, the European Union statistics office said, cementing expectations that the European Central Bank will raise interest rates when it meets on July 3. "We think a hike this week is a done deal", said Stephane Deo, chief European economist at UBS bank. "It`s a bit of a shocker," said Gilles Moec, an economist at Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people ) who like many others had predicted a marginally lower figure of 3.9 percent for the annual inflation rate. The inflation-fighting ECB holds a meeting of its Governing Council on Thursday and is widely expected to raise its key interest rate to 4.25 percent from 4.0 percent, even though the economy appears to be slowing markedly. June`s inflation rate of 4.0 percent year-on-year compared with 3.7 percent in May and marked a further departure from the ECB target of just below 2 percent for medium-term inflation. Euro zone interest rate futures extended falls and short-dated bond yields rose after the data.

27.06.2008 20:35 Japan Q1 GDP growth was revised up to 4.0 percent on higher capital spending

The Japanese economy grew at a faster pace than previously estimated in the first quarter due to an increase in corporate capital spending, government data showed. Gross domestic product rose 1.0 percent, in real terms, in the three months to March from the fourth quarter of 2007, or an annualised rate of 4.0 percent, according to revised data from the Cabinet Office. It was the fastest pace of growth since January-March 2007 when the economy expanded 1.1 percent on quarter and at an annualised rate of 4.5 percent, the Cabinet Office said. The government reported last month that GDP grew 0.8 percent during the quarter and at annualised 3.3 percent. Economists had expected annualised growth to come in between 3.7 percent and 4.0 percent. But many are saying the momentum may fizzle in coming quarters and could even contract in the current quarter amid a slowing global economy and high commodity prices. The biggest contributor to the upward revision in GDP was non-residential investment, which accounts for about 15 percent of the world`s second-largest economy. Non-residential investment, which is equivalent to corporate capital spending, rose 0.2 percent, a reversal from the initial estimate of a 0.9 percent fall. Still, that was far slower than the 1.2 percent increase in the last quarter of 2007 as Japanese companies cut back on spending due to higher material costs and sluggish demand at home and abroad. Private consumption, which makes up nearly 55 percent of GDP, rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter, in line with the preliminary reading, thanks to increased spending on heating charges amid the cold weather condition as well as the relatively high growth in wages. Elsewhere, net exports - or the difference between exports and imports - pushed up GDP by 0.5 percentage point, thanks to strong exports to Europe and Asia which more than offset falling shipments to the United States. Housing investment rose 4.6 percent, the first positive reading in five quarters. It followed a 9.2 percent fall in the fourth quarter, which was the biggest decline since April-June 1997 as the sector reeled from tighter building regulations implemented since last June. The GDP deflator, the broadest gauge of deflation, was down by 1.5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared to the preliminary estimate of a 1.4 percent drop.

23.06.2008 22:23 IMF said US slowdown less than feared

The slowdown in the US economy is not as strong as previously estimated, the International Monetary Fund said, lifting its growth estimates slightly for 2008 and 2009. The IMF forecast annual growth of roughly one percent in 2008 and 0.8 percent in 2009, compared with a prior estimate of 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. "The slowdown in activity in the United States has been less than feared, and recovery should begin next year as important headwinds are overcome," the IMF said in its annual review of the world`s largest economy. In April, the Fund`s economists had predicted the U.S. economy would contract slightly and warned the U.S. credit crisis was threatening to cause a global recession. The IMF praised the Federal Reserve`s handling of the financial crisis and urged the U.S. central bank to keep interest rates low. However, the IMF also said the Federal Reserve may need to act quickly and raise interest rates to counter the threat of inflation. An IMF official, First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky, also said the U.S. may face further fallout from rising fuel and commodity prices.

16.06.2008 22:48 Industrial production up by 0.9% in euro area in April 2008

European industrial production unexpectedly rose in April, as gains in France and Italy countered weakness in Germany, the region`s largest economy. Industrial output in the 15 nations that share the euro jumped 0.9 percent in April from the previous month, the European Union`s statistics office in Luxembourg said. Economists forecast no change in April production, according to the median of 35 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Production may slow in coming months as the euro`s increase against the dollar erodes export competitiveness and global economic growth cools. An index of European manufacturing declined in May, according to figures published June 2. In April, production in France and Italy may have been boosted by the early timing of Easter, which added more working days, according to economists at Lehman Brothers and UniCredit MIB. Industrial production in France jumped 1.4 percent in April from March, the statistics office said today, and production in Italy rose 0.7 percent. In Germany, production fell 0.7 percent. Production of capital goods increased 2 percent in April from the previous month, rebounding from a 1.6 percent drop in March. Durable consumer goods rose 1.7 percent in the latest month, while energy output fell 1.4 percent. From a year earlier, overall euro-area industrial output rose 3.9 percent. In March, production fell 0.5 percent from the prior month, more than the 0.2 percent drop initially reported.

10.06.2008 22:50 World Bank cuts 2008 global GDP growth forecast due to oil, food prices

The World Bank cut its 2008 global growth forecast to 2.7%, citing rising food and oil prices. In January 2008, the bank predicted that global growth would total 3.3% for the year. The global economy grew 3.7% in 2007. Further, the bank now sees 2008 emerging market GDP growth totaling 6.5%, down from its earlier 7.8% forecast. The bank called high energy and food prices "a major worry" and added that they "are the dominant force behind increased inflation across developing countries". Also, the World Bank expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.1% in 2008, a downward revision from the bank`s earlier 1.9% forecast. Meanwhile, the bank expects Europe`s 15-nation euro zone to grow 1.7%, down from the earlier estimate of 2.8%. Japan`s economy is expected to grow 1.4%, down from the earlier estimate of 2%. Further, the World Bank also sees a considerable slowdown in China`s economy in 2008, but GDP growth is still expected to remain very strong. The bank now sees China`s GDP increasing 9.4%, down from the earlier 11.9% estimate. The World Bank`s revised GDP growth forecasts for 2008 and 2009 by region are: Euro zone, 1.7% and 1.5%; Europe and Central Asia, 5.8% and 5.4%; South Asia, 6.6% and 7.2%; Latin America, 4.5% and 4.3%; Middle East and North Africa, 5.5% and 5.3%; and Sub-Saharan Africa, 6.3% and 5.6%.

06.06.2008 21:17 Japan`s gdp growth is forecasted to slow in the second quarter

Japan`s economy is at a difficult stage as soaring oil prices bite and growth in exports slows somewhat, former Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Kazumasa Iwata said on Monday. Iwata also said at his first news conference as head of the Cabinet Office`s Economic and Social Research Institute that the government`s research body would continue its efforts to brush up its method to better calculate gross domestic product (GDP) data amid criticism that GDP figures fluctuate too much after revisions. Iwata, who retired from the central bank in March when his five-year term as one of the two deputy governors expired, declined to comment on the BOJ`s monetary policy. Japan`s industrial production and capital spending are flat and growth in corporate profits is slowing, though at high levels, Iwata said, noting that prices of oil and food prices kept rising. "Exports have been firm but recently their growth has somewhat slowed," Iwata said. "The economy is at a difficult stage." Iwata said Japan`s economy was gradually overcoming a decade of deflation, although it was too early to say deflation was completely over. Japan`s economic growth is expected to slow to 1.7 percent this year and to 1.5 percent in 2009, compared with 2.1 percent last year, the OECD predicted. Economists forecast Japan`s GDP will grow 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

03.06.2008 21:22 Euro zone Q1 GDP growth revised to 0.8 pct from 0.7

Euro zone GDP growth grew 0.8 percent in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of last year, and was up 2.2 percent year-on-year, EU statistics office Eurostat said. The figures show an upward revision to provisional figures reported on May 15. Eurostat provisionally put first quarter growth at 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter. Its year-on-year estimate was unchanged. Eurostat revised its fourth quarter figures to a quarter-on-quarter rise of 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent and to a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent. The agency gave a breakdown of first quarter GDP for the first time. It said household consumption rose 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter and investment rose 1.6 percent. Government spending rose 0.4 percent and inventories increased by 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, exports increased 1.9 percent and imports rose 1.8 percent. Household consumption made a positive contribution of 0.1 percentage points to the quarterly GDP figure, while investment made a positive contribution of 0.4 points. Changes in inventories made a positive contribution of 0.2 points and government spending accounted for 0.1 percentage points of the GDP increase. Net exports contributed 0.1 points.

29.05.2008 20:55 US Q1 economic growth revised higher to 0.9% pace

US economic momentum posted a 0.9 percent annual growth pace in the first quarter of the year, the government said Thursday in a report which calmed the nerves of some economists. In its initial revision of first quarter gross domestic product (GDP), the Commerce Department hiked its estimate compared with an prior assumption that pegged growth at a lackluster 0.6 percent. The revision, largely in line with expectations, bolsters the stance of some economists who believe the world`s largest economy will avoid a recession despite a deep housing slump, a related credit crunch and soaring oil prices. The revised reading left consumer spending, a critical driver of economic growth, pegged at a 1.0 percent growth rate which marked a considerable moderation from the fourth quarter`s 2.3 percent. Consumer spending on services showed a 3.0 percent growth clip compared with a lesser 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, but spending on durable goods declined 6.2 percent against a positive 2.0 percent in the prior quarter. Real residential fixed investment, which tracks new home construction, slumped 25.5 percent during the quarter after falling a similar 25.2 percent during the last three months of 2007. Business spending outside housing declined 0.2 percent in the quarter, following a 6.0 percent gain in the prior three month period. The combined exports of goods and services added 0.80 percentage points to growth, partly as exports were propped up by the ailing dollar. Exports grew 2.8 percent during the period while imports fell 2.6 percent. Some imported goods have become more pricey for Americans to purchase because the dollar has fallen sharply in value against foreign currencies. An inflation barometer in the report showed a key price index linked to GDP rose 3.5 percent while core prices, excluding food and energy costs, rose at a 2.1 percent clip. First quarter growth will be revised a final time in coming weeks.

27.05.2008 22:48 Russia`s year-on-year GDP grew 8.4 percent in April 2008

Russia`s GDP grew 8.4 pct year-on-year in April and 8.3 pct in the first fourth months of 2008, a deputy Russian economics minister said. Andrei Klepach said the GDP forecast for 2008 was 7.6 pct, compared to 8.1 pct in 2007. The minister said growth has been boosted by strong investment activity and consumer demand. Russia`s industrial output grew 6.9 pct year-on-year in January-April, the state statistics service Rosstat said. In April, output grew 14.5 pct year-on-year in manufacturing industries and 28.8 pct in car production.

23.05.2008 22:12 Russia`s unemployment grew 4.2 pct y/y in April, year-to-date inflation - 7.2 pct

The number of unemployed in Russia grew by 4.2 percent on year to 5 million in April, which accounts for 6.6 percent of the economically active population, Russia`s Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported. The unemployment sank 3.3 percent vs. March. The number of unemployed in Russia lowered 0.6 percent on year from January through April, Rosstat reported. The country`s population declined by 80,900 (or 0.06 percent) in the first quarter to 141.9 million by April 1. The population reduction could be primarily blamed on the natural loss, which, however, went down by 26,700 on year from January through March. The migration grew by 41.9 percent during the period. The number of births grew in 80 constituents of Russia, and the number of deaths was up in 58 constituents. Overall, the country`s death toll was 1.3 fold above the birthrate in the first quarter (vs. 1.4 fold a year earlier). Russia`s inflation stood at 0.3 percent between May 13 and May 19, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported today. Meanwhile, month-to-date inflation amounted to 0.8 percent and year-to-date inflation was 7.2 percent, compared to 0.6 percent and 4.5 percent respectively in 2007. Granulated sugar and polished rice prices saw the highest increase over the previous week (2.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively).


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