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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%.

15.02.2008 23:37 Eurozone GDP rose 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2007

Eurozone quarterly GDP rose 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2007, down from the previous period`s 0.8% increase but marginally higher than the consensus 0.3% increase. Annual GDP rose 2.3% in Q4 compared to forecasts for a 2.2% increase and previous 2.7% gain. All individual euro-members experienced quarter-over-quarter GDP gains in the fourth quarter, with Germany growing by 0.3%, Spain by 0.8%, Portugal by 0.7% and France by 0.3%. On the other hand, Portugal`s economy contracted in the third quarter, shrinking 0.1% quarter-over-quarter, while Germany, France and Spain had all witnessed GDP expansion during the same period, growing 0.7%, 0.8% and 0.7% respectively. Growth in the Eurozone GDP is expected to be between 1.6 and 1.8 pct in 2008.

12.02.2008 22:13 Russia`s GDP could grow 7.0% in 2008 instead of the planned 6.6%

Russia`s GDP could grow by 7.0% in 2008 instead of the planned 6.6%, while food prices are unlikely to follow last year`s trend of sharp increases, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. Speaking in Japan at a meeting of finance ministers from the G7 group of industrialized nations plus Russia, Kudrin said Russia had a good chance of keeping inflation within 8.5% in 2008. According to Russia`s statistics service, the country`s GDP grew 8.1% in 2007. In the past five years, the Russian economy has grown at an annual rate of 7% plus, except for 2005, when GDP expanded 6.4%. In 2006, GDP grew 7.4%. Inflation in Russia stood at 11.9% in 2007, exceeding the government`s initial target of 8% for last year. Inflation in 2006 was 9%, in line with government targets.

07.02.2008 22:39 Russia`s trade surplus stood at $152.8bn in 2007 vs $163.4 in 2006

Russia`s trade surplus stood at $152.8bn in 2007, which is 6.49 percent lower than a year earlier, the Russian Federal Customs Service reported. Meanwhile, Russia`s foreign trade jumped 25.8 percent to $552.2bn compared to 2006, including trade worth $469.8bn with countries outside the CIS (up 25.5 percent) and $82.4bn with the CIS (up 27.4 percent). Russia`s exports amounted to $352.5bn (up 17 percent), including $299.9bn worth of goods exported to countries outside the CIS up (15.8-percent increase), and $52.6bn worth of goods sold to the CIS ( 24.3-percent rise). Imports totaled $199.7bn, up 44.9 percent from the previous year, including $169.9bn worth of goods received from countries outside the CIS (up 47.2 percent), and $29.8bn (up 33.4 percent) from the CIS.


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