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17.10.2008 21:05 U.S. industrial production fell 2.8% in September 2008, most since 1974

Industrial production in the U.S. fell in September by the most in almost 34 years as hurricanes and an aircraft strike combined with the credit crunch to weaken manufacturing. The 2.8 percent decrease in production at factories, mines and utilities exceeded forecasts and followed a revised 1 percent decrease in August, the Federal Reserve said today. For the third quarter, output fell at an annual rate of 6 percent, the biggest decline since 1991. Last month`s Gulf Coast hurricanes accounted for 2.25 percentage points of the decline in industrial production, and a strike at Boeing Co. accounted for most of the rest of the drop, the Fed said. Frozen credit markets and higher borrowing costs will force consumers and companies to further trim purchases of expensive items such as cars and machinery. Last month`s decline in output was the biggest since December 1974. Industrial production was forecast to fall 0.8 percent after a previously reported 1.1 percent drop, according to the median estimate of 73 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Projections ranged from a gain of 0.1 percent to a drop of 2.8 percent. Factory output, which accounts for about four-fifths of industrial production, fell 2.6 percent after a 0.9 percent decrease the prior month. Utility production rose 2.2 percent after dropping 3.1 percent. Mining output, which includes oil drilling, decreased 7.8 percent, after no change in August. Oil production operations and other facilities were shut down because of Hurricane Ike, which made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas on Sept. 13, less than two weeks after Hurricane Gustav struck Louisiana. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, fell to 76.4 percent from 78.7 percent the prior month. Industrial capacity utilization was estimated to fall to 77.9 percent according to the Bloomberg survey median, from an originally reported 78.7 percent in September that was the lowest level in almost four years. Motor vehicle and parts production increased 1.9 percent following an 11.3 percent drop the prior month, the report said. Production of consumer durable goods, including automobiles, furniture and electronics, fell 0.7 percent.

15.10.2008 21:50 Russia`s industrial production grew 5.4 percent in January-September 2008

Russia`s industrial production index stood at 105.4 percent in January-September 2008 compared with the same period of the previous year, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in a statement. In September alone, the index reached 106.3 percent compared to September 2007, whereas in August 2008 it amounted to 101.4 percent against the same month a year earlier. The primary sector saw only a small increase of 0.5 percent in January-September, while manufacturing industries enjoyed a 7.7-percent rise, and the production and distribution of electricity, gas, and water grew 4.3 percent.

08.10.2008 22:16 IMF forecasts the world economy to slow sharply in 2008-2009, led by US

The world economy will slow sharply this year and next, with the United States likely sliding into recession reflecting mounting damage from the most dangerous financial jolt in more than a half-century. The International Monetary Fund, in a World Economic Outlook released Wednesday, slashed growth projections for the global economy and predicted the United States the epicenter of the financial meltdown will continue to lose traction. The IMF now projects that the global economy, which grew by a hardy 5 percent last year, will lose considerable speed, slowing to 3.9 percent this year. It is forecast to weaken even more - to just 3 percent - next year, marking the worst showing since 2002. In the past, the IMF has called global growth of 3 percent or less the equivalent to a global recession. In the United States, the economy, which grew by 2 percent last year, is projected to slow to 1.6 percent this year. Growth would screech to a virtual halt in 2009, barely budging at just 0.1 percent. That would mark the worst showing since 1991, when the country was pulling out of a recession. Looking at other countries, Germany`s growth will slow to 1.8 percent this year, down from 2.5 percent last year. France`s growth will weaken to just 0.8 percent, compared with 2.2 percent in 2007. Britain`s economy will see growth taper to 1 percent, down from 3 percent last year. Canada`s growth will tail off to 0.7 percent this year, from 2.7 percent last year. In Japan, growth will cool to just 0.7 percent, from 2.1 percent last year. Global powerhouses China and India will see growth clock in this year at a robust 9.7 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. Even if those projections prove correct, they would still mark downgrades from their blistering performances last year. Russia`s economy should grow by a brisk 7 percent this year, down from 8.1 percent last year. Inflation around the world remains high, driven up by surging energy and food prices through much of this year.

06.10.2008 20:33 Credit-market deterioration in the second half of September is enough to push the U.S. economy into recession

Credit-market deterioration in the second half of September is enough to push the U.S. economy into recession, forecasters for the National Association for Business Economics say in their latest survey. The 48 economists in the NABE panel say gross domestic product will decline 1.1% this quarter and 0.5% in the first quarter of 2009 if credit conditions dont improve by year end. The survey was taken last Wednesday and Thursday as a follow-up to a NABE poll of its forecasters in mid-September. In the earlier survey, the panel said GDP would increase 0.1% essentially flat performance in the current quarter and a 1.3% increase next year according to the median view of forecasts. The weak credit markets also mean higher unemployment. The jobless rate would hit 7% by mid-2009 under current conditions, compared to the 6.4% estimated in the initial survey, the panelists said. For 2009, the NABE follow-up survey last week said the governments $700 billion rescue plan would blunt much of the economic decline that might otherwise develop. Real GDP growth in 2009 would be about 0.75 percentage point lower next year without the governments plan, and the unemployment rate at the end of next year would be half a percentage point higher. In addition, stock prices measured by the S&P 500 would be 10% lower by the end of this year than theyd be if no plan were in place, the panel said.

28.09.2008 21:40 US GDP has grown at a 2.8% pace in the second quarter of the year

US economy has run at a faster pace from April to June than in the first three months of the year, although not as fast as expected by the analysts, according to data released by the US Commerce Department. Real Gross Domestic Product has grown at a 2.8% pace in the second quarter of the year, up from the 0.9% increase posted in the first quarter, although preliminary estimations had advanced a 3.3% GDP growth in the quarter. This economic acceleration comes, mainly from exports, real personal consumption expenditures, non-residential structures, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, partially offset by negative contributions on private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and equipment and software. The Price Index for Gross Domestic Purchases has increased 4.2% in the second quarter, up from the 3.5% increase posted in the first quarter. Excluding food and energy, the Core GDP Price index has grown at a 2.2% pace, the same as in the first quarter. Personal consumption expenditures rose 1.2% in the second quarter, up from the 0.9% increase posted in the first quarter.

25.09.2008 21:37 The International Monetary Fund cuts Russia GDP forecasts for 2008 and 2009

The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for Russia and said it had told Moscow not to intervene on the equity market or use its national wealth fund to give loans to commercial banks. While it saw no systemic risk to the banking system from the global financial market turmoil, the IMF cut its 2008 growth forecast to 7.1 percent from 7.8 percent, and its 2009 forecast to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent from 7.3 percent. "The less favourable external environment and the downturn in Russian financial markets will cause some weakening in GDP growth," said Poul Thomsen, the deputy director of the European department of the IMF. "But Russia is well positioned to avoid a sharp and lasting reduction in growth, provided the policy response is appropriate and timely," he added. He said the IMF`s 13.8 percent inflation forecast for 2008 was "subject to more uncertainty" in the current environment. The IMF sees net capital inflows into Russia of between zero and $15 billion in the full-year 2008, down from a record of more than $80 billion seen last year.

23.09.2008 23:04 Japan`s industrial production gained 1.3 percent in July 2008

Japan`s industrial production rebounded in July as demand in Asia helped exporters withstand a slump in shipments to the U.S. Factory output gained 1.3 percent from June, the Japanese government said. Japan`s output gap, a gauge of the economy`s supply and demand balance, was revised down to minus 0.4 percent for the April-June quarter, a research report by a Cabinet Office economist showed. That would mean supply exceeds demand in the economy, indicating weak inflationary pressure from the demand front. But annual inflation hit a decade high in July due largely to high fuel and food prices. Central banks see the output gap as an important variable for determining monetary policy as they try to balance growth, employment and inflation by tweaking interest rates. The downward revision to the output gap from an initial estimate of minus 0.2 percent -- the first negative reading in nearly two years -- was due to a revision to second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data released on Sept. 12. The world`s second-largest economy shrank by an annualised 3.0 percent in price-adjusted terms in the quarter, compared with an initial reading of a 2.4 percent contraction.

18.09.2008 20:43 Russia`s industrial production grew 5.3 percent in January-August 2008

Russia`s industrial production grew 5.3 percent in January-August 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said in a statement today. In August 2008, the industrial production index stood at 104.7 percent against August 2007 and 99.1 percent in comparison with July 2008. The primary sector saw only a small increase in industrial production (up 0.2 percent) in the first eight months of 2008 compared to the same period of 2007, while the figure climbed 7.6 percent in the manufacturing sector. Power, gas, and water production and distribution rose 4.2 percent, whereas oil output (including gas condensate) inched down 0.7 percent to 325m tonnes. Natural gas production edged up 1.2 percent to 434bn cubic meters, and energy output went up 4.1 percent to 680bn kilowatt-hours. The production of passenger cars and trucks jumped 19 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

15.09.2008 21:05 US Industrial Production declines 1.1% in August; Capacity Utilization at 78.7

Industrial production in the U.S. fell in August by the most in almost three years as the slowdown in consumer spending prompted automakers to cut back. The 1.1 percent decrease in production at factories, mines and utilities was more than forecast, Federal Reserve figures showed. Car output slumped 12 percent, the most in a decade, and declines ranged from semiconductors to building supplies. Industrial production was forecast to drop 0.3 percent, according to the median estimate of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. July`s reading was revised down to a 0.1 percent gain from the 0.2 percent previously estimated. The Fed`s production report also showed that capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, decreased to 78.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2004. Capacity was estimated to fall to 79.6 percent, according to the Bloomberg survey median. Factory output, which accounts for about four-fifths of industrial production, dropped 1 percent after a 0.1 percent increase the prior month, the report showed. Production at utilities fell 3.2 percent, reflecting a cooler August than usual, economists said. Mining output, which includes oil drilling, decreased 0.4 percent.

09.09.2008 22:19 Global economy faces its most difficult test in many years, says IMF`s Lipsky

The global economy faces its most difficult test in many years with growth slowing sharply as high commodity prices put pressure on inflation, a senior International Monetary Fund official said. IMF first deputy managing director John Lipsky said global growth was set to slow further in the second half of 2008, and continued financial sector strains were a major risk to the chances of recovery in 2009, on top of high oil prices. Commodity prices remained high and volatile, bringing risks of knock-on inflation effects, but recent sharp falls in oil prices should lessen short-term inflation pressures in the developed world, he told a conference. Central banks in advanced economies could afford to keep interest rates on hold. In regions with high real rates, they could look out for easing price pressures which would allow them to loosen policy later, he said. "Against the backdrop of protracted financial strains and dramatic surges in commodity prices, the global economy is confronted with its most difficult set of circumstances in many years," he said. "The good news is, we are only three to six months from the bottom, when the upturn begins." Speaking at the same conference, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the European Union needs to take urgent action to avoid a prolonged economic downturn and return to stronger growth. Lipsky said the IMF was still reviewing its forecasts, which are due to be updated in its World Economic Outlook next month. But the fund saw global growth slowing from 5 percent in 2007 to about 3 percent late in 2008, reaccelerating towards 4 percent in 2009. The IMF`s last forecasts in mid-July were for global growth of 4.1 percent in 2008 and 3.9 percent in 2009. A G20 source told Reuters last month that these would be downgraded to 3.9 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2009. Lipsky said the 2009 pickup would be driven by an unwinding of the effects of the past 50 percent increase in oil prices and a bottoming in the U.S. housing sector. Oil traded at a five-month low below $105 per barrel on Tuesday. In the United States, the IMF expected growth of about 1 percent in 2008 on a fourth-quarter-on-fourth-quarter basis, recovering gradually to about 1.5 percent in 2009, Lipsky said. This calculation was different from the annual growth rates forecast in its headline projections, he stressed. In mid-July, the IMF forecast U.S. growth of 0.3 percent in 2008 and 1.9 percent in 2009 on a Q4/Q4 basis, with full-year growth seen at 1.3 percent in 2008 and 0.7 percent in 2009. In the euro area, the IMF projected growth on a Q4/Q4 basis at about 0.75 percent in 2008 and about 1.5 percent in 2009, from 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively in mid-July. Lipsky said that although the IMF expected commodity prices to remain high in real terms, slower growth and cheaper oil should help to contain inflation pressure in advanced economies. "Thus, policymakers can afford to keep rates on hold in the face of elevated headline inflation, while watching closely for signs of easing price pressure that would permit a more accommodative stance in economies with relatively high real interest rates," he said. The European Central Bank held rates at 4.25 percent last week but is expected to cut them in mid-2009 and the Bank of England`s next move is also likely to be a cut. The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to stay on hold for now, after cutting rates in the past year. Lipsky said that in emerging markets inflation pressures were growing while real interest rates remained low and some central banks may be "behind the curve" with their monetary policy. "Policies in these instances need to be tightened, lest central banks run the risk that hard-won policy credibility could be eroded. In some cases, allowing greater exchange rate flexibility would provide room for operating a more independent monetary policy." The IMF saw growth in emerging and developing economies of just over 6 percent in 2008 on a Q4/Q4 basis, broadly in line with the IMF`s mid-July outlook.

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