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31.01.2008 22:30 US GDP slows to 0.6% in fourth quarter, 2.2% in 2007

The U.S. economy barely grew in the fourth quarter, pulled down by a worsening slump in housing and heightened caution by consumers and businesses, the Commerce Department reported. The 0.6% annualized growth rate in gross domestic product was lower than the 1.1% expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The drag from inventories was larger than expected. Consumer spending and business investments slowed slightly in the fourth quarter, while investments in houses fell at the fastest rate in 26 years. Businesses reduced their inventories. Exports grew at a slower pace as well. The economy grew at a 4.9% pace in the third quarter. For all of 2007, GDP grew 2.2%, the slowest growth since 2002. GDP increased at a 2.9% rate in 2006.

30.01.2008 20:56 Russian industrial output up 6.3 percent in 2007

Russia`s annual industrial output growth quickened to 6.3 percent in 2007 from 3.9 percent in 2006 due to rapid expansion of the manufacturing sector, the Federal Statistics Service said. Manufacturing rose 9.3 percent last year, while mining output increased 1.9 percent. Production and distribution of electricity, gas and water was down 0.2 percent from 2006. "I think this is a good result, which shows that industrial production supports high rates of economic growth," said Natalia Orlova, analyst at Alfa Bank. "These numbers show that the competitiveness of Russian producers is declining as a result of the rouble strengthening, but they are still good to measure by global standards," she said. In December, industrial production rose 6.5 percent compared with 4.7 percent in November and 1.9 percent in December 2006.

29.01.2008 21:48 Russia`s GDP climbed 7.8 percent in 2007 and 8.4 percent in December

Russia`s GDP climbed 8.4 percent in December 2007 compared to the same month a year earlier, and annual GDP growth is estimated at 7.7-7.8 percent, Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She noted that the GDP growth rate was rather high and that investments in Russia`s economy increased 24 percent in December 2007, the Vesti TV channel reported today. Nabiullina also noted that thanks to this increase, annual investment estimate for 2007 went up from 20 percent to 21.1 percent. The Minister also pointed out high growth of retail sales, as well as steady increase in industrial production, which amounted to 6.5 percent in the last month of 2007. Russia`s GDP growth is estimated to be 6.7 percent in 2008, 6.3 percent in 2009, and 6.4 percent in 2010.

26.01.2008 13:30 Japan`s trade surplus dropped 20.9 percent to 877.87 billion yen from a year earlier

Japan`s merchandise trade surplus fell for the second straight month in December as higher crude oil prices inflated imports and exports to the US dropped for the fourth month in a row, the Ministry of Finance said. The trade surplus dropped 20.9 percent to 877.87 billion yen from a year earlier, smaller than the market`s consensus forecast for a surplus of 926.9 billion yen. The fall followed a 12.2 percent decline in November. Imports increased 12.1 percent to a record 6.559 trillion yen as the average price of crude oil rose 54.6 percent to a record 90.60 dollars per barrel. Exports rose by a moderate 6.9 percent to 7.437 trillion yen, rising for the 49th straight month, on higher shipments of cars and telecommunications equipment.

23.01.2008 23:33 Russian industrial production grew 6.3% in 2007 y-o-y

Russia`s industrial production rose 6.5% in December and 6.3% in 2007, year on year, the Federal Statistics Service 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. "For now, we can say that the financial crisis has had no negative impact on Russia`s economic growth" - Yarislav Lisovolik, a Deutsche Bank expert, said. "This gives us reason to hope that Russia will successfully cope with the new crisis, which erupted in January". Deutsche Bank forecasts 6.2% growth in industrial production, with GDP reaching 7.0% in 2008.

22.01.2008 21:31 World financial crisis will have no major impact on Russia

A senior Russian Central Bank official said on Tuesday that the ongoing crisis on the world financial markets would have no major implications for Russian banks. Gennady Melikyan, the bank`s first deputy chairman, said that a crisis would not prove "fatal" for the Russian banking system as its resources and financial instruments would allow it to come through any difficulties largely unscathed. He said the crisis in the West would continue, since "the Western financial system has yet to restructure radically." Asked how the decline in stock exchange indexes could affect Russian banks, he replied that, "our banks are not so stupid: they have already dumped securities that are now depreciating." He said Russian banks started reducing their securities portfolio - by 2.3% in August, 12.2% in September, and 12.6% in October 2007, adding however, that in November and December their securities portfolio had grown somewhat. Melikyan said Russian banks had shown a record equity capital growth in 2007 of 57%. "That is an absolute record," he said, adding that the CBR`s figures were not final, but only an estimate. He also said Russian banks had increased their assets last year by a total of 43% (as compared to 44.1% in 2006), reaching 20.08 trillion rubles ($800 billion) by the year`s end.

16.01.2008 21:13 U.S. Industrial Production Was Unchanged in December 2007

Industrial production in the U.S. was greater than forecast in December as growth in exports helped make up for weakness in auto and housing-related industries. Production at factories, mines and utilities was unchanged following a 0.3 percent increase in November, Federal Reserve figures showed today. Economists had forecast a decline in production. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, fell to 81.4 percent from 81.6 percent the prior month. Utility production fell 0.2 percent after two months of no change, the report showed. Mining output, which includes oil drilling, increased 0.1 percent last month, after rising 1 percent.

16.01.2008 00:13 Industrial production down by 0.5% in euro area, down by 0.3% in EU27

In November 2007 compared with October 2007, seasonally adjusted industrial production1 fell by 0.5% in the euro area (EA13) and by 0.3% in the EU27. In October production grew by 0.5% in both zones. In November 2007 compared with November 2006, industrial production rose by 2.7% in the euro area and by 2.6% in the EU27. These estimates are released by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. In November 2007 compared with October 2007, production of energy increased by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.3% in the EU27. Non-durable consumer goods grew by 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. Intermediate goods fell by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.5% in the EU27. Capital goods decreased by 0.7% and 0.6% respectively. Durable consumer goods declined by 1.9% in the euro area and by 1.4% in the EU27. In November 2007 compared with November 2006, production of energy increased by 6.2% in the euro area and by 4.2% in the EU27. Capital goods grew by 3.7% and 4.2% respectively. Non-durable consumer goods rose by 1.9% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27. Intermediate goods gained 1.8% in both zones. Durable consumer goods fell by 3.4% in the euro area and by 1.0% in the EU27.

11.01.2008 21:19 U.N. sees rising risk of world economic recession

The world economy faces serious challenges in sustaining the strong economic growth of the last few years in 2008, the United Nations said in World Economic Situation and Prospects 2008 released Wednesday in New York. The baseline forecast of the United Nations is for world economic growth to moderate to 3.4 percent this year, following the trend line down from 3.9 percent in 2006 and 3.7 percent in 2007. But there is a clear and present danger of the world economy coming to a near standstill, the annual report warned. In the second half of 2007, the bursting of the housing market bubble in the United States and the unfolding credit crisis have induced uncertainty across global financial markets. This together with the decline of the U.S. dollar and the unresolved problem of the large global imbalances could combine to further drag world output down. To prevent this from happening, the United Nations advised concerted international policy action to address the global imbalances and calm currency markets.

09.01.2008 21:42 Euro zone Q3 GDP growth revised to 0.8 pct from 0.7 pct

Euro zone GDP grew 0.8 pct in the third quarter from the second quarter, and was up 2.7 pct year-on-year, EU statistics office Eurostat said. The figures show an upward revision to provisional figures reported on Nov 30. Eurostat previously put Q3 quarter growth at 0.7 pct quarter-on-quarter and 2.7 pct year-on-year. In the second quarter, GDP was up 0.3 pct from the first quarter and was up 2.5 pct year-on-year. Among the components of third-quarter GDP, Eurostat revised its estimate for investment to a rise of 1.2 pct from 0.9 pct growth. It confirmed that household consumption rose 0.5 pct quarter-on-quarter and that government spending was up 0.6 pct. Meanwhile, exports increased 2.2 pct and imports rose 2.6 pct, compared with earlier figures of 2.5 pct and 2.7 pct respectively. Household consumption made a positive contribution of 0.3 percentage points to the quarterly GDP figure, while investment made a positive contribution of 0.3 points. Net exports made a negative contribution of 0.2 points. Euro-zone GDP growth is expected to slow to 0.5 pct in the fourth quarter of last year and to 0.4 pct in the first and second quarters of 2008, according to the main economic institutes of Germany, France and Italy.


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