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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).

22.05.2008 22:49 Russia`s Industrial Output Grew 9.2% in Aril, Way Above Forecast

Russia boosted industrial production 9.2% year-on-year in April - the biggest rise since the 10.3% seen in July 2007, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Production growth in April accelerated from 4.5% in January 2008, 7.5% in February and 6.5% in March. Analysts told Interfax in a consensus forecast that they thought industrial production would rise 6.9% in April. Production grew 6.9% year-on-year in January-April 2008 - as much as in the same period of last year. However it was April`s surge that enabled growth in the four months to be sustained, as production only grew 6.2% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with growth of 7.2% in the same period of last year. The manufacturing sector led the April growth, up 14.5% year-on- year (and up 10.2% in the four months). April production by the extractive sector in general only edged up 0.4% (up 0.6% in the four months), with oil and gas condensate production falling, by 0.7% (down 0.3% in the four months, to 161 million tonnes). However gas production increased, by 1.3% in April (1.4% year-on-year in the four months, to 234 billion cubic meters). The Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry is forecasting full-year industrial growth of 5.7%, however the analysts polled by Interfax at the end of April said they thought grow would be closer to 6.35. Industry grew 6.3% in 2007.

20.05.2008 21:18 Japan`s economy grows at 3.3 per cent rate in January-March 2008

The Japanese economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the first quarter due to brisk exports and consumer spending, government data showed, but economists are unsure the momentum will continue amid a shaky global economic outlook. Some economists think the positive surprise may have been due to the leap year factor, with an extra day in February boosting sales of consumer companies, and the story is unlikely to see a repeat in the coming quarters. The Cabinet Office said gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent in real terms in the January-March quarter and at an annualized rate of 3.3 percent. The growth beat market expectations. Ten economists polled by Thomson Financial News were looking at 0.4 percent growth for the quarter and an annualized pace of 1.5 percent, on average. The better-than-expected numbers came after the Cabinet Office revised down GDP growth for the October-December quarter to 0.6 percent from 0.9 percent as reported earlier while the annualized rate was tweaked to 2.6 percent from 3.5 percent. Net exports - or the difference between exports and imports - pushed up GDP by 0.5 percentage point. Consumer spending, which makes up 55 percent of Japan`s GDP, also helped the world`s second-largest economy expand. Private consumption rose 0.8 percent during the quarter, the fastest growth since October-December 2006 when it grew 1.1 percent.

17.05.2008 14:47 US April industrial production falls 0.7 pct, capacity utilization 79.7 pct

US industrial production fell faster than expected in April, led by reduced manufacturing of autos, business equipment and construction supplies. The Federal Reserve reported today that industrial production in April fell 0.7 pct, a larger drop than the 0.3 pct decline that was expected by economists polled by Thomson`s IFR Markets. March`s industrial production level was downwardly revised to a 0.2 pct increase, from the 0.3 pct increase initially reported. The Fed also reported today that April`s plant capacity use rate fell to 79.7 pct, the lowest level in the current downturn. However, April`s plant capacity rate is still just a bit below the 81.0 pct rate seen a year earlier. Economists were expecting plant capacity use to fall to 80.1 pct. The lower factory output for April was prompted by declines in a wide range of market groups. Production of auto and auto parts fell 7.8 pct, consumer goods fell 0.8 pct, and business equipment production fell 1.1 pct. "As was the case in March, factory output in April was held down by a large drop in the index for motor vehicles and parts; strikes and strike-related parts shortages resulted in suspended production at many facilities", the Fed said in its report. The Fed noted that excluding autos and auto parts production, manufacturing production fell 0.4 pct in April after rising 0.3 pct in March. Segmented by industry group, durable manufacturing fell 1.4 pct, while nondurable manufacturing fared better, fallling 0.1 pct. Mining production fell 0.8 pct, natural gas utilities fell 0.3 pct, and electric utilities rose 0.4 pct.

15.05.2008 22:46 Eurozone economic growth rebounds to 0.7 per cent in first quarter

Economic growth in the 15 eurozone countries rebounded to 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of the year, boosted by strong German figures, the European Union`s Eurostat data agency said. The initial estimates were higher than economists` predictions and well above the 0.4 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth recorded in the last quarter of 2007. Analysts welcomed the figures. But they also warned that the good news was unlikely to last amid weaker business confidence and a slowdown in orders as the strong euro and soaring oil prices, coupled with the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, hit consumers and businesses.

13.05.2008 21:38 China`s inflation rises to almost 12-year high

China`s inflation almost climbed to a 12-year high in April, swamping official efforts to cool surging living costs that could provoke unrest ahead of the Beijing Olympics. The government, which took further steps Monday to tame the inflation, faces the possibility of more sharp price hikes, some analysts warned. "Underlying inflationary pressures remain undiminished", Goldman Sachs economists Yu Song and Hong Liang said in a report. The government ordered banks to increase their reserves for a fourth time this year in a move meant to contain inflation by curbing lending, but it gave no indication whether it would boost interest rates. April`s consumer prices rose by 8.5 percent over the same month last year, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. That was a rebound from March`s 8.3 percent rate and below February`s 8.7 percent — the highest in 12 years. Premier Wen Jiabao has said taming inflation is Beijing`s priority. The government said in March it hoped to hold price rises to 4.8 percent this year — a target that looks increasingly unlikely. April inflation was driven by a 22.1 percent jump in food prices, including 68.3 percent for pork over the same month last year, 46.6 percent for cooking oil and 13.6 percent for vegetables.

07.05.2008 23:12 Russia`s trade surplus grew 1.6 times to $53.6bn in the first quarter

Russia`s trade surplus grew 1.6 times to $53.6bn in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the Federal Customs Service of Russia said. Earlier, the Russian Economy Ministry said trade turnover increased 50.3 percent to $168.8bn in the first quarter. Russia`s exports jumped 50 percent to $108.1bn. The sharp increase can be attributed to faster-than-expected price growth for key products exported from Russia. Meanwhile, Russia`s imports grew 40.9 percent to $60.7bn. Countries outside the CIS accounted for 86.7 percent of Russia`s imports against 84.6 percent a year earlier, while the CIS`s share decreased from 15.4 percent to 13.3 percent accordingly. Two of Russia`s top three trade partners are European: Germany with a turnover of USD 31.9 billion and the Netherlands with 28.3 billion. China is the third. European countries account for 75 percent of direct investment in Russia. Britain ranks first. During the first part of 2007 it invested more than USD 15 billion.


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