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14.08.2007 00:11 Russia generated trading surplus of $70.7 billion in the first half of 2007

Russia generated trading surplus of $70.7 billion in the first half of this year, 15.4 percent down on year, the Federal Custom Service of Russian Federation (FCS) reported. The January-June exports of Russia surged 8.6 percent on year to $155.3 billion, while the imports stepped up 48.7 percent to $84.6 billion. So, the foreign turnover amounted to $239.9 billion, according to the FCS. But Russia`s Economic Development and Trade Ministry reported a bit different figures not long ago. According to the ministry, the H1 exports stood at $160.5 billion, having stepped up 11.6 percent on year. The growth was 31.1 percent in the first half of 2006. The ministry blamed some slowdown on lower prices for crude oil exports and some decline in exported quantity of vital goods. Under the ministry`s calculation, H1 imports of Russia amounted to $96.7 billion, 38.5 percent up on year (vs. the acceleration of 26.6 percent generated from January to June of 2006). The growth in rates, the ministry explained, could be attributed to more aggressive demand of the population coupled with improved investment activity.

11.08.2007 19:23 Japan`s industrial output rises by revised 1.3 percent in June from May

Japan`s industrial output rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.3 pct in June from May, a faster rise than the initial estimate of 1.2 percent, according to revised data released by the government Friday. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry`s revised figures show shipments rose 1.1 percent in June. It had initially estimated a rise of 0.7 percent. Inventories fell a revised 0.3 percent, the same as the initial estimate. The production capacity index for factories and mines was at 94.1, down 0.1 percentage point. The seasonally adjusted operating ratio was at 105.8, up 0.8 percentage point.

07.08.2007 21:00 Eurozone sees gloom amid US credit fear

Morale among Eurozone investors deteriorated for a second straight month in August, amid concern problems in the US markets could unleash a global credit squeeze, the Sentix research group said. The group`s latest monthly sentiment indicator, based on a survey of more than 2,600 European investors between August 2 and 4, fell to 26.3, the lowest since November, from 34.7 in July. A Sentix gauge of investor sentiment about current economic conditions fell to 55.0, from July`s 61.75, while a measure of expectations for the next six months dropped to 0.5 from 10.5. "The problems on the US credit markets are no longer being seen in isolation and shrugged off as an issue that only affects a single sector or country," Sentix said. "The latest survey results mean that a clear slowdown in activity must be expected," it added.

04.08.2007 12:39 US GDP grew at a 3.4% annual rate in the second quarter

U.S. economic growth rebounded during the second quarter to its strongest pace since the beginning of last year on a surge in business investment, more government spending and a better trade performance, the Commerce Department reported. Gross domestic product that measures total output within U.S. borders gained at a 3.4 percent annual rate - the fastest since 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2006 - after barely growing at a downwardly revised 0.6 percent pace in the first quarter. Second-quarter growth exceeded Wall Street economists` forecasts for a 3.2 percent rate of increase. The GDP data showed the business sector picking up some of the slack left by consumers who cut back on their spending. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, slowed to a 1.3 percent annual pace, the weakest since the last three months of 2005, from 3.7 percent the previous three months. The price index rose at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, down from 4.2 percent in the first quarter. The trade deficit narrowed to an annual pace of $577.9 billion last quarter from $612.1 billion. The smaller gap added 1.2 percent to growth, after subtracting 0.5 percent the prior quarter.

01.08.2007 21:06 Russia`s PMI index for manufacturing sector rose to 53.4 in July from 53 in June

Russia`s manufacturing sector expanded further in July, backed by faster growth of output and incoming new orders, according to London-based VTB Bank Europe`s survey of the Russian manufacturing sector released Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted headline Manufacturing Purchasing Managers` Index (PMI) rose to 53.4 in July from 53 in June, VTB Bank Europe said. Readings above 50.0 signal an increase on the previous month while readings below 50.0 signal a contraction. Russian manufacturing production expanded in July at a rate that was the second-sharpest indicated by the survey over the past 10 months, VTB Bank Europe said. Faster gains in new orders underpinned the latest acceleration in output growth. The VTB Bank Europe Manufacturing PMI is derived from a monthly survey of 300 purchasing executives in Russian manufacturing companies and has been conducted since September 1997.

30.07.2007 21:33 Russia`s trade surplus drops 13.8% to $63.8 bln in 1H07

Russia`s trade surplus in the first six months of 2007 dropped 13.8%, year-on-year, to $63.8 billion, the Russian economics ministry reported. The ministry said Russian exports stood at $160.5 billion in January-June 2007, up 11.6% against the same period last year, while imports increased 38.5% to $96.7 billion in the same period. The share of non-Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries in Russian exports fell from 86.3% to 84.8%, with the CIS share increasing from 13.7% to 15.2%. The export of almost all goods, except fuel and energy, went up in January-May 2007. Import growth was caused by higher consumer demand, investment growth and ruble strengthening, the report reads. Non-CIS countries accounted for 85% for Russian imports, and the CIS share was 15%. The greatest import growth in the reporting period was for machinery, equipment, cars, metals, textiles and footwear. Russia`s economics ministry also said it still hoped to keep the country`s inflation no higher than its 8% target for 2007. Consumer prices increased 5.7% in the first half of the year, and the ministry said inflation would be 2.2-2.5% in the second half, or 0.2-0.4% lower that in the same period last year.

26.07.2007 21:20 IMF ups 2007-2008 world economic growth forecast to 5.2 per cent

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its world economic growth forecast for 2007 and 2008 to 5.2 per cent, up 0.3 per cent from the 4.9 per cent growth forecast for both years in its World Economic Outlook (WEO), published in April. The IMF hiked the growth forecast by 0.3 percentage points on the back of robust growth in emerging markets, with China poised to become its most powerful growth driver. Under the revised estimates, China will see growth of 11.2 per cent in 2007, 1.2 percentage points higher than forecast in April. The IMF also revised India`s growth rate upward by 0.6 points to 9.0 per cent, and Russia`s to 7.0 per cent. The US growth forecast for 2008 was left unchanged at a 2.8 per cent. For Japan, the world`s second-biggest economy, the IMF raised its growth forecast to 2.6 per cent in 2007, up 0.3 percentage points, and to 2.0 in 2008, up 0.1 point. In Europe, the IMF expects the 27-nation euro to expand at a faster rate of 2.6 per cent in 2007 and 2.5 per cent in 2008, up 0.3 points and 0.2 points, respectively.

24.07.2007 20:22 Russia`s government to consider revised long-term economic forecast

The Russian Economy Ministry is expected to introduce a revised social and economic development forecast until 2020 factoring in all the comments and proposals of various ministries and agencies to the government today, an Economy Ministry source has told. According to some of the figures in the document, Russia`s annual GDP growth will average 6.6-7.1 percent until 2010, while inflation will gradually recede to 3 percent. In the long term, the tax load is expected to decrease consistently, as will also export duty proceeds as related to GDP. The Economy Ministry predicts the current account balance to show a deficit as early as 2010, and trade in 2011. Meanwhile, the gap is expected to be narrow, and could easily be compensated for by capital inflow.

21.07.2007 11:38 Fed chief expects US economic growth should strengthen a bit next year

The U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, said this week that the U.S. economy had emerged from its anemic spell, but that overall growth for the year would be lower than expected. Inflation remained the chief concern, he said. Delivering a midyear Fed economic report to Capitol Hill, Bernanke struck a somewhat cautious tone. He suggested that the economy appeared likely to expand "at a moderate pace" over the second half. Still, the Fed chief told the House Financial Services Committee that growth this year would be a bit slower than the Fed projected in February. Growth should strengthen a bit next year, he said. The inflation forecast, however, was not changed. It called for prices other than food and energy to edge lower. Against this backdrop, the Fed is likely to leave interest rates where they are through the rest of this year. For just over a year, the Federal Reserve has held the benchmark interest rate at 5.25 percent, providing a period of stability to borrowers. Before that, the Fed had raised rates for two years to fend off inflation.

18.07.2007 22:40 Russia`s industrial output grows by record 10.9% y-o-y in June

Industrial output in Russia grew by a record 10.9% in June on the same month of 2006, and gained 7.7% year-on-year in January-June, the country`s top statistics body said Wednesday. Industrial output in April-June 2007 grew 6.7% compared with 8.4% in the same period of last year. The largest growth in the second quarter of 2007 was seen in manufacturing industries, where output expanded 7% and registered a 4.5% expansion in the first half of the year. The production and distribution of electricity, gas and water increased 4.9% in the second quarter and 5.7% in the first half of the year. Output in the mining industries expanded 3.0% in the second quarter and 2.3% in the first half of the year. In January-June 2007, coal production fell 0.7% to 152 million metric tons, oil production edged up 3% to 243 million metric tons (1.78 billion barrels) and gas output climbed 0.1% to 333 billion cubic meters of gas, the service said. Electricity generation went up 0.4% in January-June 2007 year on year to 506 billion kWh, and car manufacture increased 9.5% to 604,000 vehicles.


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