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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.

17.07.2007 22:33 U.S. Industrial Production Rose 0.5 Percent in June of 2007

Industrial production in the U.S. rose last month by the most since February as factories turned out more automobiles, computers and electronics. The 0.5 percent increase in production at factories, mines and utilities followed a 0.1 percent decrease in May that was initially reported as unchanged, a Federal Reserve report showed today. Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, rose to 81.7 percent, the highest in eight months. Manufacturers are expanding again after getting rid of excess inventories built up late last year. Growth in production, spurred in part by rising exports, is helping the economy ride out the worst housing slump in 16 years. The increase in industrial production matched the median of 73 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from no change to a 0.8 percent increase. Factory output, which accounts for about four-fifths of industrial production, rose 0.6 percent after no change the prior month, the report showed. Utility production rose 0.3 percent after decreasing 1.6 percent, today`s report showed. Mining, which includes oil drilling, increased 0.5 percent last month after rising 0.3 percent.

14.07.2007 13:00 U.S. May business inventories up 0.5 pct

Inventories at U.S. businesses rose a bigger than expected 0.5 percent in May, the largest gain in 10 months, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. The increase in stocks on hand in May came after a 0.4 percent gain in April and will likely add to expectations on Wall Street that the economy will see better growth in the second quarter after a lackluster start of the year when business inventory growth moderated. Financial markets were expecting a 0.3 percent rise in May. In the report, retail inventories advanced by 0.6 percent in May, the biggest gain since June of last year. Sales advanced 1.3 percent in May, after a 0.7 percent rise in April. The stock-to-sales ratio, a measure of how long it would take to deplete inventories at the current sales pace - fell to 1.26 months` worth from 1.27.

12.07.2007 22:03 U.S. Trade Deficit Widened 2.3% in May to $60 Billion

The U.S. trade deficit widened in May as a jump in imported oil costs outpaced record exports. The gap in goods and services trade expanded 2.3 percent to $60 billion from $58.7 billion in April, the Commerce Department said in Washington. The deficit with China also grew. The total gap probably won`t widen much more as a weaker dollar and growing economies in Europe and Asia boost demand for U.S. goods, economist said. Exports have contributed to a rebound in manufacturing that`s helping the economy accelerate following a first-quarter slump. The widening in the deficit matched the median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Estimates ranged from deficits of $58 billion to $64.6 billion. April`s gap was revised from a previously reported $58.5 billion. In May, exports rose 2.2 percent to a record $132 billion, as sales of civilian aircraft and electrical equipment strengthened. Imports rose 2.3 percent to $192.1 billion, also the highest ever.

09.07.2007 23:01 Russia`s trade surplus dropped 17 percent in the first five months of 2007

Russia`s trade surplus dropped 17 percent to USD260.7bn in the first five months of 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier, the press office of the Russian Federal Customs Service reported today. Russia`s exports edged up 9.3 percent to USD128.6bn. Meanwhile, exports to CIS and non-CIS countries grew 7.4 percent and 21.7 percent to $109.5bn and $19.1bn, respectively. Imports stood at $68bn in January-May 2007, which is 52.4 percent higher than in the same period in 2006. Imports from CIS amounted to $11.1bn (up 44.4 percent) and at $56.9bn up 54 percent) from non-CIS countries. Therefore, Russia`s trade according to the service`s data, amounted to USD196.6bn in January-May 2007, which is 21.1 percent higher than in the first five months of 2006. Russia`s oil exports amounted to 101.562m tonnes in January-May 2007, which is nearly 8 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, oil exports grew 4.9 percent to $40.819bn in money terms. Exports to non-CIS countries stood at 93.919m tonnes (up 7.43 percent), worth a total of $38.282bn. Oil exports to CIS amounted to 7.643m tonnes (up 14.7 percent) worth $2.538bn. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, output of oil and gas condensate edged up 1.7 percent to 41.4m tonnes.

04.07.2007 21:45 The Japan`s sentiment index for large manufacturers stood at 23 in June

Confidence at major Japanese companies is at least as strong as three months ago, a closely watched Bank of Japan survey showed Monday, possibly reinforcing expectations that the central bank will raise interest rates in August. The quarterly tankan survey, which polls more than 10,000 companies nationwide, showed that the sentiment index for large manufacturers stood at 23 in June, unchanged from the previous survey in March. A similar index for large non-manufacturers was unchanged at 22. The yen`s recent weakness and healthy profit growth has buoyed sentiment at Japanese companies. Still, confidence has slipped a bit from December, when the major manufacturers` index rose to 25, the highest in about two years. The results confirm the government`s view that the economy is steadily expanding, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said. But any interest rate decision, he added, would be left up to the Bank of Japan.


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