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27.04.2007 22:40 U.S. GDP slows to 1.3% in first quarter of 2007, the weakest in 4 years

Hit by rising energy prices and a weak housing market, the U.S. GDP slowed to 1.3% real annualized growth in the first quarter of 2007, the weakest expansion in four years, the Commerce Department estimated. The first estimate of first-quarter real gross domestic product was lower than the 1.7% expected by economists. GDP growth was led by consumer spending, state and local government spending, and business investments, offsetting drags from housing, foreign trade, inventories and federal government spending. Final sales of domestic product increased 1.6%, the weakest in five quarters. Led by higher energy costs, the GDP price index increased 4.0%, the most in 16 years. Meanwhile, core consumer prices - which exclude food and energy costs - increased at a more moderate 2.2% annual pace.

25.04.2007 22:16 US new home sales weaker-than-expected, but rise 2.6 percent in March

Sales of new U.S. homes rose 2.6 percent in March but fell short of the pace expected by analysts while the number of new homes for sale was little changed, according to a government report on Wednesday. New single-family home sales rose to an annual rate of 858,000 units from a revised rate of 836,000 in February, the Commerce Department said. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting March sales to rise to 888,000 from the previously reported rate of 848,000 units in February. In March, the median sales price of a new home rose $2,200 to $254,000 from $251,800 in February. The Commerce Department`s data comes a day after a real estate trade group reported a weaker-than-expected month of existing homes sales. The sales pace of existing homes dropped 8.4 percent in March, the biggest tumble in more than 18 years, the National Association of Realtors said. Home resales, which represent 85 percent of the housing market, fell to an annualized 6.12 million units.

22.04.2007 18:14 U.S. industrial production drops 0.2 percent in March of 2007

U.S. industrial production fell by 0.2 percent in March after a 0.8 percent increase in February and a 0.4 percent decrease in January, the Federal Reserve reported this week. The 0.2 percent decline in industrial production, an indicator of the output of mines, factories and utilities, was led by a 7.0 percent drop in output of utilities. Output in the manufacturing sector, however, moved up 0.7 percent in March, the strongest showing since December. The increase followed a 0.1 percent gain in February and was led by advances in the production of durable goods. Mining output, including oil production, also edged up 0.1 percent in March, compared with a gain of 0.3 percent in the previous month. Overall industrial production for March was 2.3 percent above the level in the same month of 2006. The rate of capacity utilization for total industry fell 0.2 percentage point to 81.4 percent in March. It was the same as its year-earlier level and 0.4 percentage point above its 1972-2006 average.

19.04.2007 21:32 Russia`s gross domestic product grew 7.9% in the first quarter

Russia`s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.9%, year-on-year, in the first quarter of 2007, the Russian economics minister said Thursday. In January-March 2006, GDP increased 5.0%. "The first quarter is characterized by a new wave of accelerated economic growth," - Gref said. Net capital inflow into Russia increased 150% in January-March 2007, year-on-year, to $18.3 billion. Net capital inflow into Russia hit a record level of $41.6 billion in 2006. Wages in Russia grew 18.4% and real incomes were up 13.0% in the first quarter of 2007, compared with the same period of 2006. Industrial output expanded 8.4%, year-on-year, in January-March 2007, making a major contribution to accelerated GDP growth. The ruble`s real effective rate to the dollar/euro currency basket gained 2.6% in the first three months of 2007.

16.04.2007 20:35 Japan`s industrial output rose by a revised 0.7% in February 2007

Better than an initial estimate of a decline of 0.2%, Japan`s industrial output rose by a revised 0.7% in February from the previous month, the government said, while maintaining its upbeat assessment of the overall economy. Year-on-year output was up 3.1%, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The government also maintained its upbeat view of the economy in a monthly report, although it slightly downgraded its view on industrial production. "The economy is recovering, despite weakness in industrial production in some sectors," the Cabinet Office said, dropping a reference in last month`s report to weakness in consumer spending. Over the short term, the government remained positive about the outlook, saying "economic recovery is expected to continue, supported by domestic private demand as high corporate profits feed into the household sector. It said that private consumption "is showing a pick-up", upgrading its earlier view that private consumption was "almost flat." The report indicated that Japan`s economy has now been expanding for 63 months, its longest post-war boom.

11.04.2007 22:33 IMF ups Eurozone GDP forecast for 2007 and 2008

Euro zone growth will slow a bit this year after a strong performance in 2006, but the European Central Bank should still lift interest rates to keep inflation at bay, the IMF said on Wednesday. But the International Monetary Fund also said it was not clear if this showed a fundamental improvement in the common currency zone`s economic performance, and urged more reform to catch up with the wealthier United States. "Growth in the euro area is projected to moderate to 2.3 percent in 2007 and 2008, still somewhat above potential," the IMF said in the spring edition of its World Economic Outlook. In its last forecast in September IMF expected Eurozone economies to collectively expand at a 2.0 percent pace this year and next.

10.04.2007 20:27 The Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry raised GDP growth forecast

The Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry raised its forecast for GDP growth in 2007 from 6.2 percent to 6.5 percent, Andrei Klepach, director of the ministry`s macroeconomic forecasting department, said in Kazan on Friday. The revise follows the positive results of the first two months of 2007 and a review of the forecast for industrial production, Klepach was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. According to the ministry`s updated forecast, GDP growth in Russia will be 6.1 percent in 2008, 6.0 percent in 2009 and 6.2 percent in 2010. The forecast for industrial production in 2007 has also been raised to 5.2 percent from 4.3 percent, he said. The forecasts for GDP growth and industrial production in the 2008-2010 period have been increased as well, Klepach said.

05.04.2007 23:22 Eurozone economic growth will be strong this year

An upbeat commission report last month said Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 2.4 percent growth in 2007, marking continuing economic dynamism across the 13-nation currency bloc. It said GDP growth through the euro area had risen by 2.7 percent in 2006, the strongest growth in the currency zone in six years, despite higher energy prices, tighter monetary conditions and a slowdown in the US. "We continue to have an optimistic view of 2007," European Union economic affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters. "However, anticipated buoyant growth in the 13-nation euro area could slow down in the face of "downside risks from the external side," -Almunia warned. Jean-Claude Juncker, who is Eurogroup chairman and Luxembourg`s prime minister said there was "no reason for us to be worried. Eurozone economic growth remains strong".

02.04.2007 20:41 U.S. Factory Index Drops Amid Auto, Housing Weakness

Manufacturing growth in the U.S. slowed in March and an index of costs rose to the highest since August as weakness in auto demand and a slump in housing restrained production, an industry report said. The Institute for Supply Management`s manufacturing index fell to 50.9 from 52.3 in February. Readings of more than 50 signal expansion. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the manufacturing index to fall to 51.4 from 52.3 the prior month. Forecasts in the survey ranged from 48 to 55. The index averaged 53.9 in 2006 and fell below 50 in November and January. An index of prices paid jumped to 65.5, the highest since August, from 59.

31.03.2007 19:06 US GDP in Q4 2006 revised upward to 2.5% annual rate

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the "final" estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The growth rate was 0.3 percentage point more than in the "preliminary" estimates released in February. In the third quarter, real gross domestic product grew 2.0 percent. For 2006, the annual growth rate was 3.3 percent, compared with 3.2 percent in 2005. The step up in fourth quarter GDP growth primarily reflected accelerations in consumer spending, exports, and Federal government spending and a downturn in imports-moderated by downturns in investment in inventories and in equipment and software. The higher GDP growth rate, in comparison to the preliminary estimate, reflected upward revisions to inventory investment and consumer spending. In contrast, investment in equipment and software was revised down.


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