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19.03.2008 21:37 Russia`s industrial production grew 7.5 percent in February 2008

Russia`s industrial production rose 7.5 percent year-on-year in February, Rostat reported. Analysts polled by the Russian news agency forecast that industrial production rose by 5.5 pct last month. In January-February industrial production rose 6.0 percent year-on-year. Russia`s Mininstry of Economic Development and Trade forecasts that industrial production will grow 5.7 percent in 2008. Russia`s finance minister said he expected the country`s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by at least 7.0 percent this year, agreeing with views that there were signs of overheating. Alexei Kudrin, speaking in parliament, also said M2 money supply would rise by 35-40 percent this year, down from 48 percent last year, while bank lending will increase by 30-40 percent, down from 50 percent last year.

18.03.2008 21:29 US February industrial output down 0.5 pct, capacity utilization 80.9 pct

Output US factories, mines and utilities declined in February at the sharpest pace since October as capacity utilization fell to its lowest level in more than two years, the Federal Reserve said. Output US factories, mines and utilities declined in February at the sharpest pace since October as capacity utilization fell to its lowest level in more than two years, the Federal Reserve said. Output in February fell 0.5 pct, steeper than the 0.1 pct fall expected, while factories were using 80.9 pct of their capacity, down from 81.5 pct in January. Economists polled by Thomson`s IFR Markets had predicted a slight fall to 81.3. That`s the lowest level of utilization since November 2005. The Federal Reserve keeps a close watch on the operating rate to see if it is approaching levels where bottlenecks could develop and threaten to boost inflationary pressures. Manufacturing production fell 0.2 pct in February, while mining output rose 0.4 pct. Utility output plunged 3.7 pct in February after rising 2.2 pct in January.

14.03.2008 22:43 Japanese economy grows 3.5 percent in fourth quarter of 2007

Japan`s economy grew at a brisk 3.5 percent annualised pace in the fourth quarter of 2007, showing unexpected resilience in the face of growing fears of a US recession, official figures showed. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.9 percent compared with the previous quarter, unchanged from the initial estimate, the Cabinet Office said. The government said corporate capital investment in new equipment and factories increased by 2.0 percent quarter-on-quarter, down slightly from an initial 2.9 percent rise. Private and household consumption both grew by a tepid 0.2 percent. The Japanese economy is gradually rebounding from recession in the 1990s but consumer spending has remained sluggish, raising worries that the export-led recovery could be hit hard by a global slowdown. Despite the better than expected GDP data, concerns about the health of the world`s second largest economy have grown amid fears of a US recession that could hit Japanese exports and corporate earnings. The government also reported that Japan`s current account surplus grew 8.1 percent in January from a year earlier to 1.24 trillion yen (12.0 billion yen) as exports grew and income on overseas investments rose. The figure was ahead of market expectations for a surplus of about 1.21 trillion yen.

11.03.2008 23:04 Chinese economist predicts GDP growth of about 10%, inflation - 4.8%

Renowned Chinese economist Li Yining said here on Monday that China`s economy might grow by about 10 percent in real terms this year, higher than the government 8-percent target. The predicted growth, which is lower than last year`s 11.4 percent, does not mean a "big slowdown" of the Chinese economy, Li told a group of Chinese and foreign reporters. Li is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People`s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China`s top political advisory body now in its annual full session. Another CPPCC member, Director Liu Shucheng of the Institute of Economy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences echoed Li`s view, saying, "It`s out of question that the economy would maintain a growth rate of around 10 percent this year". Premier Wen Jiabao told the parliament on Wednesday that China`s gross domestic product (GDP) should grow by 8 percent on the basis of improving the economic structure, productivity, energy efficiency and environmental protection. Li also ruled out the possibility that the Chinese economy would slow down soon after the Beijing Olympic Games. As for the government target to control consumer price rise at 4.8 percent, Li predicted "the goal could be reached unless international oil price continues to grow or emergencies or severe natural calamities take place".

09.03.2008 14:07 The US economy has slowed down since the beginning of the year

The economy has slowed down since the beginning of the year in two-thirds of the US Federal Reserve`s regions and growth is subdued in the others, the Fed`s Beige Book regional survey said, although no region reported an actual contraction. Eight of the 12 regional Fed banks "cited softening or weakening in the pace of business activity, while the others referred to subdued, slow or modest growth", the summary of anecdotal reports from the regional banks said. Two-thirds of the banks also said there were "tight credit standards" in their area and all but two districts had declining loan demand. Some regional banks also cited indications of declining loan quality. Housing was described as "weak" and home sales "low" all across the country. There were increasing reports that commercial real estate demand had also begun to slow down. Retail spending reports were "generally downbeat", with auto sales particularly "slow or sluggish". Manufacturing was "mixed but, on the whole subdued", the Beige Book said. All districts, the summary noted "mentioned caution or concern on the part of at least some segments of manufacturing".

06.03.2008 22:19 Eurozone GDP grew 2.6 pct in 2007 and 0.4 pct in the fourth quarter

Eurozone GDP grew 0.4 pct in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, and was up 2.2 pct year-on-year, EU statistics office Eurostat said. The quarter-on-quarter figure is unchanged from Eurostat`s provisional estimate, but the year-on-year rise is revised from an earlier 2.3 pct. In the third quarter, GDP was up 0.8 pct from the second quarter and was up 2.7 pct year-on-year. Eurostat gave a breakdown of fourth-quarter GDP for the first time. It said household consumption fell 0.1 pct quarter-on-quarter, while investment was up 0.8 pct. Meanwhile, exports increased 0.5 pct and imports fell by 0.4 pct. In 2007 Eurozone GDP grew 2.6 pct. The European Central Bank cut its forecast for 2008 Eurozone GDP growth to 1.7 pct from 2.0 pct and its projection for 2009 growth to 1.8 pct from 2.1 pct. Meanwhile, the ECB raised its forecasts for euro zone inflation to 2.9 pct from 2.5 pct in 2008 and 2.1 pct from 1.8 pct in 2009.

29.02.2008 21:46 U.S. Q4 2007 GDP rises at 0.6% annual rate, up 2.2% for 2007

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 0.6% in Q4 2007, below the consensus estimate, as activity in construction and consumer spending declined, The U.S. Commerce Department announced. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the economy to grow at a 0.7% annualized rate in Q4 2007. The economy grew at a 4.9% pace in Q3 2007, the Commerce Department said. For 2007, the economy grew at its weakest pace in five years, with GDP increasing at an inflation-adjusted 2.2%. GDP increased 2.9% in 2006. In 2007 the nation`s GDP totaled $13.84 trillion, not adjusted for inflation. In Q4 2007, a stronger performance in trade offset sub-par performances in consumer spending, business investment, residential investment, and inventories.

27.02.2008 22:25 Bernanke says weak growth may prompt fresh rate cuts

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that weak US economic growth may prompt the central bank to cut short-term interest rates further if needed. Bernanke said "downside risks" to growth were buffeting the world`s largest economy, but stressed the Fed was ready to unleash fresh rate cuts if economic momentum is threatened, despite heightened inflation worries. "It is important to recognize that downside risks to growth remain," Bernanke said in remarks prepared to support the Fed`s semiannual economic report to Congress. "The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will be carefully evaluating incoming information bearing on the economic outlook and will act in a timely manner as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks," the Fed chairman told the House Financial Services Committee. Bernanke said a multiyear housing market slump and a financial market credit crunch were threatening growth and had created a "distinctly less favorable" economic picture. In a bleak appraisal, the Fed chairman said consumer spending appeared to have slowed "significantly" and that other reports in recent weeks "suggest sluggish economic activity in the near term."

24.02.2008 16:23 US economy may still avert recession - ECRI

A weekly gauge of future U.S. economic growth fell in the latest week, and even though its annualized growth rate has reached readings seen in a recession, there might still be a chance to reverse it, a research group said. The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index fell to 132.3 in the week of Feb. 15 from 133.1 in the prior week, which was revised from 133.4. The index fell due to higher interest rates and slower housing, offset in part by a rise in money supply and stock prices, said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI. The index`s annualized growth rate plunged to minus 10.2 percent from minus 9.2 percent, reaching its lowest reading since the week of Oct. 26, 2001, when it was minus 11 percent. "With WLI growth deep in negative territory, due mainly to weakness in the financial and construction sectors, the U.S. economy is on the verge of a recession," said Achuthan. "However, due to unusual factors affecting the manufacturing sector, it may still be possible for quick stimulus to avert a recession."

19.02.2008 21:53 Russian industrial output grew 4.8 pct year-on-year in January 2008

Russian industrial output grew 4.8 pct year-on-year in January, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Analysts forecasted growth of 4.9 pct. However, this was well below the 8.4 pct year-on-year industrial growth seen in January 2007. Compared with December, industrial production fell 14.1 pct. Russia`s industrial production rose 6.3% in 2007, year on year, Rostat 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. Deutsche Bank forecasts 6.2% growth in industrial production, with GDP reaching 7% in 2008.

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