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15.05.2007 22:47 Eurozone`s GDP growth up to 0.6% q/q in the first quarter of 2007

Economic growth in countries that use the euro currency was 3,1 percent in the first quarter of 2007, slowing only slightly after a record growth spurt at the end of last year as a rise in German sales tax hurt less than expected, the European Union`s statistical agency reported. The 13-nation euro zone grew 3.3 percent in the last three months of 2006, its fastest rate since 2000, as Europeans started spending again after several years of little economic growth. Quarter-on-quarter, the area`s economy expanded 0.6 percent in the three months ending March 31. GDP of EU-27 in Q1 grew the same 0.6 percent compared to the previous quarter and 3.2 compared to the first quarter of 2006. Industrial production in the Eurozone increased by 0.4 percent in March over the previous month, the Eurostat said. Seasonally-adjusted industrial production in the 13-nation bloc sharing the same currency increased by 0.5 percent in February after a decline of 0.5 percent in January, according to newly revised figures. In the broader EU with 27 member states, industrial output increased by 0.5 percent in March, while year-on-year growth was 3.9 percent.

12.05.2007 18:14 The US trade deficit jumped to a six-month high of $63.9 billion in March

The US trade deficit jumped to a six-month high of $63.9 billion in March as rising imported oil prices more than offset stronger exports to China, the Commerce Department reported this week. The trade shortfall grew 10.4 per cent from the previous month, the sharpest monthly change in the trade picture since September 2005. In March, imports surged 4.5 per cent to $190.1 billion, their highest level since August 2006. Exports increased 1.8 per cent to 126.2 billion, the highest point since January. The March trade gap sharply exceeded analyst forecasts of $60 billion, raising fresh concerns about the gaps drag on the US economy. It was the widest since September 2006 and rose from 57.9 billion in February. The politically sensitive US trade gap with China narrowed by 6.4 per cent to $17.2 billion, compared with 18.4 billion in February. Exports to China in March hit a new record high of $5.5 billion, while imports from the Asian powerhouse were at their lowest level since May 2006, at 22.7 billion. China, by far the leader in the US trade deficit, is under fire from US officials, industry and labor unions who accuse Beijing of keeping its currency, the yuan, artificially low to make exports unfairly competitive.

10.05.2007 23:13 Russia`s GDP grew by an estimated 7.4 percent in March of 2007

Russia`s economic growth slowed slightly in March but still set a blistering pace led by a construction sector that benefited from unseasonably mild weather. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 7.4 percent in March, year-on-year, compared to a revised February estimate of 7.9 percent, the Economy Ministry said in its monthly economic report. The ministry had earlier estimated February GDP growth at 8.3 percent and gave no reason for downward revision. The Ministry also said GDP grew by 7.9 percent in the first quarter. Manufacturing and construction were the drivers of growth in the first quarter of 2007. Industrial output grew by 8.4 percent in Jan-March. The construction industry, which showed record growth rates due to a warm winter that allowed builders to carry on working, increased output by 22.7 percent compared with 1.5 percent in the same period last year. Capital investment grew by 20.1 percent in the first quarter of 2007, compared with 5.7 percent in the same period of last year. Retail trade grew by 13.6 percent compared with 11.1 a year ago.

04.05.2007 12:08 China`s GDP rises 11.1 percent in first quarter of 2007

The Chinese economy rose 11.1 percent in the first quarter of 2007, the Chinese National Statistics Office said, with a high level official admitting the possibility of economic overheating. According to analysts, rapid economic growth was due to increased internal consumption and investment in fixed assets alongside the country`s trade surplus, which affects the effectiveness of measures put in place by Beijing to prevent the economy overheating. "If rapid growth continues for a longer period of time, there is the risk that we will move from rapid growth to overheating", said Li Xiaochao, spokesman for the National Statistics Office. The 11.1 percent growth rate is the highest since the third quarter of 2006, in which China`s GDP grew 11.5 percent, leading analysts to fear that measures implemented by the Chinese government to cool growth had so far had a limited impact. China, which is the world`s fourth-largest, grew 10.7 percent last year, with growth in the fourth quarter of 10.4 percent. At the beginning of this year, the Chinese government set a limit of 8 percent for growth in 2007, which, similarly to previous limits set for GDP growth, is likely to be exceeded.

03.05.2007 13:15 Eurozone Manufacturing Activity Stable In April of 2007

Manufacturing activity in the 13 nations that share the euro held steady in April although the European currency`s recent strength took its toll on exports, according to a widely watched survey on May 2. The Eurozone`s seasonally adjusted purchasing managers` index (PMI), compiled by NTC Research, was flat in April at 55.4 points compared to March, in line with private economists` expectations for 55.5 points. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing sector is generally expanding, while a reading below 50 suggests that it is generally contracting. "Despite the strong euro, the manufacturing sector is growing at a steady clip in the eurozone," said Bank of America economist Holger Schmieding. "Judging by the monthly survey of purchasing managers, an improved outlook for employment at home is offsetting a decline in export orders," he added.

30.04.2007 20:09 Eurozone April Confidence Stays Close to Six-Year High

European business and consumer confidence stayed close to a six-year high this month, as resurgent exports and corporate investment help the euro-area economy overcome increased interest rates and a U.S. slowdown. An index of sentiment among executives and consumers in the euro region slipped to 111.0 from a revised 111.1 in March, the European Commission in Brussels said. Economists had expected the April confidence index to rise to 111.7 from a previously reported 111.2 in March, according to the median of 27 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Business confidence in Germany, Europe`s biggest economy, unexpectedly rose this month to the second-highest level on record, the Ifo institute said April 25. Euro-area industrial confidence increased in April to the highest since the data were first collated in 1990, today`s report showed. Also the commission estimates the euro area grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the prior three months, twice the rate of expansion in the U.S.

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.

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