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20.05.2018 14:46 Russia GDP Growth Looks Weak, But Not Terrible

The weaker than expected GDP numbers keep the central bank easing story in 2018 intact, but the interest rate path will be data-dependent. The flash GDP growth estimate of 1.3% in 1Q18 undershot consensus expectations of 1.5% and our optimistic forecast of 1.8%. However, it was somewhat better than the preliminary Ministry of Economy (MinEco) estimate of 1.1% and was also a modest improvement from 0.9% observed in 4Q17. The key components breakdown is unavailable right now, but we know that negative performance in construction, wholesale and some sub-sectors in the industry resulted in weaker 1Q reading in March than was originally expected in early 2018. The Ministry has recently said it would cut its 2018 growth forecast from the current 2.1% despite a higher oil price assumption.

17.05.2018 19:32 Will $100 Oil Kill The U.S. Economy?

Brent is nearing $80 per barrel and some analyst see $100 not far off. That raises the question about how much of a dent high oil prices will make in the U.S. economy. $100 oil is not as painful as it once was. There are a few reasons for that. The U.S. is now a significant oil exporter, helping to lessen the damage to its trade balance. Also, the economy uses less energy per unit of GDP than it used to, becoming slightly more efficient with each passing year. In the past, high oil prices dragged down the U.S. economy, acting as a tax that redistributed wealth from the U.S. to oil-exporting countries in the Middle East, for example. But, the shale revolution has allowed the U.S. to become one of the largest oil producers in the world, and more recently, an exporter of more than 2 million barrels per day (depending on the week). Now, to a large extent, higher oil prices redistribute wealth within the U.S., still damaging the vast majority of motorists, but benefitting a variety of industries related to the oil industry.

13.05.2018 17:03 Debt Paradox Means Russia Borrows More Even as Oil Prices Rally

Oil prices near the highest level in over three years are driving the world`s biggest energy exporter deeper into debt. While Russia stands to reap a windfall from crude`s recent rally, with the budget now on track for its first surplus since 2011, a program of foreign-currency purchases by the Finance Ministry means that it needs more rubles to conduct the operations when the exchange rate appreciates thanks to higher oil prices. Instead of quenching the government`s financing needs, the result is that borrowing in rubles will actually rise close to last year`s record level to absorb the extra dollars in line with the so-called budget rule. “The budget rule made sovereign-debt issuance a function of the exchange rate,” said Anatoliy Shal, analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Moscow. “Budget amendments are based on a higher oil assumption and imply a stronger ruble, hence the upward revision to issuance plans.”

10.05.2018 23:37 China-Russia trade up 30% in Jan-Apr, set to exceed $100b in 2018

Bilateral trade between China and Russia expanded quickly in the first four months of 2018, and the volume is expected to exceed $100 billion by the end of the year, a senior Chinese trade official said on Thursday. According to recent customs data, Sino-Russian trade grew 30 percent year-on-year to $31.2 billion between January and April. "The Russian economy is steadily turning for the better and its market demand is rising, driving China`s exports to the country up 21 percent on a yearly basis during the January to April period," Gao Feng, spokesperson for China`s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference held in Beijing. The increase in imports of bulk commodities from Russia is another favorable factor, Gao said. From January to April, Russia`s exports of crude oil through a pipeline running to China reached 12.4 million tons, an increase of 47 percent compared to the same period in 2017, and Russia has been China`s largest supplier of crude oil in the past few months, Gao noted, citing data released by the Russian authorities.

07.05.2018 16:00 European economy loses thrust in risk for global expansion

Europe`s economy lost momentum in the first quarter as expansions slowed from France to the UK, threatening to undermine the global growth the continent previously helped power. Figures from across the region pointed to a softer trend in the early part of the year, and US first-quarter data also showed activity weakening. The world`s largest economy grew an annualised 2.3 per cent, a step down from the pace seen through 2017. The latest numbers in Europe included a slump in French economic growth and a stabilisation in Euro-area sentiment after three straight declines. In the UK, the economy came to a near halt, putting in its worst performance in more than five years. While the slowdown is partly due to storms that ripped through the region, and most officials have played it down, the European Central Bank acknowledged the shift on Thursday. If it persists, it could increase caution among policymakers about plans to pare back stimulus this year. A similar story has emerged in the UK, where the weak data prompted investors to slash bets on an interest-rate increase in May, something once seen as a near certainty.

03.05.2018 22:57 Russia`s Economic Recovery

According to official figures, Russia`s economy experienced a minor but surprising contraction in November. The country`s Ministry of Economic Development observed that gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.3 percent from November 2016 levels, which stands in stark contrast to the 1.5-percent growth that was being predicted by economists. Weak industrial output, which fell by 3.6 percent on an annual basis, was held chiefly responsible for the disappointing performance. The economic ministry blames the weakness in the industrial sector on the agreement Russia made with OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to curb its crude production in order to bolster commodity prices, as well as the warmer-than-usual weather that weighed on both domestic and foreign demand for natural gas. As such, the ministry has revised its 2017 growth figures for the Russian economy; whereas previously GDP was predicted to have grown by 2.2 percent during the year, now, according to first estimates, this figure was only 1.5 percent. This is not the best indicator, given that GDP growth in the second and third quarters was respectively fixed at 2.5 percent and 1.8 percent - a far cry from the quagmire Russia`s economy was in just one year earlier.

27.04.2018 21:56 US GDP growth slows in Q1 but better-than-expected at 2.3%

Growth in the world`s largest economy slowed sharply in the first three months of the year amid a decline in exports, consumer spending and home buying, the Commerce Department announced on Friday. But the result was better than feared as economists were expecting the first quarter to be even weaker, following the trend of recent years, despite the boost from sweeping tax cuts in December. GDP expanded by 2.3 per cent in the January-March period, according to a preliminary estimate, down from 2.9 per cent in the final months of 2017, according to the report. But growth was two tenths of a point better than a consensus forecast among economists. The outcome - which is subject to significant revision in the coming months - suggested the current economic expansion was uninterrupted, which could offer the White House a measure of relief that the more dire predictions of weaker growth had not been borne out.

20.04.2018 14:36 IMF warns global economic growth will slow by 2020

Good times in the global economy will not last, the IMF warned as it predicted that a slowdown was likely to be accompanied by trade wars. In a sombre World Economic Outlook, its twice-yearly economic forecast, the fund highlighted the “jarring” contradiction between broad-based growth momentum and a “similarly broad-based conflict over trade”. The fund urged nations to use a “window of opportunity” to carry out reforms to boost growth rates before the current upswing - the strongest since 2010 - petered out. Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF`s chief economist, said global growth would slow by 2020 and warned that “major economies are flirting with trade war”, which would distract from the reform agenda “rather than advancing it”.

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15.04.2018 23:49 Malaysia only country with four times upward revision forecast by World Bank

The country can look forward to a brighter economy with the World Bank revising upwards the country`s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) four times over the last 16 months. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is the only country where the World Bank has revised (the forecast) upwards four times within one year and four months. “This proves that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is managing the country`s economy well towards becoming an advanced high-income nation. Malaysia has the qualities to become a successful country and this is proven through various efforts including the early completion of the 52km Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) which was completed below the targeted cost. “The East Cost Rail Link (ECRL) which will be completed in 2022 will pass through Pahang from Bentong to Kota Sas (Kuantan) towards Cherating. Although Pekan is not part of the ECRL route, but due to its location near Kuantan, the people here will also enjoy the spillover economic benefits.


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