Economic News from InstaForex
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  1. #51

    Default China Targeting 8% GDP Growth This Year: PM

    China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Friday his country was seeking an 8% annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP), an inflation rate of about 3% and a basically stable Yuan currency for 2010, the year in which China is set to overtake Japan to become the world's second-largest economy.

    In his annual "state of the Union" address to the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, he also said that Beijing would maintain an appropriately flexible monetary stance and an active fiscal policy.

    Expressing satisfaction over the country escaping, relatively unscathed, from the global financial crisis, Wen warned the nearly 3,000 delegates against complacency, and vowed to reverse the widening income gap between the rich and the poor as the country continued its economic advance.

    "We must not interpret the economic turnaround as a fundamental improvement in the economic situation," he said, adding: "There is insufficient internal impetus driving economic growth."

    Asserting that China needed to concentrate on restructuring the economy, Wen said: "This is a crucial year for.accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development."

    After property prices peaked in 21 months in January, he set a target of 7.5 trillion yuan (?750 billion USD 1128 billion) for lending.

    However, the premier did not announce any roll-back in the massive 4.0 trillion yuan (?400 billion USD 602 billion) stimulus package that spurred a rebound and helped to ensure the economy grow by 8.7 per cent last year.

    The premier unveiled increases of 8.8 per cent on social spending and 12.8 per cent on rural outlays, as he pledged to expand pensions, raise health-and-social-security outlays to avert instability in the economy.

    Wen warned of the latent risk in China's banks, and promised to crack down on property-speculation. He also cited excess capacity in manufacturing and weak support for the rural income growth. He urged Chinese firms to improve their ability to innovate and produce high-tech and high-quality products.

    In his wide-ranging speech to the rubber-stamp parliament, the premier dwelt on high areas of concern among his 1.3 billion fellow-citizens: soaring house prices, jobs, inflation and corruption. He said: "Everything we do, we do to ensure that the people live a happier life with more dignity."

    After the recent ethnic riots in Tibet and the Muslim far western Xinjiang province, the premier lay emphasis on the need to ensure minorities felt a "sense of citizenship", saying: "The Chinese nation's life, strength and hope lie in promoting solidarity, (and) achieving common progress of our ethnic groups."

    Wen's speech came a day after Beijing announced an increase of 7.5 per cent in its defense budget for 2010, a reduction of 50 per cent compared to last year's planned growth of 14.9 per cent--the slowest pace of expansion in more than a decade.

    Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), told a press conference Thursday in Beijing that the planned defense budget was 532.115 billion yuan (about USD 78 billion), an increase of about 37 billion yuan from last year's figure.

    This marks the first time that China's defense budget growth rate rose less than 10 per cent after more than 20 years of double-digit increases.

    Defense-spending would account for 6.4 per cent of the country's total fiscal expenditure in 2010, the same as last year, he said, adding, as a proportion of the GDP, China was still spending less than many other countries, including the United States.

    China's defense expenditure in recent years accounted for about 1.4 per cent of its GDP, he said, noting that ratio was four per cent for the United States, and more than two per cent for the United Kingdom, France and Russia.

    Taking into account China's large population, its vast territory, and its long coastline, the country's defense budget was "comparatively low," Li said. But he pointed out that the figures were tentative until the budget plan was approved at the NPC annual session due to open Friday in Beijing.

    The spokesman said the increased budget would be mainly used to support military reforms and improve its capability to deal with various security threats and complete diversified tasks. A part of the money would be used to raise the living standards of servicemen, he added.

    Li also claimed that China was increasing transparency on its expenditure on defense after Washington repeatedly urged Beijing to be more open about its rapidly-rising military-spending. As a part of this exercise, he said his country was submitting defense budgets to the NPC annual sessions for approval, issuing white papers every two years on its national defense, and establishing a spokesperson system and websites for its Defense Ministry.

    Asserting that the only purpose of China's military strength was to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the NPC spokesman added Beijing had always taken the path of peaceful development in line with its national defense policy.

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  2. #52


    Greek PM Calls For U.S. To Help Regulate Speculators

    Greece Prime Minister George Papandreou will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday, where he will appeal for assistance in regulating the currency traders and hedge funds that have bet against Greek debt.

    Greece recently announced measures to resolve its debt issues, hoping to attract aid from its European neighbors.

    While Papandreou did not come to Washington looking for a hand out, he stressed the U.S. must play a vital role in stopping "unprincipled speculators" from aggravating the Greek debt problems, doing damage to already frail global financial markets.

    A number of European leaders are pointing to speculators as the main reason that Greek financing costs have skyrocketed. For its part, profligate Greece has run up a deficit that is 12.7% of GDP, far beyond the 3% limit set by euro area nations.

    "Unprincipled speculators are making billions every day by betting on a Greek default," said Papandreou, after meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday.

    "That is why Europe and America must say 'enough is enough' to those speculators who only place value on immediate returns, with utter disregard for the consequences on the larger economic system - not to mention the human consequences of lost jobs, foreclosed homes, and decimated pensions," he added.

    Papandreou stressed that speculation does not allow Greece to borrow at the same rates other European Union countries and the Eurozone countries borrow at, a situation that is unsustainable within a common currency.

    "We're not asking for money," Papandreou insisted. "We're not asking for bailouts. We're simply saying what we want to be is equal partners, as we have taken these measures on the market to be able to get what others also can get, which is basically normal rates of borrowing."

    Secretary Clinton commended the prime minister for "moving quickly to put in place changes that are called for given the economic consequences of the fiscal situation that he inherited."

    "What I think Greece is looking that the United States, working in the G-20, will make some of the changes in regulatory regimes governing some of these financial instruments that have been used to the detriment not only of Greece, but of other countries, including our own."

    Prior to remarking on the Greek debt crisis, Clinton congratulated Iraq on holding parliamentary elections. In a lighter moment, she quipped that Greece, as the birthplace of democracy, should get a royalty any time there's a democratic election anywhere in the world.

    "It would help my deficit, too," Papandreou joked.

    Papandreou will meet today with President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

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  3. #53


    First-Time Jobless Claims Show Modest Decrease, Continuing Claims Rise

    While the Labor Department released a report Thursday morning showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 6th, the report also showed an increase in continuing claims.

    The report showed that initial jobless claims edged down to 462,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 468,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 460,000 from the 469,000 originally reported for the previous week.

    Peter Boockvar, equity strategist for Miller Tabak, said, "Due to the noise around the snow storms, it's best to look at the 4-week average, which smoothes out the data."

    The less volatile four-week moving average rose to 475,500 from the previous week's revised average of 470,500. With the increase, the moving average reached its highest level since late November of 2009.

    Additionally, the Labor Department said that continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose to 4.558 million in the week ended February 27th from the preceding week's revised level of 4.521 million.

    With the increase, continuing claims bounced off the more than one-year low set in the previous week, which was the lowest level since claims came in at 4.487 million in the week ended January 3rd, 2009.

    On the other hand, the report also showed that those receiving emergency unemployment compensation fell by almost 160 thousand in the week ended February 20th to 5.528 million. Those receiving extended benefits also fell by about 15 thousand in the week.

    Boockvar said, "We hope this category begins to fall due to recipients finding new jobs rather than from exhaustion of benefits, but the hiring outlook still remains uncertain."

    Last Friday, the Labor Department released a report showing that payroll employment showed a relatively modest decrease in the month of February, despite the impact of severe winter weather.

    The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 36,000 jobs in February following a revised decrease of 26,000 jobs in January. Economists had expected a more substantial loss of about 68,000 jobs compared to the loss of 20,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

    While the Labor Department acknowledged that the data was impacted by the severe snowstorms in early February, it said it is not possible to precisely quantify the net impact of the storms.

    The Labor Department also said that the unemployment rate in February remained unchanged from the previous month at 9.7 percent. The unemployment rate had been expected to tick up to 9.8 percent.

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  4. #54

    Default Euro Gains On Dollar Despite Specter Of Deflation

    The euro was mixed on Tuesday, firming up against the dollar despite concerns about deflation in the Euro zone.

    Eurozone core inflation dropped to an all-time low in February, suggesting that deflationary pressures persist in the 16-nation economy.

    Core inflation, which excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, stood at 0.8% in February, down from 0.9% in January, data released by the Eurostat showed Tuesday. That was in line with the consensus forecast and was the lowest rate since comparable data was compiled in 1990.

    However, this morning's economic news will likely be overshadowed by the Federal Reserve's latest statement on interest rates, which is expected at around 2:15 pm ET.

    While the Fed is expected to keep interest rates near zero, the accompanying statement will garner significant attention for subtle changes the central bank's assessment of the US economy and timeline for future rate hikes.

    Yesterday, European finance ministers worked out a strategy for emergency loans to Greece, in case the country's $6.6 billion tax hikes and wage cut plans fail. Standard & Poor's affirmed the nation's credit ratings.

    The euro rose to 1.3740 versus the dollar, staying away from a 9-month low of 1.3434 set earlier this month.

    The euro slipped to .9054 versus the sterling, but remained within hailing distance of its 2010 highs above .9150.

    In news from the US, new residential construction showed a notable decrease in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday. Analysts say the data was impacted by unusually bad winter weather in the Northeast.

    The report showed that housing starts fell 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 575,000 in February from the revised January estimate of 611,000.

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  5. #55

    Default Philadelphia-Area Manufacturing Shows Continued Signs Of Growth

    Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region is continuing to show signs of growth in the month of March, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday, with the index of activity in the manufacturing sector rising by more than expected.

    The Philly Fed said its index of regional manufacturing activity rose to 18.9 in March from 17.6 in February, with a positive reading indicating growth in the sector. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase by the index to a reading of 18.0.
    While the headline index showed a continued improvement in activity in the sector, the new orders index fell to 9.3 in March from 22.7 in February and the shipments index slipped to 13.6 from 19.7 in the previous month.

    At the same time, the report showed an acceleration in the pace of employment growth in the sector, as the number of employees index rose to 8.4 in March from 7.4 in February. With the increase, the index rose to its highest level since October of 2007.

    The Philly Fed said firms' responses continued to suggest that labor market conditions have been stabilizing in recent months.

    On the other hand, the inventories index fell to a negative 11.0 in March from a positive 3.2 in February, indicating another contraction in inventories.

    The report also showed that the prices paid index rose to 38.6 in March from 32.4 in February, while the prices received index fell to a negative 0.4 from a positive 3.7 in the previous month.

    Looking ahead, the future general activity index remained positive for the 15th consecutive month, rising to 52.0 in March from 35.8 in February.

    The Philly Fed added that the percentage of firms expecting employment to increase over the next six months exceeded the percentage expecting declines for the eleventh consecutive month.

    Earlier this week, the New York Fed released its report on regional manufacturing activity, showing that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to improve at a steady pace in March.

    The New York Fed said its index of regional manufacturing activity edged down to 22.9 in March from 24.9 in February, but a positive reading still indicates growth in the sector. Economists had expected the index to slip to a reading of 22.0.

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  6. #56

    Default Euro Finds Support After US Housing Data

    The euro steadied versus the dollar on Tuesday even after Germany indicated that aid to Greece will not be discussed at this week's European Union meeting in Brussels.

    With Greece in limbo despite measures designed to get its spiraling debt under control, the euro has struggled to fight back from February's notable losses against the dollar.

    The euro was under pressure in early dealing, but pared its losses after another round of lackluster data on the US housing market.

    Existing home sales saw a modest decrease in the month of February, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Tuesday, with modest gains in the Northeast and Midwest offset by softer sales in the South and West.

    The report showed that existing home sales edged down by 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million units in February from a 5.05 million unit rate in January

    Across the Atlantic, European consumer confidence was more or less unchanged in March, a flash estimate from the European Commission showed.

    "March's eurozone consumer confidence figures confirm that consumer sentiment remains weak by historical standards and that a household spending recovery some way off," said Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics. "With wage growth slowing and tighter fiscal policy on the way, prospects do not look much better for the remainder of the year," he added.

    The euro slipped to 1.3480 versus the dollar in early dealing, coming close to a 9-month low of 1.3434 set earlier in March.

    Versus the yen, the euro was steady after losing ground in the previous few sessions. The euro was stuck near 122, having touched a yearly low near 120 back in February.

    Meanwhile, the euro leveled off near .90 versus the sterling, having seen choppy movement over the past few days.

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  7. #57

    Default U.K. Recovery Stronger Than Estimated

    The British economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter more strongly than initially estimated. The outlook for the economy is fundamentally weak and the prospect of a sluggish and fragile recovery remains.

    The economy expanded 0.4% sequentially in the fourth quarter, better than the previous estimate of 0.3%, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics. On February 26, the statistical office had first revised fourth quarter growth to 0.3% from 0.1%. Economists had expected the ONS to confirm the 0.3% growth figure today.

    The fourth quarter growth follows six quarters of contraction, which made it the longest recession since records began in 1955. Gross domestic product dropped 0.3% in the third quarter and 0.7% in the second quarter.

    There are good reasons not to get too excited, said Jonathan Loynes, Capital Economics' chief European economist. The economy is operating a long way below its potential or trend level.

    David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, also shared the same view. He said, "It is clear that the UK recovery is still frail, vulnerable, and businesses are facing serious pressures." A double-dip recession is still a potential threat that must be avoided at all costs. Given the dangers still facing the economy, policy must remain expansionary, he added.

    The household saving ratio was 7% in the latest quarter, compared with 8.4% in the previous quarter. Real household disposable income fell 1%, following a 0.6% increase in third quarter.

    Further falls in the savings ratio will be needed if spending is not to decline, ING Bank NV's Mark Cliffe said. The decline in the saving ratio reflected higher borrowing as the housing market staged a modest rebound. However, households may have to scale back their purchases of assets as banks are likely to be less willing to lend and consumers less willing to borrow than in previous cycles.

    On the production side, construction output was down 0.9% sequentially, compared with the 1.8% increase in the previous quarter. Output of production industries was unrevised at 0.4% after recording a 1% fall in the third quarter with manufacturing output growing 0.8%. Output in the service industries also remained unrevised at 0.5%. Agricultural output dipped 1.5%.

    On an annual basis, economic contraction for the fourth quarter was lowered to 3.1% from 3.3%. GDP in volume terms fell 4.9% for 2009 as a whole, the largest fall on record, compared with a rise of 0.5% in 2008. Overall output declined by 6.2% during this recession.

    ONS data showed a 0.4% sequential rise in household expenditure. Spending remained 2.1% lower than the fourth quarter of 2008. Government spending moved up 1% taking the annual growth to 2.2%. Meanwhile, gross fixed capital formation recorded a 2.7% quarterly fall and plunged 14% annually. Inventories continued to decline, down 2.6 billion pounds on the quarter.

    According to Capital Economics' Loynes, the further upward revision to growth came primarily from an even bigger positive contribution from inventories. It is very unlikely that this component will have such a positive effect in the quarters ahead, the economist said.

    Again, with income set to be squeezed further by high inflation and rising taxes this year, spending will possibly remain under pressure. Capital Economics forecast the U.K. economy to grow by just around 1% in 2010.

    Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in his 2010 budget statement said the economy is expected to grow 3% to 3.5% in 2011, in line with the Bank of England estimate. The government maintained its growth estimate at 1%-1.5% for 2010.

    ONS data also showed that the trade deficit in real terms increased to 8.3 billion pounds in the fourth quarter of 2009. Exports of goods and services rose 3.8% whilst imports were up 4.7%. The improvement in global demand conditions as well as a fall in pound had only a limited impact on the external sector, noted Loynes.

    In a separate communique, the ONS revealed the current account balance recorded a deficit of 1.7 billion pounds in the fourth quarter. This compares with a revised deficit of 5.9 billion pounds in the third quarter. Economists had forecast a 5.1 billion pounds deficit for the final quarter. In 2009, the current account was in deficit by 18.4 billion pounds, compared with a deficit of 22 billion pounds in 2008.

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  8. #58

    Default Hello, I am new

    Hello everyone. I am new and thought I would introduce myself. I have been searching for somewhere to relax and browse some good discussion. I think will solve that!

    I have got to head off now, however am looking for some amazing reading. Take care!

  9. #59

    Default US Weekly Jobless Claims Show Another Modest Decrease

    First-time claims for unemployment benefits showed another modest decrease in the week ended March 27th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with jobless claims falling to their lowest level since early February.

    The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 439,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 445,000. Economists had been expecting claims to edge down to 440,000 from the 442,000 originally reported for the previous week.

    With the modest decrease, jobless claims extended a recent downward trend after seeing a brief rebound in mid-February. The drop pulled jobless claims down to their lowest level since a matching number in the week ended February 6th.

    The Labor Department also said that the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 447,250 from the previous week's revised average of 454,000. With the drop, the four-week moving average fell to its lowest level since September of 2008.

    Additionally, the report showed that continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, fell to 4.662 million in the week ended March 20th from the preceding week's revised level of 4.668 million.

    The decrease dragged continuing claims down to their lowest level since coming in at 4.589 million in December of 2008.

    At the same time, the report also showed that those receiving emergency unemployment compensation increased by about 267 thousand in the week ended March 13th, although those receiving extended benefits edged down by about 3 thousand for the week.

    Peter Boockvar, equity strategist for Miller Tabak, said, "The best conclusion from the data remains the same and that is businesses have dramatically tempered the rate of firing but still seem reluctant to aggressively add to their payrolls."

    Employment data is likely to remain in focus on Friday, with the Labor Department due to release its monthly employment report, despite the Good Friday holiday. Economists expect the report to show that employment increased by about 190,000 jobs in March.

    Payroll processor Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) released a report on Wednesday showing an unexpected drop in private sector employment in the month of March, although the drop still marked the smallest since employment began falling in February of 2008.

    The report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 23,000 jobs in March following a revised decrease of 24,000 jobs in February. The loss of jobs surprised economists, who had expected an increase of about 40,000 jobs compared to loss of 20,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

    However, ADP noted that its data for February was not restrained by the effects of inclement weather, and subsequently the data for March did not include a weather-related rebound. The company also noted that its March data does not include any federal hiring for the 2010 Census.

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  10. #60

    Default Greece Looking To Bypass IMF Involvement In Deficit Crisis

    The Greek government wants to amend the EU aid deal to avert severe fiscal measures the International Monetary Fund may recommend, the Market News International reported.

    At the end of March, Eurozone leaders had reached an agreement to help Greece, with the participation of the IMF if the country fails to meet its funding needs.

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou reportedly wants to alter the plan to bypass an IMF contribution. He fears that the measures the IMF would probably advocate, may cause social and political unrest.

    Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that Germany is at odds with other Eurozone countries over the rate of interest to be charged on the aid to the debt-ridden Greece if Athens calls on the emergency loans package.

    According to the report, most Eurozone nations are prepared to offer loans at 4%-4.5%, but Germany says Athens should pay 6%-6.5%.

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Economic News from InstaForex