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Traveling the Globe to Report on World Markets

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The new $55-billion infrastructure building scheme is widely seen as an attempt by the resources-led economy to kick-start growth as the mining-led investment boom fades away.


Between January and March, GDP expanded 6.9% from a year ago, exceeding expectations and clocking its fastest pace of growth in six quarters.


The recent political uncertainty is unlikely to have a bearing on investors, according to analysts. A research note from Capital Economics explained that the recent political turmoil is unlikely to have a significant impact on the economy or markets.


Structural reforms gained momentum. Foreign investment in Egyptian government securities touched $5.7 billion and remittances worth nearly $8 billion came into the country’s legitimate financial system.


For the January-March period, the French economy clocked 0.3% growth quarter-on-quarter, a slower pace compared to the fourth quarter’s 0.5% expansion.


Germany’s GDP increased 0.6% between January and March, clocking its fastest pace of growth since the first quarter of 2016. Adding to the cheer, all the domestic growth drivers contributed to the performance.


Essentially, the May 2 deal mandates Greece to curtail pensions in 2019 and cut the tax-free threshold in 2020 to generate savings amounting to about 2% of its gross domestic product. Greece is also required to sell some government-owned coal mines and coal-fired plants.


Retail sales in Hong Kong rebounded in March, helped by increased domestic consumption and resumed inflow of tourists from mainland China. Retail sales, a reliable indicator of economic activity, have remained tepid over the last two years.


Rising wages are another long-term concern for Hungary, a country that relies on auto exports to Western Europe for a large chunk of its gross domestic product. Nominal wages increased 10.7% in Hungary in February 2017 compared to the year-ago period.


India reported a host of rather discouraging data in recent months. Its GDP for the first quarter increased 6.1% in annual terms, a sharp deceleration from the 7% growth recorded in the previous quarter.


In the first quarter, Indonesia clocked 5% annualized growth, marginally improving its performance from the 4.9% expansion registered during the previous review period. However, GDP diminished 0.3% from the fourth quarter.


In its interest rate discussion for April, the Bank of Israel’s Monetary Committee presented a very optimistic assessment of the Israeli economy.


Between January and March, the Italian economy expanded 0.2% from the previous quarter and 0.8% from a year ago. The comparable figures for the fourth quarter of 2016 were 0.2% and 1.0%, respectively.


The rebound in consumer spending and the increase in exports helped the economy expand an annualized 2.2% in the first quarter. An increase in exports to Asia in particular contributed to economic growth.


Between January and March, Malaysia’s GDP expanded 5.6% from a year ago, beating both expectations and the previous quarter’s growth rate of 4.5%.


New Zealand’s economy grew a meager 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016, the lowest growth rate recorded in two years, as dairy production fell due to weather conditions. However, the services sector expanded, driven by demand for business services.


During the first quarter, the Philippines lost a bit of its momentum but still managed to cling to its reputation as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.


Poland registered economic growth of 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 2.5% recorded in the third quarter. For the first quarter of 2017, growth is expected to exceed 3.5%.


Qatar, which is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is likely benefiting from the recovery in energy prices, but the key driver of the economy now is public spending on infrastructure.


The rebound in oil prices came at an opportune time for the economy that is still reeling under the effect of the Western economic sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.


Singapore’s GDP expanded 2.5% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2017, thanks to the ongoing rebound in manufacturing powered by export demand. Industrial production rose 10.2% compared to the year-ago period.


GDP diminished 0.3% between the third quarter of 2016 and the fourth. Two ratings agencies downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to junk status.


After stepping into 2017 on a disappointing note, Korea made a smart recovery in the early months of the year. The economy expanded 0.9% from the previous quarter and 2.7% from a year earlier.


At the end of March, Spain’s quarter-on-quarter GDP growth stood at 0.8%, a notch higher than the 0.7% expansion recorded in the fourth quarter.


Between January and March, Taiwan’s GDP increased nearly 2.6% year on year, with exports climbing the most in six years.


Between January and March, a solid recovery in exports propelled the Thai economy to its fastest pace of quarterly expansion in four years.


The economy staged a remarkable comeback in the fourth quarter of 2016 as it expanded an annual 3.5% compared to the year-ago period, thanks to a notable rise in consumption, particularly in automotive sales.


Recent data and trends show an improved outlook for the UAE economy. Following the partial recovery in oil prices, the all-important oil sector is expected to contribute more to overall economic activity in the coming months.


Britain’s GDP increased only 0.2% in the first quarter compared to the 0.7% expansion registered in the fourth quarter. Depressed services sector activity largely led to the loss of momentum.

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© Thomas White International, Ltd. 2017