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Traveling the Globe to Report on World Markets

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During the first quarter of this year, growth was supported by 3% gains in investments and higher consumer spending. The IMF expects the country’s economy to expand 2.2% this year, compared to a decline of 2.3% in 2016.

The economy is expected to have picked up pace in the second quarter of 2017 as exports of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) surged, contributing to a trade surplus of $1.88 billion in May. Recovering from the cyclone-related disruptions, coal exports jumped 62% in the month of May.

Substantially lower inflation levels are likely to allow Brazil’s central bank to reduce interest rates further. Consumer inflation dropped below 3% in July, the lowest level in nearly two decades. Growth is expected to accelerate to 1.7% in 2018, when the country is due to elect the next government.

Faster economic growth has raised expectations of an interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada during the second half of this year. The unemployment rate is at the lowest in nearly a decade though inflation remains below the central bank’s target.

The Chilean government has lowered its growth forecast for the current year to 1.5%, from 2.25% earlier. The government expects higher average copper prices for the current year, but domestic spending by households and businesses is likely to moderate.

In the second quarter, China clocked 6.9% annualized growth, beating estimates and matching the first-quarter growth rate. Strong industrial production, spurred by a revival in exports, rising investment, solid retail sales and very low inventory, drove the second-quarter performance.

The central bank expects the economy to expand less than 2% this year, as the recently implemented tax reforms could restrict economic activity. The Colombian government is planning to reduce spending by more than $1.6 billion to lower the revenue deficit in 2018.

The Czech Republic’s central bank raised interest rates to 0.25% in its meeting held on August 3rd. The hike, the first in more than nine years, comes after three years of stimulus programs by the government.

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.

The French economy expanded 0.5% from April to June, recording its fourth consecutive quarter of growth, which is most likely a sign that the economy is finally on a rebound after years of inconsistent progress.

German GDP climbed 0.6% between the first quarter and the second, recording its 12th consecutive quarter of growth. Private consumption jumped 0.8% while construction investment surged 0.9%.

Greece’s return to the bond markets on July 25th is widely perceived as a sign of the steady progress the economy has made in exiting the crisis. The sale of five-year bonds followed a month after the country received $9.5 billion more in bailout funds.

The economy expanded 4.3% in the quarter, the fastest rate of growth in six years, helped by a strong stock market, growing employment, increasing trade and a healthy outlook for the global economy. The GDP number came in above the 3.7% growth estimated by analysts.

The Hungarian central bank, which left interest rates unchanged at its meeting on April 25th, said it plans to keep monetary policy loose until 2018 despite rising inflationary pressures.

India’s annualized GDP growth slowed down from 6.1% in the first quarter to 5.7% in the second. Manufacturing growth decelerated from 5.3% to 1.2%.

Between April and June, Indonesia’s GDP increased 4% from the first quarter and 5% from a year ago on the back of a 5.4% rise in investment and a nearly 7% surge in construction sector activity.

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

From April to June, Italy’s GDP expanded 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, its tenth consecutive quarter of growth. Also, year-on-year, GDP increased 1.5%, which marked Italy’s best annual growth rate since 2011.

Healthy domestic demand helped GDP expand 4.0% annualized during the April-June period. Domestic demand increased 1.3% compared to the previous quarter as both consumer spending and capital expenditure held up well..

In the second quarter, the country’s output grew 5.8% from a year ago and 1.3% from the first quarter, exceeding expectations and the corresponding GDP figures for the first quarter.

The economy is expected to grow 1.7% this year and 2% in 2018, according to the most recent forecasts from the IMF. The Mexican central bank increased its benchmark rate in June, but indicated that the rate is likely to be on hold for the rest of this year.

New Zealand’s economy expanded at a less-than-expected pace in the first quarter as the pick-up in dairy exports was offset by slowing construction activity. On an annual basis, the South Pacific economy grew 2.5%, which came in below the consensus estimate of 2.7%.

Floods and landslides that caused extensive damage in June may have reduced the pace of economic growth in Peru during the second quarter of the year. However, construction activity should expand strongly during the coming months on reconstruction efforts.

The economy expanded 6.5% on an annualized basis from April to June, posting its 8th consecutive quarter of above-6% growth.

Poland’s economy expanded 4% in the first quarter of 2017, while industrial orders increased 15.7% year-on-year in June and 11.4% on a month-on-month basis. The government said the economy could expand 4% in 2017 on the back of increasing investment.

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.

Russia’s economy appeared to be on a path of moderate economic recovery as it recorded a marginal 0.4% growth in the first quarter notwithstanding the recent moderation in energy and commodity prices.

The export-oriented economy expanded marginally during the second quarter of 2017 on strong demand for its tech products. Exports, excluding oil, increased 8.2% in June on a year-on-year basis as exports of electronics items grew 5.4% from a year ago.

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.

Between April and June, GDP in the country increased 0.6% from the first quarter and 2.7% from a year ago. Exports fell and construction investment eased but private consumption picked up speed.

Spain’s GDP jumped 0.9% in the second quarter, recording its fastest pace of expansion in two years. Between the first quarter and the second, the country’s unemployment rate fell from 18.8% to 17.2%, its lowest level in eight years.

In the second quarter, Taiwan’s GDP expanded 2.1% on an annualized basis, recording its second consecutive quarter of growth deceleration.

In the second quarter, Thailand’s GDP expanded 3.7% from a year ago, outpacing both estimates and the first-quarter growth rate of 3.3%.

Turkey’s consumer-led growth that helped the economy stage a remarkable comeback continued during the review period, clocking 5% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017. A reading of consumer confidence showed a growth of 1.9% in July.

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 edged up 0.3% in the second quarter, which is only a shade faster than the 0.2% growth achieved in the previous quarter. Other data reinforced concerns that Brexit-related uncertainties are taking a toll on the economy.

U.S. economic growth during the first half of this year likely fell short of earlier expectations, despite the stable trends in domestic spending and the improvement in external trade. First quarter growth was revised higher to 1.4% annualized, as consumer spending exceeded initial estimates and exports accelerated.

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© Thomas White International, Ltd. 2017