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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 managed to maintain its decades-long growth streak in the fourth quarter of 2017. GDP expanded a meager 0.4% during the period as bad weather hit exports but was offset by robust government spending and a rebound in household consumption.
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.
The world’s second-largest economy registered fourth quarter GDP growth of 6.8%, which beat analyst estimates. For the year 2017, the economy expanded 6.9% even as the government initiated economic restructuring.
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 economy expanded at an annual 5.1% in the last quarter of 2017, the latest quarter for which data are available. The export-oriented economy had registered a 5% growth in the previous quarter. Since the beginning of 2017, Czech GDP has steadily accelerated.
Egypt’s GDP expanded at an annualized rate of 5.4% in the third quarter of the current financial year (July 2017 to June 2018) which compares with 4.3% recorded in the same period a year ago.
The French economy grew 0.5% between July and September, slightly underperforming the 0.6% growth clocked in the second quarter.
Germany’s seasonally adjusted GDP climbed 0.8% between the second quarter and the third, outpacing the 0.6% quarterly expansion recorded at the end of June.
Greece is expected to exit its third bailout program in August 2018. Moreover, the beleaguered south European economy, which is slowly returning to normality, got a shot in the arm as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering extending its tenure in the country by five more years.
The economy expanded an annual 4.7% during the first quarter of 2018, driven by healthy private consumption and robust exports. Private consumption, which accounts for two-thirds of the city’s GDP, increased an annual 8.6% during the period, while exports grew 5.2% on a year-on-year basis.
Hungary witnessed an unprecedented boom in consumer lending in recent quarters, thanks to a double-digit increase in wages and low interest rates. Central Bank Deputy Governor Marton Nagy said the economy needs even faster growth in lending to sustain its expansion.
The economy expanded at a 7.2% annual rate in the October-December quarter. This continues the country’s rebound from 2017’s slowdown due to the demonetization of highdenomination currency notes and troubles related to the rollout of the GST.
The economy expanded 5.2% in the fourth quarter from the year-ago period, better than expected, helped by a rebound in exports though consumer spending remained tepid. Exports increased 8.5% during the quarter, while retail sales edged up by a meager 2.6%.
The Israeli economy expanded an annual 4.2% in the first quarter of 2018. The GDP figure, which came in above analyst estimates, was driven by increased exports, investments and consumer spending.
Between the second quarter and the third, the Italian economy expanded 0.5%, outdoing the 0.4% growth recorded from April to June.
Notwithstanding the blip in growth, the government of Japan sounded optimistic about the overall growth prospects for the economy, citing positive trends in consumer spending, and a rise in exports and capital investment by firms.
The economy grew at a rate of 5.9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, slower than the 6.2% expansion in the quarter before. The services sector rose 6.2%, helped by retail and wholesale trade.
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.
The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to expand 3% in the short term. However, the organization also pointed out that though soaring home prices have cooled, household debt remains high.
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 Philippines clocked GDP growth of 6.7% for the year 2017, earning the distinction of growing above 6% for the sixth year in a row. For the fourth quarter, the economy registered year-on-year growth of 6.6%.
Observing that Poland’s credit profile reflects robust economic growth, Moody’s raised its 2018 GDP growth forecast to 4.3% from its earlier view of a 3.5% growth. For 2019, it expects the Polish economy to clock 4.0% growth, revised from its previous forecast of 3.2%.
Notwithstanding the boycott,Qatar’s economy appears to be coping well with the economic impact. The economy posted real GDP growth of 1.6% for the year 2017 as the non-hydrocarbon sector expanded 4.2%.
In addition to structural factors such as a declining population, an unhealthy dependence on the oil and natural gas sector and low investment levels, continuing financial sanctions also bog down the economy.
Singapore looks set to clock modest growth for the year 2018. Though the government expects growth between 1.5% to 3.5% during the year, growing trade tensions remain a concern for the export-reliant economy.
Africa’s most industrialized economy expanded a better-than-expected 3.1% in the last quarter of 2017, driven by the recovery in trade and agriculture. Taking note, the World Bank raised its 2018 growth projection for the country.
The economy slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2017 due to a long holiday that curtailed industrial production, while the robust overseas sales of computer memory chips was offset by the slump in automobile exports, a Reuters news report said.
Spain’s GDP jumped 0.8% in the third quarter, meeting estimates but slightly underperforming the 0.9% growth recorded in the second quarter.
Taiwan’s economy expanded 3.3% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, which came in well above the government’s estimate of a 2.4% increase. The economy registered higher export growth in January, helped by robust global demand for its products.
Despite registering growth for the fifteenth quarter in a row, Thailand’s economic expansion fell short of analyst estimates in the fourth quarter. Growth came in at 4% year on year in the quarter, below the consensus estimate of 4.4%.
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s cut Turkey’s credit rating to “junk”, citing a bleak inflation outlook and the long-term depreciation and volatility of the nation’s exchange rate. S&P warned of a hard landing for the credit-fueled, overheated economy.
The steady rise in oil prices was a morale booster for the United Arab Emirates during the review period. Still, the UAE is trying hard to diversify its economy to reduce its dependence on oil.
At the end of September, the U.K. economy expanded 0.4% from the second quarter and 1.5% from the same period a year ago. The quarterly growth rate exceeded expectations.
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. 2018