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Latest Reports

  • May 6, 2015

    Growth broadly stable in Q1

    The global economy experienced a mild acceleration at the outset of the year. According to preliminary data, the global economy expanded 2.9% in Q1 over the same quarter last year, which was slightly up from the 2.8% increase tallied in Q4. Results of note in the first quarter include a year-on-year acceleration in the United States, which was mainly the result of a low base of comparison from last year. That said, in seasonally-adjusted annualized terms, the economy nearly stalled in Q1 due to a yet another harsh winter. On the other hand, economic dynamics slowed in China—in line with the government’s “new normal” approach to growth—and in the United Kingdom. According to our panel of economists, growth accelerated in the Euro area in Q1, while Japan posted an outright contraction in the same period, driven mainly by the impact of a front-loaded increase in consumer spending last year ahead of the sales tax hike implemented in April 2014.

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  • May 20, 2015

    Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela cause region to contract in Q1

    Latin America’s performance was disappointing in the first quarter. The economy cooled off at the outset of 2015 following a mild acceleration in the fourth quarter and is expected to have contracted 0.2% in the first three months of the year. This is despite the fact that most economies in the region continued on a healthy, albeit slower, growth path in Q1. Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela—the largest members of the Mercosur bloc—are expected to have contracted, causing the region’s economic deterioration. Latin America’s fate followed sluggish growth in other parts of the globe. China and Japan showed signs of having lost further momentum in Q1, suggesting that their governments’ stimulus measures might not be sufficient to revamp growth. The U.S. economy, which experienced a healthy recovery in 2014, also decelerated in Q1, although the slowdown is likely only temporary as it was caused by harsh weather conditions.

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  • May 20, 2015

    Region’s economy posts solid growth in 2014, recent data signal moderation in Q1

    More complete data showed that the economy of Central America and the Caribbean grew 3.4% in 2014, which marked a slight improvement compared to the 3.3% increase registered in 2013. In fact, growth in the region was much stronger than in Latin America as a whole, which showed economic growth of around 1%. The Dominican Republic (+7.3%), Panama (+6.2%) and Nicaragua (+4.7%) were the fastest growing economies in the region. On the other side of the spectrum, Puerto Rico (-0.9%), Jamaica (+0.5%) and Trinidad and Tobago (+1.0%) were the region’s worst performers. 

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  • May 27, 2015

    Economic dynamics soften in Q2

    Further economic data for Q1 corroborate that growth momentum moderated at the outset of the year in the ex-Japan Asia region, with GDP expanding 6.1% (previously expected: +6.2% year-on-year). Along with the deceleration in China and Korea, data released in the last few weeks show that the economies of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan also experienced a moderation in growth in Q1. In fact, only the Thai economy accelerated in Q1. That said, the pick-up tallied in Thailand mainly reflected a low base of comparison from last year due to the political unrest ahead of the May 2014 military coup.

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  • May 6, 2015

    Economic recovery remains on track, but Greek crisis weighs on optimism

    Economic recovery in the Eurozone is moving along despite Greece’s ongoing failure in reaching a deal with its international creditors to avoid a default on its loans. Economic activity in the Euro area was solid in the first quarter of the year as industrial production expanded at the fastest pace in 10 months in February and the labor market showed gradual improvement again in March. Moreover, recent survey-based indicators provided evidence that economic activity in the common-currency block was on solid footing at the outset of the second quarter. Although moderating modestly in April, both the composite PMI and the economic sentiment indicator (ESI) were still considerably high, which suggests that both businesses and consumers maintained positive opinions regarding current business conditions and the overall economic situation. Confidence regarding the Eurozone’s growth prospects is also strong.

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  • May 13, 2015

    Deterioration in Russia and Ukraine will cause region to contract in Q1

    After slowing down in the second half of 2014, Eastern Europe’s economy is gradually entering into recession at the outset of the year. The region’s GDP growth fell from 1.5% in Q3 2014 to 1.1% in Q4 and now is estimated to have declined 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. The expected deterioration in the growth rate stems from an economic contraction in Russia—the largest economy in the region—and in Ukraine. In fact, in the first quarter, Russia’s GDP is expected to have contracted 4.0% (Q4: +0.4% year-on-year) and Ukraine’s war-hit economy took another disastrous plunge (Q4: -14.8% yoy; Q1: -11.2% yoy). An expected pickup in GDP growth in Q1 in the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia, along with healthy growth in Poland and Hungary, have again been overshadowed by the unresolved crisis in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions between the West and Russia.

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  • May 13, 2015

    Oil prices have rebounded strongly in recent weeks 

    Oil prices continued to recover in recent weeks and, at the outset of May, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) average price hit the highest level so far this year. The recent upward trend in oil prices mainly reflects a disruption in Libya’s crude exports due to protests in the country’s eastern ports, political instability in the Middle East and a relatively-weaker U.S. dollar. Moreover, Saudi Arabia decided to increase its official selling prices in response to stronger global demand. While analysts reckon that crude prices are still at low levels, they also suggest that the global oil glut may have started to ease. Despite recent developments in the international oil market and calls for a reduction in oil supply, the OPEC members are expected to maintain the current production levels at their 5 June meeting.

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  • May 27, 2015

    External headwinds continue to weigh on growth

    A more complete set of data for the Sub-Saharan Africa region confirms that economic activity decelerated slightly in 2014, with GDP expanding 4.9% (2013: +5.2%). While growth in 2014 benefited from strong private consumption and resilient investment, particularly in mining and infrastructure, this year the outlook is clouded by external headwinds. Global growth will remain subdued in 2015, thereby putting a dent in external demand, and the decline in oil and other commodity prices is expected to take its toll in the region’s economic progress. Further downside risks to growth stem from latent political risks and weak external financing conditions. Nevertheless, the deceleration expected for 2015 will be uneven across the region. Oil-export countries will likely be hit hard, while for much of the rest of the countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region the decline in oil prices will help to improve their external imbalances. 

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