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Wed, 22nd February 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Economy” Tag

Moody’s raises outlook on Russia rating to ‘stable’

Moody’s on Friday became the latest ratings agency to lift its outlook on Russia’s credit rating, upgrading it from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’, citing both a fiscal strategy — that is expected to lower the country’s dependence on energy and replenish its savings — and the gradual economic recovery.

The ratings agency had confirmed Russia’s Ba1 rating, which is one notch below investment grade, in April 2016, but assigned it a negative outlook at the time to reflect an erosion of the government’s fiscal savings amid a downturn in crude prices. But on Friday, it said the recovery in the country’s economy following a nearly two-year long recession, alongside the fiscal consolidation strategy, have eased the risks that it had identified last year.

Russia’s deficit-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to narrow by roughly one percentage point per year between 2017 and 2019 and Moody’s said this new target was “achievable” because the government’s “oil price and revenue assumptions are sufficiently conservative”.

Moody’s now believes that the downside risks identified in April 2016 have diminished to a level consistent with a stable outlook. The stabilization of the rating outlook partly reflects external events, and in particular the increase in oil prices to a level consistent with the government’s budget assumptions. The stable outlook also reflects the plans the government has put in place to consolidate its finances over the medium term, and the slow recovery in the economy following almost two years of recession.

Rival raters S&P and Fitch have also boosted their outlook on the country in recent months, as external risks to the oil-producing nation ease.

Greek unemployment sticks at 23% amid escalating bailout row

Still no respite for Greece.

Amid a fresh escalation in a row over its bailout conditions, Greece’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is showing no sign of improvement.

The country’s jobless rate – which is the highest in the eurozone and has been above 20 per cent for six years – stuck at 23 per cent in November despite a general uptick in its economic prospects at the end of 2016.

The IMF has been accused by Athens and Brussels of an “overly pessimistic” view on the Syriza government’s ability to hit a 3.5 per cent budget surplus target over the next decade, which has led it to a wrong-headed forecast on Greece’s “explosive” debt dynamics.

The Fund’s latest report on the Greek economy suggest its debt-to-GDP mountain could reach 275 per cent over the next two decades without major debt restructuring. Unemployment meanwhile will only fall to 21.7 per cent this year, while the country’s long-term growth rate was downgraded to 1 per cent, IMF economists predict.

Bank of Japan seen bullish on GDP after eventful 2016

The Bank of Japan is poised to upgrade its three-year economic growth outlook in the final days of January in light of strong recent indicators, though stronger inflation forecasts will be a harder sell.

The central bank will compile its quarterly outlook on economic activity and prices at a two-day policy meeting beginning Monday. The report will outline the BOJ’s forecast for each of the three years through fiscal 2018,

 The last report, released in November, pegged gross-domestic product growth at 1% for fiscal 2016, 1.3% for fiscal 2017 and a slim 0.9% for fiscal 2018. Discussions this time are expected to center on the first two years, with the fiscal 2017 growth forecast thought to be headed for the mid-1% range.

Signs for an upgrade are strong. The BOJ in December boosted its outlook for Japan’s economy as a whole for the first time in 19 months. Such goods as smartphone parts and automobiles are driving up exports and industrial production, while consumer spending on durable goods such as cars is on the rebound as well. Changes made late last year to the GDP calculation method will also give the figure a boost: companies’ research and development spending, which has shown consistent growth over the years, now counts as investment.

BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said at a World Economic Forum panel discussion Jan. 20 that he expects Japan’s economy to grow by around 1.5% in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017, significantly exceeding the country’s potential growth rate.

Overnight US Market :Dow closed -72 points

The Dow Jones industrial average erased its gain for the year on Thursday, part of a pullback for stock indexes as Treasury yields continued their upward march.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 72 points, or 0.4%, to 19,732.40. That puts the Dow down about 32 points for the year and will makes this the fifth straight day of losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.4% to 2,263.69. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.3% to 5,540.08.

Four stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks have slowed in 2017 following an electrifying jump higher since Election Day. Investors are waiting to see what a Donald Trump presidency will really mean for stocks. They’ve already seen the optimistic case, as shown in the nearly 6% jump for the S&P 500 since Donald Trump’s surprise victory of the White House, propelled by expectations for lower taxes and less regulation on businesses.

But on the possible downside, increased tariffs or trade restrictions could mean drops in profits for big U.S. companies.

Bond yields continued their march higher, and the 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.47% from 2.43% late Wednesday. Yields have generally been climbing since Election Day on expectations that President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will spur more inflation and economic growth. The 10-year yield is still below its perch above 2.60% that it reached in mid-December, but it’s well above the 2.09% yield it was at a year ago.

Reports have shown that the U.S. economy has been improving recently, and the latest on Thursday showed encouraging signs for the housing and labor markets. The fewest number of workers sought unemployment claims last week in 43 years, a sign that corporate layoffs are subsiding.

10 takeaways from Xi’s Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech on Tuesday at the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos.

Here are 10 quick takeaways from the 50-minute address, which touched upon globalization, protectionism, world economy and China’s development among other subjects.

1. Many of the problems troubling the world are not caused by economic globalization. Just blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems is inconsistent with reality, and it will not help solve the problems.

2. Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from. Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies, and channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical trend.

3. At present, the most pressing task before us is to steer the global economy out of difficulty.

4. Lack of robust driving forces for global growth makes it difficult to sustain the steady growth of the global economy; inadequate global economic governance makes it difficult to adapt to new developments in the global economy; uneven global development makes it difficult to meet people’s expectations for better lives.

5. The world should develop a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model; pursue a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach to develop a model of open and win-win cooperation; develop a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times; and develop a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model.

6. Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.

7. The Paris Agreement is a hard-won achievement which is in keeping with the underlying trend of global development. All signatories should stick to it instead of walking away from it as this is a responsibility we must assume for future generations.

Brazil slashes rates by 75bps to 13% in surprise move

Don’t anyone accuse Brazil’s central bank of not being bold.

In a unanimous decision, the bank cut its policy interest rate by 75 basis points on Wednesday, exceeding the consensus call for a 50bps cut and sharply picking up the pace on an easing cycle it began with two back-to-back cuts of 25bps each in October and November

In a statement, the bank said economic activity had fallen below expectations and that a recovery would take longer than previously anticipated.

The size of the cut will be welcomed by many, given the economy’s stubborn refusal to return to growth. The rebound expected by many when congress ditched president Dilma Rousseff last year has failed to happen. GDP contracted by 8 per cent over the past two years under Rousseff’s watch; her pro-growth, market-friendly successor, Michel Temer, was expected to turn things round quickly.

PM Modi likely to address nation on New Year eve

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation on December 31 evening, a day after his 50-day deadline for the completion of the demonetisation process draws to a close. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation before dawn of the New Year,” news agency PTI reported.

However, it was not clear as to whether he would address the nation on Friday or Saturday. In his address, the Prime Minister may speak about the roadmap post the demonetisation period especially on the steps likely to be taken to ease cash flow that has been a major problem ever since demonetisation took place.

He may also speak on the steps to deal with the problems the economy faces after the demonetisation was announced on November 8. The Prime Minister in his public meetings in the last few weeks has been urging the people to bear with the pain following the government’s decision and that it would start easing gradually once the 50-day period is over. On Tuesday, Modi met economists and experts at a meeting in Niti Aayog to discuss the current economic situation

BOJ taking ‘a step forward,’ says Kuroda

The Bank of Japan revised its economic outlook for the first time in 19 months during the two-day policy meeting that ended Tuesday. But that is apparently the only step the central bank is taking at this time.

“The headwinds seen in the first half of this year have ceased,” BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters following the meeting. Markets were riled by heightened concerns directed at emerging economies at the beginning of 2016, only to be shocked in June by Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union. The BOJ was forced to loosen its policy in July, raising its target for exchange-traded fund purchases.

 During the second half of 2016, the economic landscape has slowly brightened, beginning with U.S. readings. The Japanese economy has followed suit with increased exports and production. Consumption also recovered from a slump caused by a soft stock market and inclement weather at the beginning of the year.

“Japan’s economy has continued its moderate recovery trend,” the BOJ said in a statement published after the meeting. The central bank had previously qualified that view by highlighting sluggish exports and production.

Latest Atlanta Fed GDPNow down to 2.4% from 3.6% on November 23

Trade and inventories cited

As per the Atlanta Fed:
“The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2016 is 2.4 percent on November 30, down from 3.6 percent on November 23. The forecast of the combined contributions of real net exports and real inventory investment to fourth-quarter growth fell from 0.61 percentage points to 0.18 percentage points after last Friday’s advance economic indicators report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The forecast of fourth-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 3.0 percent to 2.2 percent after this morning’s personal income and outlays release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.”
 
 That is a pretty hefty drop.  
 

 

Fitch cuts India’s FY17 growth forecast to 6.9%

Fitch Ratings today lowered India’s GDP growth forecast for this fiscal to 6.9 per cent from 7.4 per cent, saying there will be “temporary disruptions” to economic activity post demonetisation.

It said economic activity will be hit in the October- December quarter because of the cash crunch created by withdrawal and replacement of 500 and 1000 rupee notes that accounted for 86 per cent of the value of currency in circulation.

“Indian growth has also been revised down to reflect temporary disruptions to activity related to the RBI’s surprise demonetisation of large-denomination bank notes,” Fitch said, as it revised real GDP growth forecast down to 6.9 per cent for 2016-17, from 7.4 per cent projected earlier.

The US-based ratings agency also revised GDP growth forecast for 2017-18 and 2018-19 lower to 7.7 per cent from 8 per cent earlier.

“Gradual implementation of the structural reform agenda is expected to contribute to higher growth, as will higher real disposable income, supported by an almost 24 per cent hike in civil servants’ wages.

“But the anticipated recovery in investment looks a bit less certain in light of ongoing weakness in the data,” Fitch said in its ‘Global Economic Outlook – November’ report.