CHINA'S INVESTMENT KEEPS
China's economy is still
powering ahead, despite attempts to rein it in, a Chinese government
report has said.
According to China's National
Bureau of Statistics, investment in construction, factories and other
fixed assets rose at an annual rate of 27.2% in October.
While that is slower than some
analysts had predicted, it is almost double the rate China set out as
Growth was driven by
infrastructure projects such as railways, and by production of
commodities such as coal.
The government has taken steps
to cool the growth of investment spending, including trying to get banks
to limit the amount of money they loan.
Their concern has been that too
much money is flooding into sectors such as cement, steel and aluminium
production, and may lead to overcapacity.
Instead they want fewer, but
better targeted, construction projects and greater investment in areas
such as coal extraction and power generation.
"Investment growth was a
bit slower than we had expected, but growth remains strong in sectors
such as coal and railways, where the government is trying to solve the
problem of bottlenecks," said Mo Qian, an economist at Everbright
Ideally, the government would
be able to offset a slowdown in investment spending with an increase in
domestic consumption, analysts said.
According to the statistics
office, fixed asset spending rose 27.6% in the first 10 months of 2005
to 5.58 trillion yuan (£400bn; $689bn).
The fastest rate of growth was
seen in the coal mining sector, where investment was up 76.3% from a
Investment in power generation
and other utilities gained 33%, while spending on the oil and gas
industry climbed 31%, and railway expenditure rose 44%.
GERMAN GROWTH BOOSTED BY
Germany grew faster than
expected in the past three months, official figures have shown,
signalling a further recovery in Europe's largest economy.
GDP grew by 0.6% in Germany
between July and September, an improvement on the previous quarter's
The rise was largely down to
strong export growth, and the period also saw increased investment by
But economists remain divided
over the strength of the recovery amid signs that consumer spending
The economy grew 1.3% on a
year-by-year basis over the period, according to figures published by
the Federal Statistics Office. Experts had forecast a 1% rise.
The data confirms our
expectations for a strengthening of the recovery Wolfgang Clement,
On a quarterly basis, growth is
now back to the same level seen at the start of the year following a
surprise decline in the second quarter.
Overseas demand for German
goods remained strong during the period, enabling firms to increase
investment in their operations.
German ministers said this
raised hopes of more jobs being created.
"Overall, the data
confirms our expectations for a strengthening of the recovery,"
said outgoing economy minister Wolfgang Clement.
The new government has made
improving Germany's economic competitiveness one of its main priorities.
Some economists believe the
economy is heading in the right direction as greater wage restraint
improves labour market conditions.
US TRADE DEFICIT WITH CHINA
US Trade Representative Rob
Portman said China's trade surplus with the United States was likely to
exceed $200 billion this year, roughly $40 billion more than 2004.
Portman, speaking at a China-US relations forum in Beijing, spoke of the
growing US trade deficit as he warned bilateral trade tensions had not
evaporated simply because of the textiles deal brokered last week.
"I believe it will be over
$200 billion this year," Portman said.
The US trade deficit with China
reached $146.3 billion in the first nine months of the year, according
to US data.
The United States last year
recorded a deficit with China of $162 billion,, powerful fuel for US
politicians and industry groups who are increasingly worried about the
imbalance in trade between the two nations.
For many in the United States,
China is guilty of manipulating its currency rate to boost exports, of
turning a blind eye to a rampant trade in fake goods, and of shutting
out US firms from entering the country's huge domestic markets.
APEC SEEKS TRADE TALK
Pacific Rim trade and foreign
ministers have ended two days of meetings with a call for more
flexibility to break an impasse in ongoing global trade talks.
Following their meeting in
South Korea, they pulled short of blaming the European Union for the
ongoing impasse in the World Trade Organisation talks.
But they want their own Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders to take the lead on the
George W Bush and the other 20
Apec heads meet in South Korea on Friday.
The issue of farm subsidies and
import tariffs is currently holding back efforts to reach a new global
free trade agreement, with most nations blaming the European Union (EU).
I'm confident that the European
Union is not done negotiating [on global trade] because it's just too
important Rob Portman, US trade representative
BLACK SEA PARTNERS TOAST GAS
A multi-billion-dollar pipeline
carrying Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey is being officially
opened in the Turkish port of Samsun.
It is the world's deepest
undersea pipeline - in places, "Blue Stream" reaches a depth
of more than two kilometres (1.5 miles).
The Turkish prime minister is
hosting the Russian and Italian leaders.
The project has been plagued by
disputes and the first gas flowed through the pipeline two years ago.
So this project may well set
another record - as one of the most delayed opening ceremonies ever.
SAUDI WTO MEMBERSHIP APPROVED
The World Trade Organization (WTO)
has approved Saudi Arabia's application for membership after 12 years of
The world's largest oil
exporter will become the 149th member of the WTO in 30 days' time.
The country will need to adopt
the entire body of WTO legislation, a process that involves
liberalisation of currently restricted sectors.
Saudi Arabia must open its long
protected economy to the outside world, including fellow WTO member
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION 'TO
RISE BY 52%'
Global greenhouse gas emissions
will rise by 52% by 2030, unless the world takes action to reduce energy
consumption, a study has warned.
The prediction comes from the
latest annual World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy
It says that under current
consumption trends, energy demand will also rise by more than 50% over
the next 25 years.
The IEA adds that oil prices
will "substantially" rise unless there is extra investment in
It says the world has seen
"years of under-investment" in both oil production and the
The organisation estimates that
the global oil industry now needs to invest $20.3 trillion (£12
trillion) in fresh facilities by 2030, or else the wider global economy
UN DEBUT FOR $100 LAPTOP FOR
A prototype of a cheap and
robust laptop for pupils has been welcomed as an "expression of
global solidarity" by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The green machine was showcased
for the first time by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte at the UN net summit in
Tunis. He plans to have millions of machines in production within a
COMMERZBANK TO BUY MORTGAGE
Commerzbank is to take control
of German mortgage lender Eurohypo in a 4.5bn euro ($5.3bn; £3bn) deal.
The deal, which will see
Commerzbank buy out its other shareholders Deutsche Bank and Allianz,
will create Germany's second largest bank in the process.
STRONG SALES BOOST PORSCHE
German luxury carmaker Porsche
has seen its annual profits jump 8.9% boosted by ongoing strong sales
across its range.
Reporting its initial results
for the fiscal year to 31 July, 2005, its pre-tax profit increased to
1.24bn euros ($1.44bn; £844m).
UK STAFF TOP JOB INSECURITY
Workers in the UK have the
lowest sense of job security out of employees in 18 of the world's
leading economies, a bi-annual survey has found.
Some 24.2% of British workers
think it is very probable or somewhat probable that they will lose their
job over the next 12 months.
They are closely followed by
24% of Canadian staff and 23.8% of Americans, Right Management
BANK UPBEAT ON INFLATION TARGET
UK inflation is expected to
meet its 2% target in the next two years, according to Bank of England
In its latest inflation report,
the Bank said Britain's consumer price index (CPI) would remain above
target in the mid-term before falling back.
Inflation fell last month to
2.3% for the first time since September 2004.
The Bank also dampened
expectations of a cut in interest rates by maintaining its forecast for
a pick-up in growth in the UK economy next year.
UK UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HOLDS
The number of people out of
work fell by 1,000 between July and September to 1.43 million, official
Britain's unemployment rate was
4.7% during the period, little changed from the previous quarter, the
Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.
But the number of people
claiming unemployment benefit rose by 12,100 in October to 890,100, the
EU THREATENS ACTION ON GAS
The European Commission has
threatened to take action to free up the European wholesale markets for
gas and electricity.
It said it had found a lack of
competition and other serious problems.
The Commission blamed this
mainly on the dominance of supplies by a few national gas and
Its investigation started this
summer after UK energy companies complained they were being forced to
buy wholesale gas at excessively high prices.
Gas and electricity prices
continue to be concentrated, creating scope for operators to influence
prices. Since the start of 2003 the wholesale price of gas has doubled.
US CONSUMER PRICE GROWTH SLOWS
US consumer prices grew at the
slowest pace for four months during October, official figures show,
signalling that inflationary pressures may be easing.
Prices grew by 0.2% in October,
compared with 1.2% in the previous month, the Labor Department said.
The slowdown was mainly down to
cheaper energy costs, which declined 0.2% in the month. In September,
damage from hurricanes had pushed energy prices up.
Excluding food and energy
costs, core inflation increased by 0.2%.
October's 0.2% drop in energy
costs compares to the 12% increase in September.
So far this year, consumer
prices have been rising at an annual rate of 4.9%, a significant jump
from the 3.3% rise for all of 2004.
SUPPLY HOPES DRIVE OIL PRICE
Oil prices hit their lowest
level for four months on Tuesday last on hopes that already healthy US
fuel reserves will remain buoyant.
US light crude fell 71 cents to
$56.98 a barrel - the lowest settlement since 20 July - while London
Brent crude fell 68 cents to $54.05 a barrel.
Crude prices have dropped
nearly 20% since hitting a record high of $71 a barrel in late August.
Stockpiles in the US have risen
almost 13% on the year due to strong imports.
They are likely to have risen
by another 1.8m in the last week. The US Energy Information
Administration will release its inventory figures on Wednesday.
UK INFLATION DROPS BACK TO 2.3%
UK inflation has fallen for the
first time since September 2004, Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Inflation measured by the
Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dipped to 2.3% in October from 2.5% a month
The drop was slightly bigger
than had been forecast by experts and could improve the prospects of a
The underlying rate of retail
price inflation fell to 2.4% from 2.5%, while the headline rate - which
includes mortgages - fell to 2.5% from 2.7%. The fall in CPI inflation
moves the figure closer to the government target of 2%.
CAR SALES WEIGH ON US RETAIL
US retail sales fell 0.1% in
October, dragged down by weak sales of new cars after the end of summer
Despite the fall, experts said
the figures were better than expected and that the outlook for the
crucial pre-Christmas period remained bright.
Excluding car sales, total
retail sales increased by 0.9% last month.
Retailers including Wal-Mart,
Costco and JC Penney all reported a healthy rise in sales as consumers
shrugged off concerns about high fuel prices.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest
retailer, saw a 4% rise in like-for-like sales in October as colder
weather boosted clothes sales.