FAST US GROWTH OUTSTRIPS ESTIMATE
US economic growth accelerated to an
annual rate of 4.3% in the three months from July to September, according to
revised Commerce Department figures.
In its first estimate, the department
had said quarterly growth was 3.8%.
There had been fears that the cost of
rebuilding after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, coupled with record oil prices,
would slam the brakes on growth.
Separate figures from the US Federal
Reserve showed that US economic activity increased during November.
"Consumer prices remained stable
or experienced generally modest increases," the Fed said in its latest
'beige book' report on US economic conditions.
"Most districts reported
increasing input prices, particularly of energy-related products, construction
and raw materials, and transportation."
The upward revision of gross domestic
product (GDP) was aided by higher spending on non-durable goods, in homes, on
business equipment and on software, the Commerce Department said.
"This is a pretty good growth
rate," said Patrick Fearon, senior economist at AG Edwards.
"It looks as if investment
spending in the third quarter was a lot stronger than previously thought, both
in terms of corporate investment and housing investment."
He said he thought that growth would
slow in the fourth quarter as the housing sector softened - leading, in turn, to
reduced consumer spending.
The Federal Reserve said a number of
districts had reported a "slowing or cooling" in real estate markets
The core price index, which excludes
food and energy costs, was up just 1.2%, its lowest in two years, the Commerce
JAPAN'S NIKKEI HITS 15,000 MARK
Japan's Nikkei share index has touched
the 15,000 mark for the first time in five years, as strong demand for domestic
Investors have been inspired by signs
of recovery in the economy, and a rally in US tech stocks has also helped.
Recent data shows industrial output up,
improving production and household spending, and more people seeking work.
The Nikkei briefly rose as high as
15,013.24, before it slipped back to 14,872 at the end of trading.
Japan's economy has bounced back this
year as a pick-up in consumer spending and capital investment has made up for a
slowdown in exports, particularly to China.
This week the Paris-based Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) upgraded Japan's economic
outlook, saying its domestic demand is recovering, along with corporate profits
Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of
equity marketing at Nikko Cordial Securities, said the market was supported by
hopes the Nikkei could rise further on optimism about continued economic
The OECD expects Japan's economy to
grow at 2.4% this year and 2% in 2006, up from previous forecasts for 1.5%
growth in 2005 and 1.7% next year.
Industrial production rose 0.6% in
October from a month earlier. Analysts are optimistic about the outlook for
output, after a period in which companies seemed to have been selling off stock
rather than boosting production.
And there are signs that foreign demand
is picking up after a slowdown, as is the domestic appetite for consumer
spending, as wages and job prospects improve.
STRONG GROWTH FOR INDIAN ECONOMY
The Indian economy grew at 8% in the
six months to September compared with a year ago, meeting the target for growth
set by the finance ministry.
The economy was boosted by growth in
the tourism and financial sectors, and a strong manufacturing performance.
High oil prices and sluggish exports
failed to dampen the figures.
The data comes after Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said the country should aim to speed growth to 10% in a few years
- if certain criteria were met.
For this to happen, the savings rate
needed to increase, agricultural output had to make a "quantum leap"
and infrastructure had to be substantially upgraded, Mr Singh said.
Government data showed manufacturing
growth averaging 10.2% in the six month period, while services continued their
Financial and real estate services grew
at 9.1% in the first six months of the financial year, compared with the same
period a year ago.
EUROZONE ECONOMY HEADS FOR MODEST
The eurozone is heading for economic
growth of 1.4 per cent this year, the OECD said, while warning the European
Central Bank against raising interest rates.
The Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development said that although the eurozone economy was poised
to grow further, the ECB should hold off on raising the cost of borrowing until
the autumn of 2006, contradicting central bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet who has
sent clear signals that the bank could announce a rate hike.
Figures given by the OECD in its
six-month report pointed to growth this year that is actually less than the 1.8
per cent increase in 2004, but indicated that economic activity should pick up
in 2006 with growth of 2.1 per cent.
The body was more upbeat about the
eurozone's growth prospects than in its last report in July about the bloc, when
it forecast growth would be 1.25 per cent this year and 2.0 per cent next year.
TURKEY EXPECTS $5BN FDI IN '05
Turkey is expecting to attract a record
amount of more than $5 billion of direct foreign investment by the end of the
year, Economy Minister Ali Babacan said. Speaking in parliament on the 2006
budget, Babacan explained that the value of direct foreign investment had grown
from $1.7 billion in 2003 to $2.8 billion in 2004 and $3.7 billion in the first
nine months of this year.
BLAIR ATTEMPTS TO BROKER EU DEAL
Tony Blair is embarking on a two-day
diplomatic mission to eastern Europe to try to win support for a compromise deal
on the 2007-13 EU budget.
The prime minister is due to visit
Estonia and Hungary where he will meet leaders of seven new member states.
The UK - which currently holds the EU
presidency - is said to be proposing a cut in aid to new members in order to
reduce the overall size of the budget.
A budget deal was blocked in June after
the UK refused to give up its rebate.
Britain said it would only agree to
give up its £4bn annual rebate if "distortions" caused by the Common
Agricultural Policy were eradicated.
But France, Europe's biggest recipient
of CAP funds, has refused to budge over the issue. The suspicion is this is all
to make any sacrifice of the British rebate more palatable
UN LAUNCHES BIGGEST ANNUAL APPEAL
The United Nations has launched an
appeal for a record $4.7bn (£2.7bn) to help more than 30 million victims of
war, famine and natural disaster.
The amount is equal to global military
spending in 48 hours, UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland says.
"We can afford to clothe, to feed,
to care for all of the children of this world," he told the BBC's World
Ten rich countries supply 90% of UN
humanitarian aid, he said, adding that oil-rich countries could give more.
"The 10 top donors are more or
less the same now as a few years ago," he said.
"There are growing economies on
many continents which should become bigger donors. We expect the oil-rich
countries to give more."
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said
the international community had the capacity to pay, but now had to display the
will to do so. It's not going well in Darfur at all... We're hanging in there by
EU SEES UKRAINE AS MARKET ECONOMY
The European Union has granted Ukraine
market economy status - seen as a key step to boost trade ties.
"Market economy status has now
been granted," UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said in the Ukrainian capital
Mr Blair and other EU leaders also
backed Ukraine's bid to join the World Trade Organization.
This is the first summit between the EU
and Ukraine since the Orange Revolution a year ago, which brought pro-Western
President Viktor Yushchenko to power.
Mr Blair said that despite turbulence,
reform in Ukraine was on course.
He said he hoped the Ukrainian people
were in no doubt about the difference the last year had made in the way in which
Ukraine was perceived in the world.
Mr Yushchenko described market economy
status as a "huge step" for Ukraine.
WORLD BANK BACKS $100M IRAQ LOAN
The World Bank has approved a $100m
(£57.8m) loan to Iraq to help reduce overcrowding in the country's schools.
The loan, the international lender's
first to Iraq in more than 30 years, will finance the building of some 82
primary and secondary schools.
It will also be used to support Iraqi
government educational reforms in the worn-torn country.
The World Bank evacuated its staff from
Iraq in 2003 after the United Nations headquarters were bombed in Baghdad.
The World Bank said Iraq's educational
system, once considered to be among the best in the Middle East, had
"deteriorated over the last 20 years".
P&O AGREES BID FROM DUBAI PORTS
Ports and ferries group P&O has
agreed to be bought by Dubai Ports World in a takeover deal worth £3.3bn
P&O said in a statement that Dubai
Ports (DP World) had offered 443 pence per share in cash for the company.
Last month, P&O announced that it
had been approached by a potential bidder and speculation mounted that Dubai
Ports was behind the talks.
The takeover signals the end of 168
years of independence for the world's fourth-largest ports group.
DP World, owned by the Dubai
government, said it planned to keep P&O's headquarters in London and chief
executive Robert Woods would continue to head the business.
FRENCH MOBILE PHONE FIRMS FINED
Three of France's leading mobile phone
firms have been fined a total of 534m euros (£364m; $630m) after being deemed
guilty of market collusion.
France's Competition Council concluded
that Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom shared commercial information between
themselves, distorting competition.
Orange France has been fined 256m euros
while SFR and Bouygues have been handed 220m and 58m fines respectively.
The three firms have denied that they
The fine is the largest single penalty
levied by the competition watchdog.
In 2000, it fined eight banks a total
of 174m euros.
DAILY MAIL LIFTED BY PROFIT RISE
Shares in Daily Mail & General
Trust have leapt by 11% after the newspaper publisher reported a jump in
The firm, which owns the Daily Mail and
Mail on Sunday, said its pre-tax profit for the year to 2 October was £162.9m
($282m), up 31% on the previous year.
B&Q PROFIT SLUMP HITS KINGFISHER
Profits at UK DIY chain B&Q have
more than halved after it cut prices during autumn in a bid to shift stock.
Retail profit at B&Q was £50.3m
for the 13 weeks to 29 October, down from £106.7m in the same period last year.
HURRICANES TO HIT LLOYD'S PROFIT
Insurance market Lloyd's of London has
said its chances of making a profit in 2005 are small following the costs of US
hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Lloyd's said it estimated the net loss
from Katrina would be £1.9bn ($3.4bn), up from a previous estimate of £1.4bn.
GOLD SURGES TO HIGHEST SINCE 1983
Gold prices have surged past the
$500-an-ounce mark, and more gains are predicted as investors look to protect
themselves against inflation fears.
Gold hit $502.70 in London, its highest
level since February 1983.
Other commodity prices also have been
climbing, and platinum topped the $1,000-an-ounce level.
Demand from jewellery makers is helping
to boost prices, as is speculation that some central banks want to cut US dollar
holdings and boost gold stores.
After hitting the high, gold fell back
and stood at $496.40 an ounce in afternoon trading in London.
CHINA TO MAINTAIN 'RAPID GROWTH'
China's rapid economic expansion is set
to continue with annual growth above 9%, the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development has said.
In a key report, the OECD said it
believed domestic demand would improve in 2006-7 while China would continue to
increase its share of global trade.
But it advised China to further loosen
its exchange rate to curb its current account surplus and quell inflation.
China has been criticised for keeping
the yuan's value artificially low.
China is likely to continue to increase
its share of world trade, albeit less rapidly than in 2005
The Chinese government let the yuan
appreciate slightly against the US dollar early this year but is facing
widespread calls for further action to tackle growing international trade
SHELL'S NEW NIGERIAN FIELD ON TAP
Anglo-Dutch giant Shell says it has
begun pumping oil from a huge new field off the Nigerian coast, boosting the
country's total production by 10%.
Production had begun at the Bonga
deepwater oil and gas field, and will produce 225,000 barrels per day.
However, delays and cost overruns mean
the development cost $3.6bn (£2.1bn), up from original estimates of $2.7bn.
Shell's partners in Bonga include
France's Total, US major ExxonMobil and Italy's Eni.