World Bulletin / News Desk
India's industrial output contracted for the third time in four months inJune, increasing pressure on new Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram to move quickly to pullAsia's third-largest economy from its worst slowdown in almost a decade.
The contraction provided further ammunition to the slew of private economists who downgraded their growth outlook for India this week, citing a worsening drought and political hurdles to economic reform.
"The data bodes ill for Q2 (FY Q1) GDP growth which may well remain below 6 percent year-on-year. It highlights continued softness of the Indian economy amid contracting exports and weaker domestic demand," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, an economist with Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong.
Industrial output in June shrank 1.8 percent, driven down by a deep dip in manufacturing, the data released on Thursday showed. The number was lower than a forecast of 1.0 percent growth in a Reuters poll and sharply lower than 9.5 percent growth a year earlier.
Economic growth faltered to a nine-year low of 5.3 percent in the quarter ending in March, with corporate investors deterred by high interest rates and a policy gridlock. Several economists this week cut their full-year growth forecast for India to around 5.5 percent -- which would be the slowest rate in 10 years.
India's industrial output data is volatile but is still considered a barometer of GDP growth. May's figure was revised to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent, the data showed.
Manufacturing, which constitutes about 76 percent of industrial production, shrank an annual 3.2 percent from a year earlier, the federal statistics office said.
Markets dipped after the unexpected contraction. The rupee was last trading at 55.15 per dollar compared to around 55.08 before the data, though that was still stronger than its 55.42/43 close against the dollar on Wednesday.
The benchmark 10-year bond yield fell about 2 basis points to 8.11 percent from levels before the data.
Capital goods, a key investment indicator that has shown growth only once in the past 10 months, slumped 27.9 percent in June, data on Thursday showed.
Allegations of possible manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market have so far centered on major banks.
The decision will remove duties on agricultural products, processed foods, textiles and industrial goods, saving Ukrainian businesses 487 million euros a year.
Chrystalla Georghadji takes up her post on April 11, after outgoing governor Panicos Demetriades works out his notice.
The wording on energy dependency was not in an earlier version of the document circulated before Russian forces seized Crimea
India, with the increases already made in the January-March loading plans from Iran, has to cut its purchases of the crude
Eurozone finance ministers give green light to release 150 million euros for the Greek Cypriot administration.
"Sugar consumption that dated back to the BC epoch found its way into Ethiopian households only lately; people had to be convinced," Zemedkun Tekle, communications director at the state-run Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, said.
The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting.
While Europe lacks immediate alternatives to replace Russian supplies, long-term efforts are in place to reduce Moscow's dominance in the sector. Russia pushes on with gas pipeline despite EU delay
Pakistan will give India Most Favored Nation status by the end of March.
"Germany's dependence on Russian gas may effectively decrease Europe's sovereignty. I have no doubts about that," Polish PM Tusk said
EU member Bulgaria has started preliminary works on the pipeline on its territory, but has repeatedly said its operation should be in line with EU rules
Japan posted a current account deficit of 1.58 trillion yen (US$15 billion) for January.
The Asia-Pacific would be left with more than half a billion chronically hungry people even if the region meets its millennium development goal
The Visegrad 4 group including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia is looking to diversify supplies