Extra-Regional Updates

The U.K.: Q4 growth robust amid Brexit-related concerns

Data released recently provide mixed signals about the state of the British economy ahead of Brexit negotiations between the U.K. and the EU. During the fourth quarter, the economy expanded 0.7%, clocking its fastest speed of growth since the last quarter of 2015. Export order growth too has picked up lately following a slight dip in early 2017. Further, according to Reuters, the latest readings of data provider Markit’s measure of manufacturing activity in Britain indicate that the sector remains well-placed to clock around 1.5% growth in the first quarter of 2017, which, if achieved, would be the sector’s best performance in seven years. Read More...

United States: Fiscal stimulus could brighten growth prospects

Third quarter U.S. economic growth at 3.2% annualized was higher than expected and has increased expectations that the economy is coming out of a low growth phase. Consumer spending remained the major driver of growth while exports, helped by increased shipments of farm produce, also helped during the quarter. As well, business investments exceeded expectations during the third quarter. Read More...

Brazil: Persistent political uncertainties slow economic recovery

Brazil’s economy shrunk again during the third quarter, as investments fell more than 8% from a year ago. After this decline, the country’s aggregate economic output has retreated to the same level as it was in 2010. The Brazilian government and the central bank now expect the economy to recover next year. However, less optimistic forecasters expect the Brazilian economy to stagnate in the coming year before a modest revival in 2018.Read More...

France: GDP growth and services activity pick up pace

The French economy, which in the past has often been a laggard among Euro-zone peers such as Germany and Spain, expanded 0.4% during the fourth quarter, picking up speed from the 0.2% growth clocked in the third quarter. Still, the fourth-quarter performance was not adequate to fully compensate for subdued growth in the previous nine months of last year. So, for the year 2016, France’s GDP increased only 1.1%, a slower rate compared to the 1.2% expansion registered in 2015. According to France’s national statistics agency INSEE, strong consumer spending and a sharp recovery in private-sector investment drove the French economy in the fourth quarter. Read More...

Chile Economic Outlook

Chile’s economy faltered in the final quarter of last year, with recently released data showing growth was driven lower by a decline in fixed investment and a tepid showing from the mining sector, capping off a year to forget for the Andean nation. The already-cloudy economic skies darkened in February, with the monthly economic activity indicator recording a sharp drop as strike action at the Escondida mine disrupted copper production. Although workers put a stop to the strike towards the end of March, choosing to revert back to their old contracts, the Central Bank estimates the lost output at the mine will chip 0.2 percentage points off GDP growth this year. Read More...

Ghana Economic Outlook

Ghana’s economic growth, which had slowed from 4.0% in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015, is expected to recover to 5.8% in 2016 and 8.7% in 2017, following consolidation of macroeconomic stability and implementation of measures to resolve the crippling power crisis. Monetary and fiscal policies were tightened in 2015 and are expected to remain so in 2016 in line with the fiscal and monetary policy consolidation reforms underway as Ghana prepares for national elections in late 2016.

Ghana continues to experience rapid urbanization, which has led to a number of sustainable development challenges, particularly regarding sanitation and transportation infrastructure.

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WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement enters into force

A major milestone for the global trading system was reached on 22 February 2017 when the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21 year history of the World Trade Organization entered into force. In receiving four more ratifications for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WTO has obtained the two-thirds acceptance of the agreement from its 164 members needed to bring the TFA into force.

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