Economic Update

The South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, in his 2013-14 budget review, raised the nation’s budget deficit target to 5.2% of the GDP for FY13, compared to a 4.8% estimated in October 2012. He lowered the nation’s economic growth forecast for 2013 to 2.7% from an earlier prediction of 3.0%. Economic growth in 2014 and 2015 is set to rise to 3.5% and 3.8%, respectively.

The GfK Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in the UK has stood at a reading of -26.00 in February, compared to a similar reading posted last month.

On a quarterly basis, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the UK contracted 0.3% in 4Q12, compared to a revised 1.0% increase in 3Q12. On an annual basis GDP increased 0.3% in 4Q12, following a 0.2% increase in the previous quarter.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the UK’s Index of Services decreased 0.4% in December, after staying flat in November.

A survey by GfK indicated that the CCI in Germany rose to a reading of 5.90 in March from 5.80 in February.

On a yearly basis, the import price index in Germany fell 0.8% in January, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month.

The CCI in France stood unchanged at 86.00 in February, in line with market expectations.

The European Central Bank (ECB) reported that, on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, M3 money supply in the eurozone rose 3.5% in January, slightly faster than the upwardly revised 3.4% rise in the previous month.

The economic sentiment index in the eurozone rose to a reading of 91.10 in February, from 89.50 in the prior month.

Mario Draghi, the President of the ECB, has stated that the central bank has no intention of tightening the monetary policy deployed to help the ailing eurozone economy.

The National Association of Realtors reported that, on a monthly basis, its pending home sales index in the US rose 4.5% to a reading of 105.90 in January, marking the highest level since 2010 and compared to a 1.9% drop to 101.30 in December.

Durable goods orders in the US tumbled 5.2% in January, compared to an upwardly revised 3.7% growth in December.

The Ministry of economy, trade and industry reported that, on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, industrial production in Japan rose 1.0% in January, after rising 2.4% in December.

The Nomura/JMMA Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in Japan improved to a reading of 48.50 in February, from a reading of 47.70 recorded in the previous month.

Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe nominated Asian Development Bank President, Haruhiko Kuroda for the post of the Bank of Japan Governor.

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