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India’s March trade deficit widens to $13.93 billion – trade ministry

India’s trade deficit in goods widened to $13.93 billion in March from $9.98 billion during the same period a year earlier, revised trade data released by the government on Thursday showed. Merchandise exports rose 60.29% in March from a year earlier to $34.45 billion, while imports were up 53.74% to $48.38 billion, the data showed. For the whole fiscal year ended on March 31, the goods exports were down 7.26% to $290.63 billion while imports fell 18.02% to $398.18 billion from a year earlier, the data showed. Source: Reuters (Reporting ...

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German economy probably shrank 1.8% in first quarter due to lockdown, institutes say

The German economy probably shrank by 1.8% in the first quarter because of COVID-19 restrictions, leading economic institutes said on Thursday as they revised their joint growth forecast for Europe’s largest economy. The revisions are the latest sign that the economy will need longer than initially thought to reach its pre-crisis level. A more contagious virus variant and a slow vaccine introduction are complicating efforts to contain a third wave of infections. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he did not expect the economy to reach pre-pandemic levels before the end ...

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Germany eyes hike in GDP growth forecast for this year – minister

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday he expected the government to significantly lift its full-year 2021 forecast for gross domestic product growth after leading institutes revised their own estimates. “We’ll not only be able to stop the economic slump this year, we can reverse it and regain our old strength next year,” Altmaier said, adding he would present the government’s updated GDP growth forecast on April 27. In January, the government predicted GDP growth of 3% for 2021, following a drop of 4.9% in the previous year caused ...

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U.S. business inventories rise solidly in February

U.S. business inventories increased solidly in February, suggesting restocking could again contribute to economic growth in the first quarter. Business inventories rose 0.5% after increasing 0.4% in January, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. February’s gain was in line with economists’ expectations. Inventories fell 2.4% on a year-on-year basis in February. Retail inventories were unchanged in February as estimated in an advance report published last month. That followed a ‐0.3% decline in January. Motor vehicle inventories decreased fell 2.6% as previously ...

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Coronavirus curbs in India disrupt supply chains, stoke economy worries

Restrictions imposed by Indian states to curb a rapid surge in coronavirus cases have disrupted supply chains, hit freight networks and caused labour shortages in the small companies that make up around a third of ecomomic output, business owners said. India is recording hundreds of thousands of cases daily in its worst phase of the pandemic, forcing authorities in states such as Maharashtra, home to financial capital Mumbai, and New Delhi to take strict steps to control the spread of the virus. Maharashtra – which contributes 15% to the country’s ...

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China’s Q1 GDP growth seen hitting record 19% as domestic, global demand recovers

China’s economy likely grew at record pace of 19% in the first quarter, rebounding from a pandemic slump early last year as demand recovered at home and abroad and as policy support for ailing smaller firms continued, a Reuters poll showed. While the reading will be heavily skewed by the plunge in activity a year earlier, the expected jump would be the strongest since at least 1992, when official quarterly records started, according to the median forecasts of 47 economists polled by Reuters. It would also signal the world’s second-largest ...

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The economy is running on a stimulus-fueled caffeine high. What will happen when it wears off?

The setting for 2021 seems clear: A powerful growth trajectory fueled by an influx of government spending as the U.S. recovers from the Covid-19 crisis and heads into the fastest economic acceleration in nearly 40 years. But after that, then what? The path beyond this rocket-fueled year looks far less clear. One-time spending has rarely been the catalyst for long-term growth. Fiscal and monetary policy that now serve as irresistible tailwinds could soon turn into headwinds. On the other side of this huge burst of activity will be an economy ...

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U.S. Industrial Production Rebounded in March

Industrial production in the U.S. bounced back in March, partly reversing its weather-related decline in February, signaling that the sector is gaining momentum amid strong demand for factory goods but also hindered by supply bottlenecks. Industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, rose at a seasonally adjusted 1.4% in March compared with February, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. The reading is the highest since July 2020, but misses forecasts from economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who expected a 2.7% rise. In February, industrial output fell ...

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Global officials urge rich countries to donate excess COVID-19 vaccines, money to help end pandemic

Top U.N., financial and vaccine officials on Thursday urged rich countries to donate excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to a program supplying lower income countries in a bid to end the pandemic and get the global economy back on track. At an event organised by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance to boost support for the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative, the officials appealed for another $2 billion by June for the programme, which aims to buy up to 1.8 billion doses in 2021. COVAX has shipped more than 38 million vaccine doses to 111 ...

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U.S. Retail Sales Rose 9.8% in March

U.S. shoppers boosted retail spending by nearly 10% in March as federal-stimulus funds made their way to households, warmer weather set in and the economy reopened more fully from pandemic-related restrictions. Retail sales — a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online — jumped 9.8% last month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The increase was the largest monthly gain since last May, during the initial bounceback from lockdowns early in the pandemic. The gain also followed a revised 2.7% drop in sales during February, a level that was ...

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Biden seeks closer ties with Japan as the U.S. prepares to challenge China

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday — and political analysts say China’s growing influence will likely be high on the agenda. The two leaders will gather in Washington in what will be the U.S. president’s first in-person summit with a foreign leader since his January inauguration. The meeting comes as the U.S. seeks to challenge China on issues ranging from human rights to unfair trade practices. “Rebuilding US alliances and competing with China are the core of Biden’s foreign policy. The in-person ...

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Surge of COVID-19 infections threaten India’s promising 2021 recovery, says GlobalData

Following a collapse in construction activity in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian construction industry was forecast to recover in 2021. However, a recent surge in coronavirus infections may jeopardise a ‘return to normal’ for construction activity, thus dampening the outlook of the industry this year, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. According to GlobalData’s ‘Construction in India – Key Trends and Opportunities to 2025, Q1 2021 Update’ report, growth was set to return at a real rate of 13%. India’s vaccination program began on 16 January ...

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U.S. economy gaining momentum as consumers ditch the winter blues, Fed says

The U.S. economy picked up speed going into the spring on the back of growing confidence among consumers, the Federal Reserve said, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell said it is on track for stronger growth and hiring in the coming months. Economic activity between late February and early April was buoyed by increased COVID-19 vaccinations and strong fiscal support, and the labor market also improved as more people returned to work, the U.S. central bank said in its latest “Beige Book,” a collection of anecdotes about the economy from its ...

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U.S. Economy Ramps Up on Spending Surge, Hiring Gains

The U.S. economic recovery is accelerating as stimulus money, Covid-19 vaccinations and business re-openings spur a spring surge in consumer spending, a sharp pullback in layoffs and a bounceback in factory output. Retail sales — a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online — jumped 9.8% in March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The gain in consumer spending — the biggest driver of economic activity — came as the government began distributing hundreds of billions of dollars of stimulus funds to households. It was the largest monthly gain ...

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European Parliament gives initial backing to UK trade deal

The European Parliament’s committees on relations with Britain on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement, clearing the path to its final ratification. They had suspended voting in March in protest over British changes to trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, which Brussels says breach the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The United Kingdom left the European Union on Jan. 31 after years of tortuous negotiations over their future relations but many details remain unclear, leading to acrimony. The EU’s foreign affairs and trade committees ...

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