Global Economic Prospects 2014

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Prospects Daily: Kazakhstan devalues its currency by 19%,Yellen: recovery in U.S. labor market far from complete, South Africa’s manufacturing output expands at fast pace in December 2013

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Financial Markets… Kazakhstan’s central bank devalued its tenge currency by 19% to 185 per dollar in an effort to hinder foreign speculators and adjust to the currency weakening of its main trading partner Russia. The Russian ruble, which is a reserve currency of Kazakhstan along with dollars and euros, has weakened 5.4% thus far this year. This has put additional pressure on the Kazakhstan currency as Russia accounted for nearly 18 % of Kazakhstan’s total trade, second after the European Union at about 41%.

Prospects Daily: U.S. trade deficit widens more-than-expected, Ghana’s central bank raises lending rate to 18% after imposing foreign exchange controls

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High Income Economies…In the week ended February 1stU.S. first-time jobless claims fell more-than-expected to 331,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 351,000. The less volatile four-week moving average inched up to 334,000, an increase of 250 from the previous week's revised average of 333,750. Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also climbed to 2.96 million in the week ended January 25th from the preceding week's revised level of 2.95 million.

Prospects Daily: Ukraine’s currency weakens to five-year low against the U.S. dollar, Japanese service sector slows to 5-month low, Indonesia’s GDP growth slows to four-year low in 2013

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Financial Markets… World stock markets were mixed on Wednesday with Asian and European shares posting small gains while U.S. equities opened lower. The MSCI Asia-Pacific stock index advanced 0.8%, after sliding the most since June 20 yesterday, as Japan’s Topix index gained 2.1%. The Japanese gauge declined 13% between January 8th and yesterday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up just 0.1% as a sharp drop in December retail sales offset an encouraging euro-zone PMI report and relatively calmer conditions in developing-country financial markets.

World Bank published latest commodity prices: February 2014

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In January of 2014, energy prices eased by 2.7%, while the non-energy commodities edged down by 0.8%. Food prices were off by 1.6%, while beverages climbed up by 1.8%. Raw materials were off by 0.8% while fertilizers rebounded strongly by 4.2%. Metals eased by 0.7%, while precious metals recovered by 1.8%.
 
To access recent and long-term historical prices and other commodity-related information, please click here.

Prospects Daily: Global stocks fall to near 4-month low, U.S. Factory orders pull back In December, Brazil records highest trade deficit in January

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Financial Markets… Global stocks fell to near a 4-month low on Tuesday as concerns over a slowdown of the U.S. economy in the wake of weaker-than-expected manufacturing activity exacerbated the global risk-aversion caused by a sharp sell-off in developing countries. The current market turmoil has wiped out about $2.9 trillion from world stock markets thus far this year. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index slumped 4% in its worst sell-off since June, remaining the worst performer among developed-country benchmark stock indices this year.

Commodity Markets Outlook - January 2014

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The World Bank just published its January 2014 Commodity Outlook. With the exception of energy, all the key commodity price indices declined significantly in 2013. Fertilizer prices led the decline, down 17.4 percent from 2012, followed by precious metals (down almost 17 percent), agriculture (-7.2 percent), and metals (-5.5 percent).

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