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%.
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.
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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).|