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  #181  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 11:44 AM
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German, French GDP Growth Accelerated in 3rd Quarter

By Simone Meier and Francois de Beaupuy

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Economic growth in Germany and France, the euro region's two largest economies, accelerated in the third quarter as consumers stepped up spending.

German gross domestic product increased 0.7 percent in the third quarter from the second, when it expanded 0.3 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. In France, the economy expanded at the same pace in both quarters, according to national statistics office Insee in Paris.

European companies are boosting investment and hiring to meet export demand, encouraging consumer spending. With a surge in the euro making goods less competitive abroad and oil prices climbing to a record, the economy of the 13 nations sharing the euro is showing signs of cooling.

``The third-quarter spike in activity may prove the last hurrah for the euro-region recovery,'' said Stuart Bennett, a London-based strategist at Calyon. ``The strong euro remains an ever present threat to European exports as do higher energy and food prices to consumers' disposable incomes.''

The euro appreciated 0.5 percent to $1.4667 at 10:33 a.m. in Frankfurt. It has increased 11 percent this year, reaching a record $1.4752 on Nov. 9.

German and French economies both expanded in line with economists' expectations, two separate Bloomberg surveys showed. In Spain, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, growth also accelerated in the third quarter.

Euro-Region Growth

The economy of the 13 nations sharing the euro probably expanded 0.6 percent in the third quarter after 0.3 percent growth in the second, according to a Bloomberg survey. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg, will publish that report at 11 a.m. today.

``Growth has picked up again'' after a ``slight weakening'' in the second quarter, German Economy Minister Michael Glos said today in statement. ``The German economy continues to be on a robust growth path.''

German companies stepped up spending on equipment and construction in the three months through September, and a ``moderate'' increase in consumer spending also supported growth, the statistics office said. Net trade didn't contribute to growth, primarily due to ``significant increase'' in imports, the office said.

In France, consumer spending rose 0.8 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, when it grew 0.6 percent, Insee said today. Exports grew 1.7 percent in the third quarter, more than double the second quarter. Trade added 0.1 percentage point to growth after dragging it down by 0.3 points in the previous period.

Porsche Profits

Porsche AG, maker of the 911 sports car, said Nov. 12 full- year profit more than tripled to a record. Alstom SA, the world's third-largest power plant maker, said Nov. 8 fiscal first-half profit jumped 49 percent on increasing demand.

``There's still some confidence in Europe among manufacturers, maybe less so among financial companies'' because of toughening access to borrowing stemming from the U.S. mortgage crisis, Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, president of BusinessEurope, the European Union employers' federation, said in an interview on Nov. 13. ``We're getting close to a threshold where things may become darker.''

Still, the European Central Bank on Nov. 8 left borrowing costs at 4 percent, with President Jean-Claude Trichet saying that risks to growth are ``judged to lie on the downside.'' The European Commission on Nov. 9 cut its forecast for euro-region growth next year to 2.2 percent from 2.5 percent.

A 54 percent surge in oil prices this year is eroding the spending power of companies and consumers. Crude oil reached a record $98.62 a barrel on Nov. 7. It traded at $91.65 today.

German investor confidence fell in November to the lowest level in almost 15 years, the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said yesterday. In France, executive optimism fell to the lowest since May last month.

The German statistics office is scheduled to publish a detailed break-down of third-quarter GDP data on Nov. 22.
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  #182  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2008, 1:40 PM
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UK slips behind France on economy
By Chris Giles, Economics Editor

Published: January 12 2008 02:00 | Last updated: January 12 2008 02:00

The size of the British economy has slipped below that of France for the first time since 1999 thanks to the slide in the value of the pound.

Sterling's rapid fall to 11-year lows against European currencies has also pushed Britain into sixth place in the world.

The US, Japan, Germany, China and France all had larger economies than the UK in the third quarter of 2007 - and in 2006.

The figures represented a "political economic cataclysm" for Britain, said Martin Weale, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, who noted that the UK government often boasted of Britain's being the fourth largest economy, and then the fifth largest when China overtook the UK in 2005.

The UK's demotion to sixth place will put pressure on the government's reputation for economic competence, particularly as it is Britain's ancient rival, France, that is moving ahead.

Mr Weale said that, although the change in rank had no immediate effect on British living standards and the UK still had slightly higher gross domestic product per head, the falling exchange rate would crimp income growth compared with overall growth in economic output.

In 2006, the GDP of France was €1,792bn compared with £1,304bn for the UK. With sterling worth €1.47 on average in 2006, this put the UK economy comfortably 6.7 per cent ahead of the French economy.

But with sterling's more than 10 per cent fall against the euro in the past six months to €1.32 to the pound, the UK's economy in 2008 is now 4 per cent smaller than France.
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  #183  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2008, 5:38 PM
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The use of current exchange rates does not mean much to compare living standards. I recommend to use PPP. What are the results using purchasing power parity instead of the highly volatile market exchange rate? Btw, Martin is well-known to be blairist. It is good news for him now Gordon has taken over. Bad news for my shares in pound sterling.
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  #184  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2008, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabb View Post
UK slips behind France on economy
By Chris Giles, Economics Editor

Published: January 12 2008 02:00 | Last updated: January 12 2008 02:00

The size of the British economy has slipped below that of France for the first time since 1999 thanks to the slide in the value of the pound.

Sterling's rapid fall to 11-year lows against European currencies has also pushed Britain into sixth place in the world.

The US, Japan, Germany, China and France all had larger economies than the UK in the third quarter of 2007 - and in 2006.

The figures represented a "political economic cataclysm" for Britain, said Martin Weale, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, who noted that the UK government often boasted of Britain's being the fourth largest economy, and then the fifth largest when China overtook the UK in 2005.

The UK's demotion to sixth place will put pressure on the government's reputation for economic competence, particularly as it is Britain's ancient rival, France, that is moving ahead.

Mr Weale said that, although the change in rank had no immediate effect on British living standards and the UK still had slightly higher gross domestic product per head, the falling exchange rate would crimp income growth compared with overall growth in economic output.

In 2006, the GDP of France was €1,792bn compared with £1,304bn for the UK. With sterling worth €1.47 on average in 2006, this put the UK economy comfortably 6.7 per cent ahead of the French economy.

But with sterling's more than 10 per cent fall against the euro in the past six months to €1.32 to the pound, the UK's economy in 2008 is now 4 per cent smaller than France.
France will have a bigger population in future and so the size of the french economy as a whole should be bigger over time. The key for the UK is to ensure that GDP per capita remains high and on par with the likes of Sweden, Netherlands and Austria. This far more meaningful to individuals than GDP.

The problem that France has is that it has lower economic growth and relatively high population growth compared to the UK...this is surely not good news! The UK economy has had higher annual growth than France for over a decade, regardless of currency fluctuations. In 2006 France grew at 2% compared to 2.8% in the UK.T he UK economy grew by 3.1 % in 2007, compared to 1.9% in France.
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Maybe its because I'm a Londoner....
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  #185  
Old Posted May 15, 2008, 5:58 PM
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German GDP stuns, Europe shines, but it may be over
Thu May 15, 2008 5:47pm BST


By Brian Love

PARIS (Reuters) - Stunning German growth and a surge in France produced a defiantly healthy showing from Europe when estimates of economic growth for the first three months of 2008 were published on Thursday.

Economists said that may be the end of it as Europe succumbs to an international downturn, but the news showed that, thanks to business investment, the region began the year in far better shape than the stagnating U.S. economy.

"Germany is doing quite well and we should raise a glass of the fizzy stuff to celebrate it. But it is not quite a new 'wunder'," said Bank of America economist Holger Schmieding.

There were worrying signs behind the headline news from Germany and France, notably weak consumer demand as soaring commodity prices push up the cost of fuel, food and other essentials.

The attention-grabber though was that German gross domestic product rose 1.5 percent from to last quarter of 2007, twice as fast as anticipated by economists and better than anything seen in 12 years.

Corporate investment was the main reason for the five-fold rise in the quarter-on-quarter growth rate from 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2007, the statistics office said. It did not provide a detailed breakdown.

After the German growth data, it was little surprise when the European Union's statistics office said growth for the euro zone as a whole beat forecasts, up 0.7 percent from the last quarter of 2007.

That contrasted with just 0.2 percent for the United States, using a measure comparable with the estimates published in Europe. The U.S. economy has been hit by a severe slump in house prices and the collapse of the subprime mortgage loan market after several years of unchecked spending.


RESILIENCE

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the European news, while positive, merely confirmed what he had been saying for some time, namely that the first quarter would be good and the ensuing period slower.

France's economic growth in the first three months of the year was a healthy 0.6 percent, compared with the preceding quarter, the statistics office there said.

In France, like Germany, corporate investment was behind the overall rise, along with a better result from foreign trade.

More worryingly, consumer demand, traditionally a stronger source of growth for France than for export-dependent Germany, stagnated in the quarter.

Companies such as Unilever and Nestle have raised their sale prices, passing the bill for their higher raw materials costs on to consumers.

European Statistics office Eurostat confirmed that annual inflation in the euro zone was 3.3 percent in April, below the record 3.6 percent of March but well above the ECB's goal of just below two percent.

Among smaller economies, Austria's first-quarter GDP growth was 0.8 percent and Greece's 1.1 percent. However, Portugal's economy shrank slightly, losing 0.2 percent from the last quarter of 2007, and the Dutch economy failed to repeat its strong show of late 2007, reporting growth of 0.2 percent.

Among the racier economies of central and eastern Europe, Slovakia, aiming to join the euro zone in 2009, reported a somewhat slower first-quarter, while Czech growth was slightly below expectations at 5.4 percent year on year.


TROUBLE COMING?

In Germany, there was no hint however of any major takeoff in household consumption and some economists noted that the GDP number could have got a big boost from the fact that less snow last winter probably provided an ephemeral boost to the building industry.

Carsten Brzeski, an economist for Dutch finance group ING, said it was possible Germany economic growth would even hit standstill in the second quarter.

"A Chinese proverb says that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness," he said. "However, at the current juncture one should not be blinded by the German GDP numbers."

Among economies more dependent on housing markets to spur consumer spending, the news is not so encouraging.

In Spain, where growth had outstripped the euro zone average for a decade, data on Wednesday showed a first quarter expansion of just 0.3 percent over the previous quarter -- the weakest the country has seen since 1993, a recession year.

British growth slowed in the first quarter to 0.4 percent from 0.6 percent and central bank chief Mervyn King said on Wednesday the country should brace for continued house price falls, and possibly a quarter or two of economic contraction.

(With reporting from Reuters newsrooms in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Bratislava and Prague)

© Thomson Reuters 2008 All rights reserved.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/busine...080515?sp=true
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