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Russia's economy contracted 4.2% in first half 2020: Ifax cites economy minister – SaltWire Network

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) declined 4.2% in the first half of 2020, Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

Reshetnikov said his ministry was maintaining its full-year forecast of a decline in GDP of 4.8% in 2020, but that it would revise this forecast in August.

(Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Thai leader says unity necessary to revive virus-hit economy – 570 News

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BANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister, facing growing demands from students for change, warned Thursday that the nation must pull together to overcome the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech marking the appointment of a new team of financial specialists to his Cabinet, Prayuth Chan-ocha said the economic crisis will not go away quickly.

Thailand has been praised for its handling of the health effects of the coronavirus, with no local cases reported for 80 days. But it has suffered an especially strong shock to its economy because of its heavy dependence on tourism and exports.

Prayuth’s speech comes at a time of growing political pressure, as a student-led protest movement issues increasingly strident calls for his government to step down, the military-installed constitution to be revised, and limits to free speech to be lifted to promote democracy.

Some of the protesters’ criticisms challenge aspects of the country’s constitutional monarchy, setting them at odds with the conservative political establishment led by royalists and the military.

Prayuth, as army commander, led a coup in 2014 that ousted an elected government, served as prime minister in the military regime that followed, and returned as prime minister after a general election last year that was widely seen as free but not fair.

He declared Thursday that “our future is in the hands of the young,” but pushed aside the demands of the mainly young protesters at frequent rallies around the country.

“Right now, we must focus on the economic survival of tens of millions,” he said. “Let’s get the economy going first, first get that done by working together, and we can look to fixing the other issues, collaboratively, later.”

He also referred to the political conflict that has afflicted the country for much of the past decade and a half, including street clashes and two military coups.

“The politics of division that rejects a united approach to solving problems belongs to another era in history,” he said.

Prayuth said he appointed experts rather than politicians to the Cabinet to manage financial policy because “the economy is as big a threat to our lives as is the health threat.”

The Asian Development Bank recently forecast that the economy will contract by 6.5% in 2020, compared to its December 2019 projection of 3.0% growth.

“We are a small boat in a big ocean, and our economy can only start returning to normality when the rest of the world starts returning to normality,” Prayuth said.

Grant Peck, The Associated Press

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Province ramping up efforts to restart economy – CHVN Radio

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Premier Brian Pallister is sharing ways the province is hoping to grow Manitoba’s economy.

Pallister says there are approximately 40,000 people unemployed who had jobs one year ago.

“If we have a safer society we’re going to have people more confident to go to work, to shop and create more job opportunities.”

He says both public safety and a growing economy are locked in a symbiotic relationship, which is why the province is paying for advertisements, highlighting things they say are important for Manitoba.

The province’s #RestartMB campaign is focusing on both public safety and economic recovery as officials say Manitobans are ready to live with COVID-19 while creating jobs and restarting services.

“Public health and safety is a key driver of recovery, and as we continue to safely restart our economy and reopen our communities, we must learn to live with this virus,” Pallister says. “We are committed to being ready for what lies ahead – ready to live with COVID-19, ready to return to school, ready to restart our services, create jobs and grow our economy.”

He adds the province must continue to act and follow public health advice to keep COVID-19 test positivity cases low.

“The past four months since COVID-19 arrived in Manitoba have been a period of rapid response and adaptation for programs and for public engagement,” Pallister says. “We have done well and accomplished much, adapting as we go and working rapidly to respond.

The campaign hopes to continue to encourage Manitobans to contact the Manitoba Economic Support Centre to access programs and resources. Pallister says the centre has called more than 20,000 businesses to promote programs such as wage subsidies and the Manitoba Gap Protection Program.

The Premier says the centre will promote program priorities in the coming weeks. 

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Japan's wholesale price fall eases further as economy emerges from coronavirus jolt – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s wholesale prices fell at a smaller annual pace in July than in the previous month as global and domestic demand rebounded, a sign the economy was gradually emerging from the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

But analysts expect any pick-up in prices to remain shallow as fears of a huge second wave of infections weigh on business and consumer sentiment.

The corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the price companies charge each other for their goods, fell 0.9% in July from a year earlier, Bank of Japan data showed on Thursday, less than a median market forecast for a 1.1% drop.

The decline was less steeper than a 1.6% fall in June and the smallest downturn since March, when it was off 0.5%.

Declines in gasoline, chemical and nonferrous metal prices eased in July, reflecting a pick-up in demand as China and many advanced economies lifted lockdowns, the data showed.

Agricultural goods prices also fell at a much slower pace than in June, as demand for beef and other food products recovered after Japan ended lockdown measures in late May.

“As economies re-open, downward pressure on prices from the pandemic appears to be easing,” Ichiro Muto, head of the BOJ’s price statistics division, told reporters.

“But there’s no change to the broader picture, in which the pandemic is weighing heavily on wholesale prices,” he said.

Japan’s economy slipped into recession and is expected to have suffered an annualised contraction of 27.2% in April-June, as the coronavirus crisis crushed business and consumer spending.

While economic activity has re-opened, a recent surge in infection numbers is clouding the outlook for the recovery.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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