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Saudi Arabia's economy returns to growth after pandemic slump – Financial Post

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DUBAI — Saudi Arabia’s economy grew for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic in the second quarter fueled by a 10.1% growth in the non-oil sector, according to flash government estimates on Monday.

The data, which showed the economy growing 1.5% from a year ago, prompted economists to expect faster expansion in the second half of the year with the oil sector benefiting from higher output.

“The quarterly GDP growth points to a further pick-up in activity, with the oil sector benefiting from higher production,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

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The kingdom’s economy contracted last year due to the twin shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and lower oil prices.

Seasonally-adjusted real gross domestic product grew 1.1% in the second quarter from the first quarter, the General Authority for Statistics in Saudi Arabia said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund expects Saudi economy to grow by 2.4% this year. James Swanston, an economist at Capital Economics, said it could grow twice as fast with further easing of the pandemic curbs and oil producers’ agreement to boost output.

“Overall, we have penciled in real GDP growth of 4.8% this year and 6.3% year-on-year in 2022,” Swanston said.

The oil sector which accounts for about 25% of the economic output expected to exceed $700 billion this year, contracted 7% year-on-year, but grew seasonally-adjusted 2.5% quarter-on-quarter.

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OPEC+ ministers agreed last month to boost oil supply from August to cool prices which have climbed to 2-1/2 year highs as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector grew seasonally-adjusted 1.3% quarter-on-quarter.

The kingdom is trying to boost the non-oil sector through a multi-trillion dollar spending push that will require state companies to cut the dividends they pay the government to boost capital spending.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of the Saudi Vision 2030 program, has said the state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) will pump at least 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) into the local economy each year through 2025. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Tomasz Janowski)

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Economy

What is a recession? Your economy questions, answered. – The Washington Post

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The U.S. economy is back in the headlines, with more economists and financial experts warning of an impending downturn at some point in the next year. But what is a recession — and what happens during one?

The answers can be complicated and vague.

“Recessions are notoriously hard to predict in advance,” said Tara Sinclair, an economics professor at George Washington University. “It’s pretty easy to say a recession is coming at some point in the future. … It’s much harder to quantify exactly when, how long and how deep.”

For nearly two years, the U.S. economy has notched blockbuster gains, with millions of new jobs and wage hikes adding to the streak of good news. Families and businesses were flush with cash, which they used to buy houses, cars, electronics and other big-ticket items. That extra spending — combined with lingering supply chain shortages and delays from the pandemic — helped drive up prices and contributed to the highest inflation in 40 years.

Now policymakers are trying to tackle some of those skyrocketing prices with higher interest rates. They’re hoping that by making it more expensive for families and businesses to borrow — for investments, homes and cars, for example — that demand for those things will go down. The question is whether they will be able to slow things down just enough, without sending the country into a recession.

Here, we answer some common questions on economic downturns and how they affect Americans.

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Ontario premier Ford vows to rebuild economy, unveils new Cabinet – Reuters.com

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OTTAWA, June 24 (Reuters) – Doug Ford took the oath of office for a second term as the premier of Canada’s most populous province on Friday with a promise to build highways and homes, and rebuild Ontario’s economy.

Ford’s right-leaning Progressive Conservatives returned to power with a sweeping victory in a provincial election on June 2, winning 83 seats in the 124-seat legislature.

He unveiled a larger 30-member Cabinet, moving former solicitor general Sylvia Jones to role of minister of health and deputy premier, while keeping Peter Bethlenfalvy in post as the debt-laden province’s finance minister.

Ford said he had an “ambitious plan” for his second stint, as his government faced challenges posed by inflation rates hitting a nearly 40-year high in Canada.

“That plan starts with rebuilding Ontario’s economy,” Ford said at his swearing-in ceremony.

He reiterated pledges made in the lead-up to the election, including new spending on highways, transit and the auto sector.

“We’re investing to connect every part of our auto supply chain … the cars of the future will be built right here, Ontario, from start to finish,” Ford said.

Ontario, home to just under 40% of Canada’s 38.2 million people, is Canada’s manufacturing heartland. It is also one of the world’s largest sub-sovereign borrowers, with publicly held debt in excess of C$400 billion ($309.6 billion).

Ford also pledged to address soaring home prices in the province by building more affordable housing.

Canada’s national housing agency projects Ontario to be one of the worst affected by a housing shortage over the next decade. Provincial capital Toronto is already one of the most expensive cities to live in globally.

“Too many families are frozen out of the housing market … we need to build more attainable homes,” Ford said.

($1 = 1.2921 Canadian dollars)

(This story was refiled to fix typo in headline)

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Northern Shootout's return provides a big boost to Orillia's economy – CTV News Barrie

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The return of an annual slo-pitch softball event marks the unofficial start of summer in Orillia.

The Northern Shootout is back for its 13 edition after a pandemic-driven hiatus.

The tournament consists of 78 men’s, women’s and co-ed teams from Ontario and Quebec and promises a big boost to the economy in the city.

“Especially after two years of pandemic restrictions,” said Mike Ladouceur, City of Orillia. “This helps our tourism recover, puts heads in beds, hotels are filled, restaurants filled, this is really the big event that begins our summer of events.”

Organizer Mike Borrelli said the tournament has grown to become one of the biggest in Canada.

“We’re pretty much at capacity for participants. We can’t accommodate anymore,” he added. “We’re using the other diamonds, we got all the diamonds in Orillia, and we’re using the Rama diamond, so if we had more diamonds, we could accommodate more teams.”

The owners of Adovo Pizza in Orillia say the increase in tourism has done wonders for their business this year.

This being the first big event of the season, they’re excited to welcome so many people into the city.

“Everyone has just been waiting to get out,” said Adam Zimmerman, co-owner. “Especially for sporting events and vendors, have a cold beer. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

The tournament culminates with an annual home run derby, which organizers said typically draws 1,200 fans to watch.

Sixteen participants will compete to walk away with a championship belt.

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