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South Korea's finance ministry sees economy recovering but coronavirus a risk – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s finance ministry on Friday said the economy was recovering thanks to improvements in consumer confidence and some economic indicators, although it said the coronavirus may delay a further recovery.

“Fixed prices of DRAM chips and expectations of a global economic recovery were seen rising, but there is a possibility of global economic growth, including China, and the recovery trend in (South Korean) economy being constrained depending on the development of coronavirus outbreak,” the ministry said in its monthly assessment of the economy.

Recent economic indicators have shown signs of recovery in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The Bank of Korea’s composite consumer sentiment index in January rose to 104.2 from 100.5 a month earlier, marking the highest reading since June 2019.

The country’s annual inflation also accelerated in January to its fastest in 14 months, Statistics Korea data showed.

The ministry also said bullish sales in discount and online stores, and an increase in Chinese tourists would support January retail sales, although sluggish department store and auto sales weighed on overall data. The ministry did not say if it expected the coronavirus to affect Chinese tourism numbers after this period.

South Korea’s retail sales in December last year rose 4.6% from a year earlier, boosted by durable goods such as cars. The nation’s December factory output also surged on soaring chip production, marking the fastest jump in more than three years.

(Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy – StCatharinesStandard.ca

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NEW DELHI – India’s prime minister said Saturday his country has done well in containing the coronavirus pandemic and announced $1.46 trillion infrastructure projects to boost the sagging economy.

The key lesson India learnt from the pandemic is to become self-reliant in manufacturing and developing itself as a key supply chain destination for international companies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“The coronavirus epidemic is a big crisis, but it can’t stall India’s economic progress,’’ Modi said in a speech from New Delhi’s 17th century Mughal-era Red Fort to mark 74 years of the country’s independence from British rule.

He also said that three vaccines are in different phases of testing in India and it will start mass production as soon as it got a green light from scientists.

India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s this week to become the fourth-highest in the world as the country reported over 2.5 million confirmed cases, just behind the U.S. and Brazil.

The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 4.5% for the Indian economy in 2020, a “historic low,” but said the country is expected to bounce back in 2021.

Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic.

He said that India saw a record 18% jump in foreign direct investment in the past year, a signal that the international companies are looking at the country.

Modi didn’t refer to China directly, but India is trying to capitalize on its rival’s rising production costs and deteriorating ties with the United States and European nations to become a replacement home for large multinationals.

Referring to border tensions with China in the Ladakh area, he said Indian forces had given a befitting response in the mountainous region where thousands of soldiers from the two countries remain in a tense standoff since May. India said 20 of its troops died in hand combat with Chinese troops on June 15.

“Whether it’s terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting the challenges bravely,” Modi said in apparent references to threats from neighbouring Pakistan and China.

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BoE's Haldane says UK economy on path to rapid recovery: Daily Mail op-ed – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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(Reuters) – The UK economy is on course for a rapid recovery from the coronavirus crisis as strong consumer spending has helped recoup nearly half the losses caused by the pandemic, Bank Of England chief economist Andy Haldane said in an op-ed in the Daily Mail on Saturday.

“Economic activity in the UK is not falling like a stone. In fact, it has now been rising for more than three months, sooner than anyone expected,” Haldane wrote.

He said while shops remain shuttered, people turned to online shopping and sales rose over 70%, leading retail spending levels to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Businesses in the services and manufacturing sectors grew at the fastest rate in more than five years in July, according to a IHS Markit/CIPS survey released in early August.

Haldane, who voted against expanding BoE stimulus in June, said that the central bank will continue to support the economy until recovery is well under way.

Haldane said that GDP is expected to rise by over 20% in the second half of the year. By his estimates, the economy has been rising an average of about 1% per week.

“While that leaves activity well below pre-Covid levels, the UK has already recovered perhaps half of its losses,” the op-ed said.

Haldane said the recovery in jobs would take longer but the risks to jobs have receded as spending and business confidence had picked up.

Last week the BoE forecast it would take until the final quarter of 2021 for the economy to regain its previous size, and warned unemployment was likely to rise sharply.

The BoE, which cut interest rates to just 0.1% in March, added that it saw no immediate case to cut interest rates below zero.

(Reporting by Rebekah Mathew and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool)

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BoE's Haldane says UK economy on path to rapid recovery: Daily Mail op-ed – The Journal Pioneer

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(Reuters) – The UK economy is on course for a rapid recovery from the coronavirus crisis as strong consumer spending has helped recoup nearly half the losses caused by the pandemic, Bank Of England chief economist Andy Haldane said in an op-ed in the Daily Mail on Saturday.

“Economic activity in the UK is not falling like a stone. In fact, it has now been rising for more than three months, sooner than anyone expected,” Haldane wrote.

He said while shops remain shuttered, people turned to online shopping and sales rose over 70%, leading retail spending levels to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Businesses in the services and manufacturing sectors grew at the fastest rate in more than five years in July, according to a IHS Markit/CIPS survey released in early August.

Haldane, who voted against expanding BoE stimulus in June, said that the central bank will continue to support the economy until recovery is well under way.

Haldane said that GDP is expected to rise by over 20% in the second half of the year. By his estimates, the economy has been rising an average of about 1% per week.

“While that leaves activity well below pre-Covid levels, the UK has already recovered perhaps half of its losses,” the op-ed said.

Haldane said the recovery in jobs would take longer but the risks to jobs have receded as spending and business confidence had picked up.

Last week the BoE forecast it would take until the final quarter of 2021 for the economy to regain its previous size, and warned unemployment was likely to rise sharply.

The BoE, which cut interest rates to just 0.1% in March, added that it saw no immediate case to cut interest rates below zero.

(Reporting by Rebekah Mathew and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool)

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