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Bullish U.S. retail sales brighten growth outlook

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales recorded their largest gain in 1-1/2 years in March in a decisive sign the economy is bouncing back from its weather-induced slumber. Monday's upbeat report was the latest to indicate growth was set to accelerate in the second quarter after an unusually cold and snowy winter hobbled activity early in the year.

US businesses boosted stockpiles by 0.4 per cent in February as sales rose sharply

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles in February as sales rebounded by the largest amount in nine months. Stockpiles increased 0.4 per cent in February following a similar 0.4 per cent increase in January, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Sales rose 0.8 per cent in February, bouncing back after a 1.1 per cent sales decline in January that was blamed on the harsh weather that month. It was the biggest one-month sales gain since last May.

US businesses boosted stockpiles by 0.4 per cent in February as sales rose sharply

WASHINGTON - U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles in February as sales rebounded by the largest amount in nine months. Stockpiles increased 0.4 per cent in February following a similar 0.4 per cent increase in January, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Sales rose 0.8 per cent in February, bouncing back after a 1.1 per cent sales decline in January that was blamed on the harsh weather that month. It was the biggest one-month sales gain since last May.

Thais brace for recession as crisis nears crunch time

By Pairat Temphairojana and Khettiya Jittapong BANGKOK (Reuters) - The golden Buddha statues, amulets and lucky charms that festoon Sakuntala Mettawong's tiny Bangkok cellphone shop are not helping business. It's peak time, but customers are scarce at the usually bustling mobile phone bazaar in the MBK Center, which sits on the fringe of a mile-long cluster of gleaming malls that symbolize the rapid growth of Thailand's consumer class.

Singapore says economy slowed sharply in January-March

Singapore's economic growth slowed sharply in the first three months of the year, data showed Monday, but the central bank stood pat on monetary policy saying it would be lifted by a pick-up in global growth. Preliminary estimates showed the city-state's trade-reliant economy expanded a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent quarter on quarter, the trade ministry said. That compared with 6.1 percent expansion in October-December. The ministry said growth was hit by a 1.8 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction in the services industry.

Fed's Kocherlakota touts tax cuts for business spending

(Reuters) - Cutting taxes on business investment is an effective form of economic stimulus that could go a long way toward mending the damage from the financial crisis and Great Recession, a top Federal Reserve official said on Saturday. In prepared remarks that did not touch on monetary policy, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota told a National Bureau of Economic Research conference that even apparently permanent damage to the economy can be reversed if policymakers are willing to take appropriate steps.

Jobless claims at seven-year low, signal firming economy

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to the lowest level in nearly seven years, strengthening views of faster job growth. Thursday's report was the latest sign of momentum in the economy after activity was hobbled by an unusually cold winter.

S. Korea stands pat on interest rates

South Korea's central bank on Thursday kept interest rates at 2.5 percent for the 11th consecutive month, citing signs of recovery at home and abroad and uncertainty about the US Federal Reserve's stimulus. "Global economy is expected to continue moderate recovery, but there still are lingering risks as the US Fed's possible change of monetary policy can... pummel growth of emerging economies," the bank said in a statement. The Fed's huge asset-purchase scheme has provided much-needed foreign investment in countries such as South Korea.

China says no major stimulus planned; March trade weak

By Aileen Wang and Adam Rose BOAO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ruled out major stimulus to fight short-term dips in growth, even as big falls in imports and exports data reinforced forecasts that the world's second-largest economy has slowed notably at the start of 2014. Li stressed on Thursday that job creation was the government' policy priority, telling an investment forum on the southern island of Hainan that it did not matter if growth came in a little below the official target of 7.5 percent.

Fed's Tarullo sees little need for rapid U.S. rate hikes

By Jonathan Spicer WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The modest pace of U.S. economic growth in recent years suggests that when the time comes to raise interest rates the Federal Reserve will be able to do so gradually without fear of a sudden surge in inflation, a top Fed official said on Wednesday. Many economists, both at the Fed and outside, had expected the economy to roar back after the Great Recession, requiring a rapid tightening of policy at some point, Fed Board Governor Daniel Tarullo told a dinner forum in Washington, D.C.
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