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Portugal's budget deficit falls, remains on target as bailout program nears completion

LISBON, Portugal - Portugal's statistics agency says the country's budget deficit fell to 4.9 per cent of GDP last year — significantly lower than the 5.5 per cent target set by its bailout creditors. The fall was encouraging news for the eurozone's continuing efforts to move on from a debt crisis that rattled its 18 member countries. Portugal's deficit ballooned to 10.1 per cent by 2010, and it became one of four eurozone countries that needed a bailout, receiving 78 billion euros ($107.6 billion) in 2011.

IMF likely to confirm Italy GDP to grow around 0.6 percent this year: source

ROME (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is likely to confirm that Italy's economy will grow around 0.6 percent this year and 1.1 percent in 2015 when it issues new forecasts next month, a source close to the matter said on Monday. "There's unlikely to be much change," said the source, who asked not be named, when asked if the forecasts will be revised in the IMF's World Economic Outlook, to be issued in the first week of April. The current forecasts were released in January.

Slovenia jobless rate hits highest level in a decade

Slovenia's unemployment rate surged in January to its highest level since the country joined the European Union in 2004, official data showed Tuesday, as the eurozone country struggles to get out of recession. The country's statistics office said the number of registered unemployed reached 14.2 percent of the workforce. There were nearly 130,00 people unemployed in January, compared to just more than 124,000 in December 2013, the statisticians said.

Slovenia forecasts return to growth in 2014

Slovenia's government forecast on Friday a return to economic growth in 2014, in another sign of recovery for the small eurozone member that last year came close to needing a bailout. Having previously expected output would contract by 0.8 percent, the official Macroeconomic Analysis and Development Institute (UMAR) now predicts expects an expansion of 0.5 percent. For 2015 it projects gross domestic product will expand by 0.7 percent, up from an earlier forecast of 0.4-percent growth made last year.

Irish economy shrinks 0.3% in 2013: official data

Eurozone member Ireland, which exited an international bailout programme at the end of last year, saw its economy shrink by 0.3 percent in 2013, official data showed on Thursday. Gross domestic product dropped after a 2.3-percent contraction to output in the final quarter of last year compared with the previous three-month period, the Central Statistics Office said in a statement. cob-bcp/rfj/hd

Irish economy shrinks 0.3% in 2013: official data

Eurozone member Ireland, which exited an international bailout programme at the end of last year, saw its economy shrink by 0.3 percent in 2013, official data showed on Thursday. Gross domestic product dropped after a 2.3-percent contraction to output in the final quarter of last year compared with the previous three-month period, the Central Statistics Office said in a statement. "Preliminary estimates indicate that GDP in volume terms decreased by 0.3 percent for the year 2013," the CSO said.

S. Korea keeps interest rate unchanged for March

South Korea's central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2.5 percent for the 10th consecutive month Thursday, citing mixed signs of a global recovery. Seven policymakers at the central Bank of Korea made the largely-anticipated decision to freeze the overnight inter-bank loan rate. "The US economy continues to rebound and the slowdown in the eurozone showed signs of abating, while growth in emerging markets slowed," the BOK said in a statement.

Eurozone industrial output falls in January

Eurozone industrial output continued weaker in January, official data showed on Wednesday, but the underlying trend appears consistent with a very modest economic recovery in the single-currency bloc. Industrial output in the 18-nation eurozone fell 0.2 percent in January after a sharper drop of 0.4 percent in December when it had 17 members, the Eurostat statistics agency said. However, in the full 28-country European Union, industrial output was up 0.1 percent, returning to positive territory after a drop of 0.4 percent in December, Eurostat said.

Eurozone industrial output falls in January

Eurozone industrial output continued weaker in January, official data showed on Wednesday, but the underlying trend appears consistent with a very modest economic recovery in the single-currency bloc. Industrial output in the 18-nation eurozone fell 0.2 percent in January after a sharper drop of 0.4 percent in December when it had 17 members, the Eurostat statistics agency said. However, in the full 28-country European Union, industrial output was up 0.1 percent, returning to positive territory after a drop of 0.4 percent in December, Eurostat said.

Asian shares broadly up on hopes for US jobs

Asian markets mostly rose on Friday and the dollar held on to its New York gains after better-than-expected jobs data raised hopes for a strong payrolls report later in the day. While the crisis in Ukraine is still to be resolved, investors are focused on economic fundamentals, with confidence boosted by upbeat comments on the eurozone from the European Central Bank (ECB), while Wall Street saw another record close.
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