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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.

ECB trims inflation, raises growth forecasts for 2014

The European Central Bank on Thursday raised slightly its growth forecast for the euro area this year, but trimmed its forecast for inflation. ECB president Mario Draghi told a news conference that the central bank is pencilling in economic growth of 1.2 percent in 2014, 1.5 percent in 2015 and 1.8 percent in 2016, while inflation was expected to average 1.0 percent in 2014, 1.3 percent in 2015 and 1.5 percent in 2016. spm/hmn

Loans to eurozone businesses still weak

Lending to businesses in the debt-mired eurozone contracted again in January, data published by the European Central Bank showed on Thursday. Private sector loans dropped by 2.0 percent in January in a year-on-year comparison, the ECB said, after already contracting by 2.3 percent in December. The Frankfurt-based ECB also published its latest money supply figures, a preliminary indicator of inflation, showing a 1.2-percent increase in January after a rise of 1.0 percent in December. spm/hd

Greece back in the black for first time since 1948

Greece was back in the black for the first time since 1948, the EU's economics commissioner Olli Rehn said on Tuesday as figures showed the economically-hobbled nation returning to growth. "Greece has for the first time since 1948 reached a current account surplus," Rehn told a news conference on presenting better-than-expected growth forecasts for the European Union for this year and next. The EU's winter forecasts showed Greece returning to growth of 0.6 percent this year, with a significant leap of 2.9 percent expected for 2015, after a long and damaging recession.
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