China to invest US$158bn
An estimated 55 infrastructure projects announced by China this week could require investment of more than 1 trillion yuan (US$158 billion), state media said yesterday. The China Securities Journal said the figure was a “conservative estimate” for spending on projects announced on Wednesday and Thursday by the top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission. On Wednesday, the commission announced it had approved 25 new urban railway projects, including subways and light railways in 18 cities across China, at more than 800 billion yuan. The commission on Thursday also unveiled another 30 infrastructure works — including 13 highway projects, 10 waste treatment projects and seven port or waterway projects — but gave no value.
France’s deficit shrinks
France’s trade deficit narrowed to 4.27 billion euros (US$5.4 billion) in July from 6.07 billion euros in June, the customs office said in an e-mailed statement. Exports rose 0.8 percent from the previous month to 36.58 billion euros, while imports fell 3.5 percent to 40.85 billion euros. For the first seven months of the year, the deficit narrowed 10.5 percent from a year ago to 40 billion euros.
German exports up in July
The Federal Statistical Office said German exports inched up unexpectedly in July despite weakening demand within the eurozone, where several countries are in recession. Exports rose 0.5 percent in July from the previous month to 92.9 billion euros, while imports rose 0.9 percent to 76.8 billion euros over June, figures adjusted for seasonal and calendar variations showed yesterday. Economists had been predicting both to drop slightly. From January to July, total exports were up 5.4 percent over the same period last year to 644.1 billion euros. While exports to countries using the euro dipped 0.6 percent, exports to the EU overall rose 1.2 percent.
Britons expect smaller rise
Britons’ expectations for inflation fell last month as officials struggled to pull the economy out of a double-dip recession. Consumers anticipated prices would increase 3.2 percent in the coming 12 months, down from a prediction of a 3.7 percent gain in May, the Bank of England said in a quarterly survey published in London yesterday. A measure of net satisfaction with the way the bank is doing its job fell to the lowest on record. Inflation accelerated to 2.6 percent in July from 2.4 percent in June, delaying the return to target of 2 percent forecast by policymakers. The poll of 1,929 people aged 16 or over was conducted by GfK NOP Ltd from Aug. 9 to Aug. 14.
Russia, China invest in RFP
China and Russia’s sovereign wealth funds’ joint US$2 billion investment pool will invest about US$200 million in a timber processing company in Russia. The investment in RFP Group, Russia’s second-largest forestry products company, was announced yesterday by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) chief executive Kirill Dmitriev yesterday at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. RDIF and China Investment Corp (中國投資公司) contributed US$1 billion each to the joint fund, which plans to put 70 percent of its money in Russia and 30 percent in China.