Saturday, 27 March 2010

Russia cuts interest rates

Despite the generally improving global economic picture recently, some central banks are still easing monetary policy. From Bloomberg on Friday:

Russia’s central bank cut its main interest rates for the 12th time in less than a year to resuscitate lending and contain the ruble’s gains as the economic recovery stutters.

Bank Rossii lowered the refinancing rate a quarter of a point to a record-low 8.25 percent and cut the repurchase rate charged on one- and seven-day central bank loans to 7.25 percent from 7.5 percent, effective March 29. It last cut rates a quarter-point on Feb. 19. The bank also reintroduced overnight deposit operations at the rate of 2.75 percent.

In the US, fourth quarter growth was revised down, but not by enough to prevent a surge in corporate profits. Bloomberg reports:

The fastest pace of economic growth in six years during the final three months of 2009 fueled a surge in corporate profits that may set the stage for job gains and a broadening of the U.S. recovery.

Company earnings increased 8 percent in the fourth quarter, capping the biggest year-over-year gain in 25 years, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The economy expanded at a 5.6 percent annual rate.

Meanwhile, US consumer confidence is holding up.

The Reuters/University of Michigan final consumer sentiment index for this month held at 73.6. The preliminary reading of the measure, released two weeks ago, was 72.5. Economists forecast the final gauge would fall to 73, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

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