Ecuador: Cocoa Has New Latin America King as Ecuador Beats Brazil
In Ecuador cocoa-bean production increased 13% last year, surpassing Brazil as Latin America’s top cocoa producer. Ecuador will continue to benefit from high global demand for chocolate and is expected to become the fourth largest producer in the world by the end of 2015.

United Kingdom: IMF set to lift UK growth forecast
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will publish its latest forecasts on 21 January. According to Telegraph, IMF will raise its 2014 growth forecasts for the UK to 2.4%, up from the 1.9% reported in its latest forecast. As a result, IMF expects the British economy to be among the fastest growing of the world’s advanced economies during 2014.

China: Shadow Banking Again in the Limelight
Caijing reports that a widely circulated policy document—known as Document No. 107—has once again sparked a fierce debate on shadow banking. The document has set new guidelines to trim down China’s massive shadow banking system.

Japan: Economy rated as ‘recovering’
According to The Japan Times, the government revised upward its assessment of the economy, stating that economic activity is “recovering” for the first time in six years, amid improving business investment and robust consumption ahead of the long-awaited tax hike in April.

Ireland: Irish debt no longer rated “junk”
As the BBC News reported, the credit rating agency Moody’s upgraded Ireland’s debt from junk status to investment grade, saying its economy has growth potential. The upgrading comes after Ireland exited the bailout program in December 2013.

For latest economic indicators from around the world, please visit us at FocusEconomics.

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