New Zealand: N.Z. Raises Key Rate To Become First Developed Nation To Tighten
Bloomberg reports that New Zealand raised its key interest rate on 13 March, thus becoming the first developed nation to exit record-low rates this year. In addition, The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted its inflation and GDP forecasts. Now, the Bank predicts that inflation will reach 2% 18 months earlier than estimated in December and that the economy will grow 3.3% in the year ending on 31 March.

China: China’s Economic Activity Slows To Multi-year Low
According to Reuters, economic activity in China decreased substantially during the first two months of this year. A slow-down in investment, retail sales and factory output contributed to this development. Analysts expect China’s Central Bank to introduce new measures of policy easing soon, for example a reduction of the required amount of cash that banks have to hold as reserves.

Ireland: Irish Economy Contracts Sharply In Q4 2013
According to the Irish Times, Ireland GDP unexpectedly shrank last year on the back of a sharp fall-off in net exports linked to the so-called pharma patent cliff. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 2.3% in the last quarter of 2013 and drove GDP to a 0.3% contraction in 2013.

Australia: Australia’s Unemployment Steady, More Jobs Created
According to the BBC News, Australia’s economy added 47,300 jobs in February. The unemployment rate held steady at 6% as more workers said they were actively looking for more jobs.

Ukraine: Crimea’s Referendum Results Expected A Day After Votes
Interfax Ukraine reports that the results of the March 16 referendum on whether Crimea should become part of Russia are expected to be announced on March 17. The result of the referendum will be key to the resulting relations between Russia and Ukraine.

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

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