Russia: President Obama Expands Sanctions Against Russia
According to the BBC, US President Barack Obama has announced further sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea. The measures target key Russian officials and the bank Rossiya. Further, Obama has authorized an order that enables the US to impose sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy. Conversely, Russia announced sanctions on US officials and lawmakers.

New Zealand: New Zealand Economy Sees Growth Of 2.7%
According to the BBC News, New Zealand’s economy grew by 2.7% last year, making it one of the fastest growing nations in the developed world. Output grew by 0.9% in the three months to December. That marked the country’s 12th consecutive quarter of growth. In addition, the Central Bank said that there is no longer need of record-low rates, as the economy has enough momentum.

United States: All Big Banks But One Pass Fed’s Health Test
As Reuters reports, U.S. big banks have enough capital buffers to withstand a drastic economic downturn, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday, announcing that 29 out of 30 major banks met the minimum hurdle in its annual health check. All but one of the big banks stayed above the 5% requirement for top-tier capital in the latest round of stress tests, and thus would weather a financial collapse similar to the 2007-2009 crisis.

Euro Area: Banking Union Deal In Place As EU Agrees €55bn Back-up Fund
The Independent reports on the deal struck yesterday by European leaders a deal on the final piece of the banking union plan, the so-called Single Resolution Mechanism. Once the deal is formally signed off by the parliament and national governments, the new law will put in place a single system to deal with failing Eurozone banks, backed up by a €55bn shared fund built up by levies on banks.

Greece: S&P Affirms Greece’s Credit Rating, Citing Rebalancing Economy
The Irish Times reports on the latest decision by rating agency Standard and Poor’s to reaffirm Greece’s credit rating, with a stable outlook, amid continued signs of improvement and a credible rebalancing of the Greek economy.

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

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