TODAY’S TOP ARTICLES – 24 MAR 2014

France: National Front Makes Gains
As the BBC News reports, France’s far-right National Front party has made significant gains in local elections, winning an outright majority in one town on the first round. President Francois Hollande’s Socialists have lost ground overall and may lose control of some major towns.

China: Central Banker Says Defaults May Be Good For China Markets
According to Reuters, deputy central bank governor Pan Gongsheng said that some debt defaults could be positive for market discipline in China and help the wealth management products market develop in a more healthy way. “To help prevent systemic risk, “naturally occurring” defaults may be “conducive to strengthening market discipline constraints, correcting the behavior of product issuers and investors,” he said.

United Kingdom: Russian Tourist Spending In The UK Declines In February
As stated by the BBC, spending from Russian tourists on UK hotels and shops decreased 17% in February as compared to the same month last year. Russians figure among the five most spending tourist groups in the UK. According to the BBC, the decline was caused by decreasing visitor numbers triggered by political instability and the impacts of a weakening Russian economy.

Russia: Russia Facing Recession As Sanctions Likely To Intensify
Bloomberg reports that the Russian economy is facing at least two quarters of recession due to the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US. In addition, the ruble is the second-worst performer against the dollar after Argentina. However, the sanctions may damage Europe’s economy since the EU relies on Russia for a third of its energy imports.

Eurozone: Growth Among Eurozone Private Businesses Remains Strong
According to Reuters, in March the pace of growth of businesses in the Eurozone slowed only slightly down from February’s two-and-a-half year high. Markit’s Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index took a value of 53.2 in March, while a record high of 53.3 was reported in February. An expansion in manufacturing and services industries and growth of the French economy have contributed to this figure.

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

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