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Economic News - 18/03/2009 to 24/03/2009

London, UK (27/03/2009)

LONDON (Legal and General Wealth Management) A round up of the week's economic news.

• The Retail Prices Index fell to 0% in February, the lowest level in 49 years.The Consumer Prices Index saw a surprise rise to 3.2% from 3%.

• The US Treasury has announced a ‘Public-Private Investment Programme’ where $1tn in toxic assets will be purchased to help stabilize banks’ balance sheets; US stocks rose significantly as a result. Meanwhile, the US Congress has redicted that the country’s deficit will reach a record $1.8tn this year.

• The International Monetary Fund and the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation have both forecast that the world economy will shrink in 2009 for the first time in 60 years.

• Eurozone industrial output dropped by 3.5% in January from the month earlier; the fall for the past year reached 17.3%.

• The UK budget deficit widened to £8.99bn in February, eight times the amount it was a year earlier. The cumulative deficit is now £75.2bn for the current fiscal year, not far from the governments £77bn forecast. The governor of the Bank of England has warned the government against increasing levels of debt.

• The production of new cars in the UK has declined for the fifth month in a row as figures from February show a year-on-year fall of 59%.

• Japan’s exports were down 49.4% year-on-year in February, the largest decline since 1957.



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