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China to open new areas to private investors: Xinhua BEIJING: China will launch 80 new pilot projects allowing private investment in areas previously dominated by state-run firms, official media reported on Wednesday.The report follows an earlier Communist Party pledge to let markets play a greater role in allocating capital, seen as a key step towards rebalancing the world's second-largest economy to ensure sustainable growth.The pilot projects cover areas including transport infrastructure, oil and gas pipelines, renewable energy and the coal, chemical and petrochemical sectors, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a meeting of the State Council, or cabinet."The move aims to accelerate reform of the country's investment," Xinhua cited a council document as saying."The projects will be open to public bidding, and the government encourages the participation of private capital in the construction and operations of those projects."The Communist Party last year pledged to allow markets to play a "decisive" role in resource allocation, as the country's growth slows from ...

Bomb blast wounds UN peacekeeper in Mali: UN UNITED NATIONS: A roadside bomb struck a UN vehicle in northern Mali on Wednesday, wounding a peacekeeper from Guinea during a UN visit of foreign dignitaries, an official said.The improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at around 1130 GMT at least 400 meters from the Kidal air strip, said the head of the UN mission in Mali, Albert Koenders."Initial reports indicated that the peacekeeper, who was in a vehicle and bumped into this IED, seriously damaged ...

US court revives EU money laundering case vs RJ Reynolds NEW YORK: A US appeals court has revived a European Union lawsuit accusing R.J. Reynolds of running a global money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups that involved the smuggling of drugs and cigarettes.The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said a lower court judge erred in finding that a US anti-racketeering law known as RICO did not cover foreign conduct, barring claims by France, Germany, Italy and 23 other European countries.In a ...

Britain's annual deficit below target: official data LONDON: Britain's annual deficit came slightly under the government's target, official data showed on Wednesday, against a backdrop of economic recovery and cuts to state spending.The coalition had a net borrowing of 107.7 billion pounds ($181 billion, 131 billion euros) in the year to the end of March, the lowest level since the height of the financial crisis in 2008/09, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.It was also just under the Conservative-Liberal ...

French growth to reach 1pc in 2014, rising to 2.25pc in 2017: govt PARIS: France is expected to post growth of 1 percent in 2014 and 1.7 percent in 2015, the government said Wednesday. Output growth is then expected to expand to 2.25 percent for the following two years, the government added, as it announced a slew of measures to stabilise its public finances.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

Spain sees stronger economic outlook in 2014-15 MADRID: Spain's government forecast Wednesday faster economic growth in the next two years as the nation emerges from a long downturn with unemployment still topping 26 percent.Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the eurozone's fourth-largest economy would expand by an average of 1.5 percent in 2014 and 2015. The government's official forecast is for growth of 1.0 percent in 2014 and 1.5 percent in 2015.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

South African inflation ticks up: official data JOHANNESBURG: Consumer prices ticked ever higher in South Africa last month, official data showed on Wednesday, fuelling speculation about another central bank rate rise.Statistics South Africa reported that the consumer price index rose 0.1 of a point to 6.0 percent in March, on the back of higher food, housing and transport costs.The rate is at the upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank's target band.The bank raised rates by half a point to 5.5 ...


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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
GDP Growth 3.6%
Average CPI 7.5%
Trade Balance $-1.433 bln
Exports $2.167 bln
Imports $3.600 bln
WeeklyApril 14, 2014
Reserves $9.713 bln