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British retail sales drop in June: official data LONDON: British retail sales fell unexpectedly in June from the previous month, hit by weaker demand for food, household goods and petrol, official data showed Thursday.Sales by volume dipped 0.2 percent last month compared with May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.That confounded market expectations for a 0.4-percent increase, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.The ONS added that retail sales grew by 4.0 percent in June compared with one year earlier."Overall, it isn't great news, but we feel that the trend for consumer spending remains strong," noted economist James Knightley at ING bank.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

Spain jobless rate falls to 22.7pc MADRID: Spain's unemployment rate fell sharply to 22.7 percent in the second quarter, official data showed Thursday, as the government boasted of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs ahead of an election.The key measure declined by 1.4 points from 23.78 percent in the previous quarter, with 5.15 million people unemployed overall -- 295,600 fewer than in the first quarter, the National Statistics Institute said in a statement."Never in Spain's economic history have so many jobs ...

US defence chief Carter in Iraq for talks BAGHDAD: US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter arrived in Baghdad on Thursday for talks with top political and military officials on Iraq's war against the Islamic State group.Carter, on his first visit to Iraq since taking the job in February, is expected to meet Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, as well as tribal leaders from Anbar province, where much of the current fighting is taking place.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

Obama upbeat on Africa on eve of Kenya, Ethiopia trip WASHINGTON: On the eve of his trip to Africa, US President Barack Obama said he was excited about the impending visit to his ancestral continent, which he said had great resilience and enormous potential for growth.Obama is due to leave on Thursday for Kenya, marking his first presidential visit to the homeland of his father.From there, Obama will trace the Great Rift Valley northward to Addis Ababa, becoming the first US president to visit Ethiopia."Despite ...

MERS outbreak smothers South Korea economic recovery in Q2 SEOUL: South Korea's economy slowed in the second quarter, with consumer spending stifled by an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and exports failing to lift themselves out of a lengthening slump.Asia's fourth largest economy grew 0.3 percent in the April-June period, down from 0.8 percent in the first quarter, the Bank of Korea said Thursday.The central bank put year-on-year growth at 2.2 percent -- the slowest pace for more than two years and ...

Brazil makes deep cut to fiscal savings goal BRASÍLIA: Brazil's government announced Wednesday a radical cut to its fiscal savings goal and said it would increase austerity measures, citing the worsening performance in the world's seventh largest economy.Finance Minister Joaquim Levy said the lowering of the surplus goal from 1.1 percent of GDP to just 0.15 percent reflected the weakening economy.With Brazil on the brink of recession, "there has been an effect on tax receipts," he said.However, the government's commitment to austerity measures ...

South Korea Q2 GDP more than halves from Q1, weaker than expected SEOUL: South Korea's economy grew just 0.3 percent in April-June over the previous quarter, the central bank estimated on Thursday, the slowest in two quarters with consumption battered by an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. It follows 0.8 percent growth for the first quarter and marks the weakest since a 0.3 percent gain in the last quarter of 2014.It was also slightly below a 0.4 percent gain tipped in a Reuters survey of 20 ...


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.378 bln
Exports $2.016 bln
Imports $4.394 bln
WeeklyJuly 23, 2015
Reserves $18.677 bln