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New Zealand employee confidence perks up in Q1: survey WELLINGTON: New Zealand employee confidence picked up in the first quarter, as strong economic growth made people more optimistic about finding and holding jobs and getting pay rises, a survey showed on Monday.The Westpac-McDermott Miller employee confidence index rose to 108.5 in the three months to March 31 from 106.5 in the previous quarter.A reading above 100 indicates more optimists than pessimists.Confidence rose most in rural areas, reflecting a modest recovery in dairy prices after last year's sharp slide, while respondents were more optimistic about job security and the prospect of pay rises, and less pessimistic about the future job outlook.New Zealand's unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 5.4 percent in the previous quarter as growth in the workforce outstripped the number of jobs being created.Copyright Reuters, 2015

Body found at site of collapsed New York buildings NEW YORK: New York police recovered on Sunday a body from the Manhattan site where four buildings were destroyed or damaged earlier this week in a massive gas explosion.Two people had been reported missing from a sushi restaurant ravaged by the Thursday blast, which blew the front off a commercial and residential property on Second Avenue in East Village and led to a multi-building fire.NYPD Sergeant Lee Jones told AFP that a body had "been ...

Putin letter to Arab summit triggers strong Saudi attack SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Saudi Arabia accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy on Sunday, telling an Arab summit that he should not express support for the Middle East while fuelling instability by supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.In a rare move, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that a letter from Putin would be read out to the gathering in Egypt, where Arab leaders discussed an array of regional crises, including conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya."We ...

Greece says talks with lenders are continuing positively ATHENS: Greece sounded an upbeat tone on Sunday over talks with its European and IMF creditors, which it said were continuing through the weekend as the cash-strapped country races to agree on reforms that will unlock more aid.The euro zone member will run out of money by April 20, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday, if it does not secure funding from its European partners.In February, Athens agreed an extension to ...

Yemen FM rules out Huthi talks until surrender CAIRO: Yemen's foreign minister on Sunday ruled out any dialogue with Huthi rebels until President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government retakes full control of the country.Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said there could be "no negotiations and dialogue until the legitimate government has control over all Yemeni lands"."Any party that wants to talk about dialogue has to first give up weapons seized from bases and return them to the state," he told Egyptian state television in an ...

French local election runoff tests far-right strength PARIS: Voting started in France on Sunday to elect thousands of local councillors in a test of the far-right National Front's growing hold on grassroots politics.Marine Le Pen's anti-immigrant, anti-euro FN party is banking on building a base of locally elected officials to become more mainstream and target national ballots.While it came second in the election run-up last week, in a setback to its claims that it has become the country's first party, the FN ...

Polling stations re-open in Nigeria after voting extension LAGOS: Voters unable to cast their ballot because of technical problems in Nigeria's general election returned to the polls on Sunday, as the main parties traded blows over the use of the technology.The country's electoral commission said some 300 of the 150,000 polling stations would be open from 0700 GMT to accredit voters after handheld devices to read biometric identity cards failed.Nigeria's ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called the situation a "huge national embarrassment" after ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-999 mln
Exports $2.064 bln
Imports $3.063 bln
WeeklyMarch 20, 2015
Reserves $16.132 bln