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China eases housing tax, lending rules to fight downturn SHANGHAI/BEIJING: China on Monday courted home buyers with a bigger tax break as it cut downpayment requirements for the second time in six months, stepping up a fight against sliding house prices that is imperiling the world's second-biggest economy.The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said on its website that commercial banks can now lower their minimum downpayment requirement for buyers of second homes, and with outstanding mortgages, to 40 percent from 60 percent previously.The Ministry of Finance, in a separate statement around the same time, said individuals selling an ordinary house were exempt from business taxes if they had owned it for more than two years. Analysts said sellers were previously exempted from taxes only if they owned the houses for at least five years.The policy sweeteners, which were more generous than what the market had expected, confirmed rumours swirling in China on Monday that authorities were increasing support for ...

US consumer spending tepid; savings at two-year high WASHINGTON: US consumer spending barely rose in February as households boosted savings to their highest level in more than two years, the latest sign that the economy hit a soft patch in the first quarter.Economic growth has been undercut by bad winter weather, a strong dollar, a now-settled labor dispute at busy West Coast ports and softer demand in Europe and Asia. The slowdown in activity, however, is expected to be temporary."Even if the first ...
Shanghai raises monthly minimum wage 11 percent: Xinhua BEIJING: Shanghai will raise the city's minimum wage by 11 percent from April 1, the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.The minimum monthly salary will rise to 2,020 yuan ($325) from 1,820 yuan, while the hourly base wage will increase to 18 yuan from 17 yuan, the news agency said, citing a local government announcement.Rapid increases in Chinese wages reflect a shift in the world's second-largest economy toward more reliance on consumption, while simultaneously ...
Pending home sales give hopeful sign for US housing market WASHINGTON: Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes rose to their highest level in 1-1/2 years in February, a sign the lackluster recovery in the U.S. housing market could be accelerating.The National Association of Realtors on Monday said its pending home sales index rose 3.1 percent last month.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.4 percent gain, although the association also revised previous readings to show a smaller gain in January than initially estimated.The increase ...
China seeks to boost property market as economy slows SHANGHAI: China's central bank on Monday lowered minimum down payment levels on second homes nationwide, scrapping a key policy originally aimed at controlling housing prices as it seeks to boost the economy.The People's Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank, said the minimum deposit for individuals buying additional housing would be set at 40 percent, according to a statement on its website.The level was previously 60 to 70 percent, China's official Xinhua news agency said.The ...
German inflation creeps higher in March: data FRANKFURT: Inflation in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, crept higher in March with consumer prices rising by 0.3 percent year-on-year, preliminary data showed on Monday. The previous month, the consumer price index had risen by just 0.1 percent on a 12-month basis, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement.Using the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) -- the yardstick used by the European Central Bank -- inflation in Germany was back in positive territory, ...
UK mortgage approvals rise to six-month high in February LONDON: British mortgage approvals hit a six-month high in February, rising for a third straight month and suggesting the housing market could start to regain momentum, Bank of England data showed on Monday.Mortgage approvals for house purchases numbered 61,760 in February, up from 60,707 in January. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 61,500 mortgage approvals were made in February.The number of approvals fell in most months last year when tighter rules on mortgage lending ...


Index Closing Chg%
Arrow DJIA 17,776.12 1.11
Arrow Nasdaq 4,900.89 0.94
Arrow S&P 2,067.89 0.88
Arrow FTSE 6,773.04 1.72
Arrow DAX 11,966.17 0.99
Arrow CAC-40 5,033.64 0.98
Arrow Nikkei 19,206.99 1.05
Arrow H.Seng 24,900.89 0.81
Arrow Sensex 27,957.49 0.07

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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