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Venezuela prepares public for hikes in gas prices CARACAS: Venezuela's socialist government has launched a flurry of TV commercials and newspaper ads aimed at persuading the public they pay too little for gasoline.It's hard to argue they don't in this oil-rich but cash-strapped country where gas sells for $.15 a liter, or less than 60 US cents a gallon, the world's cheapest.But the last government that tried to raise prices, in 1989, ignited riots that left hundreds dead nationwide.This time, the government of President Nicolas Maduro seems to be gingerly preparing the public with a major ad campaign.One recent spot on state television shows some carpenters setting a price for rocking chairs."All told, each rocking chair is costing 2,500 bolivars. I calculate we should sell at 100 bolivars," says one, as his buddies look at him like he's crazy.A voiceover interjects: "In Venezuela, something similar is happening with gasoline prices, they're 35 times less than the cost of ...

Brazilian malls, supermarkets forecast slowdown after weak 2014 SAO PAULO: Brazilian mall and supermarket associations on Tuesday forecast slowing sales growth after a weak 2014, with revenues scarcely keeping up with inflation and store openings as consumer sentiment sours. The meager 2015 forecasts reinforce a grim outlook for Brazilian retailers, as higher taxes, rising interest rates and stagnant job growth pinch families' budgets, contributing to some economists' forecasts of a recession in 2015.Consumer confidence in Brazil plunged in January to the lowest level ...
Canada's opposition leader proposes tax relief for small business OTTAWA: The leader of Canada's left-leaning main opposition party proposed a tax cut for small businesses on Tuesday as he laid out some details of the party's economic plan ahead of October's general election. New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Thomas Mulcair said he would reduce the small business tax rate to an eventual 9 percent from 11 percent, with a cut to 10 percent to be effective immediately if the party takes office. The reduction ...
US deficit danger deferred but not defeated WASHINGTON: A declining US budget shortfall can't be taken for granted. Congress's wonks see Washington's debt-to-GDP ratio shrinking over the coming few years as the $500 billion annual federal deficit steadies.Baby-boomer retirement and healthcare costs will, sadly, help reverse the trend over the next decade. Such long-term forecasts are only slightly better than guesses, but they suggest lawmakers still have hard choices to make.President Barack Obama bragged last week that the deficit has been cut ...
Russia scorns 'politically motivated' downgrade to junk rating MOSCOW: Moscow on Tuesday slammed Standard and Poor's for downgrading Russia's credit rating to "junk", saying the move was motivated by the West's current standoff with Russia over Ukraine.A Russian deputy foreign minister, Vasily Nebenzya, even claimed the S&P downgrade to BB+ was "ordered from Washington (in a) new wave of anti-Russian hysteria", while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called ratings a "purely political instrument". President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies it ...
German government raises 2015 growth forecast to 1.5pc BERLIN: The German government is forecasting economic growth of 1.5 percent this year, higher than originally expected, according to the economy ministry's annual report obtained by AFP on Tuesday.Initially, the government had been pencilling in gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.3 percent for this year after it expanded by 1.5 percent in 2014."For 2015, the government is projecting an annual average increase in GDP of 1.5 percent," according to the report, which the ministry ...
IMF's Lagarde warns African economies of headwinds from China, US KIGALI: International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has warned that African economies could be hurt by a slowdown in China's economy and an imminent hike in United States interest rates.Lagarde, speaking on Tuesday on a visit to Rwanda, said IMF's global economic forecasts have been revised down over the past few months despite a huge fall in oil prices.Lagarde called for "vigilance" across Africa and added this slower growth has implications for a continent that ...


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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 $-1.664 bln
Exports $1.966 bln
Imports $3.630 bln
WeeklyJanuary 25, 2015
Reserves $15.019 bln