Japan’s trade deficit quadruples in March

Energy plan in Japan 1a LLL

Japan’s trade deficit quadrupled in March as export growth slowed and energy imports continued to rise. A weak Japanese currency, which pushed up the cost of imports, also contributed to the widening gap. The deficit rose to 1.45 trillion yen ($14bn; £8.4bn), up from 356.9bn yen during the same month a year ago. Japan’s energy imports have been rising after ... Read More »

No longer a curse?

Copper mining in Kitwe, Zambia.  Photo: Panos/ Sven Torfinn.

African leaders take action that could transform the mining sector The Hollywood blockbuster movie, Blood Diamond, tells a gripping story of how diamonds fuelled Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war, which erupted in 1991. It depicts kidnappings, use of child soldiers, amputations, rape, killings and destruction of bridges and hospitals, among other atrocities. The movie, starring American actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly ... Read More »

‘Great Stretch’ to secure Greek debt return

Greece's Finance Minister Stournaras arrives for a news briefing in Athens

              Two  years ago, Greece’s debt crisis almost brought the euro zone crashing down. Now European partners are preparing to ease Athens’ debt burden without writing off their loans but by stretching them out into the distant future, extending maturities from 30 to 50 years and further cutting some interest rates, EU officials say. ... Read More »

World Bank cuts China growth forecast


The World Bank has trimmed its growth forecast slightly for China, citing a “bumpy start to the year”. It now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6% in 2014, down from its earlier projection of 7.7%. A slew of disappointing figures has triggered concerns of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. However, the bank said recent reforms unveiled ... Read More »

Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy


Nigeria has “rebased” its gross domestic product (GDP) data, which has pushed it above South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy. Nigerian GDP now includes previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines, and film production. GDP for 2013 totalled 80.3 trillion naira (£307.6bn: $509.9bn), the Nigerian statistics office said. That compares with South Africa’s GDP of ... Read More »

IMF boss Lagarde warns economy ‘too weak for comfort’

Christine Langard 3c palami up LLL Reuters

The global economy could be heading for years of “sub-par growth”, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Christine Lagarde warned that without “brave action” the world could fall into a “low growth trap”. She said the global economy would grow by more than 3% this year and next, but that market volatility and tensions in Ukraine ... Read More »

The U.S. Should Ratify Its Agreement to IMF Reform

John Lipsky 1a LLL

Regarding your editorial “Obama’s IMF Gambit” (March 26) ): Your opposition to pending IMF reforms is ironic. In seeking to promote U.S. interests in international economic and financial affairs, you endorse a position that is having the opposite effect. The IMF remains a unique and indispensable instrument for promoting a stronger, more stable, more open and more efficient global economy, ... Read More »