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Rio Tinto 'spy' case unsettles business community
By D'Arcy Doran

20 Jul 09

"It will be a very uncomfortable episode for every foreign business here," said Xianfang Ren, a Beijing-based analyst at IHS Global Insight.

"There are lots of hidden rules in China, like having to develop connections with government agencies, 'guanxi', to get deals," she said.

Automotive News

Axed dealers' best bet: U.S. aid
House bill shows clout, but restored franchises unlikely
By Neil Roland

20 Jul 09

The White House said it strongly opposes the bills, adding that dealer cuts at GM and Chrysler were "a critical part of their overall restructuring to achieve long-term viability."

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where dealers have far less influence than in the House. An Obama veto would end the process unless it were overridden in both chambers.

That makes a federally backed settlement more likely than reopening stores, said analyst Aaron Bragman of IHS Global Insight in Detroit.

"One thing the government has lots of is money," Bragman said. "The big question is: How much would be enough?"

Globe and Mail (Canada)

Associated Press
U.S. businesses less pessimistic

20 Jul 09

The latest outlook from a quarterly survey being released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics finds that companies are still looking at job cuts in the coming months, though they may be scaling back.

The industry survey “provides new evidence that the U.S. recession is abating, but few signs of an immediate recovery,” said Sara Johnson, NABE's lead analyst on the survey and an economist at IHS Global Insight. Fifty-six per cent of those surveyed expect the gross domestic product to fall by 2 per cent or more this year, while only 6 per cent project economic growth.

New York Times

U.S. Recession Easing But Likely Not Over: Survey

20 Jul 09

The National Association for Business Economics' quarterly industry survey found that demand is stabilizing, but a small majority of the 102 respondents said their firms had not yet seen the bottom.

The survey "provides new evidence that the U.S. recession is abating, but few signs of an immediate recovery," said Sara Johnson, managing director of global macroeconomics for IHS Global Insight, who helped analyze the report for the NABE.

"Industry demand was still declining in the second quarter of 2009, but the breadth of decline had narrowed considerably since late 2008, raising prospects for stabilization in the second half" of the year, she said.

New York Times

Mauritanians Vote In First Post - Coup Poll

20 Jul 09

Junta leader General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is favorite to win the vote in the Sahara desert Islamic state, analysts say, but there are alternatives in political heavyweight Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, who mounted a coup in 2005, and veteran opposition figure Ahmed Ould Daddah.

"The most likely scenario is for Aziz to become leader, but this time through the ballot box," said Global Insight analyst Kissy Agyeman-Togobo.

. . . International donors such as the European Union and United States halted aid programs in protest at the coup, but free, transparent elections would be a step toward restarting cooperation.

"We are likely to see Aziz attempting to restore ties with traditional donors," Agyeman-Togobo said.

"But this will require something of a balancing act for the man who has adopted a more radicalized stance toward Israel, which could see relations with U.S. ally, Egypt, and other Western powers compromised."

The Guardian (UK)

Lenders struggling to value homes
By Hilary Osborne

20 Jul 09

Fluctuating house prices are causing chains to collapse and leading to mortgages being cancelled, a report from the Bank of England said today.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said the Bank's report contained "some very tentative signs" that banks may be becoming a little more prepared to step up their lending.

But he said he expected the Bank to continue its programme of quantitative easing in a bid to kick-start the economy.

"We believe it is highly possible that the bank could very well ask the chancellor for permission to raise the ceiling on the programme from the current level of £150bn. Meanwhile, we expect the Bank of England to keep interest rates at 0.50% deep into 2010."

The New York Times

Housing Starts Rise an Unexpected 3.6%

20 Jul 09

Still, the housing market faces considerable obstacles in its efforts to revive. Among them are foreclosures, which have been rising. “Foreclosures are the one part of the economy that’s getting worse right now,” said Patrick Newport, United States economist at IHS Global Insight. “Everywhere else the negative numbers are at least getting smaller every quarter.”

Adding to the housing difficulties, builders, especially of condominiums and apartments, are continuing to struggle to find financing.

With that market all but frozen, Mr. Newport said, builders can no longer tap into what was once a source that provided a quarter of the construction financing for apartment complexes and condo units.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

June brings gains in home building, permits
By Alan J. Heavens

20 Jul 09

Housing starts and building permits made impressive gains in June over May, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

"Not every number was up, but the key ones, single-family starts and permits, both improved," said IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport.

"Single-family permits have improved three straight months, while single-family starts have risen four straight months," Newport said. "The single-family housing-starts recession, using this definition, ended in January."

The Times Online (UK)

Mortgage lending hits six-month high on 17% rise
By Elizabeth Judge

20 Jul 09

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Insight, also sounded a cautious note. "The CML data suggests that while buyer interest has picked up markedly in recent months as at June this was still only gradually translating into increased house sales. Consequently, housing market activity is still very low by past norms."

He forecasts that housing market activity will "remain muted compared to long-term norms for some time to come".

The Wall Street Journal

Euro-Zone Trade Surplus Shrinks

20 Jul 09

"Plunging domestic demand in the U.K. and the U.S., as well as substantially deteriorating activity in Emerging Europe, has been a particular concern for euro-zone exporters," Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a note.

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