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90 seconds at 9 am: US growth up, future prospects trimmed; ECB wants growth focus and surpluses too; UK in recession again; India warned
Here's our summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, and its all about central banks today.
The US Federal Reserve said that expectations for domestic economic growth in the current year have increased modestly, but it toned down its growth forecast for 2013 and 2014. It said it will keep short-term rates near zero through late 2014. Markets were firmer after the Fed Statement.
US durable goods orders fell, while business investment rose. And, despite the recession in Europe and slower growth in China, some big US industrial companies are reporting surprisingly robust results for the first quarter and sounding confident about the rest of the year.
In the UK, they have slipped back into recession, after a sharp fall in construction leads to their economy shrinking by 0.2% in the first three months of 2012 - and that is despite all the Olympics preparation. The Bank of England thought it had come to the end of its QE program, but it may be re-thinking that now.
Standard and Poor's has warned India that their credit rating may be downgraded, challenging India's image as a surging economic force. The issue is the level of long term debt. India has BBB- credit rating, the lowest investment grade, and if it were to be cut, it would fall to subinvestment - or junk - grade.
Back to the US, mad-cow disease has been found in California, and South Korea has already banned imports of US beef. Australia and NZ beef exports may benefit.
The exchange rate was on holiday with the rest of us yesterday, and we start the day pretty much unchanged from Tuesday, at US$0.813
We have our own Reserve bank announcement today. Check in at 9 AM to get the latest on Dr Bollard's assessments. He won't be changing rates, but his briefing will set the tone for the economy and the exchange rate.