Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2013 Contents A17
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ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND---
Europe is mired in debt and recession.
Financial markets have hit violent ups
and downs on fears that US stimulus
efforts may soon be scaled back. Japan
is finally looking up after years of
stagnation---but it remains an open
question if the recovery will stick.
That s the global economy that con-
fronts the heads of the Group of Eight
leading economies at their annual sum-
mit in Northern Ireland.
Since last year s G-8 meeting at
Camp David in the US, there has been
a modest economic upswing through-
out the developed world and prospects
are brighter after five years of turbulence
and recession. Yet despite progress, the
economic outlook remains fraught with
Here is a quick picture of where the
G-8 countries economies stand:
If Europe is the weak link and Asia
the strongest, then the US and Cana-
dian economies are squarely in the mid-
dle. The two countries are experiencing
steady, if not spectacular, economic
growth and job gains.
G8 faces uncertain recoveries, turbulent markets
In the US, the once-battered housing sector has
been recovering for the past year. Home sales have
reached three-year highs. And prices have jumped
this spring by the most in seven years. That has
encouraged builders to start work on more homes.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.6 per cent
from 8.2 per cent a year earlier.
For once, the bad news for Asia is not coming
from Japan. The world s third-largest economy grew
at a 4.1 per cent annual rate in the first three months
of the year.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to explain
to fellow G-8 leaders his strategies for fostering long-
term growth. Over the past few months, the yen has
dropped from about 80 yen to the dollar in October
to about 94 yen now---as the Abe administration
tried to bring an end to the country s two-decade
Japan s central bank has been pumping money into
the economy in the hope of stoking inflation---the
country has suffered from falling prices for much of
the past 20 years, which has halted growth. One
consequence of the new inflationary approach has
been the sharp fall in the value of the yen against
other countries currencies. This has made Japanese
goods cheaper to the rest of the world, which has
EUROPE & RUSSIA:
Europe s leaders hope a new trade deal between
the EU and the United States can help spur growth.
EU trade ministers agreed last Friday on their nego-
tiating position and it s hoped a deal that would scrap
the tariffs and regulations that impede trade might
be reached next year.
And Europe needs stimulus. Austerity measures
introduced by Europe s governments to control their
deficits have inflicted severe economic pain and pro-
duced social unrest across the group 17 European
Union countries that use the euro.
The eurozone s economy shrank by 0.2 per cent
in the first quarter---the sixth such decline in a row---
and unemployment is at 12.2 per cent. The situation
is far worse in countries that are struggling to reduce
heavy debt burdens---unemployment stands at 26.8
per cent in Spain, 27.0 per cent in Greece.
Russia has seen more than a decade of largely
uninterrupted economic growth, thanks to its lucra-
tive oil and gas industries, to become the world s
8th largest economy. However now that energy
prices have stabilised, experts say Russia is unlikely
to grow as quickly unless it aggressively reforms its
British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes
President Barack Obama to the G-8 summit in
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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