A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2009 3:46 PM

A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Monday:

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LONDON _ World stock markets rallied after figures showed U.S. retail sales _ crucial for the global economic recovery _ rose more strongly than anticipated in October. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 86.29 points, or 1.6 percent, to 5,382.67. Germany's DAX rose 117.99 points, or 2.1 percent, to 5,804.82, while the CAC-40 in France was 57.15 points, or 1.5 percent, higher at 3,863.16. Stock markets have rallied strongly since March's lows, with many of the world's major indexes trading at, or near, their highest levels this year as investors reined in their economic doomsday expectations to factor in a swifter-than-anticipated global economic rebound.

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LONDON _ Growth has resumed in Britain but the move toward recovery is still quite tentative, an economist on the Bank of England's nine-member interest rate-setting committee said. Andrew Sentance, a former chief economist with British Airways, said there was a large body of evidence that suggested growth had returned to the U.K., according to a summary of a speech released by the Bank of England. Sentance was due to tell an audience at Royal Holloway University in southern England that "though we have seen a wide range of signs of recovery ... we are in the very early stages of a resumption of growth," according to the summary. He warned of several challenges to the British economy, including a rise in energy and commodity prices once the global recovery is under way and Britain's ballooning public debt.

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JOHANNESBURG _ Zimbabwe's tourism chief says hotels have seen occupancy rates double in the past year as the country begins to enjoy the political and economic stability brought about by a unity government. Emmanuel Fundira, president of the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism, says that since a new government was formed in February, hotels have been about 60 percent full compared to 30 percent last year. The country is rich in wildlife and natural attractions but tourism has suffered because of the country's political and economic crises.

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FRANKFURT _ The number of people employed in Germany's crucial manufacturing sector fell 4.4 percent in the year to September, the Federal Statistical Office said. The office said 5 million Germans worked at manufacturing companies with 50 or more persons, a decline of some 233,000 persons compared with September 2008. Europe's largest economy relies heavily on exports of manufactured products from companies such as Siemens AG, steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and carmakers Volkswagen AG and BMW AG.

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TOKYO _ Japan's economy flexed more muscle than expected in the third quarter, as rekindled demand at home and abroad fueled its largest expansion in more than two years. Real gross domestic product grew at an annual pace of 4.8 percent in the July-September period, the government said, beating even the most bullish of predictions. Kyodo news agency had forecast an average annualized increase of 2.6 percent based on its survey of economists. GDP, or the total value of the nation's goods and services, has climbed for two straight quarters and recorded its fastest acceleration since a 5.7 percent jump in the first quarter of 2007.

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SHANGHAI _ China's shares rose on expectations the government might allow its yuan to rise against the dollar. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 87.4 points, or 2.7 percent, to 3,275.05. The Shenzhen Composite Index for China's smaller second exchange 2.5 percent to 1,181.63. U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to press Chinese leaders to ease exchange rate controls during his visit this week. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund said in a speech in Beijing that a rise in the yuan, which could boost Chinese consumer spending, was needed for healthy global growth.