Eurozone GDP to fall

BRUSSELS: Indicators to be released this coming week will show that growth in the 12-nation eurozone slowed somewhat in the fourth quarter of 2005, although the outlook for Germany is still promising. The eurozone as a whole is expected to report, provisionally, that GDP grew just by 0.4 per cent in October-December last year, down from a relatively strong 0.6 per cent in third quarter. This predicted weakening in eurozone activity follows French performance of a disappointing 0.2 per cent growth in GDP in the fourth quarter and expectations that Germany will say its growth also slowed. — AFP

More oil consumption

BEIJING: China’s oil consumption is expected to rise by 5.4-7.0 per cent this year compared to last year. The world’s second biggest oil consumer after the US consumed 318 million tonnes of oil last year. It did not explain the reason for the increase, but China’s booming economy is becoming increasingly dependent on oil. Seventy-five per cent of China’s oil this year will be consumed by the transportation sector. It noted the increasing purchases of automobiles as one factor behind the rise. — AFP

US auto sales to fall

ORLANDO: US auto sales will fall slightly in 2006 because of the impact of rising interest rates, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association said. “Price matters in this market. This is an increasingly price-sensitive consumer,” economist Paul Taylor said on the opening day of NADA’s annual convention. Taylor predicted new vehicle sales will total 16.8 million in 2006, down from 16.947 million last year. That’s because it will cost consumers more to finance their vehicles. — AP

Kazakh economy

LAMBROSCHINI ALMATY: Kazakhstan’s economy is booming on the back of oil revenues, but the expansion of new wealth also underscores a pressing need for economic diversification in the Central Asian state. The 9.4 per cent growth rate for 2005 announced was the result mainly of high oil prices, with actual crude production in the former Soviet republic rising by only 1.2 per cent. — AFP

Dr Sharma US-bound

KATHMANDU: Dr Shanker Sharma, vice-chairman of the NPC left for US to present a paper on ‘Development Experience Amidst Conflict in Nepal’, which is scheduled to be held during the third week of February at Harvard University. According to a press statement issued her on Sunday, Dr Sharma would discuss with the university faculty members and students on the sidelines of his visit the elements affecting Millennium Development Goals in Nepal. Similarly, Dr Sharma will also give a lecture at the Institute of Developing Economies in Tokyo, states the release. —HNS

FNCCI releases book

KATHMANDU: Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has released a book ‘Nepal and World: A Statistics’. The book has information about Nepali industry, foreign trade policies, tourism, finance, stock market and other Nepali trade

and commerce. The book has been priced at Rs 250. — HNS