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World Today: Key News Highlights for September 5th, 2023

1. South Korea’s Q2 GDP Growth: South Korea’s central bank reported today that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2023 grew by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, consistent with preliminary estimates. This growth is stronger than in Q1, which expanded by only 0.3%, even though exports slowed down. Year-on-year, South Korea’s second-quarter GDP grew by 0.9%, matching the pace of the first quarter.

2. Hurricane Idalia’s Impact: RMS, a risk analysis subsidiary of Moody’s Investors Service, estimates that insurance companies may have to pay out compensation for damages from Hurricane Idalia, which hit the Big Bend region in Florida last week. The estimated damages range from 3 to 5 billion dollars, as the hurricane brought strong winds, heavy rain, and coastal flooding before weakening and moving into Georgia.

3. Moody’s Economic Forecasts: Moody’s Investors Service has adjusted its economic growth forecasts, raising the 2023 growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 1.9% from the previous estimate of 1.1%, citing a stronger economic trajectory. However, the forecast for China in 2024 has been lowered, reflecting more significant challenges for the Chinese economy.

4. Russia’s Use of Mercenaries: The British Ministry of Defense revealed that Russia is recruiting mercenaries from neighboring countries to fight in Ukraine. This recruitment strategy appears to be in response to the significant loss of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

5. Saudi Arabia’s Global Water Organization: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of a Global Water Organization headquartered in Riyadh. The organization’s mission is to collaborate with governments and organizations to provide sustainable water supply solutions to address water shortages in various countries.

6. Pressure on UAE Over Exports to Russia: Officials from the United States, Britain, and the European Union (EU) are visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to exert pressure and persuade the country to halt exports of computer chips, electronic components, and goods with potential military use to Russia, amid concerns about their use in the conflict with Ukraine.

7. Japan’s Seafood Export Challenge: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the creation of an emergency fund worth 20.7 billion yen ($141 million) to support exporters affected by China’s suspension of seafood imports from Japan. China cited Japan’s release of radioactively contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. China is Japan’s largest seafood export market, accounting for 22.5% of the total.

8. Pakistani Rupee’s Record Low: The Central Bank of Pakistan reported that the Pakistani rupee hit a record low on September 4th, depreciating by 0.06% to 305.64 against the dollar. This marks the lowest level on record, despite government efforts to reassure businesses regarding economic reforms.

9. Economic Data Releases: Several significant economic data releases are scheduled for today, including South Korea’s foreign exchange reserves in August, inflation rate in August, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Q2 2023 (last estimate). Japan is set to reveal household spending data for July, and China will release the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the service sector in August from Caixin. Additionally, the Reserve Bank of Australia will hold a monetary policy meeting and announce its interest rate decision, while France, Germany, the EU, England, and the United States will release various Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data and factory orders for July.

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