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World Economic Situation and Prospects 2006

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The World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) is the definitive report of the United Nations on the state of the world economy. One of the most highly anticipated economic reports from the United Nations, it is jointly produced by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the five United Nations Regional Commissions. It provides an overview of recent global economic performance and short-term prospects for the world economy and of some key global economic policy and development issues.

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Regional developments and outlook

Across the developed economy region gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates decelerated in 2005, partly because of the surge in energy prices during the year, as well as the hurricanes that hit the United States of America, and partly because of a natural moderation from above-trend growth in 2004 for some countries, in tandem with the gradual removal of policy stimulus. There were positive developments, however, in the form of still modest, but continuing growth in Japan suggesting a convincing end to its long period of stagnation. On the other hand, growth remains weak in the euro area. The rate of expansion of investment spending has been slow in most countries in the region, despite the favourable financing conditions and strong corporate profits for a number of years. A key to the expected growth performance in 2006 will be a significant pick-up in investment.

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