Although slowdown might become evident near midyear, the economy is likely to accelerate and end 2013 with 2.3% growth, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Meanwhile, inflation might pick up slightly but should remain below 2%.
The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates steady this month as it waits to see whether the eurozone economy improves. Experts say a rate cut is likely in the near future if conditions remain challenging. "I think it's too early, but one more round of bad numbers and I think we will hear [ECB President Mario] Draghi signal a near-term rate cut," said Anders Svendsen, an analyst at Nordea.
Driven largely by the government's spending on infrastructure construction, China's official purchasing managers' index for the services sector rose from 54.5 in February to 55.6 in March, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The reading for new orders increased slightly in March.
A wind farm in California supported by Citigroup started providing electricity to 44,000 homes in May, enabling Citi to clinch the recognition of world's greenest bank from Bloomberg Markets magazine. "There was a huge push in the U.S. last year to get wind projects done before the tax credit expired," said Marshal Salant, Citi's chief of alternative-energy finance.
Mortgage REITs and private equity funds are among the new lenders entering the commercial real estate space. One example is Starwood Property Trust, which financed a Related Cos. deal. Still, financing is not at pre-crisis levels.