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The Week in Numbers: Solar Power on the Rise

The World Bank raised its economic growth forecast for developing East Asia and Pacific for this year and the next. They expect the region (inclusive of China) to grow at 6.4% this year and 6.2% next year. It is an upgrade from their previous forecast of 6.2% and 6.1%.

The rest of the region (including South East Asia) is expected to grow at 5.1% this year and 5.2% in 2018. This is an improvement from 4.9% in 2016.

Over in the United States, non-manufacturing economic activity expanded handsomely last month. The Institute for Supply Management’s Index read 59.8 in September, beating estimates of 55.5 from economists. This is the highest figure in 12 years.

Service employment index rose to 56.8 in September, from 56.2 in August. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Over in the United Kingdom, the services PMI grew to 53.6 last month, compared to 53.2 in August.

Europe also saw a strong showing in the services industry. PMI by HIS market showed composite activity in the private sector grew to 56.7. This is the best performance in 4 months.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that solar power grew faster than any other source of fuel last year. IEA said that 165 gigawatts of renewables came online in 2016.

Solar powered by photovoltaics increased by 50%, with almost 50% of new plants built in China. This is the 6th consecutive year that clean energy has set installation records. The IEA expects about 1000 gigawatts to be installed in the next five years, a milestone that coal took 80 years to accomplish.

It is expected that electric vehicle numbers will double by 2022 but biofuels will still make up 93% of renewables consumed in the transport industry.

Finally, United States payroll decreased by 33,000 in September, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.2%. This was the first monthly decline in non-farm payroll in 7 years.

Storm damage caused food and drink establishments to lay off 105,000 positions. At the same time, this was offset by job gains in healthcare (at 23,000), transportation and warehouse (at 22,000) and professional and business services with 13,000.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned.