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The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated on Wednesday that the United States, Japan, Germany and France are all showing signs of economic growth.

Forecasts from the OECD are expecting GDP growth in the aforementioned countries to pick up.

The Paris-based organization said its leading indicator (CLI) which purpose is to signal early hints of turning points in economic activity, remained just below its long-term average of 100 at 99.9 for the second consecutive month.

Here are the readings for the following countries:

·         United States – reading climbed from 99.3 in November 2016 to 99.4 the next month.

·         Japan – November’s reading was at 100 and rose to 100.1 in December.

·         Germany – From 100.3, the reading moved higher to 100.5.

·         France – its November reading of 100.5 edged up 100.6 in the succeeding month.

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Britain: Recovering, but Brexit agreement weighs

Meanwhile, Britain's reading recovered to 99.5 in December from 99.3 in the preceding month.

The OECD described the country as having indefinite indications of accelerating growth, adding that terms regarding its withdrawal from the European Union still affect the British economy negatively.

“In the United Kingdom, there are tentative signs of growth gaining momentum, although the CLI remains below trend and uncertainty persists about the nature of the agreement the UK will eventually conclude with the EU,” the organization said.

Portugal: Recovering after recession

Elsewhere, after a deep recession, Portugal’s economy is steadily recovering thanks to a broad structural reform agenda that has led to improving economic growth, declining unemployment numbers and impressive progress in export performance.

According to a report from the OECD, keeping the momentum for additional reforms is vital to address the remaining challenges and bring about stronger and more inclusive growth.

Additionally, the latest OECD Economic Survey of Portugal also indicates the necessity to lower high levels of public and private sector indebtedness and address non-performing loans in the banking system, which are hindering investment and restraining growth and productivity.  The share of non-performing loans in the financial sector makes up over 12% of total loans and is one of the highest levels among European countries.

In Europe, Portugal still has one of the most unequal income distributions. The survey said that the country would need to overcome its legacy of a low-skilled labor force. Enhancing the skills of all Portuguese citizens will definitely boost growth, and will be essential in addressing the inequality.

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Sweden: Income disparity grows, but gap still tight

Earlier today, the OECD also reported that economic inequality has accelerated faster in Sweden than any other developed country in recent decades as top earners have cashed in on growing asset prices while immigrants and unemployed citizens have been left behind.

Nonetheless, the gap between top and bottom earners remains tighter in the Nordic nation than most countries, the OECD added.

However, while real incomes for the wealthiest 5% of the Swedish population have risen nearly 70% since 1990, the poorest 5% have only witnessed a 10% growth.

“Income inequality rose more rapidly than in any other OECD country since the 1990s,” the OECD report read. “The rise in income inequality needs to be contained.”

Sweden has been widely regarded as an example of a country that demonstrated fairness and equality, using high taxes to stabilize income difference and support the poorer citizens through high welfare spending.

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A rising stock market since deregulation in 1990s and soaring house prices have benefited those with financial assets, however, while fortunate capital gains taxes in relation to income taxes have further benefited the rich.

The OECD also indicated that increases in benefits have slumped wages while high levels of entry wages makes it tough for several lower-skilled individuals, usually many of whom are foreigners, to get jobs.

“More than 30% of the foreign born fell below the poverty line,” the OECD reported.

The government stated that the Swedish population rose by over 100,000 in 2014— the result of a then-record high immigration of 127,000 and births outnumbering deaths.

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