Global economy

January 31, 2023 | 2:16pm
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Global economy
1 day ago

Pakistan is gripped by a major economic crisis, with the rupee plummeting, inflation soaring and energy in short supply as IMF officials visit to discuss a vital cash injection.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for months held out against the tax rises and subsidy slashing demanded by the International Monetary Fund, fearful of backlash ahead of elections due in October.

But in recent days, with the prospect of national bankruptcy looming and no friendly countries willing to offer less painful bailouts, Islamabad has started to bow to pressure. — AFP

1 day ago

Global growth is set to be higher than expected this year, the IMF says, raising its forecast on surprisingly strong consumption and investment while China's lifting of zero-Covid restrictions provides another boost.

World growth has been bogged down by fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, economic downturns and efforts to rein in spiraling costs of living.

Against this backdrop, the International Monetary Fund expects the global economy to expand 2.9 percent this year, slowing from 2022 to a rate that remains weak by historical standards.

But "adverse risks have moderated" since last October's forecast, says the IMF in the latest update to its World Economic Outlook report.

"The year ahead will still be challenging... but it could well represent a turning point with growth bottoming out and inflation declining," IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas tells reporters. — AFP

2 days ago

The European Central Bank is expected to push on with its inflation fight Thursday with a fresh rate hike, even as signs grow the eurozone might have passed the worst of an economic shock.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent energy and food costs soaring across the single currency area, the ECB embarked on the most aggressive cycle of monetary policy tightening in its history.

Since July, it has lifted interest rates by 2.5 percentage points to tame consumer price growth -- which peaked at 10.6 percent in October, over five times the bank's target.

While still high, inflation has started slowing, fuelling hopes that the Frankfurt-based institution's efforts are bearing fruit.

A flurry of recent data, including a key survey showing Europe's economy has started growing again, have even raised hopes that the eurozone will avoid a sharp downturn. — AFP

January 26, 2023

The US economy is forecast to have grown but at a slower pace in the final months of 2022, helped by consumption and business investment although recession fears loom.

Economic activity has been easing as the US central bank hiked the benchmark lending rate seven times last year, in hopes of cooling demand and reining in costs as inflation surged.

The property sector has slumped, followed by declines in manufacturing and retail sales.

Against this backdrop, the world's biggest economy is seen to expand 2.6 percent in the October to December period, according to a consensus forecast of analysts, down from 3.2 percent in the third quarter last year. — AFP

January 26, 2023

South Korea's economy shrank in October-December for the first time since the second quarter of 2020, as exports tumbled while consumer spending dipped in reaction to rising interest rates, the country's central bank says.

Gross domestic product in the final period of last year contracted 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, the Bank of Korea says. 

The reading comes after the BoK hiked borrowing costs for the tenth time in 18 months in early January, as part of its drive to tame inflation.

The figures could provide monetary policymakers room to slow their pace of hikes, as central banks around the world look to tone down their tightening moves as the effects of last year's moves kick in.

Still, consumer inflation, which hit five percent in December, continues to be a major concern for the BoK. — AFP

January 24, 2023

German consumer confidence improved at the start of the new year, a key survey shows, as government support measures help keep the lid on energy costs.

Pollster GfK says its forward-looking survey of around 2,000 people climbed 3.7 points to reach minus 33.9 points for February, the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

"Falling prices for energy, such as gasoline and heating oil, have ensured that consumer sentiment is less gloomy," says GfK's consumer expert Rolf Buerkl.

But he warned that the indicator was still at a "very low level" overall and that the months ahead would remain "difficult" for Europe's top economy.

"Private consumption will not be able to make a positive contribution" to economic growth this year, he says. — AFP

January 20, 2023

UK retail sales slid one percent in December, the key Christmas trading period, with consumers hit by sky-high inflation, official data shows.

Sales by volume dropped for a second month running after a fall of 0.5 percent in November, the Office for National Statistics says in a statement.

"Retail sales dropped again in December, with feedback suggesting consumers cut back on their Christmas shopping due to affordability concerns," says Heather Bovill, ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators.

Official data Wednesday showed UK annual inflation slowed to 10.5 percent in December.

However it remains close to a four-decade high that is causing a cost-of-living crisis and mass strikes by workers, including nurses, teachers and the railway sector. — AFP

January 20, 2023

Japan inflation at 4% in December, highest since 1981.

January 18, 2023

Official data show that the UK annual inflation slowed to 10.5% in December, but remained close to historically high levels.

The Consumer Prices Index rate compared with 10.7% in November, the Office for National Statistics says in statement. — AFP

January 17, 2023

Official data released on Tuesday show China's economy grew 3% in 2022, one of the weakest rates in 40 years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and a real estate crisis.

Beijing had set itself a target of 5.5%, a rate already much lower than the performance of 2021 when the country's GDP increased more than 8%. — AFP

October 28, 2022

China's "sharp and uncharacteristic" economic slowdown is expected to drag on growth across Asia through the end of next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns, darkening an already gloomy global outlook.

Worldwide economic prospects have dimmed this year as countries have faced higher living costs, tighter financial conditions and increased uncertainty following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The crises have dulled the rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, even as Asia has remained a "relative bright spot" compared with other parts of the globe, the IMF says in its Regional Economic Outlook.

But growth in the region faces headwinds from a Chinese economy weighed down by a hardline zero-Covid policy and a crisis in the property sector, the organisation says. — AFP

April 29, 2020

The decade of US economic expansion ended dramatically in the first quarter when GDP shrank 4.8% as the coronavirus hit, according to government data released Wednesday 

It was the biggest decline in GDP in 12 years, as the pandemic forced businesses to close, halting purchases and investment, the Commerce Department reports.

But the report on the January-March quarter noted it could not quantify the full economic effects of the virus. — AFP

April 22, 2020

A day after its historic slide into negative territory amid a supply glut, US oil futures finish in positive territory although the market remains under heavy pressure.

Futures of US benchmark contract West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May end at $10.01 a barrel after finishing Monday's session at -$37.63 a barrel.

But WTI futures for delivery in June plunged 43 percent to $11.57 a barrel, the lowest ever since the contract was established in 1983. — AFP

April 21, 2020

The US benchmark crude oil price collapses, falling to one cent a barrel amid an epic supply glut caused largely by the coronavirus pandemic's hit to demand.

After beating the record low multiple times, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery continues to sink to the unheard of price of a penny a barrel, before inching up to $0.27 at about 1815 GMT in New York.

Sellers of the May contract have just one more day to find buyers, but with storage in short supply, they are struggling to find takers.

The WTI contract for June delivery is trading at a still low $22 a barrel. — AFP

February 11, 2020

The US central bank is keeping watch for any impact from the virus outbreak in China that could spread beyond its borders, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says.

The Fed is "closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," Powell says in testimony to Congress.

Speaking the day after US President Donald Trump presented to Congress his $4.8 trillion budget proposal that has large deficits continuing for at least 15 years, Powell again argues for a "more sustainable budget." — AFP

February 3, 2020

Sterling slid 1% versus the dollar on Monday, hit by worries over Brexit trade deal negotiations following Britain's exit from the European Union, dealers say.

Shortly after 1000 GMT, the pound sank 1.0% to $1.3071. The European single currency meanwhile jumped 0.8% to 84.67 pence, as Britain got down to work on tricky trade deals worldwide after leaving the EU on Friday. — AFP

February 2, 2020

China's central bank says it will pump 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the economy as it ramps up support for a nationwide fight against a deadly virus that is expected to hit growth.

The People's Bank of China says in a statement it will launch a 1.2 trillion yuan reverse repurchase operation on Monday to maintain "reasonable and abundant liquidity" in the banking system, as well as a stable currency market, during the epidemic. — AFP

January 30, 2020

The Bank of England has kept its main interest rate at 0.75% while slashing its estimate for UK growth this year, it says Thursday, one day before the country exits the European Union.

The BoE says the British economy will expand by only 0.8% this year, down sharply on its previous 1.2% forecast. — AFP

January 20, 2020

Improving US-China trade tensions have eased uncertainty and the world economy may have hit bottom but a sharp slowdown in India is creating a drag worldwide, the International Monetary Fund says.

In the latest update to the World Economic Outlook, the IMF cut the global growth estimate for 2020 by one-tenth compared to the October report, dropping it to 3.3%, and lowered the 2021 forecast by a bit more, to 3.4%.

The sharp drop for India "accounts for the lion's share of the downward revisions," the IMF says. — AFP

December 30, 2019

Hong Kong stocks rose Monday morning, building on last week's gains fuelled by easing trade tensions and positive sentiment on Wall Street.

The Hang Seng index added 1.30%, or 361.21 points, to 28,225.42 in early trade.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index opened 0.23%, or 6.87 points lower, at 2,998.17 on Monday.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, lost 0.37%, or 6.26 points, to open at 1,691.65. — AFP

November 22, 2019

Asian markets rise Friday as a sense of optimism return to trading floors after a report saying China's point man on the US tariffs talks offered to host a meeting to help push through their crucial mini pact.

However, investors are nervous that the deal could collapse at any minute after US lawmakers passed a bill supporting Hong Kong rights, causing anger in Beijing.

Expectations that the economic superpowers would be able to sign off on the agreement soon helped fan a rally across world markets for weeks, though a lack of detail or signs of progress of late is becoming unsettling for many.

Key figures around 10:30 a.m. Friday, November 22:

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 23,180.18 (break)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 26,612.67
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 2,922.79
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1063 from $1.1059 at 2140 GMT
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2921 from $1.2907
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.62 pence from 85.67 pence
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 108.68 yen from 108.60 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 34 cents at $58.24 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 29 cents at $63.68 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 27,766.29 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,238.55 (close)


October 28, 2019

Asian markets rallied Monday after China and the US said they were close to agreeing a mini trade deal, but the pound extended losses on fresh Brexit uncertainty while EU leaders consider extending a deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.

Investors tracked a strong lead from Wall Street, where the S&P 500 flirted with another record, after the US Trade Representative's office said the top-level negotiators had held talks Friday and were "close to finalising" an agreement.

And the Chinese Commerce Ministry said both sides agreed to "properly address each other's core concerns", fuelling hopes the economic superpowers are on course to a resolution to their long-running and painful tariffs spat. 

Key figures around 10:30 a.m. (Manila time)

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3% at 22,861.59 (break)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7% at 26,851.96
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3% at 2,963.80
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2819 from $1.2823 at 2030 GMT on Friday
  • Euro/pound: UP at 86.42 pence from 86.39 pence 
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 108.75 yen from 108.67 yen
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1077 from $1.1079
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN eight cents at $56.58 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN six cents at $61.96 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: UP 0.6% at 26,958.06 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1% at 7,324.47 (close)


October 22, 2019

Hong Kong stocks ticked higher in the first few minutes of trade Tuesday, tracking gains on Wall Street and boosted by signs of further progress in the China-US trade talks.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.33%, or 88.13 points, to 26,813.18.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.20%, or 5.98 points, to 2,945.60 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, gained 0.17%, or 2.78 points, to 1,617.65. — AFP

October 21, 2019

Tokyo stocks close higher on Monday after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest failure to break the Brexit deadlock, with focus shifting to Japanese corporate earnings season starting this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is up 0.25%, or 56.22 points, to end at 22,548.90, while the broader Topix index gained 0.41%, or 6.61 points, to 1,628.60. — AFP

October 18, 2019

Facebook's proposed digital currency must have legal and regulatory issues worked out in key economies before it can be put into use, the Group of Seven economies says.

In a new report on stablecoins — a type of digital currency backed by reserves assets — the G7 also urged regulators to coordinate their work to prevent issuers from seeking out the most favorable country from which to operate.

"For stablecoin developers, a sound legal basis in all relevant jurisdictions... is an absolute prerequisite," according to the report from the G7 working group led by Benoit Coeure.  — AFP

October 11, 2019

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index gains more than 1% on growing hopes for progress in a planned high-level meeting between US and Chinese trade officials later in the day.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 1.15%, or 246.89 points, to close at 21,798.87, while the broader Topix index was up 0.88%, or 13.85 points, at 1,595.27. — AFP

September 30, 2019

European stock markets slip at the start of trading on Monday following losses in Asia.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dips 0.1% to 7,421.50 points, compared with the close on Friday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index sheds 0.2% to 12,356.01 points and the Paris CAC 40 loses 0.2% to 5,629.87. — AFP

September 16, 2019

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is expected to restore at least a third of the production lost to weekend attacks on two major oil facilities, according to experts and reports.

The Saturday strikes on national energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oil field knocked 5.7 million barrels per day off production, over half of the OPEC kingpin's output, sending shockwaves through markets.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Sunday the kingdom would use its vast inventories to partially compensate for the lost production, and the US also authorized the release of its reserves.

But oil prices saw a record surge on Monday, with key contracts more than 10% higher as finger-pointing at Iran fuelled fresh geopolitical fears.

The Energy Intelligence specialist newsletter cited industry sources as saying Aramco was "close to restoring as much as 40 percent" of the lost production, or about 2.3 million bpd. — AFP

September 15, 2019

Saudi shares slumped at the start of trading Sunday, the first session after drone attacks on two major oil facilities knocked out more than half the OPEC kingpin's production.

The Tadawul All-Shares Index, which tracks the Arab world's largest capital market, sank three percent, shedding some 200 points in the first few minutes before regaining some of the losses.

Just under one hour into the session, TASI was down 1.50% at 7,715 points.

The key energy sector plunged 4.7%, while the telecom and banking sectors each slid 3%.

The market was also affected by an announcement from the Saudi Basic Industries Co., one of the world's largest petrochemicals producers, that the industry faced a shortage of raw materials. It did not name the reason but said the issue arose on Saturday — the day of the drone attack. — AFP

September 9, 2019

Saudi Arabia's new energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman reportedly endorses curbing oil output to address an oversupply, as major producing nations prepare to deliberate fresh cuts.

In his first comments since being appointed by his father King Salman on Sunday, the minister signals no major change in approach in Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC which pumps about a third of the cartel's oil.

"The pillars of our oil policy are pre-determined and will not change," he says according to Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya.

The prince is in Abu Dhabi to attend the World Energy Congress, followed by a meeting on Thursday of the OPEC+ alliance's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), which monitors a supply cut deal reached last year. — AFP

September 5, 2019

Tokyo shares jump Thursday, September 5, extending rallies on Wall Street on easing worries over Brexit and the crisis in Hong Kong.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 2.12%, or 436.80 points, to 21,085.94, while the broader Topix index added 1.84%, or 27.65 points, to 1,534.46. — AFP

August 21, 2019

Tokyo stocks fall Wednesday, August 21, tracking losses on Wall Street as investors locked in profits following a three-session winning streak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 0.28%, or 58.65 points, to close at 20,618.57 while the broader Topix index fell 0.61%, or 9.26 points, to 1,497.51.

"Today's decline was mainly due to the US loss," says Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

On Wall Street, stocks slid further on Tuesday after President Donald Trump once again said he was not ready to reach a trade deal with China. — AFP

August 20, 2019

Most Asian markets rose on the back of hopes for central bank and government stimulus measures around the world, while investors were also cheered by further signs of easing tensions in the China-US trade war.

Trading floors have been tense for several weeks owing to concerns about a number of factors including the trade war, Brexit, a global economic slowdown and tensions in the Middle East.

However, while markets remain on edge, equities have enjoyed a positive start to the week, with Germany reportedly planning government support to avert a recession in Europe's biggest economy and central banks elsewhere looking to ease monetary policy.

Among the key events this week is a speech by Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell at the annual Jackson Hole symposium of central bankers in Wyoming.

Key figures around 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, August 20 (Manila time):

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 20,677.22 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 26,231.54 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,880.00 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,193.74
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1077 from $1.1078 at 2015 GMT
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2092 from $1.2134
  • Euro/pound: UP at 91.62 pence from 91.30 pence 
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.43 yen from 106.66 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $56.11 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN eight cents at $59.66 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: UP 1.0 percent to 26,135.79 (close)


August 19, 2019

A majority of economists expect a US recession in the next two years, but have pushed back the onset amid Federal Reserve actions, according to a survey released Monday.

The survey came out after President Donald Trump pushed back against talk of a looming recession as a raft of US data reports last week showed a mixed picture on the economy.

"I'm prepared for everything. I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich," Trump told reporters Sunday.

"I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying. I saw the Wal-Mart numbers, they were through the roof," he said.

"And most economists actually say that we're not going to have a recession. But the rest of the world is not doing well like we're doing." — AFP

August 15, 2019

Stock markets and the dollar slid Thursday after Wall Street suffered its worst showing this year, as mounting fears of a possible global recession saw investors flee equities for havens such as bonds, the yen and gold.

"The slew of negative news has seen a huge shake down in global equity markets, and money has poured into government bonds," notes David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond slid Wednesday below the yield on the two-year note, a so-called "inversion" that has been a reliable harbinger of recession for decades.  — AFP

August 8, 2019

Asian markets rise on bargain-hunting by investors following a week of heavy losses due to anxiety over the deepening US-China trade war.

But tensions remained high, prompting a rush on safe-haven assets such as bonds, gold and the Japanese yen.

Bond yields plunged on Wednesday as prices climbed, with the benchmark US government 10-year note dropping to multi-year lows, while French and German bond yields, already in negative territory, set new record lows.

Key figures around 3 p.m. Thursday, August 8.

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 20,593.35 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 26,178.39
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.9 percent at 2,794.55 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,232.04 
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2178 from $1.2140 around 2100 GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 92.10 pence from 92.26 pence 
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1215 from $1.1203
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.13 yen from 106.23 yen
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP $1.53 at $57.76 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.58 at $52.67 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,007.07 (close)

 — AFP

August 7, 2019

The price of gold briefly rose above $1,500 per ounce, a key level last breached six years ago, as investors sought shelter from the fallout of a raging US-China trade war.

At about 9:35 p.m. (Philippine time), gold jumped to $1,500.25 per ounce, the highest point since April 2013 and 1.7% higher than late Tuesday.

August 7, 2019

Eurozone stock markets climb in initial deals on Wednesday, while London flattens, approaching the half-way mark in a choppy trading week.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index jumps 0.7% to 11,652.03 points and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.4% to 5,253.38.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index is almost unchanged at 7,169.40 points, compared with the close on Tuesday.

August 6, 2019

The Federal Reserve has set US interest rates "in the right neighborhood," but will watch how the economy reacts to factors like the trade war, James Bullard, a key member of the central bank policy board, says.

However, Bullard, president of St Louis Federal Reserve Bank, says the Fed "can't realistically move monetary policy in a tit-for-tat trade war." 

Still, policymakers have "already done quite a bit" to help the economy and account for the uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump's trade wars.

And despite Trump's campaign of relentless political pressure on the Fed, Bullard says in an interview that the central bank's decision making has not changed. — AFP

July 31, 2019

Tokyo stocks closed lower with investors discouraged by US President Donald Trump's negative tweets on China as the world's two biggest economies resumed trade talks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.86%, or 187.78 points, to 21,521.53 while the broader Topix index was down 0.66%, or 10.44 points, at 1,565.14.


July 30, 2019

Europe's main stock markets waver at the start of trade, with London ahead but eurozone counterparts nudging into negative territory.

In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top British companies rises 0.2% to 7,702.15 points compared with the closing level on Monday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index declines 0.2% to 12,397.31 points and the Paris erases just under 0.1% to stand at 5,597.87.

July 25, 2019

Asian markets are tempered after two days of gains as doubts emerged over next week's US-China trade meeting and beleaguered Japanese carmaker Nissan announced massive job cuts.

Key figures around 3:10 p.m. Philippine time

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 21,756.55 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 28,612.36
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,937.36 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,497.77
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2485 from $1.2476 at 2050 GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.17 pence from 89.25 pence
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1134 from $1.1136
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.09 yen from 108.21 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 31 cents at $56.19 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 30 cents at $63.48 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 27,269.97 (close)


July 23, 2019

Global trade tensions and continued uncertainty are sapping the strength of the world economy which faces a "precarious" 2020, the International Monetary Fund warns.

In its quarterly update of its World Economic Outlook the IMF trimmed the global forecast issued in April by 0.1 this year and next, with growth expected to hit 3.2% in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020.

The IMF raised the US GDP forecast by three tenths to 2.6% for 2019 but the American economy is expected to slow to 1.9% in 2020. — AFP

July 21, 2019

British finance minister Philip Hammond says he will make a point of resigning before Boris Johnson became prime minister as he can never agree to his Brexit strategy.

"I'm sure I'm not going to be sacked because I'm going to resign before we get to that point," he tells BBC television, assuming that Johnson will be named prime minister on Wednesday.

July 18, 2019

G7 finance ministers and central bankers have made significant progress on agreeing an international tax regime for digital companies but more work needs to be done, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.

"We made some significant progress at this meeting, there is more work to be done," Mnuchin says, adding that ministers had made a "big step in the right direction" on the controversial issue while cautioning against regarding it as a breakthrough. — AFP

July 17, 2019

Rising concerns about a no-deal Brexit hit the pound once more while stock markets retreated amid renewed trade war worries and uncertainty over the outlook for US interest rates.

The pound dropped to $1.2382, a new low since April 2017.

The euro jumped to a fresh six-month high at 90.51 pence.

Key figures around 7:30 p.m. Manila time:

  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2406 from $1.2408 at 2040 GMT
  • Euro/pound: UP at 90.45 pence from 90.32 pence 
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1218 from $1.1211
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 108.27 yen from 108.26 yen
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,558.35 points
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 12,408.06
  • Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,604.60
  • EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,520.15
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 21,469.18 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 28,593.17 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,931.69 (close)
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 27,335.63 (close)
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.0 percent at $65.01 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $57.96 per barrel
July 15, 2019

The Bank of England says World War II code-breaker Alan Turing had been chosen to feature on the back of Britain's new £50 bank note ($63, 56 euros).

"Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today," Bank of England governor Mark Carney says as he unveiled the note at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, northwest England.

"As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing's contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand," the BoE chief adds.

July 15, 2019

Asian markets recover after an early stumble on Monday as data showed China's economy growing at its weakest pace in nearly three decades, hit by the US trade war, while investors debated the depth of an expected Fed rate cut.

The world's number-two economy expanded 6.2 percent in April-June, the worst reading since the early 1990s but in line with forecasts and within the government's target range.

Key figures around 4 p.m. Manila time

  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 28,554.88 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 2,942.89 (close)
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1277 from $1.1270 at 2100 GMT on Friday
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2558 from $1.2576
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 107.96 yen from 107.89 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN five cents at $60.16 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: FLAT at $66.72 per barrel
  • London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,508.15
  • New York - Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 27,332.03 (close)
July 14, 2019

Facebook's planned virtual unit Libra, already under heavy attack from US President Donald Trump and global regulators, faces skepticism among the wider cryptocurrency community as well.

One theme — besides Brexit — dominated discussion among the movers and shakers from London's financial technology or FinTech industry as gathered for their annual get-together: the future of virtual currencies.

July 9, 2019

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index edges up Tuesday on a cheaper yen in sluggish trade, with the market focused on the Federal Reserve's interest rate stance after strong US jobs figures.

The Nikkei 225 index rises 0.14%, or 30.80 points, to close at 21,565.15, but the broader Topix index lost 0.22% or 3.51 points, to 1,574.89.

July 5, 2019

Tokyo stocks open flat on Friday in cautious trade ahead of closely watched US jobs data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is down just 0.01% or 2.36 points at 21,700.09 in early trade, while the broader Topix index is up just 0.02% or 0.29 points at 1,590.07.

July 4, 2019

Tokyo stocks close higher on Thursday, taking a positive lead from record-setting gains on Wall Street, with investors waiting for the release of US unemployment figures.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbs 0.30%, or 64.29 points, to 21,702.45, while the broader Topix index is up 0.65%, or 10.24 points, at 1,589.78.

"The New York Dow's renewing its record was certainly positive news for Tokyo," says Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

July 4, 2019

Former British finance minister George Osborne is lining up a bid to replace Christine Lagarde as head of the International Monetary Fund, UK newspapers report.

Making his interest known to friends, Osborne says the job required a "skilled political communicator and operator... not a technocrat," the Financial Times reports.

July 4, 2019

Tokyo stocks open higher on Thursday, taking a positive lead from record-setting gains on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbs 0.48% or 104.23 points to 21,742.39 in early trade while the broader Topix index was up 0.47 percent or 7.49 points at 1,587.03.

"Tokyo shares will likely bounce back, lifted by the New York Dow's renewing its record and a breather in the yen's rise," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito says in a note.

July 2, 2019

France is "not yet ready to ratify" the blockbuster trade deal sealed by the European Union and the South American bloc Mercosur after 20 years of talks, the government's spokeswoman says.

Citing the EU-Canada trade deal which took years to ratify, spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye tells the BFM news channel: "We will do the same thing with the Mercosur countries... We will look at it in detail and depending on the details we will decide.... France is not yet ready to ratify (the deal)."

July 1, 2019

Asian markets surge Monday after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to restart trade talks, reviving hopes of an end to their tariffs war, while oil prices also rallied on news that Saudi Arabia and Russia will extend their output caps.

June 27, 2019

Tokyo stocks closes higher on Thursday boosted by a halt in the yen's appreciation, with investors focused on this week's Group of 20 summit and key US-China trade talks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 1.19 percent or 251.58 points to end at 21,338.17, while the broader Topix index rose 1.23 percent or 18.93 points at 1,553.27.

June 26, 2019

San Francisco becomes the first major US city to effectively ban the sale and manufacture of electronic cigarettes.

The city's board of supervisors unanimously endorsed legislation which backers said was necessary due to the "significant public health consequences" of a "dramatic surge" in vaping among youths.

The ordinance says e-cigarette products sold in shops or online in San Francisco would need approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, which none currently has. 

The city's mayor has 10 days to sign the legislation, which she has said she will do. — AFP

June 26, 2019

Current economic warning signs could prove temporary and the US central bank should seek confirmation before taking any policy action, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says.

"It's important not to overreact in the short term to things which may turn out to be temporary," he says at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York. — AFP

June 26, 2019

America's grinding trade wars are darkening the economic horizon and could justify a decrease in interest rates, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says.

"The question my colleagues and I are grappling with is whether these uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and thus call for additional policy accommodation," Powell says, according to remarks prepared for a speech in New York.

But he also insists the central bank is "insulated" from political pressures despite persistent antagonism from President Donald Trump, including sharp criticism from the Republican leader. — AFP

June 20, 2019

Premier Li Keqiang vows to further open up China's economy during a meeting with CEOs of top global companies amid simmering trade tensions with the United States.

Washington and other trade partners have long complained about the uneven playing field foreign companies encounter in China, theft of intellectual property and entry barriers that allow state-backed companies to dominate crucial sectors of the economy. — AFP

June 20, 2019

US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell says the central bank does not use interest rate policy to effect the American currency.

President Donald Trump bashed European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, saying his signal of more stimulus ahead would put the US dollar at a disadvantage against a weaker euro.

Powell declines to comment on the exchange rate but says "we don't target the dollar... we will target our domestic economic and financial conditions and not our exchange rate."


June 19, 2019

President Donald Trump touts the American economy as the "envy of the world" as he launches his 2020 reelection bid at a rally in Florida.

"Our country is now thriving, prosperous and booming and it's soaring to incredible new heights," Trump tells the cheering crowd. 

"Our economy is the envy of the world. Perhaps the greatest economy we've had in the history of our country," says the US leader, who is betting that a strong economy will help persuade the country to give him a second term.

June 18, 2019

Asian markets mostly rise but gains are limited with investors treading uneasily as they await the conclusion of a crucial Federal Reserve meeting this week.

Key figures around 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday (Manila time):

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 21,067.95 (break)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 27,358.68
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 2,894.55
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1233 from $1.1217 at 2050 GMT
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2528 from $1.2532
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.35 yen from 108.53 yen
  • Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 14 cents at $51.79 per barrel
  • Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 13 cents at $60.81 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 26,112.53 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,357.31 (close) 


June 6, 2019

India's central bank cuts interest rates in a boost to newly re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he grapples with sluggish economic growth and decades-high unemployment.

The Reserve Bank of India says that the benchmark repo rate — the level at which it lends to commercial banks — will be reduced by 25 basis points to 5.75%. — AFP

May 10, 2019

Britain's economy grew by an expected 0.5% in the first quarter, boosted by companies stockpiling ahead of Brexit, official data shows.

Gross domestic product expanded from output 0.2% in the final three months of 2018, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement, adding that manufacturing jumped 2.2% with recent surveys showing Brexit-facing companies building inventories. — AFP

March 27, 2019

The US trade deficit dropped nearly 15 percent in January compared to December, as imports of goods and services fell, the US Commerce Department reports.

The drop reversed most of the growth in the trade gap posted in the final month of 2018, a year that saw the deficit surge to a 10-year record, despite President Donald Trump's aggressive tariff policies.

US imports fell 2.6 percent of $258.5 billion while exports rose just under 1 percent to $207.3 billion, for a deficit of $51.1 billion. And the deficit with China — the primary foe in Trump's trade wars — fell by $5.5 billion in the month, according to the report. — AFP

March 26, 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urges Chinese President Xi Jinping to offer more "reciprocity" in terms of trade and investments between China and Europe, in particular with regards to Beijing's huge Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

The initiative is a "very important project" and "we, Europeans, want to play a role," Merkel said at a press conference in Paris.

"That must lead to reciprocity and we're having a bit of trouble in finding it," Merkel said after talks with Xi alongside France's Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. — AFP

March 6, 2019

Global trade tensions and political uncertainty are weighing on the world's economy, the OECD warns, cutting its global growth forecast for this year to 3.3 percent, down from the 3.5 percent it predicted in November.

"High policy uncertainty, ongoing trade tensions, and a further erosion of business and consumer confidence are all contributing to the slowdown," the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in an interim version of its Economic Outlook. — AFP

The Economist Intelligence Unit launches a new report which identifies an outbreak of hostilities in the South China Sea due to territorial disputes and a major military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula as among the top 10 risks to the global political and economic order.

The EIU report also cites that the two top risks are a prolonged fall in major stock markets that destabilizes the global economy and a trade war provoked by US protectionism.

The report details how the various risks could morph into threats that may destabilize large parts of the world. 

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