20 February – 24 February

20 February

Mongolia’s debt is trading at its highest level in almost two years after the government reached a $5.5bn bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

The EU’s Brexit negotiators expect to spend until Christmas solely discussing Britain’s divorce from the bloc, denying London any trade talks until progress is made on a €60bn exit bill and the rights of expatriate citizens.

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have finally recovered their post-EU referendum losses, jumping 5 per cent in early trading on Monday after the bank confirmed it is close to being freed from EU obligations to create a challenger bank under the Williams & Glyn brand.

London-listed shares in Unilever have slumped 8 per cent this morning following news that Kraft Heinz has dropped its $143bn bid takeover bid to create the world’s second largest consumer goods group. The shares enjoyed their best day since 1987 on Friday, when news of the potential tie-up broke.

21 February

It’s been a bad day for Britain’s HSBC. Shares fell more than 6 per cent as it announced that profits were down 62 per cent year on year to $7.1bn due to one-off costs and multibillion-dollar writedowns. The London-based lender also extended its share buyback programme by an additional $1bn, missing analysts’ expectations of a share buy-back of $2.5bn-$3bn. The bank said “largely unexpected economic and political events” also contributed to the plunge.

Growth at Japanese manufacturers continued to improve in January as activity in the sector expanded at the fastest rate since early 2014. The preliminary headline reading for the Nikkei-Markit purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.5 last month, up from December’s reading of 52.7 and gaining further ground on the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction.

Advertising once meant billboards. Then radio and TV followed newspapers in pushing messages into the home. Smartphones put ads in your pocket — and now Snapchat is plastering brands on your face.

Hong Kong’s bankers have a peculiar problem when shepherding overseas clients around the city: persuading them it is easier to walk to meetings than book a limo. The central business district’s compact nature is unique among financial centres and has been a source of pride, even as it has spurred the highest office rents in the world.

22 February

The Swiss engineering group ABB is to book a $100m charge after uncovering ‘massive criminal activity’ in its South Korean subsidiary. ABB, whose businesses include making robots and power transmission systems, said that a senior employee who went missing in South Korea last week is suspected of colluding with outsiders to steal from the company. Chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer wrote in a letter to staff that “based on the large sums involved and the sophisticated fraud, it is almost certain that the employee in question was not acting alone”.

Britain’s annual growth rate has been downgraded from a first estimate of 2 per cent to 1.8 per cent in 2016, despite registering a better than expected expansion at the end of the year.

“This is coal. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared,” said Scott Morrison, Australia’s treasurer, while brandishing a lump during a recent parliamentary debate. “It was dug up by men and women who live and work in the electorates of those who sit opposite.” Scorched by record temperatures and powerful storms that have prompted a series of electricity blackouts, Australia is proposing to subsidise the construction of new coal power plants in an unexpected move that has sparked a furious debate on energy and climate policies.

Burger King owner Restaurant Brands will add Southern fried chicken to its line-up with a deal announced on Tuesday to buy Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8bn in cash.

23 February

Germany’s quarterly growth rate more than doubled in the last three months of the year, pushing Europe’s largest economy to its best year of annual expansion since 2011.

Brazil’s central bank said on Wednesday that the country’s recession was showing signs of bottoming out and stressed the importance of fiscal reforms as it announced another sharp cut in its benchmark Selic interest rate.

Apple’s sprawling corporate campus in California, one of the last projects that late co-founder Steve Jobs dreamt up, is to be opened to staff in April. The futuristic, doughnut-shaped main building is nestled in a tree-filled campus dubbed “Apple Park” and reportedly cost up to $5bn. It will take six months to move 12,000 employees to the 175-acre site.

PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroën cars, on Thursday reported a doubling of full-year profits in results that highlighted the growing strength of the company as it attempts to buy the European operations of General Motors.

24 February

Germany has posted its highest budget surplus since reunification in 1991, inviting fresh scrutiny over whether the eurozone’s largest economy should do more to increase spending and redress global economic imbalances.

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo is suing Uber, alleging theft of trade secrets, patent infringement of its sensor technology and unfair competition.

Drugmaker Merck & Co said Thursday it will take an after-tax charge of $1.9bn in connection with a research programme for a drug being eyed to treat hepatitis C. The drug – MK-3682, uprifosbuvir – was obtained by Merck in its 2014 acquisition of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, which it snapped up in hopes of bolstering its position in the race to develop a new generation of hepatitis C treatments.

Will 2017 be the year that US retailer Gap gets back to growth? The company saw its shares rise 1 per cent in after-hours trading after it said it expects comparable sales, a key industry metric, to be flat to up slightly in 2017, after falling 2 per cent in 2016 — and 7 per cent the year before that.