21 – 25 May

21 May

The dollar continued its ascent on Monday after the US and China backed down from a full-on trade war, climbing to its highest level this year against other major currencies.

A $10bn fundraising by Ant Financial has confirmed a valuation on the dominant provider of online finance in China of more than $150bn, according to people involved in the transaction.

Pre-tax profits halved at Aston Martin for the period between January and March as the company increased spending on new models and suffered unfavourable currency shifts in an expected cooler quarter.

On a grim day for emerging-market currencies and assets, Turkey stands out for the wrong reasons. The lira is the worst performing currency on Monday by a distance, with the dollar shooting up more than 2 per cent to buy around 4.90 lira, yet another record low for the Turkish currency. The lira’s decline since mid-April is above 12 per cent, and amounts to 17 per cent for the year.

22 May

France has warned that a trade deal between the US and China must not harm the EU, as the bloc seeks exemption from Washington’s planned tariffs on aluminium and steel next month.

Rio Tinto has warned Mongolia not to tamper with the contracts that underpin its investment in a giant copper mine in the Gobi desert if it wants to attract more foreign capital to the country.

Sony has agreed to buy a controlling stake in EMI Music Publishing for $2.3bn, a move the Japanese company said would strengthen its content portfolio.

After a wobbly start, Italian government bond prices have begun to pick up, sending 10-year yields down by 5 basis points on the day to 2.282 per cent. Yields fall when prices rise.

23 May

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has unveiled a “strategic growth plan” to be implemented after the country exits the current €86bn bailout programme in August.

Great Portland Estates has swung back to a full-year profit after the impact of the Brexit vote turned out to be less immediately damaging than it had feared, though the West End property developer is still mindful of a potential drag from messy UK politics.

Shares in Santos slumped as much as 9.6 per cent on Wednesday after the oil producer rejected a $10.9bn takeover bid by Harbour Energy.

Asia-Pacific stocks tracked Wall Street lower on Wednesday as concerns over US-China trade lingered.

24 May

South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates on hold for a sixth consecutive month on Thursday, as expected by economists.

Uber trimmed its losses in the first quarter and announced a tender offer that values the car-booking company at $62bn, as it pushes ahead with efforts to improve its financial outlook ahead of an initial public offering expected next year.

The worldwide market for gas-fired turbines for power generation was likely to be weak over the next couple of years as a result of competition from renewables, energy efficiency and increasingly battery storage, the chief executive of General Electric warned.
Bitcoin shed another 4 per cent of its value after a media report that the US justice department had begun criminal investigations into potential price manipulation of several cryptocurrencies, taking its losses for the week so far to 14 per cent.

25 May

Mexico is still hopeful that a fully updated North American Free Trade Agreement can be agreed before US midterm elections in November and the government will continue to negotiate despite “fireworks” over the US threat of invoking “obsolete” national security protection rules to apply tariffs against the auto sector, economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said.

France’s Total has agreed to take a 10 per cent stake in Arctic LNG 2, a liquefied natural gas project being developed by Russia’s Novatek in the Siberian arctic.

Spotify has scored a victory in a legal dispute with songwriters, after a US federal judge approved a $113m settlement it had agreed with two litigants over royalty payments.

Asia-Pacific equities started Friday in negative territory after Donald Trump cancelled a June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.