31 December – 04 January

31 December

China has said it is willing to work with the US to implement the “important consensus” reached at the G20, in a potential sign of progress in trade negotiations following a phone call between the two presidents at the weekend.

Some of the most popular apps for Android smartphones, including Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and MyFitnessPal, are transmitting data to Facebook without the consent of users in a potential breach of EU regulations.

Courts in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have upheld lengthy jail sentences against prominent activists for criticising their governments on social media, in rulings that human rights groups strongly criticised.

On January 1 1999, 11 countries fixed their exchange rates and created a new currency: the euro. Three years later euro coins and notes came into circulation. Eight additional countries have joined the currency over the following years and seven more could join once they meet the criteria.

01 January

Global bond markets enjoyed their best month in more than a year in December, as rising concerns over the health of theglobal economy sent investors in search of relatively safe assets.

The ascent of mobile payments in China is quickly rendering cash obsolete, even as China’s central bank cracks down on merchants who refuse to accept bank notes and coins and tries to stop Ant Financial and Tencent dominating retail payments.

Erik Prince, the founder of private security company Blackwater, is launching a fund to capitalise on the scramble for battery metals across Africa and Asia, as the world’s largest carmakers gear up to go electric.

The 10-year US government bond yield is arguably the most widely watched and influential interest rate in the world, and the market turbulence of 2018 shows that investors are acutely sensitive to its movements. As last year drew to a close, the $14tn market staged a robust rally, cramming down yields as fixed-income investors began to anticipate a US economy coming down from the stimulus-induced high.

02 January

China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in 19 months in December, as demand softened amid China-US trade frictions, according to a private survey.

China National Tobacco, the world’s largest cigarette maker, plans to list its international unit on Hong Kong’s stock exchange, allowing private investors to profit from China’s state-run tobacco monopoly.

The chief of Europe’s biggest paintmaker Akzo Nobel, which rejected a €27bn takeover offer in 2017, has insisted that the company can achieve the ambitious financial target promised during its defence campaign.

Stock markets in Asia Pacific made a cautious start to 2019 after figures showing that China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in 19 months in December.

03 January

Turkey’s currency has sustained a fresh blow in a grim 2019 debut marked by rising concerns over the global economy and angst that improving inflation data could prompt the central bank to prematurely reduce interest rates.

Apple shocked Wall Street with an extremely rare revenue warning late on Wednesday, blaming economic weakness in China and fewer people in the developed world upgrading their iPhones for a shortfall of as much as 10 per cent from its previous expectations.

A Beijing-based construction company has made a A$2bn ($1.4bn) offer for Australian healthcare clinic operator Healius in what would be the first major Chinese investment in the country since the government blocked a A$13bn takeover of a gas pipeline utility in November.

The Japanese yen has abruptly rocketed higher to an eight-month high against the dollar, as news of Apple’s sluggish Chinese sales appears to have stoked concerns over the global economy and sent investors scrambling for safer assets.

04 January

Apple’s unexpected warning on weak Chinese sales has stoked fears over the health of the global economy, rattling financial markets and leading traders to bet that the Federal Reserve is more likely to cut interest rates than raise them in 2019.

Investors fled into money market funds in an attempt to shelter from the turmoil that has sent prices on bonds, loans and equities plummeting in recent weeks.

Fears of a Chinese slowdown triggered by Apple’s revenue warning appear to have spooked investors of luxury brands and other companies that look to consumer spending in the world’s second-largest economy to boost their top and bottom lines.

US stocks retreated on Thursday morning as investors took Apple’s sales warning and a disappointing survey of American manufacturers as fresh signs of a slowdown in the US and Chinese economies.