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News

17 April – 21 April

17 April

Selling bonds in four currencies on the same day around the world is a feat few companies attempt. Bank of China raised $3bn doing so last week — and paid less to do so than it initially feared. Put that together with Monday’s data showing surprisingly strong growth in China, and it would appear as if boom times in the wild east are back. That they are not — given China’s economy is expected to soften slightly from this high point — is unlikely to deter companies’ interest in borrowing overseas, however.

Mick Rausch voted for Donald Trump last year with almost as much gusto as he has felt for every Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon. For a Kansas farmer, voting Republican red is part of their political DNA. “We bleed red here,” he says.

The head of the world’s biggest hotel company has warned that Donald Trump’s immigration policies are damaging the US tourism industry, adding his voice to concerns that international travellers are avoiding the country this year.

Taiwan’s Foxconn has approached Apple about a potential joint bid for Toshiba’s flash memory business in what could be a $28bn takeover battle.

18 April

It was a mixed day for currencies around Asia with a pause in tensions around North Korea. With the level of stress in markets easing slightly from last week, the yen was trading 0.1 per cent weaker today at ¥108.90 per dollar.

Stocks around Asia were mixed as two major markets returned from the Easter long weekend, and despite a slight easing in buying of havens as tensions surrounding North Korea looked to take a breather.

Measures of market expectations for US inflation have eased to their lowest levels of the year, reflecting declining oil prices and doubts over the administration’s timeline for stimulative economic policies.

Japanese advertising giant Dentsu has agreed to acquire an 89 per cent stake in Indian digital agency SVG Media. Dentsu said its subsidiary Dentsu Aegis Network would acquire the stake in SVG Media Group with the option to increase its share to make the Indian company a wholly owned subsidiary.

19 April

A debt binge has left a quarter of US corporate assets vulnerable to a sudden increase in interest rates, the International Monetary Fund has warned.  The ability of companies to cover interest payments is at its weakest since the 2008 financial crisis, according to one measure.

James Packer, the Australian billionaire owner of Crown Resorts, has offloaded his stake in the entertainment studio that has helped finance movies including Gravity, American Sniper, Birdman and The Revenant.

China’s restraints on capital outflows have started to discourage inbound investment into the country, the opposite of the intended effect of the measures.

Burberry notched up a 3 per cent rise in comparable sales in its second half led by an “exceptional” performance in the UK and a welcome return to growth in its Chinese market.

20 April

Too big to ignore but too opaque to entirely trust. China is engaged in a charm offensive to lure foreign money into its bond market, which has grown in a short period of time from a minnow to the third largest in the world, after the US and Japan.

Online marketplace eBay on Wednesday reported better-than-expected profit and a year-on-year increase in revenue, while boosting its full-year earnings per share forecast as it continues to build on its recent partnership with Indian e-commerce company Flipkart..

American Express posted a slimmer-than-expected fall in first quarter profits and revenues, as higher cardholder spending and interest income dulled some of the impact of the loss of its co-branding relationship with Costco.

Unilever is eyeing a break-up of its margarines business to get the best price in an auction that could kick off as early as June. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company said this month it would sell or demerge its margarines and spreads unit — which includes brands such as Flora and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter — as part of a business overhaul following Kraft Heinz’s failed $143bn takeover approach for Unilever.

21 April

The US has set the stage for a global showdown over steel, launching a national security investigation that could lead to sweeping tariffs on steel imports in what would be the first significant act of economic protectionism by President Donald Trump.

Rio Tinto has cut production guidance for copper by 12 per cent following problems at two giant mines where it is involved in joint ventures, and reported lower th

A drug made by Sanofi to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorders that was given to pregnant mothers resulted in up to 4,100 French children being born with major birth defects, the French medical authority said on Thursday.

The Loonie came under selling pressure on Friday after fresh data showed an unexpectedly sharp cooling in Canada’s consumer price growth. Consumer prices were up 1.6 per cent year-on-year in March, compared with a rise of 2 per cent in the previous month, and expectations of 1.8 per cent. On a month-on-month basis, prices were up 0.2 per cent, short of the 0.4 per cent that was expected.

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10 April – 14 April

10 April

“Blistering speech by the Japanese financial services minister” is an unusual topic of water cooler chatter, but these are unusual times. The June corporate annual meeting season is approaching, a tougher stewardship code for institutional investors awaits it and the market faces a crisis of shareholder inactivism.

China’s money supply growth narrows and widens… much as the seasons change and the tides turn. But for those who seek insight in any of those things, here’s a tale in a few brief paragraphs of why differences between narrow and broader money supply growth in China still don’t tell us very much, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts.

Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors on Monday accused BHP Billiton of failing to deliver “optimal” value for shareholders, and called on the world’s largest mining group to spin off its US oil business.

There has been a rising wave of opposition to globalisation across the globe. From widespread trade protectionism to slow trade growth and tightened immigration policies, it would seem that the world is facing a backlash against globalisation.

11 April

China’s vehicle sales growth slowed substantially in March, with year-to-date sales also decelerating despite the return of a tax on the purchase of smaller vehicles returning at a lower-than-expected rate.

Exports from the Philippines grew for a third consecutive month in February as shipments of electronic products rose. Exports rose 11 per cent year on year in February to $4.8bn, coming in below economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg of a 19.4 per cent rise. Outbound shipments had risen by 22.5 per cent in January.

Singapore’s homegrown private banks pushed back vigorously against their global rivals last year in the battle for the region’s wealth. Bank of Singapore, the private wealth manager of OCBC Bank, grew its assets under management by about 44 per cent in 2016 to $79bn while adding about 80 relationship managers to its now 400-strong team, according to data from Asian Private Banker. The bank jumped four places on the regional league table.

Hong Kong-listed China Finance Investment Holdings fell 83 per cent in the space of 20 minutes in a sudden sell-off on Tuesday morning. The company, which operates financial services and invests in seeds, fell as much as 85 percent during morning trading. The company’s shares are down 74 per cent at HK$0.03 a share.

12 April

Africa is at a tipping point. Whether it continues rising or falls back depends, above all else, on whether the continent creates the conditions in which its greatest resource — its young people — can shine. Six out of 10 Africans are under 25. Between 2015 and 2050, the youth population will almost double from almost 230m to 452m.

Stock markets in the region were mixed as Tokyo bore the brunt of a stronger yen in morning trade. The Topix index was 1.2 per cent lower with heavy losses across the board. Worst off were the energy segment, down 2.1 per cent, and financials, down 1.6 per cent.

Hong Kong property stocks shuddered following an announcement that the government would close a loophole allowing first-time buyers to buy multiple flats while avoiding 15 per cent stamp duty.

Snap is contesting claims made by a former employee that the owner of Snapchat over-estimated the messaging app’s userbase and tried to encourage him to break agreements with his previous employer Facebook.

13 April

The South Korean won is eyeing its biggest one-day gain in a month after the country’s central bank upgraded its economic growth forecasts for this year and said further interest rates were less necessary than before. The Bank of Korea this morning kept interest rates on hold at 1.25 per cent, as expected.

For the past four years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been engaged in a tormented, on-off courtship with Mrs Watanabe — Japan’s imaginary household matriarch. The deepening financial crisis at Toshiba creates an unprecedented dilemma for the Tokyo Stock Exchange that threatens to shatter the romance.

Iron ore prices tumbled more than 6 per cent to their lowest level since November, as a glut of supply in China of the key ingredient in steel weighs on the price.

In a silver lining to the slump in its smartphone sales, BlackBerry will recoup $815m in royalty payments it made to chip supplier Qualcomm, after the two companies settled a dispute over licence conditions.

14 April

India’s cash machines are running dry again, prompting accusations that the central bank is not doing enough to make money available five months after Narendra Modi summarily cancelled most of the country’s banknotes.

For a Chinese hamlet deep in the mountains, Xiatang village has a lot of mansions. Luxury cars bearing $13,000 Shanghai licence plates provide further clues that this is not your typical rural village.

India’s cash machines are running dry again, prompting accusations that the central bank is not doing enough to make money available five months after Narendra Modi summarily cancelled most of the country’s banknotes.

The green power industry has hit a milestone after the world’s largest offshore wind farm company said it would build two German schemes without any subsidies. In an advance for what has been one of the most heavily subsidised types of renewable power, Denmark’s Dong Energy said it would rely on wholesale market prices instead of extra government support for the projects in the German North Sea.

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03 April – 07 April

03 April

More than 1m people have been lifted out of unemployment in the eurozone during the past year, pushing the jobless rate to the lowest in almost eight years and underscoring how the economic recovery is gathering pace across the bloc.

A reason for Mexico to give thanks for Donald Trump. The peso’s massive depreciation after the US presidential election boosted the central bank’s profits so much that it will be easier for the government to hold on to its credit rating, Moody’s suggests.

Toshiba tumbled on Monday amid media reports the company would likely miss a another deadline for its quarterly earnings.

LG Chem is expanding battery production in China in spite of Beijing’s preferential treatment for local makers, and even as the South Korean group attempts to diversify away from the world’s largest electric vehicle market.

04 April

Donald Trump, US president, is to meet Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, at Mar-a-Lago in Florida this week. Discussions of economics seem likely to focus on China’s trade and exchange rate policies. This would be a mistake even if the US president’s views of trade were not mistakenly fixated on bilateral imbalances. Far more challenging and important is integrating China into the financial system. US policymakers should worry about China’s capital account, not its current account. That is where danger now lies.

The number of listed Japanese companies declaring bankruptcy in the 2016 financial year fell to zero for the first time since the collapse of the bubble. The zero-bankruptcy feat, which has been achieved just six times since 1964 was last achieved in 1990.

Growing overseas sales helped Asos shrug off tough market conditions for fashion retailers over the last six months, as it increased its full-year sales guidance for the second time this year.

Imagination Technologies lost more than half its market value in a single day this week when the chip designer revealed that Apple, its largest customer, was developing its own version of the graphics processing units in which the UK-based group has specialised.

05 April

US investment bank JPMorgan has bumped up its growth forecast for the UK economy in 2017 on the back of a strong start to the year for British consumers and businesses and a brightening world economy.

Japan’s service sector strengthened for a sixth consecutive month in March as demand continued to grow. The Nikkei-Markit Japan Purchasing Managers’ Index for the services sector rose to 52.9 in March hitting a 19-month high and remaining above the threshold of 50 separating expansion from contraction. It was at a level of 51.3 in February.

Disgruntled drivers in India are being wooed by new car-hailing apps that promise higher fares and better pay, as they seek to capitalise on employee discontent confronting market leaders Uber and Ola in the country’s $8bn taxi market.

WhatsApp is preparing to enter India’s booming digital payments industry, setting up a clash between the popular Facebook-owned mobile messaging app and PayTM, the payments start-up backed by China’s Alibaba.

06 April

Asian economies will drive global growth this year as rising external demand and commodity prices help counter a gradual slowdown in China, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Germany’s factories bounced back from their worst monthly performance since 2008 in February, reporting a 3.4 per cent increase in orders. The expansion partially erases the steep and unexpected 6.8 per cent contraction reported at the start of the year but came in below a forecast of around 3.5 per cent growth. Year on year orders were still comfortably in expansionary territory, up 4.6 per cent in a usually volatile set of numbers.

Unilever has unveiled a broad strategic revamp in bid to shore up investor support in the wake of a failed takeover approach for the multinational from Kraft Heinz.

It was a humbling moment for India’s national airline.  Air India, which finally turned a profit last year after at least eight years of pre-tax losses, was revealed last month by the country’s auditor to have understated its operating losses by Rs64.2bn ($964m) between 2012 and 2015.

07 April

In a tableau of South America’s simmering stand-off between leftist populism and pragmatism, protesters blocked Buenos Aires’ streets and tried to bring Argentina to a standstill in a national strike on Thursday, even as a Davos crowd of bankers met in the capital to proclaim the virtues of free markets and liberal democracy.

China’s foreign exchange reserves rose again in March but by less than expected as authorities in the world’s second largest economy fight with halting capital outflows and have seen a stabilisation in the renminbi this year.

Samsung Electronics projected its best quarterly operating profit in more than three years thanks to solid component sales, shrugging off turmoil at home where the conglomerate’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong has been caught up in a sweeping corruption scandal.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors plan to recall tens of thousands of vehicles in South Korea and the US because of engine problems, in a move that could revive quality concerns about their vehicles.

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27 March – 31 March

27 March

A decade ago, an American mother, Sara Bongiorini, published a book called A Year Without ‘Made-in-China’. It chronicled her family’s experiment with a year-long “boycott” of Chinese products. The book describes daily inconveniences and problems: she could not even find a non-Chinese-made candle for her husband’s birthday.

Aston Martin has followed the successful launch of its latest sports car, the DB11, with a £530m bond offering to refinance existing debt and support its “second century” plan to expand the type of vehicles produced by the UK manufacturer.

Apple and Facebook are gearing up to challenge start-up Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens in the race to create a pair of augmented reality glasses that could one day replace the smartphone as consumers’ primary computing device.

US independent oil companies have used derivatives to protect much more of their expected revenues against a fall in crude prices than they had a year ago, helping them sustain capital spending and production even if the market continues to weaken.

28 March

Deliveroo is facing fresh legal action from its UK riders, who are pushing for employment rights including the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Uber is expanding its restaurant delivery service UberEats to more than 40 towns and cities across the UK this year as it seeks to ramp up its challenge to local rivals such as Deliveroo and JustEat.

Unstable world politics loom over bondholders as the single biggest risk to their investments, according to a survey of money managers carried out by Fitch, which also reveals fears over rising inflation on bond markets.

Chinese internet group Tencent has taken a 5 per cent stake in electric carmaker Tesla as a first step towards breaking into the connected car market globally although the two groups have not yet agreed to share technology.

29 March

We still believe emerging markets are in a positive upturn, which may require some acceleration in the monetary policy reaction by EM central banks with associated positive developments in exchange rates, not necessarily ultra-connected with developments at the core (Europe, Japan and the US).

Ericsson on Tuesday said it would book up to $1.7bn of charges, partly related to problematic contracts, at its first-quarter results as the Swedish telecoms equipment maker put its media and cloud computing businesses up for sale.

Amazon has opened its first full-offering grocery pick-up stores in Seattle, in its latest push to test brick-and-mortar concepts and gain a foothold in the elusive US grocery market.

Overseas companies that invest in the UK issued a flurry of warnings on Tuesday about the threat Brexit poses to their businesses, signalling their growing concern as the UK prepares to start the formal process of leaving the EU.

30 March

German inflation has fallen dramatically, easing pressure on Mario Draghi, European Central Bank president, to rein in ultra loose monetary policy in the eurozone.

Shares in China Evergrande rose to a record high on Thursday after China’s largest property developer revealed plans to repay much of its costliest debt earlier in the week.

Japan has accounted for almost half of Asian equity market deals this year — a level of activity not seen since 2010, as the country’s changing corporate landscape generates a new level of dealmaking.

Losses at Genel Energy, the oil company chaired by former BP boss Tony Hayward, increased last year after it wrote down the value of its exploration assets by almost $780m and production fell short of its original expectations.

31 March

China’s factories stopped losing jobs in March for the first time in nearly five years as manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace since 2012, according to an official gauge of the sector.

Sales from streaming fuelled the fastest growth in the world’s biggest music market since 1998, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America.

WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform, is planning to expand its e-commerce and payment services for brands in Europe with its first operations in the UK.

Blackberry, the Canadian mobile phone pioneer, saw its shares track higher on Friday after it racked up a narrower quarterly loss than Wall Street had expected, as it continues its transition away from phones amid fierce competition and expand its software business.

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20 March – 24 March

20 March

The global super-rich became even wealthier over the past 12 months, with figures from the latest Forbes billionaires list revealing that the total net wealth of the 2,043-strong members of the elite club rose to $7.7tn in 2017.

As Theresa May prepares to trigger Article 50 next week, Whitehall officials are putting the finishing touches on a wide-ranging legislative agenda that needs to be on the statute book by the time Britain leaves the EU in 2019. The prime minister will embark on a tour of the UK in an attempt to unite the country before she starts formal Brexit negotiations at the end of the month.

Marks & Spencer has become the latest company to freeze all its advertising on Google and YouTube, following revelations that their advertisements were being displayed alongside videos that advocate extremism.

Netmarble Games, the world’s third-largest maker of mobile games, is seeking to raise up to Won2.7tn ($2.4bn) in an initial public offering as it looks to fund aggressive global expansion in the highly competitive market.

21 March

The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept its key interest rate unchanged at 14 per cent, in line with market expectations as the country grapples with economic recession, soaring inflation and a managed exchange rate wondering if investing in western markets may become more like investing in emerging markets.

Big Chinese cities have launched a new round of lending curbs and purchase restrictions in an effort to cool overheated property markets, as official media warn that some have veered towards a bubble.

Bentley Motors, the luxury carmaker, has lost a legal battle to prevent a small Manchester clothing company using the famous name on its products.

The property arm of Fosun International, the Chinese conglomerate, has opened offices in more than a dozen cities around the world as it looks to partner with Chinese groups wanting to invest in global real estate.

22 March

The world’s hunger for new coal power plants has abruptly and unexpectedly slumped, improving the chance of averting the most dangerous levels of global warming, a group of environmental organisations says.

Taiwan’s unemployment rate fell slightly in February – although it came up short of economist estimates. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 3.83 percent last month from January’s rate of 3.84 per cent. This was a touch higher than a median economist estimate compiled by Bloomberg of 3.82 per cent.

If Google hoped its proposals to shake-up YouTube’s advertising policies would immediately appease brands angry at the placement of their ads next to extremist content, it is facing disappointment.

Teza Technologies, a pioneer of electronic markets, has sold its high-speed trading business to Quantlab Financial after conditions soured in the once-lucrative sector.

23 March

For one of the bleakest possible assessments about the future of an economic area currently known as the United Kingdom, consider the price of a five-decade contract available in financial markets, a so-called interest rate swap.

The New Zealand dollar has lost steam in morning trading on Thursday as investors come to terms with the prospect of the country’s central bank refraining from interest rate rises this year.

Investors hit the brakes on Ford shares after the automaker warned that its earnings in the current quarter would fall shy of analysts estimates amid rising costs.

The pound has popped higher (+0.34 per cent on the day at $1.2525) after new data from the Office for National Statistics suggested the UK consumer can’t be beaten quite as easily as some have feared.

24 March

Shamu is headed to China. Private-equity group Blackstone has agreed to sell its 21 per cent stake in SeaWorld to a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co Ltd, in a deal set to bring the US marine theme park to China for the first time.

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell its onshore production assets in Gabon to a company backed by Carlyle Group for up to $1bn in the latest sign of private equity investors buying mature oil and gasfields from large energy groups.

For Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s finance minister, systemic tax dodging in a country of 250m people living scattered across 922 inhabited islands is a constant challenge. But it is one that she says Jakarta cannot afford to fail in.

Portugal has reported its lowest budget deficit in more than 40 years, a landmark that Lisbon hopes will see the EU lift the threat of financial sanctions against the former bailout country for breaking the bloc’s fiscal rules.

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13 March – 17 March

13 March

Officials from Europe and other leading economies are mounting a campaign to draw Donald Trump and his administration towards the mainstream on trade and currency policy ahead of international economic talks in Germany this week.

If last year was brutal for Brazilian architect Viviane Mendes, 2017 is looking even more precarious.  With Brazil suffering its worst recession in history, her business that specialises in designing supermarkets to serve the country’s once growing new middle classes is on the verge of collapse.

Shares in Mobileye, the Israeli maker of autonomous driving technology, surged in pre-market trading on Monday after a media report that Intel is due to buy it for at least $15bn.

Wood Group, the Aberdeen-based oilfield services company, has launched a £2.2bn takeover of its troubled rival Amec Foster Wheeler. The offer, of 0.75 new Wood Group shares for each existing Amec Foster Wheeler share, has been recommended by Amec’s board.

14 March

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, stands to receive $23m in severance benefits if her employment is terminated after Verizon’s deal to buy Yahoo closes. In a filing on Monday, Yahoo said Ms Mayer would receive the “golden parachute” if her employment was terminated “without cause” following the $4.5bn acquisition by Verizon planned to close in the second quarter.

Indian generic drug-maker, Sun Pharma, has been notified by the US Food and Drug Administration that it can resume exporting drugs to US from its plant at Mohali, which it acquired as part of its 2015 purchase of troubled Ranbaxy.

Macquarie, the Australian infrastructure bank, has sold its stake in Thames Water to two other infrastructure funds in the latest sign of interest in steady income-paying British water companies from overseas institutional investors.

During the financial crisis I found that mugging up on economic history, particularly from emerging markets, was often more helpful than talking to conventional policymakers hooked on their fair-weather economic models. The rise of economic nationalism and the threat to globalisation means I find myself using emerging market parallels again. I cannot help wondering if investing in western markets may become more like investing in emerging markets.

15 March

Ahead of the Fed’s rate decision, it was revealed that US consumer price inflation hit 2.7 per cent in February. But central banks care more about core inflation — it’s steadier and strips out volatile stuff like energy prices — and that measure is 2.2 per cent.

Retail sales in Italy unexpectedly fell in January compared to the same period a year ago. Sales in Italy’s retail sector were up 1.4 per cent in January compared to December on a seasonally adjusted basis, Italian stats agency Istat said – higher than analyst expectations of a 0.2 per cent rise.

Google and Facebook will extend their dominance of digital advertising this year to control 60 per cent of the growing market, according to a new forecast from eMarketer.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific’s shares fell as much as 6.9 per cent after the lunch break on Wednesday as the airline reported its first annual loss since 2008.

16 March

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold and offered no hint of future rate rises as it battles to reach an inflation objective of 2 per cent. Short-term interest rates will stay at minus 0.1 per cent, ten-year bond yields will be capped near zero, and asset purchases remain at about ¥80trn a year as the BoJ pursues one of the world’s most aggressive monetary policies.

China’s central bank has followed the Federal Reserve by raising domestic money market rates in a move that shows how its efforts to curb capital outflows could produce tighter conditions in its own economy.

GoPro on Wednesday outlined a plan to shave expenses by reducing its headcount and cutting other costs, sending its shares rallying by more than 10 per cent in extended trading.

Spotify is closing in on licensing deals with the world’s largest record labels, hoping to clear a hurdle in the streaming music company’s path towards an initial public offering after months of tough negotiations.

17 March

If there were the slightest chance of Donald Trump’s “skinny budget” seeing the light of day, Washington would change dramatically. American diplomacy would be facing evisceration. The US foreign aid budget would shrivel and whole areas of federal regulation would cease to exist. Meanwhile, dozens of programmes for schools, worker training, legal services and public broadcasting would vanish to make room for a $52bn jump in the Pentagon’s military budget. Almost none of this, barring some of the defence boost, is likely to pass Congress.

Iceland lifted its remaining capital controls this week in a return to financial normality nine years after its biggest banks collapsed during the global financial crisis.

Swatch plans to develop its own operating system as the Swiss watchmaker seeks to combine smart technology with the country’s expertise in making timepieces and miniaturisation, chief executive Nick Hayek has said.

Generali has promised faster delivery of its planned €200m of cost savings as Italy’s largest insurer reported solid operating profits for the full year and said it would raise its dividend.

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06 March – 10 March

06 March

A proposal for a new levy on imports included in a Republican tax reform plan has set off a lobbying war in the US business community and raised fears of looming trade skirmishes. But economists have also begun focusing on another potentially worrying aspect: what it means for the global economy.

China’s banking system has surpassed that of the eurozone to become the world’s largest by assets, a sign both of the country’s increased influence in world finance and its reliance on debt to drive growth since the global financial crisis.

Peugeot owner PSA has announced a €2.2bn agreement to buy General Motors’ lossmaking Opel division in a deal that will see GM depart Europe after nearly a century of automaking in the region and reshape the continent’s car industry.

IBM is taking its first step towards commercialising quantum computing, making it the first big tech company to try to reap a dividend from what could one day be a revolutionary new form of computing.

07 March

UK growth this year has been given the biggest upward revision among all the major countries surveyed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which released its latest economic forecasts earlier today.

The value of retail sales, excluding food, fell on an annual basis for the first time since 2011 in the three months to the end of February, in another indication that Britain’s consumer spending boom may be losing steam as prices rise.

Tikehau Capital, the European asset manager, is on the hunt for “opportunistic” acquisitions now that it has listed on Euronext Paris through a reverse merger, its founders told the Financial Times as its shares were due to start trading on Tuesday.

Two former Tesla executives are aiming to set up Europe’s first big battery factory in an attempt to rival Asian manufacturers that dominate the industry as the fight to power electric cars heats up.

08 March

Britain’s robust economic growth is showing its first signs of a slowdown at the start of the year, according to a major rating agency. As the UK chancellor prepares significantly upgrade Britain’s economic forecasts at today’s Budget, S&P Global Ratings has warned that consumer-driven growth that powered expansion in 2016 is already slowing down.

Brazil’s economy shrank 3.6 per cent last year as the country endured its worst recession on record, underlining the challenge facing the government of President Michel Temer.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister told executives in Houston that its participation in an international agreement to cut crude output was reinvigorating rivals in the US shale patch, a development that could undermine efforts to stabilise a weak oil market.

Nintendo’s stock has risen 9.3 per cent since the debut of its new console, suggesting early sales figures have helped restore some of the confidence investors lost when the Japanese games company first revealed the console’s price.

09 March

Oil prices have dropped amid renewed concerns of a supply glut, with West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, dropping below $50 for the first time since last year. The sudden price slide hammered energy shares and the currencies of major oil exporters.

Ireland’s economic growth rate remained surprisingly upbeat in the fourth quarter of 2016, as the country retained its spot as the fastest-growing economy in the EU. The economy expanded by 2.5 per cent in the quarter, a slowdown from the third quarter’s 4 per cent growth rate but still more than twice as fast as the 1 per cent predicted by economists.

Valued at $3bn in a funding round last year, Chinese healthcare app Ping An Good Doctor rode a wave of investment flooding the country’s mobile medical sector. But investors are beginning to lose confidence in the ability of these companies to turn a profit.

Investors are certainly not happy with Domino’s Pizza Group this morning. Despite the company posting a 14 per cent rise in revenues last year (from 89m pizzas, 2.6m of which were of the Hawaiian variety) shares have plunged more than 12 per cent, making the UK-listed franchise the worst performer in the FTSE All Share index this morning.

10 March

Exports from the Phlippines grew at their fastest clip in three years in January as shipments of electronics took off. Exports from the Philippines jumped 22.5 per cent year on year to $5.1bn in January, coming in above a median forecast from economists compiled by Bloomberg of 10.5 per cent growth.

Airbnb, the room-sharing group, has raised $1bn to provide fresh funds for its expansion into new areas such as travel tours and luxury rentals. The fundraising, which values the group at about $30bn, will further delay any prospect of an initial public offering by one of Silicon Valley’s most successful start-ups.

Johnson & Johnson plans to close a Scottish surgical suture factory with the loss of about 400 jobs as part of a global restructuring of its medical devices unit.  The US healthcare company said on Thursday it had launched consultation with local works councils about the closure of the Ethicon site at Livingston in Scotland’s Central Belt.

The US created another 235,000 jobs in February, trouncing Wall Street forecasts and cementing expectations for a third increase in short-term interest rates next week.

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27 February – 03 March

27 February

The Nokia ringtone, a snippet of a Francisco Tárrega waltz, was once so ubiquitous that academics calculated it was heard almost 2bn times a day around the world. That ditty is set to catch the ear again, with a reborn Nokia phone range launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday.

Warren Buffett was persuaded to drop Kraft Heinz’s $143bn takeover approach for Unilever by the corporate financier Michael Klein, making the dealmaker the unlikely executioner of what would have been the second-largest merger in corporate history.

Investors pulled $5.2bn from hedge funds in January and some said they would further reduce their allocation to the sector this year after being disappointed by performance.

Orders for long-lasting US goods climbed in January, but a closely-watched gauge of capital spending by American businesses slipped, according to data released on Monday.

28 February

Industrial output in Japan staged an unexpected reversal in January and contracted for the first time in six months. The preliminary reading from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed industrial production shrank 0.8 per cent month-on-month in January, down from growth of 0.7 per cent in December. Economists had expected a gain of 0.4 per cent.cial centres and has been a source of pride, even as it has spurred the highest office rents in the world.

Consumer prices in Italy rose by more than expected last month, as the eurozone’s third largest economy continues to claw its way out of a deflationary year in 2016. Inflation rose 1.6 per cent in February compared to the same period in the previous year, ahead of expectations of a 1.3 per cent rise, according to a flash estimate for harmonised consumer price inflation from Italian stats agency Istat.

When Naeem Khan went into his local automobile dealer in Karachi to replace his five-year-old taxi with a rickshaw, he was not expecting to leave with a brand new air-conditioned car instead. But after getting a financing package that was cheaper than he expected, Mr Khan became one of an increasing number of Pakistanis who have recently bought vehicles they previously only dreamt of owning. The national surge in sales has prompted three global carmakers to commit in the past few months to starting production in Pakistan, potentially doubling the number of foreign carmakers in the country.

Few consumers had even heard of Huawei in 2011, the year in which its board decided to focus on breaking into the smartphone market in a big way. The company’s portfolio of cheap, low-tech devices had led many to mark the group down as just another “me-too” Chinese white-label manufacturer. But six years on, Huawei has achieved its ambition. As well as now being one of the world’s leading suppliers of telecoms equipment, ranking alongside Sweden’s Ericsson, it has also become the third-biggest vendor of smartphones by market share, according to research company Gartner.

01 March

British manufacturing growth was slower than expected in February, according to a closely watched index, but nonetheless marked a seventh consecutive month of expansion.

China’s economy has performed strongly this year, official and private indicators showed on Wednesday, giving policymakers room to shift their attention to financial bubbles and rising debt after years of pump-priming.

Alibaba provoked an Amazon-style ripple of interest from investors when it reported its quarterly numbers: revenues at AliCloud, its eight-year-old cloud services business, rose 115 per cent year on year to $254m.

Burberry shares jumped on Tuesday after Albert Frère’s Groupe Bruxelles Lambert disclosed a 3 per cent stake in the luxury British retailer known for its trench coats.

02 March

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has crowed at the victory of “hard work over Harvard”, after the government said its economy grew robustly in the latest quarter in defiance of economists’ predictions of a sharp slowdown.

Mario Draghi will get a clear message from European Central Bank hawks next week: drop the doom and gloom. The ECB president who once told markets he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro has been careful to reassure investors that he is ready to act again if the region’s economic recovery veers off track.

McDonald’s promised to deliver sharply higher operating margins starting from 2019, as the world’s largest fast-food company outlined plans to better compete with rivals, particularly in the US, where it said it has lost 500m transactions since 2012.

Line, the New York-listed Japanese messaging app, is working with Sony and South Korea’s LG Electronics to launch an Asian version of an intelligent voice assistant to rival Amazon’s Alexa.

03 March

Core inflation has returned to Japan for the first time since 2015, with consumer prices excluding fresh food rising 0.1 per cent in January over the same month a year earlier.

While equity market euphoria at the prospect of President Donald Trump’s spendthrift, deregulatory agenda remains undimmed, bond investors are sending a very different message.

Wells Fargo is working to stave off an investor rebellion as top institutional shareholders put pressure on the US bank for further boardroom changes in the wake of the sham accounts scandal.

Weak sterling and strong sales growth in China helped boost Jimmy Choo’s full-year revenues by 14.5 per cent, even as increased financial expenses pushed down pre-tax profits by a quarter.

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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.

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13  February – 17 February

13 February

Japan’s economy grew at an annualised pace of 1 per cent in the final quarter of 2016 as yen weakness spurred a pick-up in exports and business investment.

When Donald Trump attacked China and Japan for currency manipulation, just ten days before this weekend’s summit with prime minister Shinzo Abe, it prompted immediate, vehement and largely accurate denials by East Asia’s economic giants.

What a beastly start to the year for St Ives, “the City printer” that was founded in the 1960s by Bob Gavron, one of the earliest advocates of constraints on executive pay.

Discoveries of new oil and gas fields have dropped to a fresh 60-year low, as companies put a brake on exploration and large fields have become harder to find.

14 February

Apple stock hit a new all-time high on Monday, driven by investor optimism that the launch of a new iPhone later this year will spark a sales “supercycle” and hopes that the company’s $230bn in overseas cash might soon be put to greater use.

Italian luxury goods group Prada on Monday said sales growth in January showed “positive results”, marking a turn in fortunes after falling revenues for more than a year.

Toshiba’s history as one of Japan’s most innovative multinationals appeared close to an end on Tuesday after the company said it was drastically scaling back its nuclear ambitions and may be forced to sell its flagship technology business.

Chinese credit growth slowed last month, a sign that Beijing policymakers are balancing pro-growth stimulus ahead of a political transition against the need to address the risk from rising debt.

15 February

China’s new local currency loans appeared to spike in January, but the rise of outstanding loans came in at a ten-year low and short-term deposits tightened markedly, possibly in response to tax and holiday pressures – so say economists, anyways, in their analysis of China’s latest lending and liquidity figures.

After a day of chaotic communication, a stock sell-off and a $6.3bn writedown that may destroy one of Japan’s greatest industrial names, the Toshiba president’s bow of apology finally came.

PepsiCo’s revenues rose 5 per cent in its fourth quarter thanks in part to an additional week to its fiscal year and as strong sales at home offset persistent currency headwinds.

Just two years after hitting the roads, Toyota is recalling its entire fleet of 2,800 fuel cell vehicles which the Japanese automaker has touted as the “ultimate eco-car” of the future.

16 February

Greek bonds are standing on the sidelines of a wider rally in eurozone sovereign debt this afternoon as investors seemed to have all but abandoned hope of a major breakthrough between Athens and its creditors at a meeting of the Eurogroup next week.

China has called an end to a six-month streak of dumping US Treasuries and returned in December to being a net buyer of US government debt again for the first time since last May. The move is part of a series of measures the country has introduced to manage capital flight. China’s foreign exchange reserves slipped below $3tn in January, its lowest for nearly six years.

Yahoo has agreed to take a price cut on the original $4.8bn sale of its core business to Verizon as both companies are determined to complete a deal that was jeopardised after the internet group revealed it had suffered two major data breaches, people involved in the negotiations said.

Israel has built world-class businesses in cyber security, agricultural technology and big data analysis. Now it has global ambitions in medical marijuana.

17 February

Singapore’s gross domestic product grew faster than initially thought in the final quarter of 2016, with greater growth in manufacturing bolstered by the electronics and biomedical sectors.

The eurozone current account surplus has hit its highest level since the start of economic and monetary union in 1999, likely emboldening critics who have accused the bloc’s largest economy of “exploiting” a weak exchange rate.

The owner of messaging app Snapchat has slashed its proposed valuation, as the company gears up for a marketing blitz on what is expected to be one of the largest US tech listings in recent years.

Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has ruled out rescuing Toshiba’s stricken nuclear reactor business, warning there are too many differences between their respective technologies to make a tie-up possible.

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