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Five Things to Know in World Business Today


Jan 14. 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg)

Weakening hand

Latest trade data from China showed worse-than-expected numbers. The 7.6 percent drop in imports, the worst reading since 2016, pointed to softening demand at home, while exports fell 4.4 percent in December from a year earlier amid the trade dispute. U.S. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to visit Washington at the end of this month in a further effort to end the stand-off between the world’s two largest economies. Shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell and the yuan declined in the wake of the data release.

Still closed

There is still no end in sight to the partial government shutdown which is entering its 24th day. While the federal funding freeze has only hit some parts of the government, the enduring impasse is starting to trouble analysts who see it risking material consequences for growth. One hotspot is air travel, with unpaid TSA workers and travel delays over the weekend.

Brexit week

We may have suggested this before, but we are almost certain this time that something is going to happen on Brexit this week. Tomorrow British Prime Minister Theresa May puts her deal on exiting the European Union in front of parliament for a vote. While it is almost certain that she will be defeated, no-one knows what will will happen next. With no majority for May’s deal, or any other scenario currently on the table, the most likely outcome is further parliamentary chaos, and probably a request for an extension to the current March 29 deadline for leaving the bloc.

Markets drop

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.5 percent while Chinese stocks were hit by the weak trade data. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.8 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with tech and mining shares among the worst performers as investors weighed global growth prospects. S&P 500 futures pointed to a loss at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.663 percent and gold was higher.

Financial health-check

Citigroup Inc. kicks off bank earnings season today, with the lender’s cost-ratio outlook for 2019 seen as the key metric after Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach warned in December that volatility may hinder targets. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. report tomorrow. There is no economic data of note today.



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