By Lorcan Roche Kelly
China’s economy slowed to the weakest pace since quarterly data began in 1992, rising 6.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier. There was better data beyond the headline number, with factory output and retail sales growth beating estimates for June. Those numbers helped stocks in Shanghai and Hong Kong recover earlier losses. There was also little sign of a slowdown in production of commodities in the country, with output of many basic materials hitting records last month.
Citigroup Inc. is the first big U.S. bank to report second-quarter earnings when it posts results before the bell this morning. CFO Mark Mason warned last month that revenue from trading and investment banking fees would fall. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are due to report tomorrow, with Bank of America Corp. on Wednesday, and Morgan Stanley on Thursday.
Saving Iran deal
European foreign ministers are meeting today in Brussels to discuss Iran’s non-compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, and to try to find a way forward that will de-escalate the situation. The U.K.’s Mail on Sunday published further leaked diplomatic cables that showed President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear pact with Iran because it was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama. Oil, which rallied last week on the back of increasing Iran tensions, as well as storm Barry in the Gulf of Mexico and falling U.S. stockpiles, is managing to hold onto its gains this morning.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index climbed 0.3% as investors welcomed the better news from China. Japan was closed for a holiday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1% lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time in relatively subdued trading. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small rise at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.125% and gold was slightly higher.
China hinted that it may sanction firms such as General Dynamics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. if a $2 billion U.S. weapons sale to Taiwan goes ahead. Elsewhere, Russia and India have agreed on a method for payment of multi-billion dollar defense deals that will avoid using the dollar in order to avoid U.S. sanctions on Russia. Finally, U.S. companies can restart salesto Huawei Technologies Co. in two to four weeks, according to Reuters reports.