Week 14 2017

Week 14 2017

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.


US manufacturing growth cooled slightly last month, but remained close to its highest level since 2014, as factory sector prices and employment revved up.


Japanese industry is growing steadily more confident as a weak yen and a stronger global economy offer new hope of escaping deflation.


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


China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent.


Benchmark US interest rates are hovering at five-week lows as investors’ optimism over the “Trump trade” fades and the markets await a crucial summit between the heads of state of the world’s two biggest economies.


The Daily Mail will bring its populist brand of British tabloid news and entertainment to US television this year with a new series produced by talk show host Dr Phil.


The Australian dollar fell to a three-week low after the country’s central bank used its April policy meeting to back recent steps by regulators to crack down on risky lending practices.


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.


Goldman Sachs is warning of the “unpleasant trend” in US auto sales, after a number of car companies reported weak figures on Monday, with the sales pace in the US dropping 10 per cent since December* to 16.6m.


Ralph Lauren was among the biggest decliners on the S&P 500 on Tuesday after the American clothing line known for its preppy fashion said it would shutter its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store and announced further job cuts as part of its “Way Forward Plan”.


In the early noughties, Lombard’s low-cost City tailor embraced the internet: he got an email address. He didn’t use it, though, preferring the telephone for arranging fittings, and huge ledgers for recording various measurements (invariably accompanied by much frowning and the eventual question: “Forgive me, sir, but do you do a lot of sitting down in your job?”). Nowadays, with the tactful tailor retired and times (if not waistbands) more straitened, Lombard’s new Hong Kong cloth-cutter allows measurements to be submitted remotely, and less embarrassingly, via a secure website.


06 April


Most Federal Reserve policymakers expect to begin the process of reducing the size of the central bank’s balance sheet later this year if the economy stays on track, in a sign of rate-setters’ growing confidence in the strength of the recovery, minutes from the latest policy meeting showed.


Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said Athens was nearing a deal with creditors on the next stages of its international bailout programme, at the same time warning that euro area leaders may need to step in if an accord is not wrapped up in the coming days.


AstraZeneca came under pressure on Wednesday after UBS turned cautious ahead of results from a pivotal lung cancer drug trial. The clinical study, known as Mystic, is due to report top-line findings in mid-2017. But AstraZeneca’s recent rally makes the risk-reward unappealing ahead of what will, at best, be an inconclusive result, UBS argued.


Deliveroo is significantly expanding its reach across the UK and five overseas markets by rolling out delivery-only kitchens, as it battles increasing competition in the takeaway sector from rivals such as Uber and Amazon.


07 April


The pace of US job growth slowed more than expected in March, but the jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2007, further muddying the outlook for the economy’s performance in the first quarter of this year.


Now that doesn’t happen often. Switzerland’s inflation rate was unexpectedly strong in March, holding steady despite slowing energy price rises causing pullbacks across most of Europe. Consumer prices were 0.6 per cent higher than a year ago, the same annual inflation rate as the previous month. Economists had expected the figure to slip to 0.5 per cent.


A handful of private equity groups are on Friday set to submit initial bids for The Body Shop, the struggling British skincare retailer, which has been marked for disposal by French cosmetics group L’Oréal.


The past three years have been brutal for oil and gas companies, big and small. But higher oil prices so far this year — at least compared with the lows of $27 a barrel hit in January 2016 — have prompted oil executives to mutter words such as “growth” once again, even though their optimism is still tempered by caution.