Week 51

19 December – 23 December

 

19 December

 

Australia’s government has downgraded its growth forecasts and predicted larger than expected budget deficits over the next four years, heightening concerns that the country could lose its coveted triple A credit rating.

 

Soaring price growth in China’s top cities has slowed almost to a standstill, as government measures to cool the overheated property market take hold.

 

US hop farmers have celebrated record revenues from their crops in 2016 as they planted more acres despite signs that the craft beer boom, which has boosted demand for the key brewing ingredient, may be peaking. 

 

Britain’s science and technology industries are expected to lead another leap in hiring next year, in another vote of confidence in the economy following the Brexit vote, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

 

20 December

 

Shoppers are spending even more than normal this Christmas, as the spending splurge which has boosted the economy in recent months shows no sign of ending.

 

The London Stock Exchange is in exclusive talks to sell its French clearing house to rival Euronext, as it tries to convince regulators that its merger with Deutsche Boerse will not stifle competition.

 

Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has upended the world’s financial markets – with possible consequences for savers and borrowers everywhere, including Britain.

 

US stock markets staged a rally on Tuesday as the so-called “Trump Bump” buoyed sentiment among investors.

 

21 December

 

Philip Hammond received a pre-Christmas boost on Wednesday as official figures showed public borrowing fell to its lowest November level since before the financial crisis

 

The FTSE 100 index looks shockingly expensive by historical standards, according to one popular valuation measure. But should investors really be worried?

 

Businesses are growing at their fastest pace of the year, as strong consumer growth and recovering confidence gives the economy some Christmas cheer.

 

Outsourcing firm Capita’s shares took a dive on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs slashed its valuation for the shares from 771p to 595p.

 

22 December

 

A group of influential MPs have launched an inquiry into whether the Bank of England’s interest rate policies have helped to pump up house prices and damaged the sustainability of savings incomes in the wake of the financial crisis.

 

Spending on holidays and going out boomed last year as British consumers chose to splash their cash on entertainment over refreshing their wardrobes.

 

Alibaba has a fakes problem. On Wednesday, American trade officials said that they had added Taobao, the Alibaba Group’s sprawling online shopping bazaar in China, to their list of the world’s most notorious markets for counterfeit goods. The addition — an embarrassing setback four years after Alibaba successfully lobbied American officials to drop the platform from the list — comes as the owners of brands increasingly complain about the proliferation of fakes on the company’s sales platforms.

 

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture seller, has agreed to a $50 million settlement with the families of three children who died after the company’s dressers tipped over and crushed them, a law firm representing the families announced Wednesday.

 

23 December

 

The UK economy grew at a faster than expected pace of 0.6pc in the third quarter amid a stronger expansion in business services and Britain’s finance industries.

 

The yard at Yew Tree Farm in Berkshire is buzzing with activity. It is peak season, and the strong scent of fresh pine wafts through the air as tens of thousands of Christmas trees of all sizes are being checked, palleted and put into trucks to send to retailers across the country

 

Measures to ease Greece’s debt obligations will resume after being frozen earlier in the month over Athens’ decision to pay a year-end bonus to pensioners.

 

President-elect Donald Trump Thursday said he still plans to “drain the swamp,” despite larding his proposed cabinet with billionaires and lack of an articulated plan for eliminating conflicts of interest while in office.