Week 8 2017

Week 8 2017

20 February – 24 February

 

20 February

 

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has arrived in Iraq to reassure the government in Baghdad that Washington will not try to seize the country’s oil. Donald Trump last month said the US should have “kept” Iraq’s oil after the American-led invasion. Mr Mattis was also at pains to reassure Iraqis who have worked and fought side by side with American troops that they would not be excluded from the US. Iraq was one of seven mainly Muslim countries included in Mr Trump’s travel ban last month. 

 

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.

 

For those truly devoted to their furry companions, People’s owner Time Inc could one day offer not just magazines, but health insurance for their pets — one of a number of services the publisher is looking at as it searches for a growth strategy that investors will find more compelling than the interest from bidders circling the 94-year-old publisher.

 

Emerging markets worldwide are enjoying their best start to the year relative to developed markets in five years. But analysts report investors based in the region are resolutely focused on what might go wrong. Call it the battle between Trump-related fears and corporate fundamentals.

 

21 February

 

US equities pushed further into record territory on Tuesday, following strong corporate earnings from some major US retailers and a regional Federal Reserve bank president’s comments favouring an interest-rate rise.

 

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.

 

US inflation is going to accelerate, forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a faster pace than anyone has seen for almost a decade. That is the market consensus and there is evidence to support it.

 

Walmart’s ecommerce business helped the retailer beat expectations for US sales in the fourth quarter but stiff price competition in the holiday season held back its profitability

 

22 February

 

On November 8 2016, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, announced that the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes (worth about $7.50 and $15 respectively) would be demonetised with immediate effect. This act cancelled 86 per cent of the value of cash in circulation. Moreover, the cancelled notes had to be deposited in banks by December 30 with restrictions on withdrawals.

 

About a quarter of services on Southern, the commuter rail service, were cancelled on Wednesday as on-board staff went on strike amid the latest spate of industrial action to hit transport services in and around London.

 

UK insurers have benefited from £60bn worth of waivers from the Bank of England in connection with European Union rules that came into force last year.

 

US stock-index futures ticked slightly lower on Wednesday, suggesting equities may slip from record highs at the open, as investors await minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting a batch of data on the housing market.

 

23 February

 

US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that the US would consider the idea of selling debt at longer maturities than 30 years, calling the concept a “serious issue”.

 

The governor of the Central Bank of Ireland has sounded a fresh warning on the impact of Brexit on the Irish economy, warning the country’s businesses will have to adapt to a post-Brexit environment.

 

Oil prices were up by the most in almost a month on Thursday after a report from an industry group showed a surprise drop in US crude stocks and as investors awaited the official numbers from the Energy Information Administration.

 

Before it can agree to buy Opel from General Motors, PSA will have to decide what to do with the carmaker’s pension deficit — a sum that has been described as “hellishly large” by one analyst.

 

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.

 

Britain’s hopes of launching trade talks as it simultaneously negotiates its exit from the European Union have been dashed by Germany and Italy. The two influential EU members are backing Brussels in insisting that progress be made on the terms of the UK’s divorce from the bloc before trade talks begin. EU leaders suggested last summer that they were open to the idea of parallel trade talks in discussions with Theresa May, the UK prime minister. Since then Mrs May has increasingly favoured a hard Brexit, with no UK membership of the single market.

 

Shares in Hormel Foods were among the worst performing on the S&P 500 on Thursday after the group lowered its 2017 fiscal year guidance on continued turkey pricing concerns.

 

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a £7bn loss after taking a huge hit from mis-selling and conduct charges, as it unveils a fresh cost-cutting plan in an attempt to return to profit in 2018.