China’s first-quarter economy growth likely cooled to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, but a flurry of measures to boost domestic demand may have put a floor under slowing activity in March.Signs of improvement in the world’s second-largest economy would add to growing optimism that Washington and Beijing are nearing a trade deal, reviving business confidence and easing worries of a significant slowdown in global growth.
there is expection, China to report gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.3 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 1992, the earliest quarterly data on record.That would mark a further loss of momentum from the previous quarter’s 6.4 percent, but policymakers and investors are more likely to focus on any signs of a turnaround in March activity data, which will be released at the same time on Wednesday.
U.S. negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing, according to two sources briefed on discussions, marking a retreat on a core U.S. objective for the trade talks.The issue of industrial subsidies is thorny because they are intertwined with the Chinese government’s industrial policy. Beijing grants subsidies and tax breaks to state-owned firms and to sectors seen as strategic for long-term development. Chinese President Xi Jinping has strengthened the state’s role in parts of the economy.In the push to secure a deal in the next month or so, U.S. negotiators have become resigned to securing less than they would like on curbing those subsidies and are focused instead on other areas where they consider demands are more achievable, the sources said.
The United States on Friday announced more sanctions on shipping companies transporting oil from Venezuela, blacklisting four shipping companies and nine vessels, some of which the U.S. Treasury Department said carried oil to Cuba.The U.S. Treasury identified the firms as Liberia-based Jennifer Navigation Ltd, Lima Shipping Corp and Large Range Ltd, and Italy-based PB Tankers S.P.A.It blacklisted one tanker belonging to each of the Liberian firms and six owned by the Italian firm.A Treasury statement said Venezuela’s oil sector continued “to provide a lifeline to the illegitimate regime” of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“We continue to target companies that transport Venezuelan oil to Cuba, as they are profiting while the Maduro regime pillages natural resources,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement. “Venezuela’s oil belongs to the Venezuelan people, and should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong oppression,” he said.The sanctions prohibit dealings with the firms by U.S. citizens and block the companies’ financial interests in the United States.
Russia and OPEC may decide to boost production to fight for market share with the United States but this would push oil prices as low as $40 per barrel, TASS news agency ?ited Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying on Saturday.“There is a dilemma. What should we do with OPEC: should we lose the market, which is being occupied by the Americans, or quit the deal?” Anton Siluanov, speaking in Washington, said, TASS reported.“(If the deal is abandoned) the oil prices will go down, then the new investments will shrink, American output will be lower, because the production cost for shale oil is higher than for traditional output. Siluanov said oil prices could drop to $40 per barrel or even less for up to one year.The minister said there had been no decision on the deal yet and he did not know whether OPEC countries would be happy with this scenario.OPEC, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, are reducing output by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1 for six months. They meet on June 25-26 to decide whether to extend the pact.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Saturday pledged to global finance leaders that Tokyo will forge ahead with a scheduled sales tax hike in October, even as weakening global growth darkened the outlook for the export-reliant economy.There is simmering speculation Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may put off the twice-postponed increase in the sales tax, as he faces an upper house election later this year amid increasing signs of weakness in the economy.The premier has repeatedly said the hike will proceed this time unless Japan is hit by a shock to the scale of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.Aso made no such qualification in pledging to hike the rate.“We will increase the consumption tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent this October,” Aso said in a statement delivered to the International Monetary Fund’s steering committee.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi expressed concern on Saturday about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s independence, warning that a loss of its autonomy could undermine the credibility of policy.U.S. President Donald Trump’s nomination of two controversial candidates to the Fed’s board and persistent calls for rate cuts has raised the specter of government interference, challenging a fundamental tenet of modern central banking.“I’m certainly worried about central bank independence in other countries, especially. in the most important jurisdiction in the world,” Draghi said about the United States.“If the central bank is not independent, then people may well think that monetary policy decisions follow political advice rather than objective assessment of the economic outlook,” he told a news conference.
Asking prices for British homes rose by the most in over a year in the four weeks to April 6, a survey showed, adding to other tentative signs that the housing market may have passed the worst of its slowdown ahead of Brexit.The 1.1 percent monthly rise in asking prices was a bigger increase than usual at the start of the spring season and reduced the fall in prices in annual terms to 0.1 percent.Britain’s housing market has stumbled since the 2016 Brexit referendum with most measures of prices showing only minimal growth in recent months. But some data has suggested that the slowdown stabilized in early 2019.
Gold prices fell to a more than one-week low on Monday, as stronger-than-expected data from China and a robust start to the U.S. earnings season soothed concerns about global economic slowdown, denting the appeal of bullion. Spot gold eased 0.1 percent to $1,288.85 per ounce as of 0109 GMT, having hit its lowest since April 5 at $1,288.40 earlier in the session.U.S. gold futures shed about 0.2 percent at $1,292.20 an ounce.
Oil prices edged lower on Monday after international benchmark Brent hit a fresh five-month high in the previous session, but concerns over global supplies kept prices well supported.Brent crude oil futures were at $71.46 a barrel at 0233 GMT, down 9 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close, having hit their highest since Nov. 12 on Friday at $71.87.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.63 per barrel, down 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last settlement.