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Inflation Spreads Across Eurozone

Only one of the eurozone’s 19 members experienced a decline in consumer prices during December, a sign the threat of deflation that once loomed over the currency area has abated. The European Union’s statistics agency said Wednesday that consumer prices were 0.5% higher than in November, and up 1.1% on the final month of 2015. That marked a pickup in the annual rate of inflation from 0.6% in November, and was in line with an earlier estimate. As recently as May 2016, consumer prices were lower than a year earlier ...

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U.S. Builder Confidence Slips From December, But Remains High

U.S. builders remain highly confident about the market for newly-built single-family homes, but their optimism slipped in January from the highest level in more than a decade the prior month. The National Association of Home Builders, a trade group, said Wednesday its housing-market index fell to 67 in January. The December reading was revised down to 69 from an initially reading of 70, but it remained the highest monthly reading since 2005. A number over 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. Economists surveyed by The Wall ...

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These Are the World’s Most Innovative Economies

There’s something about those Nordic countries. In the battle of ideas, Sweden climbed to No. 2 and Finland cracked into the top five of the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index, which scores economies using factors including research and development spending and the concentration of high-tech public companies. South Korea remained the big winner, topping the international charts in R&D intensity, value-added manufacturing and patent activity and with top-five rankings in high-tech density, higher education and researcher concentration. Scant progress in improving its productivity score — now No. 32 in the world ...

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U.S. Consumer Prices Top 2% for the First Time in More Than Two Years

Inflation poked above 2% for the first time in two-and-a-half years in December, a sign of firming prices that could support additional moves by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year. The consumer-price index, a measure of what Americans pay for everything from gasoline to gym memberships, increased 2.1% from a year earlier, the largest year-over-year rise since June 2014. Prices were up 2.2% when excluding sometimes volatile food and energy categories. The latest figures suggest a four-year stretch of historically low inflation is ending amid firming costs ...

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Regulation should not squeeze life out of euro zone banks – ECB’s Nouy

New European rules to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis should not “squeeze the life out banks” but rather stop them from taking on too much risk, the European Central Bank’s top bank supervisor said on Wednesday. The ECB is in charge of applying those rules for the large banks it supervises. “It goes without saying that the rules must not be so tight as to squeeze the life out of banks,” Daniele Nouy said in Koblenz, Germany. “They should rather provide a strong framework that reins in ...

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China’s Central Bank Pumps Out a Record $60 Billion Before Holidays

China’s benchmark money-market rate jumped the most in two years, with record central bank cash injections being overwhelmed by demand before the Lunar New Year holidays. The People’s Bank of China put in a net 410 billion yuan ($60 billion) through open-market operations on Wednesday, the biggest daily addition since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 2004. That brings the total injections so far this week to 845 billion yuan. The interbank seven-day repurchase rate jumped 35 basis points, the most since December 2014, to 2.76 percent, according to weighted ...

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Brazil posts record trade surplus with China in 2016

In 2016 Brazil posted the highest ever surplus in trade with China, amounting to US$11.770 billion, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry Data, Foreign Trade and Services. That figure, compared with surplus of US$4.888 billion in 2015, was due fundamentally to the fact that Brazilian imports of Chinese products have fallen 23.94% year on year. In 2016, Brazil sold goods to China worth US$35.234 billion, 1.33% less than in 2015, but bought goods worth just US$23.364 billion, compared with US$30.719 billion recorded in 2015. Brazilian official data showed ...

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EU’s Juncker Stands Ground After Theresa May’s Brexit Speech

European officials on Wednesday said they weren’t seeking to punish Britain for leaving the bloc but warned that a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May outlining her approach to Brexit still left the two sides headed for tough negotiations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she welcomed an acknowledgment by Mrs. May’s that Britain’s desire to limit EU migration in the future meant it couldn’t have unfettered access to the bloc’s single market of goods and services. “We have now got a clear impression of how Britain is going to proceed,” ...

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Trump’s protectionist policies top risk to U.S. economy in 2017 – Reuters poll

The top risk to U.S. growth would come if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump keeps his protectionist promises, according to a Reuters poll that shows economists have not joined in the market exuberance since the shock November vote. For most of his campaign and after the election, Trump vowed to make sweeping changes to U.S. trade and immigration policy, threatened to impose steep tariffs on Chinese imports and proposed hefty tax cuts. While financial markets have retreated in the past week and hopes of a sudden spurt in inflation have faded, ...

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Germany expects IMF participation in Greek bailout – finance minister spokeswoman

The German government is still expecting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be involved in Greece’s bailout programme, a spokeswoman for the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday. Germany’s Bild newspaper had earlier reported that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was preparing for a continuation of aid for Greece without IMF participation. “For us this involvement is promised and essential,” the spokeswoman said. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Joseph Nasr)

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China’s richest man sees trade hit by Sino-U.S. tensions

China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, said on Tuesday that rising tensions between the United States and China will affect trade, although he’s confident that his Dalian Wanda Group’s investment in the country’s entertainment industry will not be hampered. Wang, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, said his group has earmarked $5 billion to $10 billion each year for outbound investment, focussing on entertainment and sports. The billionaire property tycoon-turned-entertainment mogul said the United States would be the top priority for investment opportunities, ...

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The US Is Headed To A Pivotal Socio-Economic Crisis

My free weekly newsletter gives you an in-depth view of the hidden forces that drive world events and markets. This year, the United States will be the main geopolitical power. And President Donald Trump will run it. This will be the first big shift to nationalism in US politics. This rise in nationalism is global. Its rise stems from the rejection of the internationalist model. This has ruled international relations since the end of World War II. The US does not answer to any regional blocs or international powers. And ...

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Britain needs ‘all-encompassing’ free trade deal with EU, says CBI

Britain must do everything it can to agree an all-encompassing free trade arrangement with the EU in its Brexit negotiations and make sure the country does not fall back on WTO rules, the head of the Confederation of British Industry said. Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, told Reuters she welcomed the clarity on Brexit offered by Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech earlier on Tuesday but warned it was a “very major step” to leave the EU’s single market. “It is very important now that we go ...

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U.S. Companies Are Paring Investment Plans in China, Survey Says

More U.S. businesses are shelving investment plans in China, a new survey says, as companies find themselves caught between hardening trade stances in Washington and Beijing. The annual survey of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in China released Wednesday said that the percentage of companies that rate China among their top three investment targets fell to 56%, the lowest since at least 2009. Four out of five companies said they felt less welcome in China than before, nearly double the rate from three years ago. The survey, which ...

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Modest economic growth not an indication of revived global demand – UN report

A modest global recovery is projected for 2017-18 should be seen as more of an indication of economic stabilization than a signal of a robust and sustained revival of global demand, a new United Nations economic report has found. According to the UN flagship World Economic Situation Prospects 2017 report (WESP), the world economy expanded by just 2.2 per cent in 2016, the slowest rate of growth since the 2009 global recession. World gross product is projected to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2017 and 2.9 per cent in ...

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