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January Consumer Sentiment Largely Unchanged

Americans’ economic outlook weakened very slightly at the start of January but remained near its recent highs, according to a University of Michigan survey released Friday. The survey’s headline index of consumer sentiment was 99.1 in early January, down from 99.3 at the end of December. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 99.5. The survey’s index of current economic conditions — based on respondents’ views of consumers’ financial situation — was 115.8, up slightly from 115.5 at the end of December. Richard Curtin, the ...

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Euro zone inflation confirmed at 1.3% in December

A higher contribution from energy costs boosted euro zone inflation in December, data showed on Friday, as the EU’s statistics office confirmed its earlier estimate that consumer prices grew 1.3% year-on-year in the last month of 2019. Eurostat also confirmed its earlier estimate that month-on-month prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.3%. The energy contribution to the year-on-year index changed from -0.33 percentage points in November to a positive 0.02 points in December, accounting for the difference between the November inflation rate of 1.0% and December’s 1.3%. ...

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China’s Economic Growth Slows to 6.1% as Trade and Business Confidence Suffer

Chinese economic growth slowed to 6.1% last year, according to figures released Friday, as sagging trade and business confidence pulled the closely watched reading to its lowest level in nearly three decades. The slowdown, which has become more severe since the economy peaked in 2011 following years of double-digit growth, rippled through many sectors of the Chinese economy last year and was made worse by the Trump administration’s trade pressure and tariffs. Even so, the growth rate of 6.1%, down from a revised 6.6% rate for 2018, fell within the ...

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China says ‘core concerns’ of trade deal are still not resolved

China’s government welcomed an interim trade deal with Washington and said the two sides need to address each other’s “core concerns.” The “Phase 1” agreement shows Beijing and Washington “can find appropriate and effective solutions to relevant issues through dialogue,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. China agreed to increase purchases of U.S. exports by $200 billion over two years and to stop pressuring companies to hand over technology. Washington dropped plans for additional punitive tariffs on Chinese goods in the fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus ...

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EU-China investment agreement negotiations enter ‘critical stage’- EU ambassador

Negotiations on an investment agreement between the European Union and China are progressing and have entered a “critical stage” after six years of talks, a senior EU official said on Friday. Progress in being achieved “month after month,” in a deal in which the EU is seeking more market access for European businesses in China, Nicolas Chapuis, EU ambassador to China, said in a news briefing in Beijing. Sabine Weyand, the European Commission’s director general for trade, said in Brussels in December that negotiations were moving at a “snail’s pace,” ...

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US Industrial Production Fell 0.3% in December

U.S. industrial production decreased in December, as a sharp drop in utilities output offset a slight gain in factory production. Industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Friday, in line with expectations of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. Manufacturing output, the biggest component of industrial production, increased 0.2% in December from the previous month. But that gain was countered by a 5.6% decline in utilities output because of lower demand ...

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China posts weakest growth in 29 years as trade war bites, but ends 2019 on better note

China’s economic growth cooled to its weakest in nearly 30 years in 2019 amid a bruising trade war with the United States, and more stimulus is expected this year as Beijing tries to boost sluggish investment and demand. But data on Friday also showed the world’s second-largest economy ended the rough year on a somewhat firmer note as a trade truce revived business confidence and earlier growth boosting measures finally appeared to be taking hold. As expected, China’s growth slowed to 6.1% last year, from 6.6% in 2018, data from ...

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U.S.-China Deal Could Upend the Way Nations Settle Disputes

The phase-one deal between the U.S. and China could upend the way trade disputes are settled globally, giving the U.S. an edge over competitors and weakening international institutions. Trade deals are traditionally enforced by arbitration, in which either a country or a company brings a complaint and a panel of experts renders a binding decision. That procedure is used by the World Trade Organization, which serves as a global trade court. But the Trump administration has been fiercely critical of that format, believing the panels suck away U.S. sovereignty and ...

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UK Retail Sales Fell in December, Adding to Weak Picture

British retail sales fell unexpectedly in December, adding to signs the U.K. economy slowed sharply at the end of 2019. The figures will likely stoke expectations the Bank of England may soon cut interest rates to support faltering growth. Retail sales fell 0.6% in December compared with November, the Office for National Statistics said Friday, marking the fifth straight month without growth. Sales over the three months through December fell 1%, the weakest three-month performance in almost three years. The slide in consumer spending suggests the economy barely registered any ...

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Japan December exports seen falling at slower pace on tech pick-up – Reuters poll

Japanese exports are expected to have fallen for a 13th straight month in December but at a slower pace than the previous month, a Reuters poll found, offering some hope for a recovery in shipments. Exports in December likely declined 4.2% from a year earlier, the poll of 16 economists showed on Friday, after November’s 7.9% fall. “Although exports stayed weak, information-related goods such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment and electronic components are picking up,” said Kenta Maruyama, economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. “We expect exports will recover gradually.” ...

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Bank of England to hold steady on January 30 but chance of a cut high – Reuters poll

The Bank of England is likely to keep borrowing costs steady on Jan. 30, the eve of Britain’s departure from the European Union, but there is a significant chance it will opt to trim Bank Rate following a slew of weak data, a Reuters poll found. At the December meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee two of its nine members voted for a 25 basis point cut to 0.50% and since then several others — including Governor Mark Carney — have made dovish comments. On Wednesday official data showed inflation ...

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Fed’s Harker : Data Will Determine Course of Interest Rate Policy

The president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, Patrick Harker, said the U.S. economy is in good shape right now, adding that how economic data come in will drive what central bank officials do with interest-rate policy. “My outlook for the economy is positive, but let me add that my outlook will continue to be driven by the data as each report is released throughout 2020,” Mr. Harker said in a speech prepared for delivery before a banking group in New Jersey. He added, “The data will also determine my ...

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Which company just hit $1 trillion? Google it.

As Google-parent Alphabet Inc became on Thursday the fourth U.S. company to top a market value of more than $1 trillion, some funds holding its shares are wondering whether now is the time to cash in on the stock’s extraordinary gains. Shares of the Internet search giant are up nearly 17% over the last three months, outpacing a broader rally in the S&P 500 index over the same period by 6 percentage points. Short interest in the stock, a measure of how many investors are betting on a price decline, ...

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Singapore’s Exports Grew Unexpectedly in December

Singapore’s non-oil exports rose in December as growth in non-electronic exports outweighed the decline in electronics exports. Exports of goods made in Singapore rose 2.4% in December compared with a year earlier, after a 5.9% decline in the previous month, Enterprise Singapore said Friday. The median estimate of 10 economists in a poll by The Wall Street Journal was for December exports to contract 2.1% from a year earlier. On a seasonally adjusted on-month basis, exports rose 1.1% in December, after expanding 5.8% on month in the prior month. Five ...

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China to roll out more support measures as economy faces pressure – stats head

China will maintain a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy in 2020 and roll out more support measures this year as the economy faces downward pressure, the chief of the country’s statistics bureau said on Friday. China does not deliberately pursue high economic growth and it is normal for gross domestic product (GDP) growth to fluctuate, Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, told a press conference in Beijing. Ning’s comments followed official data that showed on Friday China’s economy grew 6.1% in 2019, the slowest ...

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