Not-so-happy new year for global markets

Markets in turmoilMarkets in turmoil as World Economic Forum ends

As 2016 gets underway, global markets are already experiencing turmoil. Markets in Europe and the US endured some of their steepest losses for decades in the first few days of the New Year, sparked by fears over continued problems in the Chinese economy where trading was temporarily suspended to try to stem the haemorrhaging yuan. Many markets seem to be edging dangerously close to ‘bear’ territory – indicating a fall of 20% or more from their most recent peak. Read more…

US economic recovery slows

Economic slowdown New figures show the US economy slowed at the end of 2015

Fresh Commerce Department figures show that the US economy slowed significantly in the final three months of 2015 amid signs of a global economic slowdown. Spending by businesses and customers alike was cut and US exports reduced. The disappointing 0.7% growth rate raises concerns about the resilience of the US economy against the backdrop of global stock market turmoil which, in turn, is fed by fears of continued economic slowdown in China and plummeting oil prices. Read more…

What next for the global economy?

Global economy pulling in two directions as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise ratesGlobal economy divided as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise rates

With businesses readying themselves for an interest rate rise in December, the global economy seems to be divided. A slight rise from 0.25% to 0.5% may not seem like a sweeping gesture from the Federal Reserve but it is a game-changer, nevertheless. While Fed boss Janet Yelland feels the US economy can withstand a modest rate rise, some economists are worried that the predicted rise in US interest rates won’t necessarily be the tonic needed to increase the pace of recovery and that the Eurozone, Japan, China and BRIC countries are still far from stable. Read more…

Fed rate rise looks to be on the cards

Signs of economic recovery raise expectations of December rate hikeSigns of economic recovery raise expectations of December rate hike

The buoyancy of the US economy will be tested if the rate rise indicated by the Federal Reserve goes ahead in December. The Commerce Department recently reported that GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.1% over the July-September period, up from a previously estimated figure of 1.5%. While this may still represent a slowing in growth from the previous quarter, it is likely to influence decision-makers at the Federal Reserve as they consider their first rate rise in 9 years. Read more…

No upturn in sight for Chinese economy

China’s economy shows no signs of recovery China’s economy shows no signs of recovery

Chinese manufacturing activity fell to a six-year low as China’s president defended his government’s stock market intervention during his recent state visit to the US. Xi Jinping claimed that although the economy was experiencing difficulties, it was on the road to recovery. International concern remains, though, as evidence of the country’s economic slump was seen in a dip in average annual growth rate to around 7.4% – with IMF forecasts standing at 6.8% for next year. Read more…

IMF forecasts weaker economic growth

Head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, warned of a period of weakened economic growth aheadChristine Lagarde warns of weakened economic growth

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned of a continued global economic slowdown – especially in the large emerging market countries – that will cut global growth to its lowest level since 2009. Forecasts to be published by the IMF in October will show global economic activity lower that the figure recorded in 2014 and predict that only a modest acceleration can be expected in 2016. Read more…

What will $100 buy you in Nebraska?

Independent research organisation the Tax Foundation reveals some interesting differences in the cost of living across the USWhere in the US do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

Feeling the pinch? Well, how far your money stretches pretty much depends on where you live, according to independent research organisation, the Tax Foundation. Data has recently been collated to find out how much $100 buys you on a state-by-state basis and the results show that regional variations can be significant. While there is a correlation between income levels and prices, it’s not as clear cut as you might imagine. Read more…

Chancellor Osborne initiates RBS sale

RBS sell-off

RBS sell-off underway

British Chancellor George Osborne has started the controversial process of transferring bailed-out bank RBS back to private ownership. The sell-off of a 5% stake in the bank – around £2bn-worth of shares – will reduce the taxpayers’ holding to under 75% and is the first sale of shares since the bank was rescued in 2008. The sell-off will result in a loss of around £1bn to the UK taxpayer. Read more…

Trouble at the top as Barclays oust boss

Barclays Chief Executive ousted in boardroom falling outBarclays Chief Exec ousted in boardroom falling out

British bank Barclays has announced that boss Antony Jenkins has been ousted from his job by a disgruntled board just three years after he was promoted to the job in the wake of the Libor scandal. Jenkins is being replaced for now by chairman John McFarland following unrest over the board’s desire for bigger cost cuts and more focus on the investment bank’s performance. Read more…

China stock market in freefall

$3tn wiped off value of Chinese shares$3tn wiped of the value of shares

The Shanghai composite index has plummeted by 6% as panic selling continues to wipe trillions of dollars off the value of Chinese-listed companies. Despite the government’s efforts to stem the tide by relaxing borrowing rules and cutting fees, shares have dropped to less than a third of their June peak. Read more…