“South Korea’s economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter, marking its worst performance since the global financial crisis, as government spending failed to keep up the previous quarter’s strong pace and as companies slashed investment.
“The shock contraction reinforced financial market views that the central bank is likely to make a U-turn on policy, shifting to an easing stance and possibly cutting interest rates to counter declining business confidence and growing external risks…
“None of the economists surveyed in a Reuters poll had expected growth to contract. The median forecast was for a rise of 0.3 percent.”
“The Bank of Japan told investors for the first time on Thursday it will keep interest rates at super-low levels for at least one more year, seeking to dispel uncertainty over its commitment to ultra-loose policies as the economy comes under fresh pressure…
“The move puts the BOJ in line with the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which have been forced to pause efforts to scale back crisis-mode policies due to heightening uncertainty over the global economic outlook.”
“Investor faith in Chinese dollar bonds backed by banks is about to be tested after a default by one of the country’s best known private conglomerates. China Minsheng Investment Group Corp. said last week cross-default clauses have been triggered on dollar bonds worth $800 million.
“These include $300 million of debt that carries a standby letter of credit from China Construction Bank Corp. — effectively a pledge to repay if the borrower can’t.”
“Almost a quarter of UK companies are not investing in their business this year due to Brexit uncertainty, a survey reports. Business leaders have been delaying major decisions until clarity emerges about Britain’s future trading relationship with the European Union.
“The proportion of companies planning to invest in development has fallen to 33 per cent from 74 per cent six months ago, research by Santander suggests.”
“An index of German business optimism fell in April as Europe’s largest economy struggles with a slowdown in trade and manufacturing even as it finds support from a strong labor market.
“The Ifo institute said Wednesday its business climate index slipped to 99.2 points from 99.7 points in March, indicating managers were less satisfied with both the current situation and the outlook for the future.”
“Eastern Libya commander Khalifa Haftar has thrown much of his military forces into attacking Tripoli, but the outcome of the offensive could be determined by a separate battle — to keep open the parallel finance system that funds his soldiers…
“The general has funded his eastern state with a mix of unofficial bonds, Russia-printed cash and deposits from eastern banks, accumulating debt worth around 35 billion Libyan dinars ($25.18 billion) outside the official banking system.”
“Beneath the electioneering bubble of sound bites and choreographed photo opportunities lies an economic governance nightmare…
“For 72 hours from 26 March 2019, South Africa stood at the edge of economic collapse as Eskom ran out of money and could not meet its liabilities and obligations. A scramble to raise money ensued as government cannot allow an economic collapse by Eskom default.”
“It would not be an overstatement to say that both Erdoğan and Turkey are at a critical crossroads.”
“Investors pummeled Argentina’s debt market on Wednesday as a looming presidential election stoked concern the country is heading for its third default in less than two decades.
“Five-year credit default swaps were quoted at 1,157 basis points, a 17 percent increase in a day…”
“There was a time when Venezuela led Latin America in the battle against malaria. No longer.”
“Nicaragua’s economy is in “free fall” a year after anti-government protests were violently repressed by the government and its supporters, the country’s leading business association said Wednesday.
“Sectors such as tour operators, auto dealers and medical equipment providers have seen their sales fall 77.5%, 75% and 53.5%, respectively, in the past year, the Superior Council of Private Business said.”
“A persistently sluggish global economy and a bleak outlook for the energy sector mean that interest rates won’t need to rise as much as the Bank of Canada once thought, even if all economic headwinds eventually dissipate.”
“49% of Americans only have enough liquid assets to cover living expenses for zero to three months.
“23% of Americans don’t put any money toward savings from their paychecks, while 73% say they put 10% or less of their monthly paychecks in savings.
“Of those who are lucky enough to save, nearly 25% dig into their savings once a month.”
Were [Brent] oil to increase to $100 [per barrel] by Q4 2019, simulations suggest the level of global GDP would fall 0.6% below baseline by end of 2020, and inflation would rise 1.5% above it by Q1 2020,” they said… “
“A spike in oil prices would be “particularly damaging for already-fragile, oil importing emerging markets,” such as the Philippines, Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia.””