The largest drop in China's foreign-exchange reserves since January has focused attention on the world's second-largest economy. The $69.1bn (£54.8bn) drop to $3.051 trillion in November was a decline of 2.2 per cent from the previous month but smaller than January's 3 per cent drop. The move by the Chinese is likely to prevent the renminbi depreciating too aggressively against the dollar and some analysts believe this could lead to a tightening of capital controls. Some of the drop will have been because of the appreciation of the dollar, which lowers the value of China's reserves in other currencies.
Microsoft now LinkedIn
Consolidation in the upper eschelons of the tech world went a step further this week after Brussels gave the green light for
ONS accounting error
The UK's Office for National Statistics has restated seven quarters of official balance of payments figures after finding a "processing error" linked to data surrounding gold, silver, precious stones, aircraft and ships. This means the UK's trade deficit for 2015 was £6.7bn lower than the £31.9bn previously estimated - equal to a 17 per cent drop. But it wasn't all good news as the error meant the third-quarter deficit this year was £5.9bn larger at £17bn. The revisions were not significant enough to affect headline numbers for economic growth, but the ONS said they would affect some components of the total GDP figures.
Foreign capital cautious
The demand for British commercial real estate by foreign investors appears to be waning in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, according to the Bank of England (BoE). Several open-ended funds prevented investors accessing their money immediately after the referendum as the market's erratic movement made pricing assets particularly difficult. While the majority of those funds have now reopened, the BoE still struck a cautious tone in its Financial Stability Report. The value of transactions in the third quarter fell another 10 per cent compared with the prior quarter and is down 27 per cent from a year ago.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil rose above $55 for the first time since July 2015, with traders still optimistic after Opec agreed its first production cut since the financial crisis last week. The international benchmark has fallen back since, with the price hitting $53.9 a barrel at the time of writing. Last week saw the biggest rise in oil prices in more than seven years, with prices surging after the Opec cartel agreed to reduce output by more than 1m barrels a day in an attempt to end a two-year price rout that has hit oil producers' economies.
It was a dramatic week for Italian bank shares, which took a hit after the outcome of the Italian referendum. The country voted against constitutional reform that would have removed power from the Senate and left the Lower House as the key legislative chamber, which in turn made recapitalisation of its banks harder to achieve. Share prices responded in kind, but on 7 December, the most troubled bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, saw its shares rally more than 10 per cent in early trading on the back of reports that EU state aid could be tapped to shore it up.
Howard Schultz, chief executive of
Mr Shultz joined the company in 1982 and stepped down as chief executive in 2000, moving to the position of chairman, and then deciding in 2008 to return to the CEO role due to his view that the company had lost a bit of direction.
The shares fell 3 per cent on the news but have partially recovered, perhaps partly due to Starbucks’ insistence little would change under Kevin Johnson, the current chief operating officer who will assume the chief executive role. The company used the word ‘continue’ 10 times in its statement about the change.
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