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Xi Jinping touts Silk Belt and Road, global cyber-attack set to spread, and another boost to Merkel's re-election hopes. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
‘Project of the Century’
Chinese President Xi Jinping detailed the nation’s plan to lead globalization efforts as part of the Silk Belt and Road Initiative in a speech to world leaders at a forum in Beijing on Sunday. Xi also upped China’s pledged contribution to funds associated with a massive build-out of infrastructure and other investments throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa to better connect the world’s second-biggest economy with the rest of the world. China also plans to import more energy from the U.S. to meet its domestic needs. However, in a sign that cooperation between China and its neighbors still remains an aspirational goal, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test shortly before Xi’s speech.
The global cyber-attack that crippled more than hundreds of thousands of computers across over 150 countries is poised to swell on Monday. The “ransomware employed by hackers, who have demanded bitcoin payments from the victims, renders files stored on afflicted computers inaccessible. A number of large corporations, including FedEx Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., have been infected with this malware, as have many hospitals. U.S. President Donald Trump directed his homeland security adviser to hold meetings on the matter over the weekend.
Centrists are well-positioned to be in charge of Europe’s two largest economies for the foreseeable future. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party won a clear victory in state elections held in North Rhine-Westphalia, home to more than 20 percent of German voters, with the Social Democrats — the most visible opposition on the national stage — winning their lowest share of the vote in this region since World War Two. This result comes on the heels of another victory for Merkel’s party over the Social Democratic incumbent last weekend in a state vote, seemingly bolstering the chancellor’s odds at winning a fourth term in September. Meanwhile, the 39 year-old Emmanuel Macron officially became France’s youngest president on Sunday after winning the run-off against Marine Le Pen on May 7.
Chinese Data on Deck
At midday Beijing time, we’ll get a trifecta of Chinese data of April: retail sales, fixed asset investment, and industrial production. Sales are expected to rise 10.8 percent year-on-year, a slight deceleration from March’s rate of annual increase. Fixed asset investment is expected to be up 9.1 percent year-to-date versus the same period in 2016, while industrial production is forecast to rise by 7 percent year-on-year from 7.6 percent in March. Last week, Chinese credit growth exceeded estimates despite recent regulatory curbs aimed at reining in leverage.
Libya Isn’t Helping
As this month's OPEC meeting looms, crude output in Libya is ramping higher as two oil fields re-open. After three consecutive weeks of declines, crude prices rebounded with West Texas Intermediate futures closing at $47.84 on Friday. But the soft end to the week came amid rising rig counts in the U.S., while Libya’s production jump shows shale isn’t the only challenge in rebalancing the physical market. As such, major producers may have to do more than merely extend current curbs if they aim to bring down global inventories expediently.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Dollar bulls are nearing a wall.
- Wharton dealmakers bet on Chinese trucking.
- U.K. picks a new Brexit fight with the E.U.
- 'America First' divides G7.
- Japanese ramen chain looks to conquer the U.S.
- Personal loyalty to Trump is a sticking point in search for new FBI chief.
- You can pay God with an app in Sweden.
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