Current Affairs – 17 August 2020 - Doo Prime News
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Current Affairs – 17 August 2020


Thai second-quarter GDP shrinks 12.2% year-on-year, weakest in 22 years

BANGKOK – Thailand’s economy contracted at its sharpest pace in 22 years in the second quarter, but by less than expected, as the coronavirus outbreak battered tourism, exports and domestic activity.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank 12.2% in April-June from a year earlier, data from the state planning agency showed on Monday, versus a 13.3% decline forecast in a Reuters poll.

On a quarterly basis, the economy shrank a seasonally adjusted 9.7% in the June quarter, the deepest pace on record, the National Economic and Social Development Council said, smaller than the 11.4% contraction forecast by economists.

The agency cut its forecast for gross domestic product this year. It now expects the economy to shrink by 7.3%-7.8% in 2020, having previously projected a 5%-6% contraction.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Japan’s economy shrinks at record pace as pandemic wipes out ‘Abenomics’ gains

TOKYO – Japan was hit by its biggest economic contraction on record in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic crushed consumption and exports, keeping policymakers under pressure for bolder action to prevent a deeper recession.

The third straight quarter of declines knocked the size of real gross domestic product (GDP) to decade-low levels, wiping out the benefits brought by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” stimulus policies deployed in late 2012.

While the economy is emerging from the doldrums after lockdowns were lifted in late May, many analysts expect any rebound in the current quarter to be modest as a renewed rise in infections keep consumers’ purse-strings tight.

“The big decline can be explained by the decrease in consumption and exports,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

Full coverage: REUTERS


Asia shares move ahead led by China gains

SYDNEY – Asian shares firmed toward recent peaks on Monday as Chinese markets swung higher, while investors waited to see if the recent sell-off in longer-dated U.S. Treasuries would extend and maybe take some pressure off the beleaguered dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.5% to 565.74, moving nearer to the January top of 574.52.

Chinese blue chips .CSI300 led the way with gains of 2.0%, with the country’s central bank providing more medium term loans to the financial system.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.6% after touching a six-month peak on Friday, as the country suffered its biggest economic contraction on record in the second quarter.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 firmed 0.39% to be just below the record close of 3,386.15. [.N]

The U.S. second-quarter earnings season wraps up with the major retailers reporting this week, including Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Home Depot Inc (HD.N) and Kohls Corp (KSS.N).

Full coverage: REUTERS

Stock futures point to modest Wall Street gains ahead of big retail earnings week

NEW YORK – U.S. stock index futures indicate Wall Street will make moderate gains on Monday as retail earnings queue up and with housing data in the offing.

Second-quarter earnings season is mostly over, with major retailers yet to post results. Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Home Depot Inc (HD.N), Kohls Corp (KSS.N), Lowe’s Companies Inc (LOW.N), Target Corp (TGT.N) are among the retailers on deck, with industrial Deere & Co (DE.N) set to wrap up the week.

As of Friday, 457 companies in the S&P 500 have posted results, of which 81.4% have come in above a decidedly low expectations bar, according to Refinitiv data.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.22%, with 7,955 contracts changing hands.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Oil prices advance as China lines up boost in U.S. crude imports

SINGAPORE – Oil prices climbed higher on Monday, lifted by China’s plans to ship in large volumes of U.S. crude in August and September, outweighing concerns over a slowdown in demand recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and an uptick in supplies.

Brent crude rose 21 cents, or 0.5%, to $45.01 a barrel by 0023 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 27 cents, or 0.6%, to $42.28 a barrel.

Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to transport at least 20 million barrels of U.S. crude for August and September, Reuters reported on Friday, as China ramped up energy and farm purchases ahead of a review of the Sino-U.S. trade deal.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Dollar in the doldrums; U.S. politics, Fed minutes eyed

SINGAPORE – The U.S. dollar began Monday where it left off last week, caught between pressure from worries about the lagging U.S. economic recovery and support from rising U.S. bond yields and safe-harbour demand.

A boost to sentiment from the postponement of the U.S-China trade deal review – which leaves the deal intact – was muted by uncertainty, ahead of a week a week that includes Federal Reserve minutes and the Democrats’ nomination convention.

Against a basket of currencies the dollar traded under gentle pressure at 93.039 on Monday, roughly in the middle of the range it has held since hitting a two-year low at the end of July.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar AUD=D3 inched up to a three-session high of $0.7194, but also remained contained in the channel it has traded in for a week.

Other Asian currencies, such as the won KRW= and rupiah IDR= edged lower, while the kiwi NZD=D3 remained weighted at $0.6534 by last week’s dovish language from the central bank.

The yen JPY= was steady at 106.54 per dollar, having dipped last week as a jump in U.S. yields drew Japanese investment to U.S. Treasuries.

Full coverage: REUTERS

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