Monday, 16 July: Disappointing data from China set the tone for Monday equity indices with much of Asia trading in the red and European futures pointing in the same direction. Growth of 6.7% in the world’s second largest economy, although in line with expectations, was a slight step back from 6.8% growth in the first quarter of 2018. A slow down in investment in factories and infrastructure has attributed to weaker growth, although retail sales jumped from 8.5% in May to 9.0% in June. Although ahead of Beijing’s 6.5% growth target for the view, the repercussions from recent trade wars with the US are yet to take hold.
A stronger pound sterling earlier in the day did little to help the falling FTSE in London. Miners fell as Copper prices retracted on the back of weaker Chinese data (China being the world’s largest consumer of metals), with BHP Biliton falling more than the rest, down 2.48% at the close. The London index is weighed more heavily on miners than its European counterparts; the CAC 40 in France and DAX in Germany shielded from heavier falls (closing -0.36% and +0.26% respectively). Sterling reversed its earlier gains after further Brexit rumours surfaced this afternoon but did little to turn the blue-chip positive; the FTSE 100 closed lower by 0.80%.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made sure he stayed dry as he presented at the World Cup Final yesterday, dominating the only black umbrella as the heavens opened, leaving French and Croatian leaders embracing each and every player, while getting soaked to the bone. But Putin couldn’t afford to catch a cold as today he met with his US counterpart President Trump for a 2 hour, closed door, meeting in Helsinki. Trump has called the one-on-one time a “Good Start”, and at the ongoing joint press conference, President Putin has again denyed any Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. It is the first formal setting for the two leaders and comes after 12 Russian government officials were charged on Friday with hacking offences against the Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton.