German manufacturing is still stuck in the doldrums, raising concerns that the slowdown will spread to the rest of the economy, which for the moment is holding up well. Factory orders fell more than forecast, dropping 2.7% on a monthly basis, mainly because of a decline in export orders. And industrial output was down for the second month in a row (–0.6% month on month).
Tensions between Hong Kong’s police and protesters are still running high despite the government’s efforts to make amends by withdrawing the extradition bill. The protests have hit the local economy hard, especially the property, retail and tourism sectors, which are unlikely to bounce back anytime soon.
Despite the possible impact of advance purchases, Chinese exports slumped in August after unexpectedly rising in July. Unsurprisingly, shipments to the USA slowed the most, down 16% year on year.
A superhero makes his exit
USA – a widening gap between invest-ment and spending
To go deeper
The risk of a large-scale military confrontation between the US and Iran has faded. As we said last week, neither side seems to want a war. But Iran was expected to retaliate after the US army killed General Soleimani in a targeted strike ordered by Donald Trump. And Iran did indeed take action, although it was more a matter of saving face. Iran almost certainly made sure that no American lives were lost, as that would probably have put both countries on a warpath...
Last year ended on a positive note for geopolitics, as a truce was reached in the US-China trade war. However, 2020 has started with an increase in tensions in the Middle East. Once again, Donald Trump was in the middle of it all and played a key role in the fresh hostilities against Iran, a country that has regularly been a target of Trump's threats since he came to power...
The fading uncertainty has prompted commodity prices to rally, with oil and metals such as iron ore and copper leading the way. This uptrend means that commodities will end on a high note after a rather lacklustre year...