China’s economy slows to 24 year low
Falling property prices, weak factory output and local government debt have all contributed to the slowest rate of growth in China for 24 years. The country’s GDP data for 2014, released today, shows growth of 7.4 per cent. That’s lower than the 7.5 per cent official target and down from 7.7 per cent in 2013. There was some good news as Q4 growth held steady from a year earlier which is better than expected and the overall slowing of the economy was not as bad as analysts had feared. Speculation is now for greater stimulus from Beijing to boost the world’s second largest economy. Asian markets have reacted well and all major indexes closed higher. That sentiment has spread to Europe where all the main markets have seen gains so far. US stock futures are higher; gold is higher; oil is slightly lower.
Housing Market Index at 10.00am ET
Delta Airlines, Morgan Stanley and Netflix are among those reporting today.
IMF cuts global forecast
The International Monetary Fund has cut its outlook for the global economy highlighting that a boost from lower oil prices for many sectors will be offset by slower growth in China, Russia, Europe and the oil industry. The update predicts growth of 3.5 per cent this year (down from the 3.8 per cent it was predicting in October) and 3.7 per cent for 2016 (down from 4 per cent). The World Bank recently downgraded its predictions for this year from 3.4 per cent to 3.0.
Facebook says it contributes $200 billion and 4.5 million jobs to global economy
A report commissioned by Facebook reveals the economic impact of the social network. The study undertaken by Deloitte says that Facebook generates economic activity worth around $200 billion and 4.5 million jobs globally. Among the factors considered are the businesses that have Facebook pages, apps and services, advertising and word of mouth recommendations of products and services. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg will speak at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this Thursday, alongside Google’s chairman and Microsoft’s CEO as they discuss the digital economy.
Twitter to acquire Indian firm to push into emerging markets
Twitter is to acquire Indian marketing firm ZipDial Mobile Solutions for a reported $30 million in a bid to increase its penetration of emerging markets. With mobile phone usage surging in India and expected to reach 500 million within a few years the deal will allow Twitter to better deliver mobile content to the massive new audience.