Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala becomes first woman, African to lead WTO

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed Monday to head the leading international trade body as it seeks to resolve disagreements over how it decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs. Okonjo-Iweala, 66, was appointed director-general of the World Trade Organization by representatives of the 164 member countries, according to a statement from the body. She said in a statement that her first priority would be to quickly address the economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to “implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.” “Our organization faces a great many … Continue reading Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala becomes first woman, African to lead WTO

US economy shrinks 3.5 percent in 2020, worst decline since 1946

The United States economy continued to rebound in the final three months of 2020, but the weaker-than-expected boost was not enough to offset a contraction in the first quarter and an historic plunge in the second, leaving the world’s largest economy in the red for the year. US gross domestic product (GDP) which measures the total output of goods and services- grew 4 percent on an annualized basis in the final three months of 2020, the US Department of Commerce said on Thursday. The figure was lower than many analysts were expecting and reflects the drag of surging COVID-19 infections … Continue reading US economy shrinks 3.5 percent in 2020, worst decline since 1946

Oman bars expatriates from certain jobs as pandemic bites

Oman’s labour ministry has said it will bar expatriates from certain jobs in the private sector, in an attempt to create more jobs for its citizens amid an economic downturn. Expats in the Gulf country make up about 40 percent of its 4.5 million-strong population. “A number of jobs in the private sector will be nationalised,” the ministry announced on Twitter on Sunday. It added the work permits of foreigners in those professions will not be renewed after their expiry date. Various jobs in insurance companies, shops and car dealerships, including finance, commercial and administrative positions, will be “limited to … Continue reading Oman bars expatriates from certain jobs as pandemic bites

China takes new foreign investment top spot from US

China has overtaken the US as the world’s top destination for new foreign direct investment, according to UN figures released on Sunday, new investments into America from overseas companies fell by almost half last year, leading to the loss of its number one status. In contrast, UN figures show direct investment into Chinese firms climbed 4%, putting it number one globally, the top ranking shows China’s growing influence on the world economic stage. China had $163bn (£119bn) in inflows last year, compared to $134bn attracted by the US, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its … Continue reading China takes new foreign investment top spot from US

China falling short of US trade deal targets

China is falling short of its commitment to buy an extra $200bn (£146bn) worth of US goods over 2020 and 2021, China agreed to buy the goods in a trade deal with the US agreed last January in exchange for reduced tariffs on $120bn worth of goods. The agreement was seen as phase one of a deal aimed at resolving the trade war between the world’s biggest economies. Since the Covid-19 pandemic the US trade deficit with China has surged, medical goods and equipment used for the work from home boom helped drive US imports of Chinese goods in 2020. … Continue reading China falling short of US trade deal targets

China’s economy grows in fourth quarter, bucking global trend

China’s latest official figures have confirmed it was the only major economy to see growth in 2020. The world’s second largest economy says it grew 2.3% last year, with the final quarter seeing growth of 6.5% – up from 4.9% in the third quarter. Shutdowns from Covid-19 had caused the economy to slump by 6.8% in the first three months of 2020, strict virus containment measures and emergency relief for businesses helped the economy recover. However, Covid-19 still had a major impact, with nationwide shutdowns of factories and manufacturing plants forcing economic growth to its slowest rate for four decades. … Continue reading China’s economy grows in fourth quarter, bucking global trend

After months of COVID delays, African free trade bloc launches

African countries began officially trading under a new continent-wide free trade area on Friday, after months of delays caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, but experts view the New Year’s Day launch as largely symbolic with full implementation of the deal expected to take years. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc that will be the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Backers say it will boost trade among African neighbours while allowing the continent to develop its own value chains. … Continue reading After months of COVID delays, African free trade bloc launches

Covid-19 forces Davos forum to move to Singapore

The World Economic Forum, which usually hosts a glitzy annual meeting for political and business leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, has moved next year’s event to Singapore. The forum says it’s making the change to safeguard health and safety. “In light of the current situation with regards to Covid-19 cases, it was decided that Singapore was best placed to hold the meeting,” it said. Singapore has largely been seen as managing the crisis successfully. It’s health ministry says there are currently 28 people being treated in hospital for the coronavirus, but none are in intensive care, and … Continue reading Covid-19 forces Davos forum to move to Singapore

China to overtake 56 nations by 2025 in per capita income surge

China’s surging economy is set to overtake 56 countries in the world’s per-capita income rankings during the quarter-century through 2025, the International Monetary Fund projects, by that date, China will rank 70th in the world on the metric, putting it close to joining the richest one-third of nations, according to data analyzed by Bloomberg from last month’s IMF World Economic Outlook. The Asian powerhouse is forecast to have per-capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, equal to $25,307 in 2025. That will take it past Argentina, one of the richest countries in the world a century ago and now mired in … Continue reading China to overtake 56 nations by 2025 in per capita income surge

Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc

Fifteen countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.The pact is seen as an extension of China’s influence in the region. The deal excludes the US, which withdrew from a rival Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017, President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP)shortly after taking office, the deal was to involve 12 countries and was supported by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama as a … Continue reading Asia-Pacific countries form world’s largest trading bloc

Luxury brands jump on China’s singles day shopping event

Luxury brands have embraced China’s largest annual shopping spree, helping “Singles Day” break records once again, firms including Balenciaga and Prada debuted on Singles Day, or Double 11, joining around 200 luxury brands, more than double last year’s figure. Singles Day was created by Chinese online retail platform Alibaba. This year, the annual sale racked up $74bn (£56bn), with the luxury brands helping Tmall, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, hit new highs, the event was seen as a gauge of the health of the Chinese economy as it emerges first from the pandemic, despite the healthy sales figures, Alibaba and other Chinese … Continue reading Luxury brands jump on China’s singles day shopping event

Crazy sale! China’s Singles’ Day bags record shopping revenues

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said orders made during its Singles’ Day mega-shopping festival had exceeded $56bn by Wednesday morning, as consumers sought to cash in on a deluge of discounts. This year’s shopping extravaganza comes a week after Alibaba lost almost $76bn of its market value following China’s suspension of the $37bn listing of Ant Group, the financial technology firm which Alibaba owns a third of. It also takes place as China experiences an economic rebound after getting the spread of the novel coronavirus under control within its borders, following the virus’ emergence in the central city of … Continue reading Crazy sale! China’s Singles’ Day bags record shopping revenues