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Midweek financial focus

-Global Economy: Weak PMI figures point to tough times
-UK: Osborne barely dents deficit in last financial year
-UK: Pensions crushed by low interest rates
-China: Manufacturing slows in April
-Cyprus: UK Cypriots meet with Treasury
-Currencies: Euro near 2-week low ahead of German data
-Energy: WTI crude climbs as US stockpiles decline
-Commodities: Gold gains after biggest weekly fall
-Property: London new-builds increase sharply

Today’s Markets: European stocks to consolidate last session’s gains
European stocks are seen opening flat to higher today, consolidating
the previous session’s gains after continued strong earnings and
hopes for further monetary easing buoyed stocks in the United States
and Asia overnight.

Asia Overnight: Nikkei surges to near 5-year high
Japan’s Nikkei share average climbed to its highest level in nearly five
years on Wednesday on robust US company earnings and as the yen
resumed its downward slide towards 100 to the dollar. The
benchmark Nikkei has surged 58% and the yen has weakened 24%
versus the dollar since mid-November, when Shinzo Abe, who
became prime minister in December, promised bold monetary and
fiscal expansionary policies during his election campaign.

Global Markets: Bogus terror tweet prompts shares sell-off
US markets suffered a brief but sharp sell-off after a news agency’s
hacked Twitter account claimed there had been a terrorist attack on
the White House. The bogus tweet from Associated Press’s main
account told its millions of followers that President Barack Obama had
been injured in an explosion.

Global Economy: Weak PMI figures point to tough times
America’s manufacturers experienced the slowest pace of growth for
six months in April. Markit’s initial purchasing managers’ index (PMI)
fell from 54.6 to 52, just two points from the boundary between growth
and contraction. Germany’s composite PMI reading fell sharply to
48.8, a surprise swing into contraction and the lowest reading since
October. France’s PMI score improved during April but remained well
below the threshold for growth at 44.2, Markit figures showed.

UK: Osborne barely dents deficit in last financial year
The UK government borrowed another £120.6bn in the last financial
year, official figures showed yesterday, down just £300m on the
previous year. Despite George Osborne’s efforts to cut the deficit, the
national debt rose to 75.4% of GDP and borrowing is predicted to stay
at the same level this financial year.

UK: Pensions crushed by low interest rates
New pensioners are getting a far lower income for their savings than they would have if they retired just four years ago,
official figures revealed yesterday, as low interest rates, money printing and new EU rules have dragged down payouts. A
retiree looking to collect a pension of £25,000 per year needs a pot of £763,900 this year, up 29% on the £590,200
required for a man in 2009 according to the Office for National Statistics.

China: Manufacturing slows in April
Manufacturing activity in China has slowed down in April, indicating that the country is still recovering from its decline in
economic growth. The slowdown was attributed to weakening demand for Chinese exports. “Beijing is expected to
respond strongly to sustain the economic recovery by increasing efforts to boost domestic investment and consumption
in the coming months,” said Hongbin Qu, a senior economist.

Cyprus: UK Cypriots meet with Treasury
British Cypriots yesterday met with Treasury minister Greg Clark to explore ways of boosting UK investment in the
struggling island nation, such as the provision of technical assistance and the formation of a Cyprus Investment Fund
Currencies: Euro near 2-week low ahead of German data.

The euro was 0.2% from a two-week low before a German report forecast to show business confidence fell in the
currency bloc’s largest economy, fueling speculation the ECB will cut interest rates.
Energy: WTI crude climbs as US stockpiles decline.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to the highest level in more than a week after an industry report showed
stockpiles declined in the US, the world’s biggest oil consumer.

Commodities: Gold gains after biggest weekly fall
Gold gained after the biggest fall in a week yesterday, advancing for the sixth time in seven days as increasing physical
purchases tempered shrinking assets in exchange-traded products. Gold is still 8.8% below the $1,561.45 close on April
11th, before a two-day, 14% drop, through April 15th – the worst slide since 1983.

Property: London new-builds increase sharply
The number of homes awaiting planning consent has leapt by 116% in the past quarter as developers rush to exploit
London’s recent growth in high-end home sales. Popularity for living inside the Capital has pushed the average price of
an apartment in prime Central London up to £1.1m, recent Land Registry figures show.

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