A decline in exports dampened China’s economic expansion last year. Library picture: Workers at an electronics factory in Shanghai, 17 March 2018. Photo credit: Humphery/Shutterstock.com
EU complains about China-US trade deal, Ryanair complains about Flybe bailout and watchdog concludes White House broke law. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
China GDP growth at slowest pace in three decades
Mainland China’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, the slowest rate in 29 years. GDP increased 6% during the fourth quarter, on the low end of official and analyst expectations. (The figure was 6.8% in 2018.) Industrial production, retail sales and investment were all down. China faced weak domestic demand and the trade war with the US. Sources: Associated Press, CNBC, Financial Times, Reuters and South China Morning Post.
EU criticises China-US trade deal
The European trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, and the EU Chamber of Commerce in China complained that this week’s US-China trade agreement was potentially anti-competitive. The European Commission will consider a WTO complaint. Sources: Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters and South China Morning Post.
The Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan US federal budget watchdog, said the Trump administration violated the law when it withheld military aid from Ukraine. The GAO report is entirely separate from the US senate impeachment trial which opened this week. Sources: Financial Times, The Guardian, Politico, Reuters and Washington Post.
Alphabet hits $1trn
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reached market capitalisation of $1trn on Thursday. The firm joined fellow US tech companies Apple and Microsoft, and the Saudi oil giant Saudi Aramco, in the club. (Amazon was briefly valued over $1trn in September 2018.) Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, Financial Times, Marketwatch and Reuters.
London IPOs at 10 year low
There were 35 initial public offerings in London last year, raising a collective £5.9bn, the slowest activity for a decade. Sources: Alliance News, CityAM and Marketwatch.
Ryanair blasts Flybe tax break
Rival carriers have criticised a government bailout of the troubled airline Flybe, with Ryanair demanding to receive the same tax holiday offered in the state rescue package. Sources: BBC, The Guardian and ITV News.
Le Pen to stand again
The far-right politician Marine Le Pen said she would run for the French presidency for the third time in 2022. Sources: Deutsche Welle, Euronews and Politico.
Here are 5 science & technology stories you may have missed
Blockchain: Basketball player Spencer Dinwiddie plans to issue tokenised securities pegged to part of his contract with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, per MIT Technology Review. Geology: Scientists reckon that Earth’s magnetic field, which makes the planet more hospitable to life, started 3.7bn years ago, per Nature. Health: A study found a link between being bullied at work and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, per the BBC. AI: This system lets financial firms monitor employee messages to determine if they have a toxic workplace, per Observer.com. AI: Israeli’s transport ministry has reminded Tesla that its “Autopilot” self-driving feature is not authorised in the country, per Ctech.
Suyash Singh, a data analyst in Los Angeles, produced an interactive map of more than 80,000 UFO sightings in the US, which can be sorted by location, date and shape. Spoiler alert: sightings spike on Saturday night.