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China in focus as economy slows further

China PMI index for manufacturing fell to 50.1 in April, lower than initially expected. Non-manufacturing PMI was 54.3 which also missed analysts’ projections.

The numbers are more startling given that the Chinese government had initiated some stimulus measures for the economy. Anything below 50 points to a contraction, indicating China’s economy is still losing momentum.

Despite the poor numbers the Shanghai Composite Index closed marginally up on the day although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost some ground.

China trade deal on the horizon?

China’s trade talks with the US resume in Beijing. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin seemed upbeat about progress over the weekend, making it sound as if the two sides are trying to resolve a handful of sticking points. There is still scope for a no deal result if these issues are not resolved soon.

Standard Chartered leads FTSE up

FTSE opened up this morning, powered by Standard Chartered, Ocada and Morrison’s. Standard Chartered turned in decent first quarter results – a 10% increase in pre-tax profits but a 2.8% decline in operating income to $3.8 billion. TB income was up 5% thanks to strong performance of cash management and income derived from the AME region.

Standard Chartered has booked a provision of $1.1 billion to settle disputes over sanctions busting in both the UK and US, with most of this already allocated in 2018.
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