In Brief – N.31 – March 13, 2016

Moody’s changed outlook on China’s Aa3 government bond rating to negative from stable, affirmed Aa3 rating, according to 3 drivers: weakening fiscal metrics and sizeable contingent liabilities, eroding external strength, risks of a loss in policy credibility and efficiency.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each scored a string of impressive primary victories on Super Tuesday night that sent an emphatic message to voters and their respective political rivals that the primary season 2016 might be all but over.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declared Lebanon’s Hezbollah a “terrorist” group, in the latest regional move against the organization fighting in support of Syria’s government.

Argentina’s government reached an agreement with major American hedge funds that it had battled with since the country broke the record books and defaulted on $95 billion of debt in 2001.

French intelligence agencies warned that there are terrorist commandos in Europe of which location and targets remained unknown. A political response to the terrorist threat was also needed, particularly in Syria and Libya, said DGSE and DGSI chiefs before a Senate commission.

NATO commander General Philip Breedlove confirmed that members of ISIS were hiding among the flood of refugees entering Europe, “taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own.”

While accusing the US of « militarizing » the South China Sea, the Chinese government has cut the growth of its military spending to a 6-year smallest at 7% in 2016 as a likely result of slowing growth and budgetary constraints.

Brazil’s economy shrank by most in 25 years, at around 3.8% of GDP in 2015 as businesses slashed investment plans and laid off more than 1.5 million workers. It was the worst performance of any G20 nation in 2015.

Already facing tough questions about its business model notably from the FTC, Los Angeles-based nutritional supplement maker Herbalife cut 2015 customer growth in half, blaming database error.

Cybercrime jumped to the 2nd most reported economic crime as it continued to escalate in a more and more connected business ecosystem and detection methods couldn’t keep pace, an investigation by PWC found out.

China’s exports contracted 20.6% YOY in February 2016, worst fall since May 2009, deepening worries over slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

After Ireland, Spain and Portugal, Cyprus exited from the economic adjustment program, after being approved by a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, leaving Greece as the only Eurozone country still in the process.

The BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that a sales tax increase scheduled for April 2017 would have a much smaller impact than the one in April 2014, which sent Japan into a recession.

US Congress feels Elon Musk’s SpaceX is a safer bet and wants to end use of the Russian RD-180 by 2019, but the USAF thinks this is too risky.