February 2020

Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% in 2020 as investment and trade gradually recover from last year’s significant weakness but downward risks persist, the World Bank writes. Growth among advanced economies as a group is anticipated to slip to 1.4% in 2020 in part due to continued softness in manufacturing. Growth in emerging market and developing economies is expected to accelerate this year to 4.1%. More…

The oil market is undergoing fundamental change. This spells a significant challenge for oil-exporting countries, including those of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) who account for a fifth of the world’s oil production. The GCC countries have recognized the need to reduce their reliance on oil and are all implementing reforms to diversify their economies as well as fiscal and external revenues. More…

Simon Property Group, Inc.  said that it has agreed to take a controlling stake in fellow retail real estate REIT Taubman Centers, Inc.  in a cash deal valued at approximately $3.6 billion. Simon will acquire all Taubman common stock for $52.50 per share, it represents a 51% premium to Taubman Center’s closing price on February 7 and a 19% premium to total enterprise value. More…

FY2021 budget allows Treasury to continue implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has unleashed the U.S. economy and is benefiting American workers, families, and businesses.  It also funds the IRS to modernize its systems to improve taxpayer service and enforcement, to implement the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act, and proposes an investment in enforcement funded through a program integrity cap adjustment which will save the American taxpayer $64 billion over the next ten years,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. More…

In many OECD countries, inequalities are at their highest levels in 30 years and are widening. The top 10% of income earners take home over ten times more pay than the bottom 10%. Children whose parents did not complete secondary school have four times less chances of making it to university than children who have at least one parent with a university education. More…

World Health Organization (WHO)’s director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “with 99 percent of cases in China, the Coronavirus renamed Covid-19 remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world.” More…

“Despite the deteriorating international situation and a certain decrease in oil prices – by about 7 percent – the results of our operation remain positive,” Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told Russian President Vladimir Putin. “At the end of 2019, production costs amounted to $3.2 per barrel of oil equivalent, which is the most competitive figure in the world,” added Sechin. More…

China’s Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan has urged Hubei province and its capital city of Wuhan to make greater efforts and take more decisive measures to resolutely win the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic. “In the face of the epidemic, Hong Kong compatriots and the people of Wuhan fighting hand in hand have shown the strong cohesion and vitality of the Chinese nation,” said Sun. More…

“The coronavirus epidemic is having a negative impact on economic activities, particularly on the transportation, tourism and industry sectors, particularly in China, and also increasingly in the Asian region and gradually in the world,” he added. In response, the OPEC’s JTC has recommended extending the current production adjustments until the end of 2020. More…

Researchers at the Bank of Japan found that bank loans to low-return borrowers have increased more than those to other normal firms in recent years and such risk taking by banks has been driven by the low interest rate environment as well as the increase in competition among banks. More…


China clears 75% of overdue payments to smaller private enterprises. As of the end of December 2019, 75 percent of the more than 890 billion yuan ($129.76 billion) in such arrears identified nationwide had been paid up. More…

What messages does the Casper IPO send the unicorn market? 1) Valuations in the private market are interesting, but they may not be the reference point for going public. 2) Companies trying to position themselves as “tech companies” to get a higher valuation multiple probably actually need to be “tech companies.” More…

“We’re also signaling that while we can have this expansion and this bull market last a little bit longer, like every tree, trees don’t grow to the sky, so this will not last forever, but for 2020 our expectation is that it’s going to continue to grow,” said Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, chief investment officer at Goldman Sachs (GS). More…

“The UK economy remains extremely important for continental Europe because it’s the second largest after Germany. I hope that there will be cooperation and a sense of understanding between the different sides. The first stage will be the trade agreement, which is complicated,” said Luis de Guindos, Vice-President of the ECB. More…

T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS) and Sprint (S), following a favorable decision in Federal Court in New York, are now taking final steps to complete their merger. “The New T-Mobile will be a supercharged Un-carrier that is great for consumers and great for competition,” said John Legere, Chief Executive Officer of T-Mobile. More…

The forecast projects that euro area gross domestic product (GDP) growth will remain stable at 1.2% in 2020 and 2021. For the EU as a whole, growth is forecast to ease marginally to 1.4% in 2020 and 2021, down from 1.5% in 2019. More…

Capital markets place positive value on oil reserves that are already developed, while the growth of undeveloped reserves has a negative effect on oil firm value, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) researchers found while examining the relationship between an oil firm’s growth in proved reserves and its value. More…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated decision making processes can pose certain threats to consumers, the European Parliament (EP) pointed out. In a resolution adopted on February 12, 2020, MEPs urge the European Commission to examine whether additional measures are necessary in order to guarantee a strong set of rights to protect consumers in the context of AI and automated decision-making. More…

The United States continues to produce historically high levels of crude oil and natural gas. Slow growth in domestic consumption of these fuels leads to increasing exports of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2020 reads. More…