Receive free World updates
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest World news every morning.
China’s trade slumped in July, with exports and imports falling more sharply than economists forecast, adding to concerns about growth prospects in the world’s second-biggest economy more than six months after Beijing eased pandemic restrictions.
Exports declined by 14.5 per cent year on year in dollar terms, official data showed this morning, the steepest fall since February 2020 during the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Imports tumbled 12.4 per cent, one of the worst declines in recent years.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast falls of 12.5 and 5 per cent respectively.
Weakness in international trade is one of the main sources of pressure for policymakers in Beijing, who are also grappling with anaemic property sector growth and disappointing domestic demand since anti-pandemic measures were lifted in December.
EU-China: Despite European attempts to “de-risk”, imports from China to the bloc, which include sensitive technology and critical minerals, almost doubled between 2018 and 2022.
UK-China: HSBC’s head of public affairs has apologised for saying the UK government had been “weak” by giving in to US pressure to cut back on its dealings with China.
For more news and analysis on the world’s second-largest economy, visit our China Focus page.
Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:
Economic data: Germany has its consumer price index for last month, while KPMG and the British Retail Consortium release their retail sales monitor for the UK.
Results: SoftBank, Lyft, Glencore and Eli Lilly report. See our Week Ahead newsletter for the full list.
Amazon rainforest: Brazil is hosting a summit of regional countries to discuss how to protect the world’s crucial carbon sink.
Five more top stories
1. Exclusive: Meta has axed a team that used artificial intelligence to predict protein structures in a sign that it is shifting away from scientific projects in favour of building moneymaking AI products. About a dozen scientists worked on ESMFold, a project that was disbanded this spring in a previously unreported move. Here’s more on the AI project that was lauded by those involved in the development of new drugs and treatments.
2. Exclusive: The administrator for Greensill Bank is suing insurer Zurich in London’s High Court for more than $250mn over unpaid claims. The German bank was owned by supply chain finance group Greensill Capital, which collapsed in 2021 after failing to secure new insurance cover for the securities it packaged for investors. Read more on the latest legal battle involving Greensill.
3. S&P Global has stopped scoring corporate borrowers on ESG criteria after having graded companies from one to five for each element of environmental, social and governance risks since 2021. The debt rating agency reversed course last week and said it would only use text and not numerical scores for analysing companies’ ESG matters, putting it at odds with rival Moody’s. Here’s why S&P is making the U-turn.
4. A Russian court has frozen about $36mn worth of Goldman Sachs’s assets in the country after state-owned bank Otkritie, which is under western sanctions, filed a lawsuit accusing Goldman of refusing to pay Rbs615mn ($6.4mn) of debt obligations under derivatives agreements between the two banks. Read the full story.
War in Ukraine: Russian forces carried out two missile strikes on the eastern town of Pokrovsk yesterday evening which hit a popular hotel, killing five people and injuring 31, according to Ukraine’s interior ministry.
5. Ireland’s taoiseach has criticised London’s “reluctance” to work together on the political crisis in Northern Ireland, saying it has hampered the prospect of reaching a solution before a looming UK general election. Read the full Financial Times interview with Leo Varadkar.
The Big Read
From the Democratic Republic of Congo to Indonesia, the handful of countries that dominate the production of metals critical to the green transition are seeing their fortunes transform. As the world moves from an energy system built on fossil fuels to one powered by electricity and renewables, the global demand for materials such as copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium can only grow.
We’re also reading . . .
Chart of the day
Sales of cross-border debt denominated in renminbi have boomed this year, as relatively low yields in China’s bond market boost Beijing’s drive to increase the international footprint of its currency. Issuance of renminbi-denominated “panda” bonds by foreign issuers in China so far this year has already surpassed the full-year record set in 2021.
Take a break from the news
FT graphic artist Ian Bott remembers his excitement when he visited London’s Imperial War Museum as a boy. Visiting again some 50 years later, his recollection is now tempered with sorrow, contextualised with details of the loss and suffering from Britain’s involvement in conflicts since 1914. But the challenging experience makes visiting all the more important, he writes in this FT Globetrotter piece complete with his own illustrations.
Additional contributions from Benjamin Wilhelm and Gordon Smith
Recommended newsletters for you
Asset Management — Find out the inside story of the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion-dollar industry. Sign up here
The Week Ahead — Start every week with a preview of what’s on the agenda. Sign up here