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Weekly News Summary for Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020: Euro Zone Economic Growth Rate Slows in 2019

The euro zone economy expanded to its slowest since mid-2014 at the end of 2019, as both France’s and Italy’s economy contracted due to strikes against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, and a sharp fall in Italian inventories.

An unexpected decline in Germany’s retail sales at the end of the year also became a factor to the euro zone’s mere 0.1% quarterly increase in output, while lower prices for package tour holidays also pushed inflation down in January.

Monday, February 3, 2020: China Markets Drop as Trading Resumes

China’s financial market stumbled as they resumed trading on Monday after an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

The Shanghai Composite and the blue-chip CSI 300 index posted a near 8% drop, while the yuan shed 1.2% against the US dollar to mark its lowest in eight weeks, and once again breaking the psychologically important threshold of 7 to the dollar.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Alphabet’s YouTube Revenue Disappoints

Newly appointed CEO of Alphabet Inc., Sunder Pichai, revealed further details regarding the performance of some of the group’s key operations, and many were left disappointed.

The Google-parent firm said YouTube generated a revenue of $15 billion in 2019, ending below the range that analysts estimated prior to the release, while its Cloud storage business brought in $10 billion, slightly above expectations, although still behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020: Oil Up 3% on Anti-Coronavirus Drug Breakthrough

Oil prices gained more than 3% on Wednesday, driven by news of a drug breakthrough against the coronavirus outbreak, and the OPEC considering further output reductions to offset a potential decline in global demand.

Both Brent crude oil futures and WTI crude futures rose over 3% in morning trade, before the two benchmarks eased, trading up by 2.5% to $55.31 and $50.86 per barrel respectively.

Thursday, February 6, 2020: China to Halve Tariffs on $75B Worth of US Imports

China announced on Thursday that it will cut import tariffs imposed on $75 billion worth of US products by half.

The country’s Ministry of Finance said the reductions apply to additional tariffs levied against 1,717 goods imported from the US in 2019 and will take effect on February 14.

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