Monday 26 September 2016

Beijing and Brexit to dominate in a clamour for stability

By Colm Kelpie and agencies

Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30

Li Keqiang, China’s premier, right, pictured with president Xi Jinping. Li will outline the country’s GDP targets at a conference this week. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Li Keqiang, China’s premier, right, pictured with president Xi Jinping. Li will outline the country’s GDP targets at a conference this week. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The General Election is done and dusted, but its fallout is set to dominate the news agenda for the week ahead amid efforts to form a new government.

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Businesses chiefs will no doubt be hoping that it won't take long.

With international market volatility dominating the headlines to date and now Brexit fears weighing on sterling, they'll argue there's been too much uncertainty so far this year.

The debate around the prospect of a British withdrawal from the European Union will also be a major issue this week, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble potentially weighing into the debate.

He's due to travel to London later this week where he'll give three speeches expected to centre on efforts to keep the UK in the European Union.

He'll address the British Chambers of Commerce, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum and the London School of Economics.

Sterling hit a 14-month low against the euro this week at 79 pence and hovered around a seven-year low against the dollar as currency watchers remained nervous about the prospect of a so-called Brexit.

The coming week will also hold much interest for China watchers.

The China's People's Consultative Conference, a group of hundreds of Chinese politicians, business leaders, cultural figures and academics, is due to begin its annual, two-day meeting on Thursday to help lay the groundwork for the annual gathering of the National People's Congress, which is set to approve a new five-year plan.

The Congress kicks off on Saturday with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to lay out the government budget and official GDP target for the year.

Li will also outline the five-year development plan.

Chinese politicians told global financial leaders on Friday that the world's second-largest economy remains on a sound footing, while also seeking to manage expectations around the pace of economic reforms in the country.

Speaking as the G20 meeting of central bank governors and finance ministers kicked off in Shanghai, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan sent a message of confidence and repeated earlier reassurances the country would not stage another devaluation of its currency to support the economy.

The latest economic data shows positive signs for China's growth prospects in 2016, and the People's Bank of China (PBOC) still has room and tools in its monetary policy to deal with potential downside risks to its economy, Zhou told a conference held by the Institute of International Finance in conjunction with the G20 meeting.

Closer to home, the Central Statistics Office will release data on house prices today, the latest unemployment statistics will be published tomorrow, the Live Register will be out on Wednesday along with Industrial Production figures and the monthly services index will be published on Friday.

Irish Independent

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