China inflation hits highest level in 15 months

The consumer price index hit 2.7 percent in May, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019

China inflation hits highest level in 15 months

  • The consumer price index hit 2.7 percent in May compared with 2.5 percent a month earlier
  • The rise was ‘largely the result of renewed acceleration in food price inflation’

BEIJING: Inflation in China rose to its highest level in more than a year in May driven by surges in prices due to the African swine fever epidemic and bad weather, official data showed Wednesday.
But while prices are increasing, demand remains weak because of the trade war with the United States and economic uncertainty.
The consumer price index (CPI) — a key gauge of retail inflation — hit 2.7 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, compared with 2.5 percent in April and the highest since February 2018.
The data was in line with a forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.
The rise was “largely the result of renewed acceleration in food price inflation,” and supply disruptions caused by African swine fever, Capital Economics said in a note.
Beijing’s official statistics say around one million pigs have been killed since the first outbreak in August — but that is widely considered to be an underestimate.
The producer price index (PPI), an important indicator of domestic demand, hit 0.6 percent in May, from 0.9 percent the previous month.
Economic “growth could slow further on escalating US-China trade tensions,” Nomura International said in a note.
“We expect Beijing to undertake further easing/stimulus measures to bolster confidence and to stabilize growth.”
US President Donald Trump is expected to meet China’s Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan this month to discuss the long-running trade row, but US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned that it will not be a stage for a “definitive agreement.”


Natixis opens investment banking office in Saudi Arabia

Updated 31 May 2020

Natixis opens investment banking office in Saudi Arabia

  • Western financial institutions have been seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: French investment bank Natixis has opened a corporate and investment banking office in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh and appointed former JPMorgan banker Reema Al-Asmari as its chief executive officer, the bank said on Sunday.
Western financial institutions have been seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia since the government unveiled plans to privatize state assets and introduced reforms to attract foreign capital under its Vision 2030 program to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil.
“By establishing a local presence, Natixis aims to deepen its relationships with its existing clients, including corporates, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions, and to serve new clients, including family offices,” Natixis said in a statement.
The bank’s office, located in Al Faisaliah Tower, will offer “tailor-made capital markets products and investment banking services.”
Al-Asmari, who joined Natixis last August as an adviser to the bank’s Dubai branch, will continue to report to Simon Eedle, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking’s regional head for the Middle East.
Eedle said in a statement that the bank’s commitment to the Middle East dated back more than 20 years and he believed its areas of expertise were closely aligned with the needs of clients in the region. “This is very much the case for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notably in the context of Vision 2030,” he said, adding it was a “pivotal time” for the kingdom.