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We Traveled Across China and Returned Terrified for the Economy
China's steel and metals markets, a barometer of the world's second-biggest economy, are "a lot worse than you think," according to a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst who just completed a tour of the country.
What he saw: idle cranes, empty construction sites and half-finished, abandoned buildings in several cities. Conversations with executives reinforced the "gloomy" outlook.
"China's metals demand is plummeting," wrote Kenneth Hoffman, the metals analyst who spent a week traveling across the country, meeting with executives, traders, industry groups and analysts. "Demand is rapidly deteriorating as the government slows its infrastructure building and transforms into a consumer economy."
Exclusive - BOJ's Nakaso warns market against betting on more easing
(Reuters) - Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso has tempered market expectations that the bank will expand its stimulus program later this month, saying a cut in its inflation forecast would not be enough to justify more monetary easing.
Nakaso, one of Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's two deputies, said that while slumping oil costs have pushed inflation back to zero, rising wages and a steady economic recovery will underpin a long-term rise in prices.
"What's important is the underlying trend of inflation dynamics, which are steadily improving," Nakaso told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, his first with non-Japanese media in nearly a year.
Putin's Surprising New Ruble Problem Threatens Russian Coffers
Vladimir Putin is facing a problem few could have anticipated: The ruble is becoming too strong.
Last year's worst-performing major currency is this year's best and while that's buoying the nation's bonds, driving yields to the lowest in four months, it's also crimping Russia's export revenue. Even though oil is little changed in dollars this year, the price when converted to rubles has plunged to the lowest since 2011.
The currency rout in 2014 helped Russia to keep its budget deficit within 1 percent of gross domestic product as the ruble weakened in lockstep with a 50 percent slump in oil. Now, with the cease-fire in Ukraine and the allure of higher-yielding assets attracting investors to ruble debt, the government is seeing the opposite effect.
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