UK construction companies are rubbing their hands with glee this morning after winning contracts for Britain’s new HS2 high-speed rail line.
The government has awarded £6.6bn of work to construct the section between London and Birmingham.
Successful bidders include Carillion’s joint venture with French construction company Eiffage and UK firm Kier. Carillion desperately needs some good news, after shocking the City a week ago with a whopping profits warning and huge writedowns on certain contracts.
Shares in ITV have jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard, after the broadcaster snaffled Carolyn McCall from easyJet to be its next CEO.
ITV announced McCall’s appointment this morning, two days after we reported she was the ‘preferred candidate’ for the role.
My colleague Mark Sweney has the details:
McCall, a former chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, will join ITV on 8 January, replacing Adam Crozier, who left the company at the end of June.
ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette, the former chairman and creative chief of Big Brother maker Endemol, had been keen to replace him with a successor with serious experience at a publicly-listed company.
McCall has been appointed from a final shortlist of three which included Paul Geddes, the Direct Line chief and Channel 4 board member, and the Dixons Carphone boss, Sebastian James.
“In a very impressive field of high-calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out for her track record in media, experience of an international operation, clear strategic acumen and strong record of delivering value to shareholders.
I’m delighted we’ll be working together at ITV.”
European stock markets have opened higher, thanks to China’s growth figures.
Mining shares are rallying in London, on the prospect of greater demand for copper, nickel, iron ore and coal.
And that has pushed the FTSE 100 up by 28 points, or 0.4%, to 7407.
The French, German and Spanish markets are also rising, helping to keep global share prices at today’s all-time peak.
Connor Campbell of City firm SpreadEX says Europe’s traders have begun the week in a good mood, boosted by the wave of data from China.
Overnight there was a quartet of important Chinese figures, led by a better than expected 6.9% GDP reading.
That was joined by a far stronger than forecast industrial production number, an 11% increase in retail sales year-on-year and solid fixed asset investment figure.
China takes in a lot of raw materials, to drive its factories and underpin its infrastructure spending.
So it’s not surprising to see commodity prices on the rise, following the Chinese GDP report.
In London, Copper has hit its highest level since March, gaining 0.8% to $5,970.5 per tonne. Meanwhile in China, the cosy of steel in China has risen to a new three and a half-year high.
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Chinese GDP: What the experts say
Craig James, chief economist at Commonwealth Securities in Sydney, says China’s latest growth figures may indicate that the world economy is holding up.
He says (via Reuters):
“(The new data) is encouraging for global growth as well because China is the second largest economy on the planet.”
“Based on this data, there is no need for easing and no need really for tightening either because inflationary pressures are very much contained. So I think the People’s Bank of China just continues to be watchful.”
Bill Adams, senior international economist at PNC Bank, believes the figures bode well for growth across developing economies.
As China goes, so go emerging markets. Its solid growth reinforces recoveries for commodity exporters and keeps 2017’s pick-up in global growth on track,”
But Elsa Lignos, global head of FX strategy at Royal Bank of Canada, points out that the growth was probably driven by borrowing.
China Q2 GDP was firmer than expected (6.9%y/y, cons 6.8%, prior 6.9%), driven by a sizeable pick-up in industrial production. Sentiment was dampened by the Stats Bureau’s acknowledgement that H1 economic growth was “hard won”.
Our Asia strategist calls that an understatement to be sure; GDP growth was clearly buffered by significant credit expansion to ensure headline growth remained at or above target. Most recognise the dangerous imbalances/can-kicking involved in China’s growth strategy.
MSCI World Index hits new record high
The news that China’s GDP beat expectations drove shares up across Asia, although ironically Chinese investors didn’t share the enthusiasm.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng rose by 0.3%, while Korea’s Kospi and India’s Sensex gained almost 0.4%.
That helped to drive global markets to a new all-time high:
Mike van Dulken of Accendo Markets says “better-than-expected China GDP data” boosted confidence.
This after six years of slowing, suggesting successful management of stimulus.
However, the party didn’t reach China itself, where the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index dropped by almost 1%.
The selloff was sparked by traders rushing to sell shares after the People’s Bank of China injected fresh liquidity into the system.
That caused some alarm on the trading floors, as Marketwatch explains:
“It’s reverse psychology,” said Hao Hong, managing director and head of research at BOCOM International. “If everything is fine, you don’t have to inject liquidity. But if they’re injecting liquidity, something must be wrong.”
Introduction: China beats expectations
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
China has got the new week off to a good start, by releasing growth figures that beat City expectations.
The Chinese economy grew at an annual pace of 6.9% in the last quarter, according to official government figures, matching China’s growth in January-March.
That beat analyst forecasts of 6.8%, and is ahead of Beijing’s target of growing GDP by 6.5% this year. This should calm concerns that China’s economy is heading for a hard landing, as its leaders try to shift away from manufacturing and towards a service-based economy.
The National Bureau of Statistics said the figures showed China’s economy had become “more stable, co-ordinated and sustainable”.
But the agency also struck a cautious notes, saying that :
Overall, the economy continued to show steady progress in the first half…but international instability and uncertainties are still relatively large, and the domestic long-term buildup of structural imbalances remain.
The NBS also warned that China’s economy also faces “many unstable and uncertain factors abroad”; perhaps a nod to president Trump’s protectionist rhetoric, or perhaps Britain’s exit from the EU….
Separate government figures also suggested that the Chinese economy seems to be holding up, despite persistent worries over the country’s growing debts.
They showed that:
- China’s factory output grew 7.6% in June from a year earlier, the fastest pace in three months,
- Fixed-asset investment expanded by 8.6% percent in the first six months of 2017 both beating forecasts.
- Retail sales rose 11.0% in June from a year earlier, the fastest pace since December 2015
I’ll pull some reaction together now….
Also coming up today:
The final estimate of inflation across the euro area is released this morning. It’s likely to confirm that the eurozone inflation rate dropped to 1.3% in June, taking some pressure off the European Central Bank to start tapering its stimulus programme.
In the US, we also get a new healthcheck on New York’s manufacturing sector.
- 10am BST: Eurozone Consumer Price Index for June
- 1.30pm BST: The US Empire Manufacturing (JUL)
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