Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Wednesday.
A bunch of warning signs have bubbled up in Saudi Arabia’s economy over the past few months. The Saudi economy grew at its slowest rate since 2013, the non-oil sector shrank by 0.7% and output in the construction sector shrank by 1.9% year-over-year in July.
SWIFT, the global financial messaging system, disclosed new hacking attacks on its member banks. It is now pressuring them to comply with security procedures instituted after February’s high-profile $81 million heist at Bangladesh Bank.
The European Commission has ordered Ireland to claw back up to €13 billion (£11.1 billion; $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple. The European Union has never ordered a company to pay this much before, with Tuesday’s decision smashing the €1.4 billion (£1.2 billion; $1.6 billion) levied against the French energy giant EDF in 2015.
Japanese industrial output falls flat in July, adding to a long list of data disappointments. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, output levels came in flat in July in seasonally adjusted terms, failing to capitalise on the strong 2.3% gain in June. It was well below market forecasts for a gain of 0.8%.
Investors are fleeing European stocks at a pace not seen since the global financial crisis, says HSBC. In a report released on Wednesday, the bank’s global equity strategy team, Amit Shrivastava, Robert Parkes and Eshan Raka, note that “prevailing uncertainty in Europe continues to drive investors away from the region… with outflows now running into their 26th week, now the joint longest streak of redemptions from European equities.”
We’ve just received a warning about the great hope for China’s economy. Chinese consumer confidence fell to the lowest level in August since February, a somewhat ominous signal given the dramas the Chinese economy was going through at the beginning of the year. The latest Westpac-MNI China consumer sentiment index fell 2.2% to 111.5.
French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has resigned ahead of a rumoured bid for the country’s presidency. Macron said on Tuesday he had quit as economy minister to focus on drawing up a “diagnosis” of the country’s problems, but stopped short of declaring a bid for the presidency in 2017. “I am determined to do everything so that our values, our ideas, our actions can transform France as soon as next year,” the 38-year-old said in a speech to ministry staff.
Oil is slipping. Crude oil futures fell in early trade on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar held around three-week highs and industry stocks data indicated a build in U.S. crude inventories. International Brent crude oil futures are trading at $48.65 per barrel as of 6:50 a.m. BST (1:50 a.m. ET), down 0.16%, from their previous close.
America’s stock market is slowing down. There’s a new trend in trading: going slow. The Chicago Stock Exchange this week outlined plans to adopt what it calls a Liquidity Taking Access Delay (LATD), a 350-microsecond delay for those who trade against resting orders on the exchange.
Dubai’s ruler sacked 9 senior officials because they weren’t at work at 7:30 in the morning. Al-Maktoum made an unannounced trip to a government office in Dubai, the city known for its huge skyscrapers and crazy wealth, this past Sunday and seems to have been disappointed by the lack of workers present.