SYDNEY, Aug 1- Activity in China's vast factory sector expanded at the fastest pace in 27 months in July, while industry surveys across Asia showed a pick up in export orders that hinted at a long-awaited revival in global trade. The upbeat result was echoed in the HSBC/ Markit China measure of manufacturing which climbed to an 18- month peak of 51.7, from June's 50.7.» Read More
Asian markets closed mixed following a cautious day ahead of major U.S. data due this week and an interest rate meeting by the European central bank. Japanese stocks boar the brunt of declines, while Hong Kong investors enjoyed resilience in the Hang Seng.
Britain Tuesday endorsed former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn over a former Czech central banker to head the International Monetary Fund in a contest seen as likely to go to the Frenchman.
U.S. President George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard cemented a strong alliance on Wednesday as Asia-Pacific ministers began talks ranging from human security and climate change to trade and economic reform.
U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday it would help to balance trade if China floated its currency, which has been allowed to appreciate gradually in the past two years but remains tightly managed.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said Wednesday its board decided to leave the cash target rate at 6.50 percent after Tuesday's monthly policy meeting.
After "months and months" of increasing auto sales, Toyota Motor threw analysts for a loop when it posted U.S. August results, says Phil LeBeau. The company reported a sales drop of 2.8 percent from the year-ago period -- a "bit of a head-scratcher" for Wall Street.
Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker said on Tuesday he would back an interest rate cut if the evidence pointed to slowing U.S. economic growth and diminished inflation, but he warned that this outcome was by no means automatic.
All 12 regional Federal Reserve banks asked the U.S. central bank's board to hold the cost of emergency loans steady in July and the first week of August, with most bank directors seeing little threat from tightening credit conditions.
Summer isn't over yet, but the languid pace that has prevailed in Washington since Congress left town in August has now definitively vanished. On every front, the White House and Congress, Republicans and Democrats, are girding for political action that will unfold rapidly with its ultimate consequences uncertain.
Central bankers and politicians are in the business of confidence building. Without it, markets - financial or otherwise - do not function. Both Bush and Bernanke did what they are tasked to do...and middle America now believes it may get a reprieve on foreclosure of its mortgage and the credit markets are starting to convince themselves a September rate cut is a foregone conclusion.
U.S. manufacturing expanded more slowly in August, according to a survey published Tuesday.
Economics is known as an imprecise science and one might need look no further than the business of calling recessions to see that. Unlike the weather, recessions arrive before you know it and depart under the same circumstances.
"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve--nor would it be appropriate--to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions. But developments in financial markets can have broad economic effects felt by many outside the markets, and the Federal Reserve must take those effects into account when determining policy."
The Fed will take the necessary steps to shelter the economy from turmoil in financial markets but will not bail out investors, Chairman Ben Bernanke said.
Traders are expecting lots of volatility in September around the Fed meeting, brokerage earnings reports, triple witching expiration, and an historically poor performance in September. In other words, lots of apprehension and few are expecting any real gains in the month ahead.
A sharp drop in investment and government spending more than halved quarterly euro zone growth for April to June, but this is unlikely to stop further ECB interest rate rises as analysts expect the economy to pick up.
Asian stocks closed mixed in subdued trading on the lack of a lead from U.S. markets which were closed on Monday for a public holiday.
Australia's economy sped ahead last quarter as a boom in business and government spending outstripped all expectations, reviving speculation interest rates could have to rise yet further to curb inflation.
British retail sales picked-up pace in August as weather conditions improved but growth remained weaker than earlier in the year, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday.
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