Hedge funds holding up vital debt relief for crisis-hit Sri Lanka, warn economists

Exclusive: 182 experts say only debt cancellation offers chance of recovery but private investors are playing hardball

Some of the world’s most powerful hedge funds and other investors are holding up vital help for crisis-hit Sri Lanka by their hardline stance in debt-relief negotiations after the Asian country’s $51bn (£42bn) default last year, according to 182 economists and development experts from around the world.

In a statement released to the Guardian on Sunday, the group said extensive debt cancellation was needed to give the economy a chance of recovery and that Sri Lanka would be a test case of the willingness of the international community to tackle a looming global debt crisis.

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EU growth forecast cut as war in Ukraine fuels inflation

European Commission downgrades growth prospects from 4% to 2.7%, while economy slows rapidly in China

The growth prospects for the EU have been revised sharply downwards after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put paid to hopes of a strong and sustained recovery from Covid-19 over the next two years.

Rocketing energy prices as a result of the conflict have pushed up inflation and increased economic headwinds during a period when they were expected to subside, the European Commission said in its latest forecasts.

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Rise in Covid cases slows manufacturing in China to weakest in two years

Output is contracting as Beijing’s tough pandemic measures force some factories to shut down

Output from China’s manufacturing sector slowed to its weakest in almost two years in January as the country’s tough anti-Covid measures forced factories into temporary shutdowns.

A monthly snapshot of industry in the world’s second biggest economy showed production being hard hit by Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic.

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UK could gain ‘first-mover’ advantage with India trade deal

Resolution Foundation report also highlights risk of British firms being undercut by lower cost rivals

Gains from a UK trade deal with India could be on a par with those from an agreement with the US but risks exposing the economy to tougher competition, a report says.

The Resolution Foundation thinktank said successful talks between London and New Delhi had the potential to gain “first-mover” advantage in India and replicate the success of German manufacturing exporters to China.

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Xi Jinping warns of ‘new cold war’ if US keeps up protectionism

In virtual address to World Economic Forum, Chinese president calls for multilateral approach to crisis

China’s president, Xi Jinping, has sent out a warning to Joe Biden that he risks a new cold war if he continues with the protectionist policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

In an address to the virtual World Economic Forum event, Xi called for a multilateral approach to solving the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 and said the pandemic should not be used as an excuse to reverse globalisation in favour of “decoupling and seclusion”.

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China reports strongest growth in two years after Covid-19 recovery

Country was expanding at a faster rate than before the coronavirus pandemic at the end of 2020

China’s economy has posted its strongest growth in two years after completing a rapid recovery from the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic at the start of 2020.

Although the 2.3% annual increase in activity for the world’s second biggest economy was its slowest since 1976, by the final three months of last year China was expanding at a faster rate than before the crisis.

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China to overtake US as world’s biggest economy by 2028, report predicts

Centre for Economics and Business Research says it expects this to happen half a decade sooner than it forecast a year ago

China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy before the end of the decade after outperforming its rival during the global Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said that it nowexpected the value of China’s economy when measured in dollars to exceed that of the US by 2028, half a decade sooner than it expected a year ago.

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WTO to appoint first female boss as shortlist narrows to two

With UK’s Liam Fox eliminated the contest is now between Yoo Myung-hee and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The World Trade Organization is set to be run by a woman for the first time in its 25-year history after it was announced that the final choice to be its new director-general will be between South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee and Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Britain’s former international trade secretary Liam Fox failed to make the final shortlist as the number of candidates was whittled down from five to two.

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Will coronavirus make markets take a ‘black swan’ dive?

Impact of Chinese outbreak has already rippled out well beyond world’s No 2 economy

The impact of coronavirus on the global economy is growing and spreading daily. What started as a medical emergency in the Chinese city of Wuhan has led to planes being grounded, cruise ships being quarantined, theme parks being shut, and car plants being mothballed.

TV footage of deserted streets and empty shops tell their own story: China’s economy, which was already slowing, is going to suffer a major hit as the authorities seek to stop the virus from spreading.

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