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Brazil's consumer recession finally eased in November. Retail sales jumped 2.0% month-to- month, following an upwardly-revised 0.3% drop in October, and the year-over-year rate rose to -3.5% from -8.1%. November's astonishing performance probably reflects seasonal adjustment problems related to Black Friday discounting. Sales have climbed in the last four Novembers, suggesting that consumers' pre-Christmas spending patterns have shifted permanently.
President Trump made official his plan to impose tariffs on up to $60B of annual imports from China, as well as limitations on Chinese investments in the U.S.
China's trade surplus tumbled to $20.3B in January, from $54.7B in December, surprising the consensus for little change.
Late last year, China said it would scrap residency restrictions for cities with populations less than three million, while the rules for those of three-to-five million will be relaxed.
The U.K. services sector has vanished overnight, following the introduction of tough restrictions on everyday life to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Brazil's consumer recession seems never-ending. Retail sales fell 0.8% month-to-month in October, pushing the headline year-over-year rate down to -8.2% in October, from -5.7% in September. Recent financial market volatility, credit restrictions and the ongoing deterioration of the labour market continue to hurt consumers.
Downside risks to our growth forecast for Brazil and Mexico for this year have diminished this week. In Brazil, concerns over the potential impact of the meat scandal on the economy have diminished. Some key global customers, including Hong Kong, have in recent days eased restrictions on imports from Brazil, and other counties have ended their bans.
Analysis of the economy's potential to recover later this year from extreme weakness in Q2 has focussed largely on the extent to which virus-related restrictions will be lifted.
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