Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited a number of state-owned banks on Jan. 4 to discuss measures aimed to reduce banks' taxes and fees in order to spur more lending to small and micro-enterprises. The central bank published a statement on the same day that it will cut financial institutions' reserve requirement ratios by 1 percentage point to release about CNY1.5 trillion (USD218.3 billion) to the financial system.
For the first time in two decades, Apple has reduced its revenue estimate due to poor sales of its latest iPhone models of XS, XS Max, and XR. This quarter's takings are estimated to be USD84 billion, according to an open letter to investors that Chief Executive Tim Cook published on Jan. 2. The Cupertino-based firm's share price fell almost 10 percent the next day to USD142.19, the lowest since April 21, 2017. On a list of firms with the biggest global market value, Apple has fallen behind Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet to the fourth position.
The Shanghai Composite Index, a benchmark which is often used to evaluate the health of the Chinese economy, slumped 24.6 percent last year to 2,493.9 points from the previous year. The Shenzhen Component Index dropped 34.4 percent to 7,329.8 points. The Growth Enterprise Market Index closed down 28.7 percent to 1,250.5 points. The average yield of bond funds is 4.2 percent and that of money market funds is 3.5 percent. Equity funds ended 25.4 percent in the red.
South Korea's exports reached a record high of USD605.5 billion last year, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement on Jan. 1. South Korea is the seventh-biggest export country, following the US, Germany, China, Japan, the Netherlands and France. The Asian country's exports to China rose 14.2 percent to USD162.2 billion last year, making up nearly one-third of all. It also exported USD72.8 billion worth of goods to the US, USD48.6 billion to Vietnam, and USD15.6 billion to India.
Brazil's trade rose 13.7 percent to USD420.7 billion last year, which is the biggest tally in the past five years. Its exports increased 9.6 percent to USD239.5 billion in 2018 and its imports jumped 19.7 percent to USD181.2 billion, the Ministry of the Economy said in a statement on Jan. 2. China retained its position as Brazil's largest trading partner as bilateral trade exceeded USD100 billion. Brazil's exports to China rose over 32 percent from the previous year while China has not released its official data yet. Brazil trades with the EU and the US the most after China.