International News (Issue 377) – 13 November 2015

Heaps to cover off in global markets this week.

First, the fascinating and fun stuff that comes across my desk each week.

Did you know it was ‘Singles Day’ in China this Wednesday, and that ‘Singles Day’ is the world’s biggest online shopping day.

In 2009 Alibaba, China’s largest online market-place, began using this day to promote sales on its site.

Check out these statistics – US$20bn of goods were sold, up from US$13bn last year and more than double the $9.2bn sold over 5 FULL DAYS in the US last year over Thanksgiving.

Chinese consumption and ‘mass middle-class’ as a theme, remains alive and well.

Here’s another cool thing I learned this week.

Google (GOOG) (or Alphabet as the company is now known) released an open-source software called Tensor-Flow which as I understand it, opens up 6 years of internal artificial intelligence software development to the world.

According to a technology analyst I have huge regard for, this is reminiscent of Google’s opening of Android to the world, which then led to the rapid proliferation of smart device technology.

Get ready for a boom in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in the years to come!

Onto more sobering topics, the US October payroll figures released on Friday night were perhaps the most important macro news of the week.

The jump of 320,000 in new jobs last month was well ahead of expectations, and seems certain to have now set in train the first US interest rate rise since June 2006, when the Federal Reserve next convene on December 17th.

In China, the inflation figures came in a shade under forecast, providing the Peoples Bank of China with more room to ease interest rates there early in the new year.

Again, as evidenced by my remarks above from Alibaba, the Chinese economy remains entirely two-track – consumption remains sound (October retail sales rose 11%), but infrastructure and broader investment remains under pressure.

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