In its longest winning streak since December last year, the MSCI Pacific Index rose for a ninth day as Chinese factory output and retail sales grew more strongly than expected in August. China’s industrial production rose 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier and retail sales gained 13.4 percent, adding to signs the world’s second-largest economy is rebounding.
U.S. president Barack Obama is due to give a speech tonight in an attempt to drum up support for military action in Syria. In somewhat of a positive development, Russia have moved to request that Syria hand over all of their chemical weapons to international forces. Obama has made clear his scepticism that such a plan could be achieved, but made clear that a U.S. attack “absolutely” would be put on hold if Syria followed through on the proposal from its powerful ally.
The Russian-backed offer, stemming from a remark by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, represents a possible diplomatic solution to a standoff that also threatens to undermine other parts of Obama’s second-term agenda. The president acknowledged that his support in Congress for military action is weak. He said he hasn’t decided whether to proceed with a strike even if lawmakers turn him down.
Surveys showed business activity in Britain rose last month at a pace unmatched by any of its major G20 peers, a huge contrast to the early part of the year when there was widespread talk of a “triple dip” recession. Looking ahead, there is a lot more budget austerity to come, which has drained growth across Europe more than governments had envisaged. And there is always a chance the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis will flare up again.