On Friday, the US released its GDP numbers for the second quarter. The data showed that the economy rose by 2.1% in the second quarter. This was higher than the consensus estimate of a 1.8% growth and lower than the first quarter growth of 3.1%. This growth denied Trump the 3% growth he has always talked about. The economy growth was driven consumer spending, which rose by 4.3% in the quarter. Government spending also helped with the growth. Unfortunately, there were weaknesses in other parts of the economy. The residential investment, which includes housing construction declined for the sixth consecutive quarter. Business investment and exports declined as manufacturers were hurt by the tariffs. Shortly after the numbers were released, Trump blamed the slowdown on the Federal Reserve.
On Friday, it was announced that the London Stock Exchange (LSE) was preparing to acquire Refinitiv in a deal that will be valued at more than $20 billion. Refinitiv was acquired last year by a group of companies led by Blackstone. The company was the data part of Thomson Reuters. It included data and analytics tools like Eikon, which are used by global investors. The deal will propel LSE to become one of the biggest exchanges in the world.
In Hong Kong, the protests continued. In the past few weeks, Hong Kongers have been protesting an extradition bill that was before the legislature. While the bill has been suspended, the protesters have vowed to continue with the protests until it is withdrawn. They have also increased the demands from the city. For example, they have protested the brutality of the police and the change of government. They are also protesting about what they see as China’s increased power in the city.
Tensions increased in the Middle East as Iran rebuffed the European efforts to defuse tensions. In a statement, the Iranian regime said that it will not release a British-flagged tanker until the UK agreed to return its own vessel. Iran’s President Rouhani said that a tanker exchange will help lower the pressure with the UK. The Iranian tanker was captured by the UK because it was taking crude oil to Syria. These tensions have been rife after Donald Trump exited the Iran nuclear deal last year.
In the United Kingdom, talks of a no-deal Brexit continued. Meetings among the Boris Johnson’s cabinet members continued in a sign that the new prime minister is ready to take the country out of the EU without a deal. The first official cabinet meeting will take place today. According to Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, there will be a no-Brexit deal if the European Union don’t restart negotiations. The likelihood of a no-deal Brexit rose after Johnson nominated a cabinet of all Brexiteers, who include Gove, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Steve Barclay, and Geoffrey Cox.