The U.K. and Iran are embroiled in a diplomatic dispute after British Royal Marines and Gibraltarian police seized a supertanker carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of sanctions. Iran said the action off Gibraltar was illegal and summoned the British ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. It comes as the U.K., France and Germany try to stop Iran walking away from the nuclear deal.
Asian stocks looked set for a muted start to trading with no direction from their U.S. counterparts thanks to the American holiday. The dollar was flat as investors await the key U.S. jobs report Friday. Futures in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong were little changed, as were U.S. contracts. European shares drifted Thursday in a lackluster session marked by thin trading volumes. Treasuries weren’t trading thanks to Independence Day. Gold slipped but stayed above $1,400, while oil futures fell, even amid further Middle East tensions.
India has lost its status as the world’s fastest-growing major economy; with Friday’s budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his first chance since a decisive election win to give things a boost. Newly appointed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to boost spending and provide tax relief to consumers. With the global outlook turning gloomy, and the Reserve Bank of India having already cut interest rates three times this year, the focus is shifting to the government to play its part. Here’s a guide to the biggest challenges Sitharaman faces in her new job.
China’s Buildings Are Watching
Property technology is altering the way urban dwellers interact with their living and shopping environments — most notably in China, where convenience can often trump privacy — by using big data and machine learning to help individuals and companies buy, sell and manage real estate. In 2018, investment into proptech startups came to almost $20 billion, data from market research firm Venture Scanner show. Installing sensors around residential communities to help with property management and using facial recognition technology to control access to offices are just two examples of the trend.
Top earners are taking a bigger slice of the global income pie, according to the International Labour Organization. Its research shows that just 10% of workers receive almost half of total labor income, while the lowest 20% earn less than 1%. Between 2004 and 2017, the top 20% of earners increased their share to 53.5% from 51.4%, potentially adding fuel to talk of inequality.