Overseas Headlines – October 17, 2017


U.S. online retail sales likely to surpass $1 trillion by 2027

U.S. online retail sales will surpass $1 trillion by 2027 compared with $445 billion this year, according to a forecast by business advisory firm FTI Consulting Inc (FCN.N), as more Americans move away from brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 12 percent through 2020 and at a relatively moderate 9 percent over the next decade, according to the report released on Tuesday. Purchases made online accounted for 12 percent of total U.S. retail sales and 50 percent of total sales growth in the past year, according to the study. FTI said Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) total share of these online sales is likely to increase to 53 percent by 2027 from 34 percent in 2016. This means Amazon’s share would represent nearly 12 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2027 compared with 4 percent at present. This year, stronger online business is once again expected to boost total sales for the U.S. holiday season, a period which typically accounts for 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers.




German investor morale buoyed by flush order books

Flush order books and solid output figures boosted morale among German investors in October, the ZEW research institute said on Tuesday, suggesting a strong phase of growth in Europe’s biggest economy has further to run. The Mannheim-based institute’s monthly economic sentiment index rose to 17.6 from 17.0 in September. While that missed analysts’ expectations, the ZEW said the fact that inflation had risen and was expected to rise further was a positive signal. “(This)… equally points towards a positive economic development in Germany,” said ZEW President Achim Wambach. Rising price pressures also made a change in the European Central Bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy more likely, he said. The ECB is due to decide in October whether to extend its stimulus program into next year. Sources have told Reuters it was likely to extend the purchases but reduce their size. But its President Mario Draghi cautioned on Friday that the euro zone continued to need substantial monetary stimulus as inflation had not yet risen sufficiently.




As China’s leaders gather, market reform hopes fade

President Xi Jinping’s rule in China has been marked by a muscular stance in many areas – from corruption to foreign policy – but investors and business leaders hoping that the nation’s most powerful leader in decades will drive market reforms are girding for disappointment. As he gears up for his second term, hoped-for market liberalization is increasingly being viewed as secondary to Xi’s state-centered approach to economic policy and his focus on stability. The Communist Party Congress beginning on Wednesday in Beijing is expected to see Xi consolidate his power and is unlikely to see a change in his priorities. Party spokesman Tuo Zhen told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that China will persist with opening up and expanding market access. But foreign executives and analysts question whether these kinds of comments will mean a lot on the ground. “I don’t see market opening coming. It’s all about discipline and control,” said one senior China-based American executive, who declined to be identified. China’s State Council Information Office referred questions on market reforms to the country’s economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, which did not respond to a faxed request for comment.