Last week’s economic and financial news saw a mixed bag of updates. Global markets were mostly up, with the US facing a growing wave of global de-dollarization as BRICS push for a new common currency. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies were in the spotlight with the US Fed judge temporarily stopping the $1.3B sale of Voyager Digital to Binance and CFTC suing Binance for alleged violations of federal laws governing commodities markets.
On the financial front, German consumer prices continued to rise, exceeding Euro-area average inflation rates in recent months. The failed Silicon Valley Bank was also in the news as First Citizens acquired its deposits and loans for up to $500M in stock. In France, 40% of the stocks for 65,000 tons of natural gas were owned by foreigners, as the country looks to buy more natgas from China in Yuan.
In corporate news, Alibaba announced its biggest restructuring in 24 years, splitting into six units and exploring fundraisings or listings for most of them. Meanwhile, Baidu launched an AI fold with “Ernie-bot,” and four artificial intelligence experts expressed concern after their work was cited in an open letter calling for an urgent pause in research. The letter was co-signed by Elon Musk and called for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s new GPT-4.
Finally, in trade news, South Korea saw exports fall for the sixth month in a row in March, highlighting ongoing challenges for Asia’s fourth-largest economy. All in all, it was a busy week for the economic and financial world, with plenty of developments to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.