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You might’ve missed it amid all the political tumult, but things are actually looking up — macroeconomically speaking.

That’s the take from the International Monetary Fund, anyway, which in its latest report forecast that the world economy will grow faster than previously expected this year — expanding 3.5 per cent, a rise of 0.1 percentage points — thanks to increased trade, investment and manufacturing. But the IMF also warned that the threat of protectionist policies and structural problems, such as low productivity and high income inequality, meant “the balance of risks remains tilted to the downside”.

On Wall Street oil was hit by a savage sell-off that pushed it towards the $50-a-barrel mark on Wednesday as the S&P 500 ended 0.2 per cent lower, and the dollar gained at the expense of Treasuries and gold.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Kangmei Pharmaceutical, Singapore Exchange, S-1, Shinhan Financial, KB Financial, Yaskawa Electric and Mindtree.

The economic calendar for Thursday finds solace in the ephemeral quality of life (all times Hong Kong):

  • 07.50: Japan imports, exports and trade balance
  • 13.30: Japan department and convenience store sales
  • 16.00: Taiwan export orders
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