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Wall Street Breakfast: China Records 6.7% Growth In First Quarter

The world's second-largest economy grew 6.7% in Q1, the slowest pace of expansion since the financial crisis. But the figure suggested China's target range of 6.5%-7% growth for 2016 is possible as long as it continues using its vast stimulus toolbox. Other data also reinforced previous signs the country may be finding traction with better-than-expected growth in retail sales, industrial output, fixed asset investment, export figures, and capital outflows.

All eyes are on Doha this weekend where a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers is being held to discuss freezing output at current levels. Ahead of the big event, another Russian official poured cold water on hopes that a freeze would boost crude costs. "I want to say that we don't expect any changes in the price in spite of the negotiations which are being conducted currently with oil-extracting nations," Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told CNBC. Crude futures -1.7% to $40.79/bbl.

In the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, the EU's five biggest economies have struck a deal to crack down on tax avoidance, agreeing to exchange information on the beneficial owners of companies and trusts. "Today we deal another hammer blow against those who hide their illegal tax evasion in the dark corners of the financial system," Britain's George Osborne said at the annual IMF meeting in Washington. The U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain are now pushing for the rest of the G20 to follow suit.

The IMF and Eurogroup are butting heads over the Greek bailout, with Christine Lagarde calling Athens' fiscal targets "highly unrealistic" and saying the €86B rescue may need to be "completely renegotiated." "Flexibility is not an option," Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in response, promising that "if necessary we will do more to relieve their debt burden." A slow death? Germany has repeatedly warned it may no longer be able to support Greece's third bailout if the IMF quits.

Ukraine's parliament has selected presidential ally Volodymyr Groysman as its new prime minister, in the biggest political shakeup since the country's revolution two years ago. Many hope the appointment will bring an end to months of deadlock that has delayed billions of dollars in foreign loans needed to shore up Ukraine's war-battered economy and improve state management.

Ahead of a visit to the U.K. next week by Barack Obama, the White House is insisting that a Brexit decision should be determined by U.K. voters and the U.S. president would only offer his views as a "friend" if asked during his two days in London. The administration has so far backed David Cameron's position on the matter, stating "the British economy will be weaker, its international influence will be reduced and the EU will be damaged if the U.K. votes to leave the bloc in June."

Brazil's Supreme Court rejected a motion from the government early Friday requesting that the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff be suspended. A majority of justices voted against the petition...


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