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The irony of oil prices at their highest level in over three years are sending Russia so much cash that they have their first budget surpuls since 2011 but the country is deeper in debt. Their program of foreign currency purchases by the Finance Ministry means borrowing more rubles.

The drums of war  are loud in the Middle East with Iran, Syria and Yemen  all vulnerable or in conflict. With the historic meeting between North Korea and the US to confirm the ending of nuclear weapons in the zone, what is Freedom and who are the most free?

U.S. April non farm payrolls were lower than expected at 164,000, following March when NFP added only 103,000 jobs, which followed the robust February gain of 313,0000 jobs, the most since July 2016. Fed rates have doubt after hourly earnings.

High imports helped push Canada's trade deficit to a record for March. Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed for the fifth consecutive month to $1.7 billion in March compared with $2.3 billion in February.

Record exports saw Australia have a much larger than expected trade surplus for the third month in a row. Australia recorded a trade surplus of more than AUD 1 billion for March, in seasonally adjusted terms a surplus of  AUD1.527 billion Australian dollars.

Big week for trade talks for Washington with two key deadlines. First up May 1 (May Day) is when the temporary exemptions on increased tariffs granted from the U.S. on imports of steel and aluminum lapse. Second is May 4 for NAFTA deal to go to Congress for a deal this year.

In the midst of trade wars and Australia's awkward position between China and America an interesting fact has emerged, China is now the top origin of tourists to Australia. The Chinese takeover neighbour New Zealand as the top source country.

Stock markets rallied hard in relief after China’s President Xi Jinping said “The investment environment is like air, (and) only fresh air can attract more people” in a conciliatory Bo’ao Forum speech. U.S. President Trump responded respectively. What's next?

March non farm payrolls added 103,000 jobs, lower than expected following February's 313,0000 jobs which were the most since July 2016. Fed is likely unchanged with hourly earnings and unemployment steady. 

March auto sales are stronger than expected with the big three, Ford sales up 3.46% and Fiat Chyrsler up 13.6%. General Motors $GM however just came out saying they will only report quarterly. Car sales give us insight to consumer trends.

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