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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

This week's roundup includes news of a reduction in oil prices following the Easter break, the sale of Weetabix for £1.4 billion, solid economic first quarter growth for China and a new report outlining the most popular property hotspots in the UK for young professionals.


Oil prices dip following Easter break and increased US production

Oil prices edged lower on Tuesday, with benchmark Brent crude futures dipping 4 cents at $55.32 and US West Texas Intermediate crude futures also falling 4 cents, hitting $52.61 a barrel.

The falls follow the closing of a number of markets for the Easter holiday - some for its full four-day duration - as well as new US government data indicating a rise in output.

The report predicted that increased drilling, coupled with oil prices remaining higher than the $50 a barrel mark, should result in the largest monthly gain for more than two years in May for US shale production. 

Post Holdings to buy Weetabix for £1.4bn

UK brand Weetabix is to be bought by US cereal company Post Holdings from China's Bright Food Group in a £1.4 billion deal. The brand was purchased by Bright Foods five years ago and the Chinese company has confirmed it will continue to work alongside Post Holdings to market the cereal in China.

The agreement means that Post Holdings' portfolio will now be boosted by the additions of the Weetabix, Alpen and Barbara's brands.

In a statement, Post Holdings' Chief Executive Rob Vitale said: "Combining together two category leaders continues our strategy of strengthening our portfolio in stable categories and diversifying into new markets." 

China reports strong first quarter economic growth

China has reported solid economic growth for the first quarter of 2017, aided by recoveries in the manufacturing and retail industries. The country reported growth of 6.9% across the three-month period, representing the quickest expansion for six quarters.

National Bureau of Statistics data revealed that the industrial sector improved by 6.5% during the period compared to a year earlier, with manufacturing growing 7% compared with the same quarter in 2016.

It was also shown that the retail and wholesale sector enjoyed its quickest pace of growth since the end of 2014, with a 7.4% annual growth pace recorded for the January to March period. 

Lloyds Bank reveals property hotspots for young professionals  

The most popular property hotspots in England and Wales for young professionals have been revealed in new research from Lloyds Bank. According to the findings, the BN3 postcode in Hove is the most sought-after location for house hunters between the ages of 25 and 44.

Brighton, a neighbouring seaside town to Hove, is seventh on the list, while 16 of the top 20 locations are in London.

The most expensive area on the list is Hampstead, where the average house price stands at around £1.3 million.


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