Global business

It was a dramatic week for global stock markets, as fears deepened about whether the Chinese economy was heading for a "hard landing." Many share indexes swung wildly. The main Shanghai index plunged by more than 8 percent in a single day, its biggest loss since early 2007, wiping out the gains it had made since the start of the year. The S&P 500, FTSE 100 and other markets in Europe and Asia were also rattled, with some recording their steepest falls since the financial crisis in 2008.

One source of worry for investors was data showing that Chinese manufacturing in August had shrunk the most for more than six years. The latest assessment of the smartphone market from IDC, a research firm, predicted that shipments in China will increase by just 1.2 percent this year, down from 19.7 percent in 2014.

In an attempt to stop the market rout, the People's Bank of China reduced interest rates and rolled out other measures to boost liquidity. This week's turmoil reduced the chances that the Federal Reserve will raise rates in September. William Dudley, a member of the Fed's rate-setting committee, admitted that the conditions for tightening monetary policy in September were "less compelling" than a month ago, though he also warned that it was "important not to overreact to short-term market developments."

Investor anxiety spread to other emerging markets. The Russian ruble fell sharply again, to below 70 to the dollar. The Russian government was said to have ordered state-owned and private companies to convert some of their dollar revenue to rubles in order to avoid an even steeper sell-off in the currency.

The ruble's slide has been caused in part by cheaper oil prices amid a worldwide glut of the black stuff. Brent crude was hurtling down at one point this week to $42 a barrel, a price last seen during the financial crisis. Other commodity prices followed suit; copper and aluminum also dropped to six-year lows.

After months of often acrimonious negotiations, Ukraine agreed to a restructuring deal with its creditors. The deal includes a 20 percent write-down on the principal of roughly $18 billion worth of international bonds. The agreement also pushes repayment dates back by four years. The IMF, which is providing financial support to Ukraine, is likely to back the deal.

The volume of world trade contracted in the first half of the year at the fastest pace since 2009, according to the Dutch government's independent World Trade Monitor, continuing the reversal of a trend where for decades the growth in global trade outstripped that of the world economy.

With lower oil prices prompting a round of consolidation in oil field services, Schlumberger became the latest company in the industry to launch a bid for a smaller rival, offering $14.8 billion for Cameron, which specializes in preventing blowouts on rigs.

Paddy Power, which is based in Dublin, and Betfair, a rival listed in London, agreed to merge in an $8 billion deal that places a wager on worldwide growth in online gambling, despite regulatory obstacles in the United States and elsewhere. Placing online bets is illegal in the U.S., for example.

Political economy

King Abdullah of Jordan, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan were all in Moscow to see Vladimir Putin last week, fueling speculation that moves may be afoot to try to end the war in Syria.

In Guatemala the supreme court approved a request to impeach the country's president, Otto PĂ©rez Molina. Congress must now decide whether the impeachment can go ahead. Molina, who denies allegations of corruption, is not allowed to stand in presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 6.

A military court in Russia sentenced Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director and leading opponent of Russia's annexation of Crimea, to 20 years' hard labor. Sentsov was snatched from Crimea last year and charged with plotting terrorist acts.

Syriza, the left-wing ruling party in Greece, was beset by infighting after Alexis Tsipras resigned as prime minister and called an early election for Sept. 20.