Global News April 16, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News April 16, 2018

“Trump Blasts China, Russia for Devaluing Currencies as Fed Hikes.”

President Donald Trump accused China and Russia of devaluing their currencies, opening a new front in his argument that foreign governments are taking advantage of the U.S. economy to support their own expansions.
Just three days after the U.S. Treasury ruled no country is manipulating its exchange rate, Trump took to Twitter to declare that China and Russia are playing what he called a “currency devaluation game” at a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve is raising interest rates.
The attack adds fuel to the brewing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, while also targeting Russia which the White House recently imposed sanctions on and clashed with over Syria.
Trump has repeatedly blasted Beijing for failing to reduce its trade surplus and open its markets to American investment. China’s yuan, though, has gained about 10 percent against the dollar over the past 12 months, climbing in March to the strongest level since August 2015.
The ruble has weakened 10 percent against the dollar in the past year, with much of the decline following the U.S.’s introduction of sanctions on dozens of Russian tycoons, companies and key allies of President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s suggestion that a currency war is underway comes as central bankers and finance ministers from around the world prepare to gather in Washington for the Spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund.


“Global economy to grow 3.5 percent in 2018 but trade is key risk: IIF.”

The global economy is set to grow at a faster clip than anticipated in 2018, due mostly to lower tax rates in the United States, but tensions over trade threaten to derail months of synchronized global expansion, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said on Monday.
The Institute, a global financial industry association, lifted its forecast for global growth in 2018 by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent as it boosted its growth view on the U.S. economy for the current year to 2.9 percent.

The U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent in 2017 according to IIF. It’s previous 2018 forecast, before tax cuts were enacted late last year, was for the U.S. economy to grow 2.4 percent in 2018.
The trade measures announced so far are relatively small so the economic impact is not big, he added, but they cause concern in markets and could delay investment and consumption. Besides trade tensions, the IIF sees the central risk to global growth in a potential spike in inflation, specifically in the United States.
Among the largest emerging market economies, the report highlights the continued growth in Brazil after the steep recession in 2015-2016, with the sizable fiscal deficit as the main risk to their outlook of 2.7 percent growth in 2018
China is seen growing at a marginally lower pace of 6.7 percent compared to 6.9 percent growth last year, while India is seen accelerating to 7.9 percent from 6.4 percent in 2017. IIF also debuted its forecast for 2019 global growth at a stable 3.4 percent from the 3.5 percent forecast for 2018.


BBC News
“Syria air strikes: Russia denies tampering with suspected chemical attack site.”

Russia has denied interfering with evidence at the site of a suspected Syrian government chemical weapons attack which led to Saturday’s military intervention by Western states.
In an interview for BBC’s Hardtalk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: «I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site.» He spoke as the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog held an urgent meeting. International inspectors are trying to reach the site in Douma, near Damascus.
The UK ambassador to the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), Peter Wilson, quoted the agency’s director-general, Ahmet Üzümcü, as saying they were still waiting. The Swedish delegation cited a briefing from Mr Üzümcü that said Syria and Russia were concerned that security on the ground could not be guaranteed.
The meeting in The Hague is behind closed doors, but Reuters news agency reports that the American ambassador, Kenneth Ward, expressed concern the Russian forces there might have tampered with evidence.
The suspected attack, denied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, was carried out in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on 7 April, reportedly killing dozens of people. Two bombs filled with chemicals were reportedly dropped several hours apart on the town.


Trading Economics
“U.S. Retail Sales.”

US retail trade rose by 0.6 percent month-over-month in March 2018, recovering from a 0.1 percent drop in February and beating market expectations of a 0.4 percent gain. It was the first month of increase since November, mainly boosted by purchases of motor vehicles. Considering the first quarter of the year, retail sales went up 0.2 percent.
8 of 13 major retail categories showed month-over-month increases.
Auto sales jumped 2 percent in March, the largest increase since last September, after declining 1.3 percent in February. Additional upward pressure came from: furniture & home furniture stores (0.7 percent vs 0.4 percent); electronics & appliance stores (0.5 percent vs -1 percent); food & beverage stores (0.2 percent, the same pace as in February); health & personal care stores (1.4 percent vs -1.1 percent); general merchandise stores (0.3 percent vs -0.4 percent); nonstore retailers (0.8 percent vs 0.9 percent); and food services & drinking places (0.4 percent, the same pace as in February).
Meanwhile, sales at gardening and building material stores fell 0.6 percent (vs 2 percent in February) and those at gasoline stations declined 0.3 percent (vs 0.1 percent in January). Sales also dropped at: sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores (-1.8 percent vs 3.3 percent); clothing & clothing accessories stores (-0.8 percent vs 0.2 percent); and miscellaneous store retailers (-0.3 percent vs -2.1 percent).
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in February.
Year-on-year, retail trade grew 4.5 percent in March, compared with a 4 percent rise in February.