“Trump’s Tariff Relief Comes Down to the Wire Ahead of May 1 Deadline.”
President Donald Trump hasn’t decided whether to extend allied nations relief from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, even though temporary exemptions are set to expire in less than 24 hours.
“The president has not made any decision yet,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business Network in an interview that aired Monday, when asked about extending exemptions to trading partners. “We’ve been having lots of discussions internally, we’ve been having lots of discussions with our counterparts,” he said, adding: “We’re addressing these issues real time.”
Mnuchin’s comments were similar to those of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said late Saturday that the White House will announce its decision on tariffs right before the May 1 deadline.
Trump last month imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. But he walked back from an earlier no-exemptions stance to give Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Mexico and South Korea a temporary reprieve when the tariffs took effect, and directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to handle negotiations with countries seeking exemptions.
So far, South Korea is the only nation to be spared from the duties, though nations including France and Germany have pushed to be excluded. “The president gave us time to address these issues and the president is going to make a decision,” Mnuchin said. “I expect that there will be a decision quickly.”
“Democrats lose ground with millennials – Reuters/Ipsos poll.”
Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials as its candidates head into the crucial midterm congressional elections, according to the Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll.
The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall. And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.
Although nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into votes for Democratic congressional candidates.
That presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count on millennials as a core constituency – and will need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November. Young voters represent an opportunity and a risk for both parties, said Donald Green, a political science professor at Columbia University in New York City.
Only 28 percent of those polled expressed overt support for Republicans in the 2018 poll – about the same percentage as two years earlier.But that does not mean the rest will turn out to back Democrats, the survey showed. A growing share of voters between ages 18 and 34 years old said they were undecided, would support a third-party candidate or not vote at all. The shift away from Democrats was more pronounced among white millennials – who accounted for two-thirds of all votes cast in that age group in 2016.
“Syria war: Missile strikes on military sites ‘kill pro-Assad fighters’”
Missile strikes on military sites in northern Syria overnight reportedly killed a number of pro-government fighters, including Iranians. The Syrian military said facilities in Hama and Aleppo provinces were struck. It did not say if there were any casualties. But a UK-based monitoring group said four Syrians and 22 foreigners, mostly Iranians, died.
It is not known who was behind the attacks. But Western nations and Israel have previously hit sites in Syria. Earlier this month, the US, UK and France bombed three facilities they said were associated with the Syrian government’s alleged chemical weapons programme.
Israel is meanwhile alleged to have hit an airbase reportedly serving as an Iranian drone command centre and containing an advanced Iranian air defence system.
The office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will issue a statement on Monday evening on a «significant development» regarding the nuclear deal between Western powers and Iran.
Mr Netanyahu has been a staunch opponent of the deal, arguing that it should be «fixed» or scrapped. US President Donald Trump is due to decide on 12 May whether or not to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, a move which would put the agreement in jeopardy.
“U.S. March Consumer Spending Picks Up; Inflation Hits Fed Goal.”
U.S. consumer spending picked up in March while the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge hit the central bank’s 2 percent target for the first time in a year, reinforcing the outlook for further interest-rate hikes.
Purchases rose 0.4 percent from the prior month, matching estimates, after being little changed in February, Commerce Department figures showed Monday. The price gauge linked to consumption rose 2 percent from a year earlier after 1.7 percent in February; excluding food and energy, which officials see as a better gauge of underlying trends, it was up 1.9 percent.
The rise in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy, gives the economy some momentum at the end of an otherwise weak quarter, and provide some support for forecasts that consumption will accelerate this quarter as tax cuts and a gradual pickup in wages filter into Americans’ bank accounts and sentiment. At the same time, the income figures were slightly below forecasts, reflecting the weakest gain in wages and salaries since October.
Even with the Fed’s preferred price measure hitting its target, central bankers are likely to react with restraint and stick to their plan for gradual interest-rate hikes, though the trend could nudge them toward four increases this year. Policy makers are expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at their two-day meeting concluding Wednesday, then raise rates in June for the second time this year.
Incomes rose 0.3 percent from the prior month, the same as February and less than the projected 0.4 percent gain; adjusted for taxes and inflation, disposable income was up 0.2 percent following a 0.1 percent rise. Wages and salaries advanced 0.2 percent, the smallest gain since October, after a 0.4 percent increase in February.