Global News May 18, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News May 18, 2018

“U.S. Stocks Mixed on Trade Angst, Treasuries Rise: Markets Wrap.”

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower as investors awaited clarity over progress on trade talks between the world’s two largest economies. The dollar rose with Treasuries.
The S&P 500 Index was little changed and on track for a weekly decline as traders assessed conflicting signals from the U.S. and China on trade talks. Alphabet Inc. fell in early trading ahead of a weekend news story that is said to be critical of the search giant. Brent crude advanced, edging back toward the $80 a barrel it reached Thursday. Gold extended a retreat after breaking below $1,300 an ounce earlier this week.
In Europe, the common currency fell and Italian 10-year bond yields jumped to the highest since October amid uncertainty over the Five Star Movement-League coalition’s policy platform as they attempt to form a government. The region’s major equity benchmark pared an eighth straight weekly advance.
In Europe, the common currency fell and Italian 10-year bond yields jumped to the highest since October amid uncertainty over the Five Star Movement-League coalition’s policy platform as they attempt to form a government. The region’s major equity benchmark pared an eighth straight weekly advance.
Investors are closely watching progress on the latest China-U.S. trade talks for signs of a breakthrough that could reignite a recent rally in global equities, while factoring in oil prices at a four-year high and a 10-year Treasury yield now firmly above 3 percent. Politics in peripheral Europe are also back in the spotlight after Italy’s populist leaders sealed a coalition agreement and a plan for reforms seen as a challenge to the European Union establishment.
The Turkish lira weakened to a fresh record as emerging market currencies headed for their biggest weekly slump since November 2016.


“China denies it has offered a $200 billion package to slash U.S. trade gap.”

China denied on Friday that it had offered a package to slash the U.S. trade deficit by up to $200 billion, hours after it dropped an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports in a conciliatory gesture as top negotiators meet in Washington. U.S. officials had said on Thursday that China was proposing trade concessions and increased purchases of American goods aimed at cutting the U.S. trade deficit with China by up to $200 billion a year.
“This rumor is not true. This I can confirm to you,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing. “As I understand, the relevant consultations are ongoing and they are constructive,” he said, adding that he could not elaborate on the specifics of the negotiations.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington this week for talks with U.S. officials led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin aimed at heading off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
Getting to a $200 billion reduction of the U.S.-China trade deficit on a sustainable basis would require a massive change in the composition of commerce between the two, and the news from the unidentified U.S. officials in Washington had been met with scepticism from economists.


BBC News
“Israel’s Gaza response ‘wholly disproportionate’ – UN rights chief.”

The UN human rights chief says Israel used «wholly disproportionate» force against Palestinian border protests which have left over 100 people dead. Zeid Raad al-Hussein told a meeting in Geneva that Gazans were effectively «caged in a toxic slum» and Gaza’s occupation by Israel had to end.
Israel’s ambassador said Gaza’s militant Islamist rulers had deliberately put people in harm’s way. The UN meeting is considering calling for an independent investigation.
Some 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Monday in the seventh consecutive week of border protests, largely orchestrated by Hamas, which politically controls the Gaza Strip. It was the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war between Israel and militants there.
The protests had been dubbed the Great March of Return, in support of the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to land they or their ancestors fled from or were forced to leave in the war which followed Israel’s founding in 1948.
The Israeli government, which has long ruled out a mass return of Palestinians, said terrorists wanted to use the protests as cover to cross into its territory and carry out attacks.
Mr Zeid told the emergency session on Gaza that the «stark contrast in casualties on both sides is… suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response» by Israel.
An Israeli soldier was «reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone» on Monday, he said, while 43 Palestinians were killed at the site of the protests. Seventeen more Palestinians were killed away from what he called the «hot spots».


“Leading Democrats Are Backing One of the Most Radical Economic Plans in Years.”

Every American who wants a job has one. That’s the street-level understanding of “full employment.” With a jobless rate that fell to 3.9 percent last month, many economists — including policy makers at the Federal Reserve — say the U.S. is basically there.
On the surface, it’s an odd time to turn the government into an employer of last resort, hiring anyone who wants to work. But that’s what many Democrats are proposing, and not just on the party’s left. Could-be presidential candidates, including senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are lining up behind versions of a jobs guarantee that may rank among the most radical economic plans debated in Congress for decades.
It would also be among the most expensive and disruptive, particularly for business — part of the reason why the various draft bills likely won’t pass the current Congress and may struggle in future ones. Still, if politicians are betting that the once-fringe idea has traction, it’s because of doubts that underlie the upbeat labor-market headlines. What kind of jobs do fully-employed Americans have? And who’s left out of that picture?
“We have had a growth in employment, but we have not had a growth in employment of decent jobs,” said William Darity, an economics professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, who’s contributed to job-guarantee proposals. “That’s the big issue. People have precarious work, low-paid work, no benefits or few benefits.”
There are also 5 million part-timers who’d like to be full-time; 2.8 million people who lost a job last month or were on a temporary contract that ended; and 1.4 million who are looking for openings sporadically or have given up. The share of the working-age population that’s actually in work hasn’t recovered to the level it reached before the Great Recession, let alone its 2000 peak. Kevin Hassett, chairman of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in November that more government hiring would help.