Overseas Headlines – April 19, 2017


U.S. Tax Cuts May Lead Companies to Take Too Much Risk, IMF Says
Tax cuts and financial deregulation proposed by the Trump administration could embolden American companies to boost risk taking to undesirable levels, the International Monetary Fund warned. President Donald Trump has proposed cutting the corporate income-tax rate to 15 percent and taxing offshore earnings at a reduced level when companies repatriate the money. He has also suggested allowing firms to immediately expense capital spending, though they would have to give up their ability to deduct net interest expenses. The plan would prompt U.S. companies to significantly boost capital spending, the IMF said Wednesday in its semi-annual Global Financial Stability Report. But the proposals may have the unintended consequence of causing companies to take too much risk, said the Washington-based fund.


Germany defends surplus, urges ECB to tighten policy
Germany has prepared a robust defence of its current account surplus in a position paper drawn up ahead of international finance talks in Washington later this week, when it expects to face U.S. pressure to reduce the surplus. In the eight-page position paper, the German finance and economy ministries argue that the current account surplus, which ran at 8.3 percent of national economic output last year, is the result of market-based corporate decisions. "Germany applies no protectionist instruments," the ministries wrote in the paper, in which they added that divergent U.S. and euro zone monetary policies have exacerbated trade imbalances. "The economic growth in the euro zone and inflation developments could encourage the ECB to begin a normalisation of monetary policy," the ministries said in the paper, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.


China sees higher risk of mass unemployment, pledges more support
China’s cabinet said on Wednesday that risks of mass unemployment in some regions and sectors have increased and pledged more fiscal and monetary- policy support to address the potential rise in the jobless rate. The government plans to cut further excess and inefficient capacity in its mining sector and "smokestack" industries this year, part of efforts to upgrade its economy and reduce pollution, but the move threatens to throw millions more out of work. The State Council said China faces "intensified structural conflicts" in its current job market, but it must place employment as a top policy priority and address the new challenges to keep its employment rate stable. China’s official unemployment rate – which only accounts for urban, registered residents – has held around 4 percent for years, despite a slowdown that has seen growth cool from the double-digits to quarter-century lows of under 7 percent.