Overseas Headlines – March 20, 2017


Wall Street set to open flat as investors assess G20 shift
U.S. stocks looked set to open little changed on Monday as investors digested the G20’s decision to drop a pledge to keep global trade free and open. Financial leaders of the world’s biggest economies made only a token reference to trade in their communique on Saturday, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after the two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise. The dollar fell to a six-week low, while European stocks were lower. The U.S. stock market has been on a roll since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, spurred by optimism over his plans to reform the tax code and cut regulation. The S&P 500 has risen about 11 percent since early November.


Germany’s economic advisers reject criticism of current account surplus
The German government’s panel of economic advisers on Monday rejected international criticism of the country’s large current account surplus and called U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance a threat to the global economy. Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro has accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to gain a trade advantage and called for bilateral discussions to reduce the $65 billion U.S. trade deficit with Germany which he described as "one of the most difficult" issues. Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected such criticism, saying her government was not in charge of the euro but the European Central Bank. During talks with Trump in Washington, Merkel also pointed to high investments by German companies in the United States.


China central bank should clarify rate policy, improve communication: working paper
China’s central bank should clarify its new short-term policy rate and the target rate level as soon possible, according to a central bank working paper, as authorities in the world’s second-largest economy slowly shift to a tightening bias. These actions will help to stabilize expectations about the "interest rate corridor" framework, the paper published on the PBOC website on Monday said. The PBOC has raised primary money market interest rates in small increments several times since late January, most recently last week, while trying to reassure markets with hints that it is in no rush to hike benchmark lending and deposit rates soon.