Overseas Headlines- May 9, 2019

United States:

U.S.-China Trade Gap Shrank in March to Smallest Since 2016

The U.S. trade deficit with China decreased to the narrowest in almost three years as imports slowed and exports advanced, offering President Donald Trump a chance to claim his tariff war is yielding the desired results just as negotiations reach a critical stage. The merchandise gap with China shrank to $28.3 billion in March, according to a Commerce Department report Thursday that also showed the overall U.S. deficit in goods and services widened to $50 billion. That nearly matched the $50.1 billion estimate in Bloomberg’s survey. Overall exports increased 1% to $212 billion, boosted by a 39% jump in soybean shipments. Imports climbed 1.1% to $262 billion on gains in oil, food, vehicles and pharmaceuticals. The overall merchandise-trade deficit widened 0.7% to $72.4 billion. While tensions between the world’s two largest economies flared this week after Trump upended months of talks with threats of fresh levies, the two sides had been signaling most of this year they were nearing an accord. China’s top negotiator was due in Washington Thursday to continue the discussions before tariffs rise Friday. The narrower gap with China obscures a sharp drop in trade between the nations. Imports from the Asian country dropped 13.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier, to $118.8 billion, while exports plunged 17.6% to $27.2 billion. For March, exports were the highest since mid-2018 while imports were the lowest since 2016. “While it is in both countries’ best interest to strike a deal, China is suffering disproportionately,” Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets LLC, said in an email Thursday. “Perhaps this reality will push them across the finish line.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-07/mexico-border-delays-seen-weighing-on-u-s-investment-factories?srnd=economics-vp

 

Europe:

Tusk Warns France and Germany Against Monopolizing EU’s Top Jobs

European Council President Donald Tusk warned that the EU’s biggest powers shouldn’t be tempted to make a grab for all the top jobs as the bloc prepares to appoint a new leadership team. There has to be a “geographical balance as well as a demographic balance so that both large and small countries are represented in the highest positions of the European Union,” Tusk, a Pole, told reporters after a summit Thursday. The EU has to be “brave enough to protect smaller and weaker and newer countries,” he added. With Tusk’s replacement as head of the leaders’ council as well as new presidents of the Commission and the European Central Bank to be named later this year, EU members staked out their initial positions at the gathering in Sibiu, Romania. Tusk called another summit for May 28 — two days after the elections for the EU parliament — to discuss the appointments in depth. France’s Emmanuel Macron led opposition to the so-called spitzenkandidat approach that would let the winner of this month’s EU parliamentary elections name the commission chief. That would make either Manfred Weber, a German conservative, or Frans Timmermans, a social democrat from the Netherlands, the likely successor to Jean-Claude Juncker.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-09/eu-leaders-stake-out-positions-ahead-of-fight-to-run-commission 

 

Asia:

Tusk Warns France and Germany Against Monopolizing EU’s Top Jobs

European Council President Donald Tusk warned that the EU’s biggest powers shouldn’t be tempted to make a grab for all the top jobs as the bloc prepares to appoint a new leadership team. There has to be a “geographical balance as well as a demographic balance so that both large and small countries are represented in the highest positions of the European Union,” Tusk, a Pole, told reporters after a summit Thursday. The EU has to be “brave enough to protect smaller and weaker and newer countries,” he added. With Tusk’s replacement as head of the leaders’ council as well as new presidents of the Commission and the European Central Bank to be named later this year, EU members staked out their initial positions at the gathering in Sibiu, Romania. Tusk called another summit for May 28 — two days after the elections for the EU parliament — to discuss the appointments in depth. France’s Emmanuel Macron led opposition to the so-called spitzenkandidat approach that would let the winner of this month’s EU parliamentary elections name the commission chief. That would make either Manfred Weber, a German conservative, or Frans Timmermans, a social democrat from the Netherlands, the likely successor to Jean-Claude Juncker.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-09/eu-leaders-stake-out-positions-ahead-of-fight-to-run-commission

 

2019-05-09T19:04:13+00:00