Overseas Headlines- November 25, 2019

November 25, 2019

United States:

Impeachment Reaches Decision Stage as Democrats Review Evidence

“House Democrats are starting to compress weeks of depositions, documents and testimony into a report almost certain to result in articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, as the White House wages a campaign to discredit the investigation. Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff won’t rule out more witnesses or other avenues of investigation beyond a central focus: whether Trump tried to use his office to force Ukraine into announcing a politically motivated probe. “The investigation isn’t going to end,” Schiff said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Yet he acknowledged that “there is a sense of urgency” to quickly draft a report for the Judiciary Committee — which would begin any formal impeachment — so that the whole process can be wrapped up before 2020 campaigns begin in earnest. Yet a court case and a continued steady drip of other documents and emails that have emerged over the past week may make it difficult for Schiff and Democrats to meet a goal of sending an impeachment case to the Senate for trial at the start of the new year. The two weeks of public hearings provided new evidence linking Trump and senior administration officials to investigations of Joe Biden and the 2016 election they pushed Ukrainian leaders to announce in exchange for a White House meeting and security assistance. The 12 career diplomats, civil servants and political appointees who testified also detailed the back-channel diplomacy led by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, which undermined long-held U.S. foreign policy objectives. Testimony and documents unearthed so far could be the foundation of at least three articles of impeachment, including bribery, abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress, according to officials familiar with Intelligence Committee plans. Other potential other articles, such as possible witness tampering, have not been ruled out.”



U.K. Tories Pledge One Pound of Extra Spending for Labour’s Six

“Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is proposing to spend an extra one pound for every six pledged by Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour opposition, opening up big divisions over fiscal policy ahead of the Dec. 12 general election. The Conservative manifesto published Sunday offered British voters few giveaways, portraying the governing party as a steady hand on the public finances as it ends a decade of austerity and accusing Labour of making profligate spending pledges that would drive up taxes and debt. The Conservatives plan to increase day-to day-spending by just 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) a year by the end of the next parliament in 2024 and add 20 billion pounds to capital investment. Labour, by contrast, is proposing an 83 billion-pound boost for public services and 55 billion pounds more for investment. Excluding the years of the financial crisis, the 138 billion-pound increase would see spending rise at the fastest pace since the 1960s. Under both proposals, borrowing would only be needed for investment, with Labour saying low interest rates mean now is the time to be spending on increasing the productive potential of the economy. “Austerity will end whoever wins this election,” said Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank. “However, the country still faces a very big choice on the size of the state it wants.” Johnson is hoping his safety-first policy package, with extra money for the National Health Service and modest tax cuts for workers, will consolidate his lead in the opinion polls in the final weeks of the campaign.”



IMF Cuts Japan’s GDP Forecast for Third Time in 2019

The International Monetary Fund called on Japan’s government and the Bank of Japan to cooperate more in support of the economy as it cut its 2019 growth forecast for the third time this year amid heightened global risks. Speaking at the conclusion of the fund’s annual mission to review Japan’s economy, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva essentially gave a green light for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned stimulus package as she called for continued spending to prop up growth and prices. The fund also made several recommendations to make Bank of Japan policy more sustainable, including the targeting of shorter-term bonds, while reiterating its call for more ambitious structural reforms to boost growth. The IMF recommendations come as Abe’s administration mulls the scale of planned stimulus to support growth in the face of a sales tax hike, damage from recent typhoons and a decelerating world economy. Economists and policy makers see a greater need for the government to step in to keep the economy ticking over as the BOJ runs short of additional ammunition. “The IMF’s comments add support to Abe’s fiscal stance. He wants to do a speedy and substantial stimulus in case there’s an economic slowdown after the sales tax hike just as existing public spending peaks out,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, a senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. Georgieva said the resilience of Japan’s domestic demand would be tested by a synchronized global slowdown in the near future and by the country’s own demographics in the longer term. “Fiscal policy should be supportive to protect near-term growth and promote inflation momentum,” Georgieva said while reminding policy makers in Japan that eventually they would still need to rein in the country’s towering public debt. “Beyond the short-run, a clear commitment to long-term fiscal sustainability is essential.” ”


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