Overseas Headlines- October 1, 2019

October 1, 2019

United States:

Trump Demand to Unmask Whistle-Blower Roils Impeachment Inquiry

“President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are dialing up pressure to unmask the Ukraine whistle-blower in a breathtaking departure from how allegations of corruption and waste have been handled by both parties for years. The push to identify the anonymous intelligence official risks deterring future whistle-blowers from coming forward — particularly in the House Democrats’ current impeachment inquiry — even as lawyers for the official are negotiating with House and Senate committees over an appearance for closed-door interviews. The whistle-blower’s complaint is central to the House Democrats’ current impeachment inquiry, with the potential to lead to other witnesses with first-hand knowledge of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But the whistle-blower’s identity could also help Trump’s allies identify other officials in the White House who gave the person information about the telephone conversation and efforts to “lock down” the records of the call. Trump referred to the whistle-blower as a “spy” in a closed-door meeting last week and has said several times that he deserves to know the whistle-blower’s identity. “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistle-blower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” he tweeted Sunday.”




Euro-Area Inflation Slows, Adding to Case for ECB Stimulus Move

“Euro-area inflation unexpectedly slowed last month, handing another argument to those in favor of the European Central Bank’s recent monetary stimulus package. Consumer prices rose an annual 0.9% in September, less than half the ECB’s goal of just under 2% and below economists’ estimates. The core measure, which excludes more volatile elements such as energy, food and tobacco, rose to 1%, exceeding the headline rate for the first time since late 2016. Policy makers’ decision to cut interest rates further below zero and restart quantitative easing — one of the most controversial in the institution’s history — was driven by concerns that inflation won’t move back to the ECB’s goal. Weakening economic growth is at least partially to blame. Manufacturing is mired in a deepening slump, hurt by trade tensions, weakening global demand and geopolitical uncertainty. New orders saw the sharpest contraction in almost seven years, pointing to a further deterioration in output, according to a separate report from IHS Markit. ECB chief economist Philip Lane, who proposed the September easing package, argued Monday that inflation pressures from strong domestic demand and an improving labor market are being partly offset by dwindling manufacturing and economic growth. Lane, as well as outgoing ECB President Mario Draghi, have stressed that policy makers can do more if needed to boost inflation, while also urging governments to support their efforts with fiscal spending. It’s a stance likely to prevail under Christine Lagarde, who will take over from Draghi in November.”




China Buys 1 Million Tons of U.S. Soy After Tariff Waivers

“Chinese companies bought U.S. soybeans after the Xi Jinping administration issued more waivers from its retaliatory import tariffs, according to people familiar with the situation. Both state-owned and privately run firms purchased between 12 and 15 cargoes, or as much as 1 million metric tons, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Most of the cargoes are for shipment this year, with a few for January, they said. Beijing officials gave waivers that allow another 2 million tons in purchases without the extra tariffs, people familiar with the matter had said earlier. That’s in addition to the 2 million to 3 million tons in exemptions awarded last week. No one answered calls to China’s commerce ministry during the National Day holiday, and a fax seeking comment wasn’t immediately responded to. The move may help lay the groundwork for a more conciliatory meeting between high-level officials next week in Washington, when they try to resolve the trade war between the nations. It could also boost U.S. President Donald Trump by shoring up support from American farmers, an important political constituency in next year’s elections. Growers have suffered from slumping exports to China as a result of the dispute. November soybean futures traded up 0.1% at $9.07 1/4 a bushel by 8:35 a.m. New York time. Prices advanced 2.6% on Monday.”


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