Date: September 2, 2019
‘Time Is Running Out’: Democratic Race Is About to Get Serious
“The unofficial end of summer kicks off a more intense phase of a Democratic presidential race that has been led by moderate Joe Biden, with progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in a battle for second as the rest of the sprawling field struggles to break through. “There’s a real sense that time is running out after Labor Day,” said Alex Conant, a public relations consultant who was a top aide on the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican. “Voters become more engaged. Before Labor Day most voters are content to watch the show. After Labor Day they start picking a team.” He added, “Especially if you’re a second- or third-tier candidate who’s been waiting to make a move, the time is now.” Democrats have essentially culled the field to a four-person race with a few wild cards showing signs of life and others hanging by a thread. Party members are eager to nominate a candidate they believe can beat President Donald Trump, keeping Biden atop polls even amid concerns about his age and propensity for gaffes. Sanders and Warren are behind, splitting Democrats hungry for swift and far-reaching progressive change, while Kamala Harris has settled into a distant fourth place. No one else is polling above 10% in a field that has in recent weeks dwindled from 24 to 19. At the same time, the economy remains strong but shows signs of sputtering that make Trump allies nervous. The upcoming debate Sept. 12 in Houston will be the first time all the front-runners are on the stage together. Many are anticipating a confrontation between Biden and Warren, who’ve never shared the podium but have a contentious history and represent a stark choice between the moderate and liberal wings of the party. Over the summer, Warren was the only top-tier candidate who avoided any clashes with her main rivals, steering clear of the fights over Medicare for All and 1970s segregation that saw Biden, Sanders and Harris all squabbling.”
Factories From Europe to Asia Reel Under U.S.-China Trade War
“Manufacturing across vast parts of Europe and Asia remain deeply mired in a crisis that took another turn for the worse over the weekend. One day after the U.S. and China enacted new tariffs on each other’s imports, factories from Germany and Italy to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan sent a gloomy reminder that they are suffering badly from increased global trade hostility. Purchasing managers’ indexes for all those countries, as well as the 19-nation euro area, signal a contraction in activity. The global growth outlook is already the lowest since the financial crisis a decade ago, and central banks have started to cut interest rates to underpin domestic momentum. With no end to the U.S.-China trade war in sight and the risk of a disorderly Brexit increasingly weighing on European sentiment, pressure may mount on policy makers to do more. ECB President Mario Draghi has held out the prospect of lower interest rates and renewed asset purchases for Europe as soon as this month. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell may shed light on his intentions in a speech on Friday — after the publication of key gauges for manufacturing and the labor market. In Asia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have been hit hardest by trade tensions, a cooling technology boom and slowing demand in line with a weaker global economy. China’s official manufacturing index dropped further below 50, signaling contraction, with sub-gauges showing that domestic and new overseas orders contracted. The outlook for corporate earnings has clouded in emerging markets. Analysts have cut the average profit estimate for the benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets Index for a sixth successive week, the longest streak in four years. In Europe, manufacturers including Germany’s Daimler, Italy’s Pirelli and France’s Renault are among those that have cut their forecasts. Factory activity in the region has shrunk for seven months, with the latest update showing order books contracted and companies shed jobs in a sign that they have excess capacity. The headline measure for the U.K. dropped to the lowest since 2012.”
China Plays Down Latest Trump Tariffs With Path to Talks Unclear
“China shrugged off U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest escalation of the tariff war, with state media signaling the government is ready to weather the economic turbulence as no progress to resolve the standoff is in sight. Editorials and commentaries since the Trump administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday have focused on the impact that the latest hikes on goods produced in China will have on U.S. consumers. Late Sunday, the State Council, or cabinet, released a statement pledging to increase economic support if needed. Chinese officials have yet to give a clear sign that they intend to carry through a plan for in-person negotiations in Washington this month, a meeting that was planned before the latest round of tit-for-tat measures. Few column inches were dedicated to the trade war Monday, and there was little evidence of a change in stance. “It is time the U.S. administration reconsidered its poorly thought out China-bashing moves,” an editorial in the China Daily argued. “Working to secure a trade deal would be a more fruitful approach.” The 15% U.S. duty hit consumer goods ranging from footwear and apparel to home textiles and certain technology products like the Apple Watch. A separate batch of about $160 billion in Chinese goods — including laptops and mobile phones — will be hit with 15% tariffs on Dec. 15. President Donald Trump delayed part of the levies to blunt the impact on holiday shopping. Investors sought the safety of the yen, which edged higher against the dollar as currency markets opened for trading. The offshore yuan pared some losses to trade at 7.1682 per dollar Monday at 10:38 a.m. in Beijing after the PBOC set the fixing rate stronger than all estimates. Asian stocks fell with U.S. equity futures after the tariffs kicked in, even though the measures had been widely anticipated. S&P 500 futures opened 1% lower before paring losses, and Treasury contracts advanced.”
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