Trade

U.S. and EU flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 19, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said on Tuesday that Washington’s “selfish” approach to trade was not sustainable, but it was too early to say that EU-U.S. trade talks were doomed to fail.

The Trump administration has imposed stiff tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum and set off a trade war with China in a bid to redress what it sees as unfavorable terms that contribute to a U.S. trade deficit of over half a trillion dollars a year.

The Commission, which negotiates trade agreements on behalf of the 28-nation European Union, has been in talks with U.S. authorities since last July, seeking to clinch a deal on industrial goods trade.

EU governments are now discussing the details of a negotiating mandate for the Commission, while Washington has until mid-May to decide whether to make good on President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on imports of European cars.

“It is too early to say that our trade discussions are doomed to fail,” Katainen told a regular news briefing.

“There are discussions going on on several levels and … we can end up having some sort of an agreement with the U.S. on trade, but let’s not go deeper than this,” he said, adding that the scope of negotiations had to be clear and that a deal would require a lot of good will and political capital on both sides.

Asked about a reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Katainen said it was problematic and that attempts to get it done were like pushing a rope.

“Japan, China and the EU are willing to reform the WTO, the U.S. has not been that interested, but they are willing to cooperate,” he said.

“Even though the U.S. authorities may think that selfishness is better than cooperation, it is not a sustainable way of thinking. We need better, rules-based trade in the future where the international community sets the rules,” he said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress last week that the WTO was using an “out of date” playbook despite dramatic changes including the rise of China and the evolution of the internet.

He said Washington was nonetheless working “diligently” to negotiate new WTO rules to address these problems.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

NFL teams apparently believe Josh Rosen will be shipped out of Arizona.

The prevailing wisdom seems to be that quarterback Kyler Murray is a lock to go to the Arizona Cardinals first overall. Given what I’ve seen in the past few weeks and what I predicted a month ago, I would have to say that’s also what I believe will happen.

Turns out, teams are the league feel the same way because they’re preparing for Josh Rosen to get traded. (RELATED: Kyler Murray Measures In At Over 5’10” At The Combine)

Albert Breer wrote the following Monday for Sports Illustrated:

Teams are still in the dark on the availability of Cardinals QB Josh Rosen. But I’m told that’s not stopping them from getting their ducks in a row, with guys who’ve worked with Rosen over the last few years fielding phone calls and having discussions with intrigued teams gathering background. If you want to see the real-life application of the perception that Kyler Murray is Arizona-bound, there you have it.

Let’s be honest with ourselves on this one. Unless something major changes, Kyler Murray is going to be wearing red and white for the Cardinals’ Week 1 of the 2019 season.

That means Josh Rosen will be moved. Where could he end up? The Giants seem like a likely destination, especially now that the franchise is reportedly not interested in Dwayne Haskins.

Rosen has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. You’re kidding yourself if you think he won’t be scooped up in a heartbeat.

As for the Cardinals, it sounds like they’re all in on putting Kliff Kingsbury and Murray together. I can’t wait.

The two of them together should be epic. That fast-paced offense they’re going to run is going to be so much fun to watch.

Best of luck to Rosen wherever he ends up, but there’s a really good chance it’s about to be the Kyler Murray show in Arizona.

Source: The Daily Caller

An aircraft engine being built at Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix
FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen building an aircraft engine at Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Alwyn Scott

March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – New orders for U.S.-made goods rose less than expected in January, held back by decreases in orders for computers and electronic products, in another indication of slowing manufacturing activity.

Factory goods orders edged up 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday, as demand for primary metals and fabricated metal products fell. That followed an unrevised 0.1 percent gain in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders rising 0.3 percent in January. Factory orders increased 3.8 percent compared to January 2018.

The release of the report was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended on Jan. 25.

Reports last Friday showed manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state hit nearly a two-year low this month.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy, is losing momentum as the stimulus from last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades. Activity is also being crimped by a trade war between the United States and China as well as by last year’s surge in the dollar and softening global economic growth, which are hurting exports.

In January, orders for machinery rose 1.5 percent after falling 0.4 percent in December. Orders for mining, oil field and gas field machinery fell 2.7 percent after tumbling 8.2 percent in December.

Orders for electrical equipment, appliances and components rebounded 1.4 percent after dropping 0.3 percent in December. Computers and electronic products orders fell 0.9 percent after decreasing 0.4 percent in December.

Orders for primary metals declined 2.0 percent and fabricated metal products orders fell 0.6 percent. Transportation equipment orders increased 1.2 percent in January, slowing from the prior month’s 3.2 percent rise.

Orders for civilian aircraft and parts increased 15.6 percent in January. Motor vehicles and parts orders gained 0.4 percent.

The Commerce Department also said January orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, which are seen as a measure of business spending plans on equipment, rose 0.8 percent as reported last week. Orders for these so-called core capital goods dropped 0.8 percent in December.

Shipments of core capital goods, which are used to calculate business equipment spending in the gross domestic product report, also increased 0.8 percent in January as previously reported. Core capital goods shipments edged up 0.1 percent in December.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Source: OANN

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook for violating antitrust laws.

Cicilline’s comments came in a column posted by The New York Times on Tuesday.

“A year ago, the world learned that Facebook allowed a political consulting company called Cambridge Analytica to exploit the personal information of up to 87 million users, to obtain data that would help the company’s clients “fight a culture war” in America,” he said.

“Since then, a torrent of reports has revealed that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was part of a much broader pattern of misconduct by Facebook.”

And, he claimed Facebook also has “engaged in campaigns to obstruct congressional oversight to smear and discredit critics.”

Cicilline noted that after each incident becomes public, Facebook alternates between “denial, hollow promises and apology campaigns.”

But he maintained nothing seems to change.

“That’s why, as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, I am calling for an investigation into whether Facebook’s conduct has violated antitrust laws” he said.

Cicilline maintained reports also indicate a “disturbing pattern of anticompetitive conduct” on the part of Facebook.

And he said how the FTC responds to “repeated abuses” by Facebook will determine whether it is willing to protect consumers.

“It’s clear that serious enforcement is long overdue,” he said.

Source: NewsMax Politics

A trader passes by screens showing Spotify on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: A trader passes by screens showing Spotify on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 19, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures rose slightly on Tuesday as investors anticipated a more accommodative policy stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve in a two-day policy meeting this week.

A flurry of downbeat economic data this month has supported market expectations that the Fed may reinforce a halt to further rises in interest rates.

The Fed concludes its deliberations with a news conference on Wednesday.

Investors will also be watching out for the central bank’s “dot plot,” a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years, along with details on its plan to reduce holdings in bonds.

Traders currently expect no rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020.

Optimism that the Fed will remain less aggressive in raising rates and hopes of a resolution to a bitter trade dispute between the U.S. and China helped the markets claw back most of their losses from late last year.

The benchmark S&P 500 hovers at a five-month high and is just 3.5 percent away from its September record closing high.

At 7:04 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 102 points, or 0.39 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 11.25 points, or 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.37 percent.

Technology and financial stocks helped Wall Street’s three main indexes rise on Monday, the benchmark index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s fifth rise in last six sessions.

The blue-chip Dow’s advance has been hindered by Boeing Co as the world’s largest planemaker faces increased scrutiny in the wake of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX aircraft in five months.

Boeing shares slipped 0.6 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday after shedding about 12 percent since the March 10 plane crash in Ethiopia.

Chip designer Nvidia Corp jumped 1.6 percent on partnering with Softbank Group Corp and LG Uplus Corp to deploy cloud gaming servers in Japan and Korea later this year.

In economic news, data at 10 a.m. ET is expected to show new orders for U.S.-made goods rose 0.3 percent in January after edging up 0.1 percent the month before.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Source: OANN

The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain
The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 19, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is uncertain nearly three years after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Most diplomats and investors think the United Kingdom faces three main options: leaving with a divorce deal, throwing the question back to the people or exiting without a deal.

Graphic on no-deal Brexit probabilities from major banks: https://tmsnrt.rs/2UIhlyz

Following are the main scenarios:

1) BREXIT WITH A DEAL – May gets her deal approved at a third attempt and the United Kingdom leaves in an orderly fashion after a modest delay.

May’s divorce treaty, the product of more than two years of negotiations with the EU, was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

She had been intending to put the deal to another vote in parliament as early as this week, but the speaker ruled on Monday that she could not do so unless the deal was re-submitted in fundamentally different form. [nL8N2153SV]

Unless May can find a way around Speaker John Bercow’s ruling – such as adding an addendum or starting a new session of parliament – she will have to ask the EU to delay Brexit to avoid a no-deal exit on March 29.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Tuesday played down the possibility of cutting the parliamentary session short in order to start a new one.

Because May must now spice any deal with additional legal and procedural innovation, Bercow’s ruling means she is likely to get just one more chance to put the deal to a vote.

She had warned lawmakers that unless they approved her divorce deal, Britain’s exit could face a long delay which many Brexiteers fear would mean Britain may never leave.

May could discuss a delay and seek to get last-minute concessions at a March 21-22 EU summit, though with such chaos in London a crunch decision on Brexit might be delayed until the following week.[nL8N2154G1]

The EU has repeatedly said the Withdrawal Agreement is the only deal on the table and May’s spokesman said Britain would not be seeking to renegotiate the most contentious part – the Irish border plan.

If May is looking for a legal fix, though, she could seek a change to the accompanying Political Declaration.

Sources in Brussels said on Monday that Britain could ask for a Brexit delay even after the summit, suggesting that the decisive moment for Brexit might still be some days ahead.

One possible way out for May would be a Brexit delay until the end of 2019, with an option to leave earlier should her deal get passed. Ultimately, May might have to offer a date for her own resignation to win enough Conservative votes for her deal.

To get her deal through parliament, May must win over at least 75 lawmakers: dozens of rebels in her own Conservative Party, some Labour lawmakers, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of eurosceptics in Britain’s House of Commons, signaled he could fall in behind the deal. [nL8N2152DJ]

Many banks and investors still say her deal could be struck and approved, and cite previous EU crises such as the Greek debt crisis, where solutions were found at the eleventh hour.

“I think MPs (lawmakers) will see sense and approve the Meaningful Vote before March 29,” said Matthew Elliott, the head of the 2016 campaign for leaving the European Union, told Reuters after Bercow’s ruling.

“The most likely outcome at this juncture is the deal going through,” Elliott said. “When it becomes apparent that the only extension on offer from the EU is long, tortuous and with lots of conditions, I suspect enough MPs will get behind the deal for it to pass.”

If May’s deal fails, or if another vote on the same deal is prevented, another option is that parliament at some point takes control of Brexit and lawmakers seek a closer relationship with the EU, staying in the EU customs union.

Lawmakers could seek indicative votes on a way forward and there might be a majority for a softer Brexit than May’s deal. To avoid that, May could call a snap election, though her party does not want one.

Another option, being pushed by some lawmakers is a referendum on May’s Brexit deal, though such a vote, were it ever called, would effectively become a referendum on EU membership.

2) BREXIT REFERENDUM – May’s deal fails and a long delay allows the campaign for another referendum to gain momentum.

It is far from clear how the United Kingdom would vote if given another chance.

An often chaotic set of votes in parliament last week has shown that none of the alternatives to May’s deal – such as leaving with no deal, a referendum or allowing parliament to decide how to leave – can muster a majority among lawmakers yet.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying.

While many surveys ahead of the vote incorrectly predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to stay in the club it joined in 1973, polls now suggest no great desire for a second referendum and indicate that many voters, fatigued by the political squabbling, would be happy to leave without a deal.

Corbyn, who voted against membership in 1975 and gave only reluctant backing to the 2016 campaign to remain in the EU, has given ambiguous backing for another referendum, saying he would push for one alongside a national election.

When asked if he would vote to remain in the EU in a possible future referendum, Corbyn said on Sunday: “It depends what the choice is in front of us.”

At the highest levels of government, there are worries that a second referendum would exacerbate the deep divisions exposed by the 2016 referendum, alienate millions of pro-Brexit voters and stoke support for the far-right.

Already, many supporters of Brexit, and even some lawmakers, say the elite has sabotaged the EU divorce and is trying to subvert the will of the people.

It is far from clear how the United Kingdom would vote and even if it did vote to remain, Brexit supporters might demand a third and decisive vote.

A new party backed by Nigel Farage, the insurgent who helped shove Britain towards the EU exit, has a message for the country’s leaders: The foundations of the political system will explode if Brexit is betrayed.

3) NO-DEAL EXIT – The chaos in London is such that parliament cannot find a way to approve May’s deal or find another divorce deal option, and after one or more delays, the EU says it will extend no longer. The United Kingdom then leaves without a deal.

Lawmakers on Wednesday voted 321 to 278 in favor of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances.

While the approved motion has no legal force and ultimately may not prevent a no-deal exit, it carries considerable political force.

Still, as the March 29 exit date is set in law, the default is to leave on that date unless May agrees a delay or parliament changes the law.

“You either have a deal, you have no deal, or you have no Brexit,” said Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.

While an extension would avoid a no-deal exit on March 29, the potential for a no-deal Brexit would remain if the British parliament was unable to approve a deal.

And the European Union’s 27 other members must unanimously approve a delay to Brexit.

Barclay has said Britain should not be afraid of leaving without a deal if it cannot get a divorce deal approved.

No-deal means there would be no transition so the exit would be abrupt, the nightmare scenario for international businesses and the dream of hard Brexiteers who want a decisive split.

Britain is a member of the World Trade Organization so tariffs and other terms governing its trade with the EU would be set under WTO rules.

(Editing by Anna Willard and Giles Elgood)

Source: OANN

Container cranes are pictured at the Port of Singapore
FILE PHOTO: Container cranes are pictured at the Port of Singapore, June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Feline Lim

March 19, 2019

By Jonathan Saul and Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) – More ports around the world are banning ships from using a fuel cleaning system that pumps waste water into the sea, one of the cheapest options for meeting new environmental shipping rules.

The growing number of destinations imposing stricter regulations than those set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are expected to be a costly headache for cruise and shipping firms as they face tough market conditions and slowing world trade. They might have to pay for new equipment and extra types of fuel and adjust their routes.

Singapore, China and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates have already banned the use of the cleaning systems, called open loop scrubbers, from the start of next year when the new IMO rules come into force.

Reuters has learned that individual ports in Finland, Lithuania, Ireland and Russia, have all banned or restricted such equipment, according to interviews with officials and reviews of documents by Reuters. One British port has occasionally imposed restrictions.

Norway is also working on open loop scrubber bans around its world heritage fjords, an official with the climate and environment ministry told Reuters. A ban on all types of scrubbers is also proposed, the official added.

The IMO rules will prohibit ships from using fuels with sulfur content above 0.5 percent, unless they are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems. The open loop scrubbers wash out the sulfur and some industry experts believe they are the cheapest way to meet the new global rules.

Companies that invested in open loop scrubbers will be unable to use them while sailing through those port waters. They also fear the IMO rules could change again and ban open loop scrubbers altogether.

The world’s top cruise operator Carnival Corporation has invested over $500 million to deploy the devices.

Carnival’s Mike Kaczmarek, senior vice president for marine technology and refit with oversight of the group’s scrubbers program, said the port moves were “very troubling”.

“The more ports that participate in this, the greater the (economic) impact,” he said.

“A lot of people out there…in good faith have made significant investments.”

Ships with open loop scrubbers docking or sailing through those ports would need to store waste in tanks until it could be discharged elsewhere or avoid the ports.

The other option is to use a scrubber with a “closed loop”, which stores the waste until it can be treated on land. There are also hybrid scrubbers with a loop that can be open or closed.

Ship owners could also choose another energy source such as low sulfur fuel or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Some experts say there will be enough low sulfur fuel available to avoid fitting scrubbers.

Data from Norwegian risk management and certification company DNV GL shows there will be a total of 2,693 ships running with scrubbers by the end of 2019 – based on current orders – and over 80 percent of them will be open loop devices, compared with 15 percent using hybrid scrubbers and 2 percent opting for closed loop scrubbers.

REGULATORY UNCERTAINTY

Initial research to date into the environmental impact of open loop scrubbers has produced a range of results. The ports and authorities that have banned them have acted in anticipation of studies that conclusively show the discharge is harmful, environmental groups say.

International regulation often lags local action and the IMO rules were agreed in 2016 after years of tense discussions.

An official with Sweden’s Gothenburg port said it recommended shipowners in their waters not to use open loop scrubbers as a precautionary principle to “avoid discharges of scrubber wash water in coastal waters and port areas”.

Businesses are waiting to see if the IMO rules will change.

“What is terrible for business is uncertainty in regulation and changes which are not broadcast well in advance,” said Hamish Norton, president of dry bulk shipping group Star Bulk Carriers, among the biggest investors in scrubbers.

Jurisdictions that have not imposed restrictions are also watching closely.

The IMO encouraged member states in February to research the impact of scrubbers on the environment. An IMO spokeswoman said it was up to countries to make any proposal to tighten scrubber regulation, which would need consensus approval by its 174 member states.

The 28 European Union countries submitted a paper to the IMO which said the use of open loop scrubbers was “expected to lead to a degradation of the marine environment due to the toxicity of water discharges”. It said it wanted to see “harmonization of rules and guidance”.

A separate paper submitted to the IMO, commissioned by Panama – the world’s top ship registration state – and conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said more scientific investigation was needed.

THE FRONT PAGE TEST

A number of jurisdictions without bans, including Gibraltar, South Korea and Australia said they were investigating.

“We will study to find out how harmful it is to oceans and then consider what actions we can take,” said an official with South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“If the IMO sets out a guideline on this, we will comply.”

Others are pushing back. Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said it concluded in research last year that there was little impact on the marine environment from scrubber water discharges.

Carnival said a study it commissioned concluded that scrubbers were safe and discharges were over 90 percent lower than maximum allowable levels in various waters.

Nevertheless, many in the industry expect the rules to change.

Ivar Hansson Myklebust, chief executive with Hoegh Autoliners, said at a recent Marine Money conference the vehicle transporter was not ordering any scrubbers.

“The (open loop) scrubbers have a hard time passing the front page test taking pollutants from the air and dumping it into the sea,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston, Gederts Gelzis in Riga, Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore, Esha Vaish in Stockholm, Jane Chung in Seoul, Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo, Gus Trompiz in Paris, Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow and Anne Kauranen in Helsinki; editing by Anna Willard)

Source: OANN

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is pictured next to the Swiss Federal Palace in Bern
FILE PHOTO: The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is pictured next to the Swiss Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) in Bern, Switzerland December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

March 19, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank will leave its ultra-loose policy alone on Thursday, said all the economists polled by Reuters, and most don’t expect any change until at least 2021.

All 32 economists polled by Reuters expect SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan to maintain the bank’s negative interest rates and readiness to intervene in currency markets to restrain the safe-haven Swiss franc.

They expect the SNB to keep its target range for the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) locked at -1.25 to -0.25 percent, the same level since it ditched its minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs to the euro four years ago.

None of the respondents expect any change until the end of this year, especially in view of the European Central Bank’s slowing of its own policy normalization. Most forecast it will come in 2021 at the earliest.

“We do not expect the SNB to change interest rates before the end of 2020. In fact, if we are correct in our assessment that the ECB will be forced to re-start QE next year, upward pressure on the franc – and SNB concerns about deflation – are likely to intensify into 2020,” said Jack Allen at Capital Economics.

“This means the SNB may have to delve into its toolbox to ease policy next year,” Allen said. He thinks the SNB might take rates even further into negative territory if necessary.

There was also no disagreement about the negative interest rate the SNB charges on sight deposits. All the economists expect -0.75 percent to be maintained this week.

All but one expected the bank to retain its description of the franc as “highly valued”. That one expected it will be described as “significantly overvalued”. The franc has gained 3 percent against the euro in the last 12 months to trade around 1.1360.

A strong franc weighs on Switzerland’s export-reliant economy and also adds deflationary pressure. The SNB is expected to cut its 2019 inflation forecast on Thursday from its current view of 1 percent.

The SNB will have to wait at least until the ECB starts its monetary policy tightening — now delayed to 2020 at the earliest — before it begins its own path to normalization, analysts said.

“Pressure on the SNB is mounting from two sides: on the one hand, the financial industry and pension funds are increasingly coming under pressure, which puts pressure on the SNB to end the negative interest rate phase as early as possible,” said Alessandro Bee at UBS.

“On the other hand, the weakness in European growth and the various political risks lead to a higher risk of a Swiss franc appreciation. The SNB is between a rock and a hard place.”

(Reporting by John Revill, polling by Manjul Paul and Richa Rebello, editing by Larry King)

Source: OANN

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

March 19, 2019

By Sruthi Shankar and Agamoni Ghosh

(Reuters) – European shares were on course for a fifth day of gains on Tuesday, with retail and basic resources stocks particularly strong as investors anticipated a more accommodative policy stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week.

The benchmark STOXX 600 rose 0.5 percent by 0932 GMT, hitting a five-month peak in what would be its longest winning streak since mid September. Gains were broad-based although Germany’s DAX led the pack with a 0.6 percent rise.

The Fed’s two-day meeting starts on Tuesday, with financial markets expecting the U.S. central bank to reinforce a halt to further rises in interest rates while possibly going further on a plan to cease reductions in its balance sheet.

That would follow moves by the European Central Bank two weeks ago to reloosen policy and pump more money into the financial system, offering hope of a continuation of stock market gains.

“There is a slightly better sentiment about stabilization on the global economy compared to late last year,” said Geoffrey Yu, head of UK investment office at UBS Wealth Management.

“As long as we have this stabilization anchored by clear expectations of a dovish Fed, or at least a non-hawkish Fed, this will be enough to keep things going,” Yu said.

Bank stocks handed back early losses to trade up 0.4 percent, after jumping more than a full percentage point on Monday following confirmation of merger talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

Scandal-hit Danske Bank fell more than 5.3 percent in the aftermath of a vote by shareholders against a proposal to break up the bank.

NEW VOTE

News on Brexit also pointed to a delay in efforts by British Prime Minister Theresa May to get her divorce deal through parliament.

The speaker of parliament on Monday ruled May could not put her deal to a new vote unless it was re-submitted in a fundamentally different form. May is due at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday at which she will ask for a delay to Britain’s planned departure from the bloc on March 29.

London’s FTSE 100, packed with international companies that benefit from a weaker British pound, rose 0.4 percent, boosted by oil majors and miners.

Online supermarket Ocado climbed to a record high after posting strong gains in first-quarter retail sales despite a fire at its flagship distribution center.

Luxury stocks got a lift from positive trade surplus data from Switzerland, with the retail index gaining nearly 1 percent.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta advanced about 4 percent and was the top gainer on the STOXX 600, as a higher than expected dividend overshadowed a drop in core earnings.

French telecoms operator Iliad dropped more than 2 percent after the company cut its cashflow target for 2020 in France and added it was considering the sale of part of its mobile assets.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg
FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg, Germany August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – A panel of advisers to the German government slashed its growth forecast for this year to 0.8 percent and warned risks related to Britain’s departure from the European Union, trade disputes and a sharper than expected slowdown in China remained high.

The group that advises the German government on economic policy had in November forecast that Europe’s largest economy would expand by 1.5 percent this year.

The panel said on Tuesday economic growth had slowed significantly, partly due to problems in the chemical and auto sectors and warned that a spiral of protectionist measures had the potential to push the economy into recession.

But Christoph Schmidt, one of the advisers, said: “The German economic boom is over but a recession is not currently expected due to the robust domestic economy.”

The group predicted the economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2020.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

Source: OANN


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