China’s Trillion-Dollar Yuan Defense Puts Growth at Risk – By Lingling Wei April 13, 2017 2:12 p.m. ET

Beijing’s aggressive approach threatens to keep other important initiatives on the back burner

For years, China seemed to defy the “trilemma,” an economic theory that a country can’t at the same time have a controlled exchange rate, free flow of capital and an independent monetary policy. Now Beijing is betting big on defending the yuan. Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

BEIJING—President Xi Jinping gathered with his economic mandarins in December for their annual strategy meeting at a heavily guarded government hotel. In closed-door sessions, say people familiar with the confab, he made clear what their mandate was for 2017: He would tolerate no wobbliness in the economy.

The communiqué coming out of the session singled out one policy objective in particular—keep the yuan stable.

What followed has been the marked acceleration of a shift in priorities at the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, toward preventing the currency from cratering above all else.

The yuan’s value is a global hot button, and Beijing’s handling of it has played prominently in President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. In a Wall Street Journal interview Wednesday, Mr. Trump said his administration in a report due this week won’t label China a currency manipulator, something he threatened to do during his campaign. On Thursday, China’s central bank guided the yuan to its biggest one-day gain against the dollar in nearly three months, putting it at the strongest level against the dollar since Feb. 17. The yuan has gained 1% this year against the dollar.

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The Horn of Africa’s Qat-22 – By James Jeffrey March 20, 2017


How the Stimulant Both Drains and Drives the Economy

What History Has to Say About the Economy President-Elect Will Inherit – More stories by Andre Tartar December 28, 2016, 9:00 PM PST

The economy was stronger in 2016 than several previous election years

Here are six charts that illustrate the economy that Trump — who wants to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” — will inherit from President Barack Obama and how it compares with historical standards.1223 trump

Gross domestic product is chugging along, growing at a 1.7 percent pace in the year through the third quarter. That’s slower than what most prior administrations faced, and comes against a backdrop of weak global demand, aging demographics and tepid corporate investment. Trump has said he’s aiming to achieve 3.5 to 4 percent average annual growth, even as real GDP expansion is projected to average just 2.2 percent next year and 2.3 percent in 2018, according to economists.

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Economy Trumps Politics: Why Some Investors Are Betting on Europe – By  Jon Sindreu Dec. 1, 2016 5:30 a.m. ET

Ahead of this weekend’s Italian referendum, some fund managers say a brighter economic outlook matters more than rising populism

Investors say some European stocks and bonds have fallen too far amid a rise of antiestablishment parties on the Continent. Above, a woman in Rome walks past posters in support of the “No” vote in Italy’s upcoming referendum.ENLARGE

Investors say some European stocks and bonds have fallen too far amid a rise of antiestablishment parties on the Continent. Above, a woman in Rome walks past posters in support of the “No” vote in Italy’s upcoming referendum. Photo: tony gentile/Reuters

As politics spook European markets, some large fund managers are buying battered stocks and bonds in a bet that worries about rising populist movements are overblown.

Europe’s political calendar is staked with votes that could result in antiestablishment upsets. A referendum in Italy on Sunday could topple a reformist government. Next year, the NetherlandsFrance and Germany all face elections in which euroskeptic parties could post gains that some investors say may hurt economic growth and threaten the euro’s very existence.

Polls mostly predict the status quo will prevail. But, burned by misleading polls on the U.S. election and Brexit, many investors don’t want to take a chance. Through Wednesday, the Euro Stoxx 50 equity index is down 6.6% since the start of year, compared with a 7.6% rise in the S&P 500. Eurozone bonds have sold off in the last month.

But some money managers see an opportunity. If political fears are overstated, now is a chance to buy on the cheap, they say.

Their wager gets to the heart of an age-old debate: Just how critical are political developments to global markets?

Not very much, said Vincent Mortier, deputy chief investment officer at Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager with €1.1 trillion in assets. Amundi holds more European assets, especially equities and real estate, than allocated by benchmarks.

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Tens of thousands of low-wage workers flood the streets demanding higher pay – Bryce Covert November 29, 2016

Fast food workers, Uber drivers, childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, and adjunct protested on Tuesday.`

The movement, which now calls itself the Fight for 15, is demanding a minimum wage of at least $15 as well as the right to unionize. And Tuesday’s day of action proved just how massive it has now become. Strikes and protests weren’t limited to New York City — they reached 340 cities. Fast food workers were joined by a variety of low-paid people, including childcare providers, home health aides, airport workers, healthcare employees, adjunct professors, and, for the first time, Uber drivers.

Uber drivers went on strike in more than two dozen cities. They were joined by striking hospital workers in Pittsburgh as well as a number of fast food employees across the country.

Many airport workers, including baggage handlers and cabin cleaners, also went on strike for the first time. A group walked off the job at Boston’s Logan International Airport, while more than 500 went on strike at Chicago O’Hare. They were backed up by protests at nearly 20 other major airports.

A number of other workers and supporters were arrested for acts of civil disobedience. In Detroit, Michigan, home care worker Renita Wilson was arrested at 5 a.m. while demanding she be paid $15 an hour, be allowed to join a union, and have access to affordable health insurance with a client she cares for, Carl Watkins, at her side.

Uber drivers, fast food employees, and airport workers were also arrested outside of McDonald’s restaurants in a number of cities, including Cambridge, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. Organizers said tens of thousands of people joined the protests.

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