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Washington Post (June 8)

2018/ 06/ 10 by jd in Global News

“Trump is waging a trade war in the dumbest way possible.” In the best of times, “trade wars are neither good nor easy to win…. Every side loses, experiencing lost jobs, crippled businesses and higher prices for consumers.” Trumps tariffs are now estimated to result in 16 lost U.S. jobs for every job gained in the aluminum/steel industry: a painful, self-inflicted wound. Moreover, the counterpunches of our trading partners “are likely to draw more blood.” With the “already announced $40 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made products,” Canada, the EU, Mexico, Russia, India, Japan and Turkey have “fine-tuned the art of minimizing their own pain — and maximizing ours.”

 

Reuters (March 27)

2018/ 03/ 30 by jd in Global News

Oil prices are holding firm, “supported by concerns that tensions in the Middle East could lead to supply disruptions, although further rises expected in U.S. crude output loomed over markets.”

 

The Economist (December 10)

2016/ 12/ 12 by jd in Global News

“For the first time since oil prices plunged in 2014, Big Oil is putting its head above the parapet to seek substantial new sources of crude that will tide it through the 2020s.” While this signals renewed confidence, the players remain extremely cost conscious, with the aim of staying lean to maintain profitability even if oil stays stuck around $50 per barrel.

 

Wall Street Journal (September 3)

2016/ 09/ 05 by jd in Global News

“All across American agriculture, production is up and prices are down.” With bumper crops expected, “corn prices have tanked, dropping to about $2.85 a bushel today from $6.50 three crop-seasons ago.” The Department of Agriculture is stepping in to help farmers with some subsidies and other programs, but what farmers really need is for Congress to “approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which would boost demand overseas substantially.

 

Wall Street Journal (February 15)

2016/ 02/ 17 by jd in Global News

“Three years since Mr. Abe took power pledging to end two decades of falling prices and wages, followed by the launch of a massive monetary easing program by the Bank of Japan, headline inflation is still languishing around zero, real wages are falling and the economy has yet to achieve consistent growth.”

 

The Economist (January 16)

2016/ 01/ 18 by jd in Global News

“Since the new year, the price of oil has surprised even the most bearish punters, plunging by 18%.” With prices already dipping below $30 a barrel, few know how low oil will go or when prices will begin to recover. Analysts have placed the bottom as low as $10, with April deliveries calculated at “anything from $25 to $56 a barrel.” The only thing everyone agrees on is that current supply vastly outstrips demand.

 

Wall Street Journal (October 22)

2015/ 10/ 24 by jd in Global News

“Much has changed since Beijing sparked a rare-earths panic in 2010. China was home to 95% of the world’s production, so when it tightened export quotas by 40% and then cut off shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute, buyers world-wide feared scarcity and prices rose tenfold.” Ironically, this spurred innovation, the use of substitutes and the reopening of mines in other countries. “By 2012 the world faced a glut of rare earths. Prices collapsed as much as 80%.” The rare-earths rollercoaster demonstrates “the ability of markets and human ingenuity to adapt to ill-advised attempts to hold natural resources hostage. When they’re allowed to work, markets always defeat mercantilism—a useful lesson for Beijing’s economic reformers.”

 

Bloomberg (September 10)

2015/ 09/ 11 by jd in Global News

“Golf is a microcosm for the problems that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing in reviving Japan’s economy — low prices, unwilling consumers, a lack of female participation and an aging populace. The sport generated 1.37 trillion yen ($11.5 billion) in sales for Japan’s courses, driving ranges and equipment retailers in 2013, less than half the revenue of the peak years.”

 

Bloomberg (September 2)

2015/ 09/ 03 by jd in Global News

“If oil prices take another dramatic slide…, who wins and who loses? And could plummeting oil prices sow the seeds of the next recession?” Even in oil consuming nations, lower oil prices “come with a downside. As they work their way through the system, deflation could follow.”

 

The Economist (August 29)

2015/ 08/ 30 by jd in Global News

“After two years of remission, Japan seems likely to sink back into the ‘chronic disease’ of deflation…. New data are expected to show on August 28th that core CPI, the central bank’s preferred indicator of inflation, turned negative in July for the first time since the bank launched a big programme of quantitative easing… in April 2013.” Fortunately, better-than-expected data caught economists by surprise, showing level prices so Japan remains out of inflation, though just barely.

 

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