BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – President Donald Trump dismissed concerns of recession on Sunday and offered an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets.
“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters as he returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club. “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.”
A strong economy is key to Trump’s re-election prospects. Consumer confidence has dropped 6.4% since July. The president has spent most of the week at his golf club in New Jersey with much of his tweeting focused on talking up the economy.
Aides sought to reinforce that message during a series of appearances on the Sunday talk shows.
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, dismissed fears of a looming recession and predicted the economy will perform well in the second half of 2019. He said that consumers are seeing higher wages and are able to spend and save more.
“We’re doing pretty darn well in my judgment. Let’s not be afraid of optimism,” Kudlow said.
Kudlow acknowledged a slowing energy sector, but said low interest rates will help housing, construction and auto sales.
Kudlow also defended the president’s use of tariffs on goods coming from China. Before he joined the administration, Kudlow was known for opposing tariffs and promoting free trade during his career as an economic analyst. Kudlow said Trump has taught him and others that the “China story has to be changed and reformed.”
“We cannot let China pursue these unfair and unreciprocal trading practices,” Kudlow said.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said the U.S. needed to work with allies to hold China accountable on trade. He said he fears Trump is driving the global economy into a recession.
“This current trade war that the president has entered our country into is not working,” O’Rourke said. “It is hammering the hell out of farmers across this country.”
Last month, the Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark rate — which affects many loans for households and businesses — by a quarter-point to a range of 2% to 2.25%. It’s the first rate cut since December 2008 during the depths of the Great Recession. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed was worried about the consequences of Trump’s trade war and sluggish economies overseas.
“Weak global growth and trade tensions are having an effect on the U.S. economy,” he said.
Breaking with historical norms, Trump has been highly critical of Powell as he places blame for any economic weakness on the nation’s central bank for raising interest rates too much over the past two years.
“I think I could be helped out by the Fed, but the Fed doesn’t like helping me too much,” Trump complained Sunday.
Peter Navarro, who advises Trump on trade policy, shared that sentiment.
“The Federal Reserve chairman should look in the mirror and say, ‘I raised rates too far, too fast, and I cost this economy a full percentage point of growth,’” Navarro said.
Trump acknowledged at least a potential impact on consumers when he paused a planned 10 per cent tariff hike for many items coming from China, such as cellphones, laptops, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, shoes and clothing.
“We’re doing (it) just for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs could have an impact,” the president told reporters in New Jersey.
Navarro would not go even that far, saying Sunday “there’s no evidence whatsoever that Americans consumers are bearing any of this.”
Kudlow was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday.” O’Rourke spoke on NBC, and Navarro appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Trump’s trade war with China has been a target of criticism by Democrats vying to challenge him in 2020.
“There is clearly no strategy for dealing with the trade war in a way that will actually lead to results for American farmers or American consumers,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, a Democratic presidential candidate. He said on CNN that it was “a fool’s errand” to think tariff increases will compel China to change its economic approach.
Trump maintained that China’s economy is struggling because of the tariffs and would like to make a trade deal with the U.S. He said he could make a “bad deal” and the stock markets would go up, “but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.”
Economic cost of a warmer planet
Earlier this year California-based utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) became one of the clearest cases of how climate change can wipe out a company that has not done enough to prepare for a warming planet.
After costs related to wildfires ballooned, PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection. The company faced approximately $30bn in liabilities as a result of its role in the 2017 and 2018 fires.
State investigators linked 100 deaths to the fires. Federal judge William Alsup blamed the cause of some of the fires on the utility’s negligence and said the utility had paid $4.5bn to shareholders in dividends over the past five years while failing to take adequate safety precautions.
And now Germany‘s car industry is facing the threat of losing its position as a leading centre for production. A series of missteps – from diesel-cheating scandals to a lack of preparedness for the end of the combustion engine – has left the road open to Uber, Tesla and Chinese electric brands. An industry that employs more than 800,000 people is facing a make-or-break moment.
So, are businesses doing enough to prepare for climate change or do executives have their heads in the sand?
According to a Global Commission on Adaptation report, businesses need to plan more for a warming planet. Companies that do not adapt may not survive.
The report claims investing $1.8 trillion to climate-proof business and the broader economy by 2030 could generate up to $7.1 trillion in net benefits. Half of the world’s biggest companies believe climate adaptation could result in $236bn in increased revenue.
One of the authors of the report is Feike Sijbesma, chief executive of Dutch life sciences company Royal DSM. Economics editor Abid Ali talks to him about climate change adaptation and why it is important for businesses around the world.
Sijbesma points out that no country in the world can escape from climate change.
“Addressing climate change mitigation and addressing climate change adaptation is in the interest of all countries and in the interest of all companies,” Sijbesma says.
“Of course, as companies we are not philanthropic organisations, we need to make money, but there are more interests than only making money and there are more interests than only the short term.”
Source: Al Jazeera News
Peru economic growth jumps due to healthy domestic demand
SANTIAGO — Peru’s economy grew 3.28% in July from the same month a year earlier, the second highest rate this year, due principally to healthy domestic demand and a slight rally in the mining sector, the government said on Sunday.
The rate was in line with analysts’ estimates in a Reuters poll. The Peruvian economy grew 2.74% in the last 12 months to July, the state statistics agency Inei said.
Peru is the world’s No. 2 producer of copper, zinc and silver. (Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Aislinn Laing Editing by Paul Simao)
Slower U.S. job growth expected
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth likely slowed further in August, but the pace of gains probably remains sufficient to keep the economy expanding moderately amid rising threats from trade tensions and weakness overseas that have left financial markets fearing a recession.
The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report on Friday will come in the wake of a survey on Tuesday that showed manufacturing contracting for the first time in three years in August. The economy’s waning fortunes, underscored by an inversion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve, have been largely blamed on the White House’s year-long trade war with China.
Washington and Beijing slapped fresh tariffs on each other on Sunday. While the two economic giants on Thursday agreed to hold high-level talks in early October in Washington, the uncertainty, which has eroded business confidence, lingers.
The economy is also facing headwinds from Britain’s potentially disorderly exit from the European Union, and softening growth in China and the rest of the world.
The Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates again this month to keep the longest economic expansion in history, now in its 11th year, on track. The U.S. central bank lowered borrowing costs in July for the first time since 2008.
“The general message from the labor market is that businesses are cutting back on hiring, but they are not laying off workers and that is important,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Consumers are what’s keeping the economy moving at this point.”
Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 158,000 jobs last month after advancing 164,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The anticipated job gains would be below the monthly average of 165,000 over the last seven months, but still above the roughly 100,000 per month needed to keep up with growth in the working age population.
The unemployment rate is forecast unchanged at 3.7% for a third straight month.
August job growth could, however, fall short of expectations because of a seasonal quirk related to students leaving their summer jobs and returning to school. Over the past several years, the initial August job count has tended to exhibit a weak bias, with revisions subsequently showing strength.
Other factors favoring slower job growth include declines in both the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing and services industries employment measures in August. In addition, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported a 37.7% jump in planned job cuts by U.S-based employers in August.
But first-time applications for unemployment benefits, a more timely indicator of labor market health, have been hovering near historically low levels. Consumers were very bullish about the labor market in August and the government likely started recruiting for the 2020 Census last month.
Though the trade impasse does not appear to be spilling over to the labor market, job growth has been slowing since mid-2018.
The government last month estimated that the economy created 501,000 fewer jobs in the 12 months through March 2019 than previously reported, the biggest downward revision in the level of employment in a decade. That suggests job growth over that period averaged around 170,000 per month instead of 210,000. The revised payrolls data will be published next February.
The government has also trimmed economic growth for the second quarter. The employment report is expected to show average hourly earnings gaining 0.3% last month, matching July’s rise. But the annual increase in wages is seen dipping to 3.1% from 3.2% in July as last year’s surge falls out of the calculation.
“Recent downward revisions to estimates of economic growth, corporate profits, and employment growth all suggest that the economy is displaying classic late-cycle symptoms,” said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “Moreover, these symptoms are unlikely to go away entirely even if a truce is reached in the current trade tensions.”
The length of the workweek will also be watched for clues on how soon companies might start laying off workers. The average workweek fell to its lowest level in nearly two years in July as manufacturers and other industries cut hours for workers. It is forecast rising to 34.4 hours in August from 34.3 hours in July.
“While one month does not make a trend, hours worked is a leading indicator worth noting,” said Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist at S&P Global Ratings in New York. “A prolonged drop in hours worked signals that businesses may reduce hiring, with layoffs and cutbacks in private spending to likely follow.”
Manufacturing employment is expected to have risen by 8,000 jobs last month after increasing 16,000 in July. But factory payrolls could surprise on the downside after the ISM reported on Tuesday that its gauge of factory employment dropped in August to its lowest level since March 2016.
Manufacturing has ironically borne the brunt of the Trump administration’s trade war, which the White House has argued is intended to boost the sector. Factories cut overtime for workers in July.
Government employment could get a lift from hiring for the 2020 decennial census, which could create roughly 40,000 temporary jobs.
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