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Five Things to Know in World Business Today


Apr 9, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly

(Bloomberg)

Another front

The White House is proposing new tariffs on imports from the European Union in response to the bloc’s subsidies of Airbus SE which have been the subject of a very long-running dispute at the World Trade Organisation. At $11 billion, the value of targeted imports is much smaller than U.S. actions against China and the proposal wouldn’t be implemented until after the WTO’s final ruling on the Airbus case this summer. For its part, the EU is preparing retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. over subsidies to Boeing Co. and the timing of the moves are important. The EU is in the final stages of setting its mandate for negotiations with the U.S. while the euro area’s economy is sputtering — further pressure from the Trump administration is likely to sour sentiment in the region.

Bank cuts

Societe Generale SA became the latest in the list of banks in retrenchment mode after announcing plans to shed 1,600 positions as part of an intensifying effort to boost profits. There are consolidation and restructuring moves happening across the industry, with the potential merger of Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG possibly leading to as many as 40,000 job losses. The Euro Stoxx Bank Price Index gained 1 percent in trading this morning.

Oil rally

Crude continues to make ground, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for May delivery trading at $64.67 by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time as increasing tensions with Iran and almost outright civil war in Libya raise supply concerns. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. suggests that investors look back to the 1990s when crude was steadily in backwardation – where near term futures are costlier than later contracts – for a view on what the future might hold for the commodity. Analysts at the bank suggest that due to OPEC supply constraints the commodity can continue to trade at current levels. Elsewhere in crude-industry news, the Saudi Aramco bond offering received a hefty $85 billion in orders.

Markets mixed

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.1 percent lower after some disappointing earnings news. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.4 percent higher at 5:40 a.m. as the bounce in bank shares helped lift the regional gauge. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.515 percent and gold was higher.

Coming up…

U.S. job openings for February are published at 10:00 a.m. The April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates are released at 12:00 p.m. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles speak later in the day. The World Bank/IMF Spring meetings begin in Washington. And Israel holds its general election today, with results expected Thursday.



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