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ECB’s Praet Says Oil-Price Slump Positive for Europe Economy

Europeans fretting about Brexit or Italy’s budget crisis can take some comfort from the slump in energy prices, according to the European Central Bank’s chief economist. “The recent evolution in oil prices — if it’s sustained — is a positive development for Europe,” Executive Board member Peter Praet said in Brussels on Thursday. “It’s a relief” for consumers. Brent crude has lost more than 20 percent of its value since early October — most of which is due to weaker demand amid slowing global growth, according to Bloomberg Economics. Euro-area ...

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Mario Draghi: The outlook for the euro area economy

The euro area economy has now been growing for five years, and we expect the expansion to continue in the coming years. Yet we have recently seen a loss in growth momentum. In both of the last two quarterly ECB growth projections, our staff has revised down its estimates. Actual data have also been weak. The flash estimate for euro area growth in the third quarter was just 0.2%. The slowdown has raised questions about the strength of the growth outlook and, in turn, about whether the ongoing convergence of ...

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Business bosses alarmed as resignations imperil Brexit deal

Business leaders expressed growing alarm as a draft Brexit agreement seen as the only chance of preserving some stability in UK-EU trading threatened to unravel, sending stock prices and the pound plunging. Just 12 hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her cabinet had agreed to the terms of the draft agreement, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and work and pensions minister Esther McVey quit, saying they could not support it. Their departures and those of other, junior ministers, revived the spectre for business of Britain leaving the European ...

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French finance minister flags new cold war risk over trade

The world faces a new cold war over trade triggered by tensions between China and the United States, which can only be avoided by reforming the World Trade Organisation, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday. “The real risk now is that we enter into a cold war between China and the United States in which all countries, including Europe, come out losing,” Le Maire said. “This open war in trade will be an economic suicide for the whole world. It (the trade war) is quite simply stupid,” ...

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Trump Tax Cut to Be Eroded Next Year by Inflation Switch

Last year’s big tax cut is about to start shrinking. The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced the tax code’s parameters for 2019, implementing a new method for making inflation adjustments that will result in higher tax payments — and government revenue — over time. The shift will cost Americans $133.5 billion over a decade, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. The tax law enacted last year lowered tax rates and reduced tax burdens for most households in 2018. It also required the IRS to switch to a different, ...

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Bullmann: Now is the time to deliver on the reform of the Eurozone

Ahead of a special Eurogroup meeting next Monday, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann urged EU finance ministers to act and deliver on the much needed economic and monetary (EMU) reform. Udo Bullmann stated: ‘For years, we have been discussing the need to strengthen the Eurozone. There is broad agreement across the political spectrum that the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) needs to be equipped with tools to prevent and resolve future crises. Now it is time for the Council to act. ‘The socialists and democrats have set out clear priorities. ...

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Presidency of People Republic of China: Actions needed to fight protectionism

Facing a complicated international situation, Premier Li Keqiang called on all sides to take practical measures to maintain rule-based multilateralism and free trade, and offer stable expectations and a free and law-based environment to the market. This will be conducive to regional development, peace and stability, he said. He was speaking at the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting, which was held on Nov 15 in Singapore. Premier Li proposed speeding up talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the trilateral free trade agreement ...

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EU executive to launch action over Italy budget on Wednesday – sources

The European Commission will take the first step next week to discipline Italy over its 2019 budget, three officials close to the process said, after Rome defied EU objections to its plans to borrow and spend more next year. Italy re-submitted its draft budget to the Commission on Tuesday, with the same main assumptions that Brussels rejected in October as contravening EU rules. Faced with that escalation of the fiscal showdown from the eurosceptic government in Rome, the EU is to take the first step in what is called an ...

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Trump and Xi Likely to Get Only Framework Trade Deal, Ross Says

The U.S. still plans to raise tariffs on Chinese imports in January with President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping likely at best to agree to a “framework” for further talks to resolve trade tensions at an upcoming meeting, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. The U.S. and China are now discussing the agenda for the two leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires and what a realistic outcome could be. When asked about a report that China this week had ...

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U.S. Industrial Production Edged Up in October

U.S. industrial output ticked up in October, as ramped up factory production offset declines in mining and utilities output. Industrial production, a measure of manufacturing, mining and utility output, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in October from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.2% gain for October. From a year earlier, industrial production rose 4.1% in October. Manufacturing production, which accounts for three-quarters of the overall index, continued to grow at a solid pace for the fifth straight ...

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Italy’s budget openly challenging EU budget rules – Dombrovskis

Italy’s draft budget for 2019 “significantly” deviates from commitments, the vice president of the EU Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Friday, threatening a procedure for excessive debt against Rome. Earlier this week Italy re-submitted its draft 2019 budget to the EU Commission with the same growth and deficit assumptions as a draft previously rejected for breaching EU rules, stepping up its showdown with Brussels. Italian government is “openly” challenging budget rules agreed by all euro zone countries, but its policy is ...

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U.S. envoy to Japan defends trade policies, say not protectionist

The United States ambassador to Japan defended his country’s trade policies on Friday, saying they were not protectionist and were aimed at creating a more level playing field for American companies. “The United States is the most open major economy in the world,” Ambassador William Hagerty told reporters at the Japan National Press Club. “Japan and other countries have benefited greatly from that openness. So I want to make sure that we don’t mistake our efforts to achieve reciprocity for protectionism.” U.S. President Donald Trump has roiled Washington’s trade relations ...

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ILO International Labour Organization : Persistent decent work deficits in Asia-Pacific cast a shadow on the region’s growth, says ILO

Despite two decades of economic growth, Asia-Pacific still faces structural weaknesses in its labour markets, warns a new report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Based on the most recent available data, the ILO’s report, entitled Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Advancing decent work for sustainable development (APESO) sheds light on the labour market challenges facing the most populous region of the world. According to the first edition of the APESO, although the regional unemployment rate is projected to remain at 4.1 per cent through 2020, the vulnerable ...

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Fed plans review of how it pursues inflation, employment goals

The Federal Reserve, under pressure from a critical White House even while it largely hits its inflation and employment targets, will conduct an extensive review next year of how it guides the U.S. economy as it seeks to become more open and accountable. The U.S. central bank said on Thursday it will hold a series of forums across the country to hear from a “wide range” of stakeholders. By the time the review wraps up around mid-2019, it could lead to a rethink of the tools the Fed uses to ...

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Never mind oil companies, cyberattacks risk ‘shutting down entire countries’

The threat of cyber espionage goes above and beyond endangering some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, industry experts warned on Wednesday, saying “entire countries” are being targeted. It comes at a time when major corporations are ratcheting up internal security measures to better protect themselves from cyberattacks, following a spate of high-profile data breaches in recent months. Speaking at the ADIPEC oil summit in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Wael Fattouh, a Saudi-based PwC partner specializing in technology risk assurance, said: “At some point (hackers) were after a ...

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