Economy

How to negotiate infrastructure deals with China: four things African governments need to get right

“You don’t negotiate with China !” I was quickly told when I started interviewing African public servants about their infrastructure deals with Beijing. Folashade Soule The Conversation There is a widespread view in Africa that you accept whatever terms are offered, for fear that the money might go somewhere else instead. China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants ... Read More »

Ending austerity: give everyone a pay rise

In 2018 real earnings were 4% below what they were in 2008 in the UK. The decade since the global financial crisis was a lost decade for British workers; their living standards have stagnated. Engelbert Stockhammer The Conversation Wages have not even kept up with inflation. This is in sharp contrast to numerous decades before 2008. For example, from 1998 to 2008 wages, adjusted for inflation, grew by 25%. For most households, wages are the most important source of income, ... Read More »

Wall Street finishes worst year since 2008 with gains

Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for US stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis. WAtoday Reuters Wall Street entered correction territory in late January and was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff jitters, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits. “Investors got complacent,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “People were positioned for ... Read More »

Energy price cap could leave customers £200 a year out of pocket

Householders could be left more than £200 a year out of pocket as the energy regulator has admitted a cap on bills which comes into force today could reduce the number of customers shopping around for a… Sam Meadows Telegraph The cap, which applies to the default energy tariffs paid by consumers after any fixed-rate period comes to an end, prevents suppliers charging the average household more than £1,137 a… Ofgem said the cap will help the 11 million households ... Read More »

Govt extends loan subsidy for first-time homebuyers

NEW DELHI: The government on Monday extended the interest subsidy scheme till March 2020 for first time urban homebuyers who have annual annual income between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 18 lakh. The Times of India TNN This will enable new home buyers to avail up front financial assistance of about Rs 2.5 lakh from the central government, which they can use for down payment while booking, construction or re-purchasing the flat. Announcing this Union housing minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “The growth and performance of credit linked ... Read More »

Energy price cap could mean people missing cheapest deals, warns consumer champion

Which? said the cheapest tariffs had vanished from the market as suppliers prepared for the cap’s implementation Joe Watts Independent Theresa May’s energy price cap which comes into force on Tuesday could mean people missing out on the cheapest electricity and gas prices, the UK’s foremost consumer group has warned. Which? said some of the cheapest tariffs available had been vanishing from the market as suppliers adjusted their operations in the run-up to the cap’s implementation. The prime minister argued the cap would cut bills for millions ... Read More »

Find parenting tough? Be glad you’re not American

I have a news flash: being a grandad beats being a parent. Parenting is now a much tougher gig, whereas grandparenting is all care and no responsibility. And it’s a lot cheaper. Ross Gittins The Age These thoughts are prompted by an article in the New York Times, in which Claire Cain Miller writes that parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be. “Over just a couple of generations,” she writes, “parents have greatly ... Read More »

The Center Left and Globalization

After promising to reform both France and the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron is now struggling to reclaim the public’s confidence and prove that he is not the “President of the Rich.” Kemal Derviş and Caroline Conroy * Project Syndicate By pursuing a business-friendly reform agenda, Macron has fallen into a trap that center-left reformers everywhere seem incapable of avoiding. WASHINGTON, DC – Popular uprisings across France are threatening to shatter the hope that so many had placed in French President Emmanuel Macron ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

Whiff of Extinction Blows in Bull Market That Outlived Them All

It’s been derided as a house of cards, a gift to the one-percent, an experiment in monetary policy taken way too far. By Sarah Ponczek,  Elena Popina, and Vildana Hajric Bloomberg Now a bull market that for 10 years has confounded and chastened its detractors — by outlasting all its predecessors — is staggering up to death’s door. And haters and admirers alike are turning out to pronounce last rites. The fall has been swift, a spasm of nearly uninterrupted selling that dragged the S&P ... Read More »

US stocks endure worst Christmas Eve on record

Not even the truncated Christmas Eve session could halt the US market rout that’s gripped investors for three months. Elena Popina Brisbane Times The S&P 500 plunged almost 3 per cent to end at a 20-month low, in what was the worst final session before the Christmas holiday on record in the US, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the busiest Christmas Eve since 2010, with more than 1.7 billion shares changing hands in the truncated session. “The ... Read More »

47% of Jobs Will Disappear in the next 25 Years, According to Oxford University

“No government is prepared,” The Economist reports. Philip Perry Big Think The Trump campaign ran on bringing jobs back to American shores, although mechanization has been the biggest reason for manufacturing jobs’ disappearance. Similar losses have led to populist movements in several other countries. But instead of a pro-job growth future, economists across the board predict further losses as AI, robotics, and other technologies continue to be ushered in. What is up for debate is how quickly this is likely to occur. ... Read More »

What if Donald Trump did fire the Federal Reserve chairman?

Reports that US President Donald Trump discussed whether he could fire Federal Reserve board chairman Jerome Powell with his advisers have produced widely differing opinions of what would happen if he did. Stephen Bartholomeusz The Age The reports elicited a peculiar response from the White House. While Trump himself remained silent, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tweeted on his behalf. “I totally disagree with Fed policy. I think the increasing of interest rates and the shrinking of the Fed portfolio is ... Read More »

Trump says Fed is ‘the only problem’ of US economy

President Donald Trump has lashed out at the US central bank for stock market turmoil, saying the American economy’s only problem is the Fed itself. BBC In a tweet, Mr Trump said the Federal Reserve lacks understanding of markets and “necessary trade wars”. The salvo came as Mr Trump’s treasury secretary scrambles to calm nervous investors. The Dow Jones fell 400 points on Monday, before recovering slightly. Last week was its worst in a decade. The sharp decline comes amid ... Read More »

Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election

Exclusive: opposition leader says he would go to Brussels to secure better deal if he was PM Heather Stuart The Guardian Jeremy Corbyn has defiantly restated Labour’s policy of leading Britain out of the European Union with a refashioned Brexit deal, shrugging off intense pressure from Labour MPs and activists for the party to throw its weight behind a… The Labour leader insisted that even if his party won a snap general election in the new year, he would seek to go ... Read More »

The Geopolitics of Greece: A Sea at its Heart

Throughout the history of Greece, its geography has been both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because it allowed Greece to dominate the “known Western world” for a good portion of Europe’s ancient history due to a combination of sea access and rugged topography. Stratfor In the ancient era, these were perfect conditions for a maritime city-state culture oriented toward commerce and one that was difficult to dislodge by more powerful land-based opponents. This geography incubated the West’s first ... Read More »