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Updated: 9 hours 34 min ago

Don’t Sweat U.S. Presidential Vote, Russia Says It’s on the Case

November 12, 2019 - 5:52am

(Bloomberg) -- With Donald Trump facing the threat of impeachment and a field of Democratic contenders that’s still larger than a soccer team, the contest for the 2020 presidential elections remains wildly unpredictable for U.S. voters. But help from Russia may be at hand.“We will resolve the problem, don’t worry,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov joked at a Paris peace forum on Tuesday, prompting laughter from the audience, after the moderator had asked him how Moscow was getting ready for the elections that are now less than a year away.While Lavrov was clearly trolling critics who’ve accused the Kremlin of meddling, Russian intervention on the winning side would repeat a feat achieved in 2016, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. They concluded that Russia was behind hacking attacks aimed at damaging the then Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and boosting Trump’s chances of winning the presidency.The Kremlin rejects those allegations, though Russian President Vladimir Putin said at last year’s Helsinki summit with the U.S. president that he’d wanted Trump to win. Trump has repeatedly denied any Russian collusion and denounced Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy inquiry into the subject as a witch hunt.To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


UPDATE 3-UN urges Lebanon to build gov't of "competence", banks close

November 12, 2019 - 5:46am

The United Nations urged Lebanon on Tuesday to form a competent new government better able to seek international aid after weeks of protests against the ruling elite, warning the country was in a critical financial and economic situation. Lebanon's banks and schools were shut in a new wave of disruption as politicians struggled to agree on a new government to steer the country out of its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.


Corbyn Slams Johnson’s ‘Woeful’ Response to Floods: U.K. Votes

November 12, 2019 - 5:35am

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the British government’s “Cobra” emergency committee after opposition parties accused him of downplaying the severity of flooding in northern England -- a key battleground in the election campaign. Around 400 homes have been flooded and 1,200 properties have been evacuated, according to the BBC.The prime minister will also seek to capitalize on the Brexit Party’s decision to stand aside in Conservative-held seats. Meanwhile Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage is under pressure to go further by withdrawing his troops in districts that Johnson’s Tories want to take from the main opposition Labour Party.Key Developments:Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attacks the government response to flooding, in a speech in Blackpool, northwest EnglandLabour announces it’s suffered a cyber attack. Security official says it was low levelLiberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will pledge 5 billion pounds ($6.4 billion) of spending on flood defenses on a visit to inundated areasFormer U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urges U.K. to publish report on Russian meddlingU.K. economy lost jobs in the third quarterCorbyn Says Johnson Only Offers Division (12:30 p.m.)Jeremy Corbyn said Nigel Farage’s decision to stand the Brexit Party down in Tory-held seats shows how Boris Johnson is in an “alliance”with Farage and U.S. President Donald Trump.The Labour Party leader sought to stoke voter fears that Johnson’s Brexit plan will lead to a U.S. trade deal that will undermine the National Health Service. It’s a theme he’s likely to keep revisiting through the campaign.“What we have before us is an alliance between Donald Trump and Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson,” Corbyn said at a campaign event in Blackpool. “Farage and Johnson only offer division, division, division, and a deal with Donald Trump, and you’ll then be saying whatever happened to our wonderful National Health Service,? whatever happened to all the regulations that we had that protected our rights at work, our rights to a clean environment and our rights to safe food?”Corbyn: Attack on Labour Computers ‘Suspicious’ (12:15 p.m.)Jeremy Corbyn told an election event the attack on the Labour Party’s computer systems worried him even though it wasn’t successful.“If this is a sign of things to come then I feel very nervous about it all,” he said in Blackpool, northwestern England. “A cyber attack against a political party in an election is suspicious and something one is very worried about.”Corbyn may seek to use the attack to draw attention to the government’s refusal to release the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report into Russian involvement in British elections (see 8:20 a.m.).The Labour leader compared the internet assault on his party to the 2018 Wannacry cyber-attack on NHS systems, which was classed by the intelligence agency GCHQ as a level two attack -- serious, but with no immediate threat to life. The attack on Labour’s systems by contrast was set at the lowest level of six.Security Official: Labour Cyber Attack Low-Level (12 p.m.)A U.K. security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack on Labour’s computer systems had been low-level. It was a category six attack, which intelligence agency GCHQ defines as “early activity aimed at a medium-sized organization.”Labour reported the attack Monday night and it was resolved Tuesday morning. Suggestions on social media Russia and Brazil had been involved were wide of the mark, the official said.Corbyn Slams ‘Woeful’ Response to Floods (11:50 a.m.)Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked Johnson’s response to floods in northern England, saying it “has been woeful.” He criticized the premier for waiting five days to call a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, and then for only doing so after Corbyn had demanded it.“Just imagine if this had been in Surrey, instead of Yorkshire and the east Midlands” he said, referring to a wealthy county in London’s commuter belt. “I think it would have been a very different story.”Corbyn was in Blackpool, northwest England to announce Labour’s new policy to help adults gain access to education and training throughout their lives (see post at 9 a.m.).EU Sets Johnson New Ultimatum (11:45 a.m.)As the Brexit process remains in limbo during the election, Boris Johnson was given a dressing down by the European Commission in Brussels.The commission’s president-elect Ursula von der Leyen sent another letter to Johnson reminding him of the U.K.’s legal obligation to nominate a new Commissioner, according to her spokeswoman Dana Spinant. After von der Leyen’s previous letter on the matter went unanswered, the president-elect now expects a nomination by the end of this week at the latest, her spokeswoman said.The new EU executive arm can’t be confirmed by the bloc’s assembly and sworn in before the U.K. nominates a Commissioner. EU leaders can take a unanimous decision to waive this obligation, but there are no signs they are willing to do so.Von der Leyen’s spokeswoman said the latest letter reminded Johnson of his government’s promise not disrupt the functioning of the bloc.Tories Ramp Up Attack on Labour Spending Plans (10:30 a.m.)The Conservative Party is using its first billboard of the campaign to attack Labour’s spending plans under leader Jeremy Corbyn, which reads: “You’d pay £2,400 more tax under Labour.” It also includes a snapshot of a banking app with a payment to “new tax bill” payment to “Jeremy.” A tweet on the Conservative Party’s main Twitter account highlights the message.Labour Says It Blocked Major Cyber Attack (10:20 a.m.)The U.K.’s main opposition Labour Party said it blocked a “sophisticated and large scale attack” on its digital platforms.“The integrity of all our platforms was maintained and we are confident that no data breach occurred,” Labour said in a statement.U.K. Labor Market Weakens (9:30 a.m.)The U.K. economy lost jobs in the third quarter and vacancies posted their largest annual decline since the financial crisis. The figures from the Office for National Statistics are further evidence that Brexit uncertainty is finally hitting the labor market, which has defied the wider economic troubles since the 2016 Brexit vote and supported consumer spending.The data, which also show wage growth unexpectedly slowing, add to the fierce debate over the economy as the campaign for the Dec. 12 vote intensifies.Labour Pledges Free Adult Education (9 a.m.)The opposition Labour Party is focusing on education and skills, with leader Jeremy Corbyn and education spokeswoman Angela Rayner giving speeches in Blackpool. Announcements will include free education for six years for all adults to “give them opportunities for the future,” Rayner told BBC radio.A Labour government would also abolish university tuition fees “no ifs, no buts,” Rayner said -- a move that will put pressure on both the ruling Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who have long been tainted with the government’s decision in 2012 to raise the cap on tuition fees in England to 9,000 pounds ($11,600) from 3,000 pounds a year.The Liberal Democrats, who pledged in the 2010 election campaign not to raise fees, were coalition partners with the Tories at the time. This time around, Jo Swinson’s party has pledged a grant of 10,000 pounds for all adults in England to put toward education and training.Clinton: U.K. Must Publish Russia Meddling Report (8:20 a.m.)Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Johnson should release a report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee into Russia’s alleged involvement in U.K. democracy.“I’m dumbfounded that this government won’t release the report about Russian influence,” Clinton told BBC radio. “Because every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens.”The report assesses the threat posed to Britain’s democratic processes and stems from an 18-month inquiry into illicit Russian activities. But the government refused to publish it before the general election campaign, and Treasury minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday repeated the government’s position that officials hadn’t had enough time to vet the report.“There’s a lot of evidence Russia played in the Brexit” referendum, Clinton said, without giving details.Farage: Trump Involvement Is ‘Conspiracy Theory’ (8 a.m.)Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage dismissed a suggestion put forward by critics that Donald Trump had influenced his decision to withdraw candidates in Conservative-held areas, calling it a “wild conspiracy theory.” He told the BBC he hasn’t spoken to the U.S. president in weeks.Farage’s decision not to contest 317 seats has left open the possibility his party may still split the vote in areas Johnson’s Conservatives need to gain from Labour to secure a parliamentary majority.“What is clear is that the Conservative Party care more about themselves than they do about Brexit or the country,” Farage said when asked about the pressure he was facing to withdraw in more areas. He also repeated his claim -- denied by the Tories -- that “people close” to Johnson’s office had offered him a seat in Parliament’s upper House of Lords.Earlier:Farage Won’t Fight Tories in Election Boost for U.K.’s JohnsonFarage Retreat Aids Johnson’s Election Push: U.K. Campaign TrailU.K. Recent Election Polls Summary: Conservative 39%, Labour 28%\--With assistance from Brian Swint and Nikos Chrysoloras.To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Its Economy in Crisis, Lebanon Again Appeals to Arab Neighbors

November 12, 2019 - 5:21am

(Bloomberg) -- Lebanese President Michel Aoun appealed to Arab neighbors on Tuesday for help to revive his country’s economy, driven to the brink of collapse after weeks of unrest that have brought down the government.Aoun met with Arab ambassadors in Beirut to discuss Lebanon’s ongoing upheaval, according to his Twitter account. He’s scheduled to speak live on television at 8:30 p.m. local time.Attempts to secure financial assistance from Gulf allies have so far come up empty. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s finances are becoming ever more precarious as it suffers shortages of foreign currency and even fuel, while struggling to attract bank deposits, a key source of funding for the government.The president is leading the search for a new government after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The premier had been backed by Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom gradually withheld support as the influence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah over the government grew. It ignored Hariri’s pleas for financial aid to avert a looming debt crisis.Aoun also met with representatives of the International Support Group, which was created in 2013 and includes the United Nations and the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. The president has yet to schedule binding parliamentary consultations to name a new premier who would then form a government.In ParalysisThe country has been paralyzed for nearly a month as nationwide protests ramp up pressure. Their momentum shows no signs of stopping, with demonstrations outside key state-run entities including the electricity company and ministries. Protesters Tuesday also held a sit-in outside the Judicial Palace, asking judges to remain neutral and look into corruption allegations.Protesters say the political elites have misused public funds for their own profit for years, neglecting living conditions and leading the country on the brink of bankruptcy. The are demanding a government of experts that’s able to steer Lebanon through a financial crisis.Bank employees observed an open-ended nationwide strike Tuesday, asking lenders to be more flexible with clients to avoid possible confrontations. Videos of people clashing with bank employees have surfaced in recent days after restrictions imposed on withdrawals and the transfer of funds abroad.Central bank Governor Riad Salameh asked lenders Monday to ease some of the curbs, particularly those that have impacted traders and businesses, to avoid a possible shortage of goods. He also allowed lenders to borrow from the central bank in dollars at an interest rate of 20%.Public and private schools are also shut and employees of the telecommunications sector have announced a strike, demanding that any privatization of the industry as announced by the government should preserve their rights.To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Paul Abelsky, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


U.N. official calls for new, competent Lebanese govt

November 12, 2019 - 4:56am

A top U.N. official in Lebanon called on Tuesday for the urgent formation of a new government made up of people known for their competence, which he said would be in a better position to appeal for international support. "The financial and economic situation is critical, and the government and other authorities cannot wait any longer to start addressing it," the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, said in a statement after meeting President Michel Aoun.


US troops at Syria base say they'll keep pressure on IS

November 12, 2019 - 4:26am

At a base in eastern Syria, a senior U.S. coalition commander said Monday that American troops who remain in Syria are redeploying to bases, including in some new locations, and working with the Kurdish-led forces to keep up the pressure on the Islamic State militants and prevent the extremists from resurging or breaking out of prisons. The commander, Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill, said even though Bradley armored vehicles have arrived in eastern Syria, the mission's focus has not changed. Speaking at a remote base in Syria where the Bradleys arrived last week, he said "our primary way that we do that" is through working with the U.S. partners, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.


Turkey to tell Trump to keep to promises on Kurdish fighters

November 12, 2019 - 4:13am

Turkey's president says Syrian Kurdish fighters have failed to vacate areas along the Turkish border despite agreements with Russia and the United States, and says he will raise the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump. Speaking Tuesday before departing for Washington, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would also give Trump documents listing terror attacks allegedly carried out by Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish-led force. Turkey wants U.S. officials to arrest Abdi.


Rights group file Syria torture case in Norway

November 12, 2019 - 3:45am

A human rights group says it has asked Norwegian prosecutors to open a criminal investigation against senior Syrian officials over allegations of torture and crimes against humanity. The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights said Tuesday it filed the complaint together with four other groups on behalf of five torture survivors. The plaintiffs want Norwegian prosecutors to investigate and issue arrest warrants against 17 senior members of Syria's security apparatus allegedly linked to 14 detention facilities in the country.


Fight Over Hong Kong's Future Grows More Grim

November 12, 2019 - 3:45am

(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.The pictures out of Hong Kong over the past few days have been particularly worrisome: a protester shot by police at point-blank range, an older man set ablaze, a truck driver beaten by demonstrators.While only one fatality has been linked to the protests since they began five months ago, that number could easily be higher. Police and protesters are locked in a fight over how much control Beijing has in one of Asia’s top financial hubs.For the protesters, the use of force has always been a necessary evil. At the start of the unrest, the government ignored a peaceful street march by hundreds of thousands of people. It was only when demonstrators stormed the legislature that authorities shelved a bill allowing extraditions to mainland China.The danger now is that all this plays into Beijing’s hands. A top Chinese official over the weekend suggested more stringent security laws were needed to stop the violence, raising concerns that Beijing could look to further subvert the city’s democratic freedoms — starting with a district council election later this month.Either way, things look set to get worse before they get better.Global HeadlinesTV drama | Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives take their drive to impeach Donald Trump into a risky phase tomorrow with public hearings that the president is keen to turn into a made-for-TV personal battle, Billy House reports. Center stage will be three career diplomats who, in previous closed-door depositions, outlined attempts by Trump’s advisers to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into 2020 election rival Joe Biden.A Pentagon official told House impeachment investigators that she and other defense officials learned of Trump’s “concerns” about U.S. military aid to Ukraine a week after a hold was placed on the funding. How to watch the impeachment hearings: viewer’s guide.Farage factor | Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, is as famous as Boris Johnson and has been a disruptive force in U.K. politics as well as a thorn in the side of the Conservatives. He had threatened to compete in every seat in the Dec. 12 general elections, a move that would have harmed the Tories. His decision not to contest Conservative-held seats aids Johnson but Farage remains an unpredictable player in this most unpredictable of polls.Targeted killing | Israel assassinated a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad group in the Gaza Strip today, unleashing a barrage of Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli communities in retaliation, the most serious confrontation between the sides in months. The predawn missile strike killed Bahaa Abu al-Ata, a mastermind of hundreds of attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians who was planning another assault, according to the military. Banking union | Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled support for her finance minister’s plan to break an impasse over European banking integration. The German initiative offers hope of progress in a seven-year effort to bridge differences between the fiscally conservative northern European countries against their neighbors in the south. But Italy has said German conditions are still unacceptable.Who’s in charge? | Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has fled to Mexico after the backlash against his election win forced him to resign. He’s leaving behind a vacuum: It’s unclear who might take over - though opposition senator Jeanine Anez has surfaced as acting head of Congress and would be one option - and when or how elections may take place.Read here how Bolivia’s first change in government in more than 13 years leaves bond investors wary.What to WatchTurkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system will top the agenda at “critical” talks between Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington today that may shape the future of ties with the U.S., according to the Turkish president’s top aide. Bushfires have broken out in the Australian city of Sydney, fanned by strong winds and soaring temperatures, while more than 70 wildfires are burning across the state of New South Wales, devastating rural areas left dry by a two-year drought.  Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 95, was admitted to an Atlanta hospital last night to undergo a surgery to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … Russian President Vladimir Putin has snubbed repeated requests from Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to free a woman jailed for 7.5 years for carrying a small amount of hashish in a Moscow airport during a layover. The plight of Israeli army veteran Naama Issachar, 26, has become a cause célèbre in Israel. With the embattled Netanyahu struggling to keep power and avoid a corruption trial, “Putin wants to keep his options open,” one analyst said. \--With assistance from Rosalind Mathieson, Ruth Pollard, Ben Sills and Flavia Krause-Jackson.To contact the author of this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Hong Kong at dtenkate@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Halpin at thalpin5@bloomberg.net, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


With Rising Violence, China Pushes Hong Kong Toward Civil War

November 12, 2019 - 3:21am

A traffic police officer in Hong Kong shot an unarmed 21-year-old pro-democracy protester at point-blank range on Monday. on Monday. Hours later, a man was set on fire after defending Beijing in an argument. Both individuals were listed in critical condition.Over the weekend, wide-scale disturbances scarred the territory, a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. There is essentially a rebellion in Hong Kong. Riot police in green uniforms are doing battle with youthful demonstrators dressed in black. How Hong Kong Protesters Show Which Businesses Are Friend or FoeProtests began in April after Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s top official, proposed legislation authorizing the extradition of fugitives to various jurisdictions, including Mainland China. Starting June 9, when an estimated one million Hong Kongers marched in the streets, demonstrations have been almost continuous. Lam has since permanently withdrawn the extradition bill from consideration, but the protests have not abated. Especially this week. Hong Kong braced for a weekend of disturbances after Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, died on Friday after falling from a car park the preceding Sunday while running away from police tear gas. Many have accused the police of delaying medical assistance to the mortally injured Chow.Chow has been called “the first fatality linked to police action during a protest,” but many believe the police have killed others. Demonstrators believe three of their number were beaten to death on August 31 in the Prince Edward Mass Transit Railway station in Mong Kok. Since then, the above-ground entrance to the station has become a shrine, protestors have repeatedly rallied in front of the adjacent Mong Kok police station, and youth have continually trashed MTR trains and stations because they believe management of the rail system has withheld surveillance-camera footage.Even a single death creates a cycle of revenge and retaliation that is almost impossible to control. Chow’s passing sparked a weekend of rage.Moreover, Chief Executive Lam added to the tensions. In her most recent press conference, held Monday after the shooting and burning incidents, she called protesters the “enemy of the people.” Her provocative Cultural Revolution-speak comment came on the heels of her November 4 meeting with Chinese ruler Xi Jinping. China is apparently controlling events, and either out of obliviousness or maliciousness it is making the situation worse. Beijing has been doing that by forcing Lam to take a hard line. Apart from the withdrawal of the extradition bill—doomed because the normally pro-Beijing business community came out against it early on—she has been intransigent. That intransigence was evident from her Monday remarks. She said she would not yield to violence, but she had previously left Hong Kong people no choice. She had, with her stubbornness, earlier foreclosed the possibility of peaceful change.Hong Kong people may not be able to change her mind, but she cannot change theirs either. The army in black—as well as many other people in the territory—have continued to protest.Analysts say Beijing will eventually lose patience and use force. “This kind of extreme, violent, and destructive activity would not be tolerated or accepted in any country or society in the world nowadays,” said Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng as he met with Lam early this month in Beijing.Han’s words were taken as a threat to formally deploy units of the People’s Liberation Army or the People’s Armed Police to the streets of Hong Kong to “crush” the protests and reestablish order. Beijing could move in troops, but the move is unlikely to work. Hong Kong, after all, is ideal territory for defenders, like guerilla fighters supported by an overwhelming portion of the public. Every apartment building there is a fort where hostiles can rain down explosives or petrol bombs on Chinese troops and then disappear into their homes or back alleys. Xi Jinping surely does not want his first war to take tens of thousands of soldiers, last years if not decades, and end in a loss for China.In the meantime, there is credible evidence suggesting Mainland Chinese personnel—troops or police—are now operating on Hong Kong streets in police uniforms. This sly tactic is not working, however. Why not? The Hong Kong police department, once considered the most professional force of its kind in Asia, has lost discipline, something evident from the shooting of the protester Monday and countless other incidents. The breakdown in discipline roughly coincides with early evidence that Chinese forces were mixed in with the Hong Kong police, and the resulting rough tactics have resulted in a loss of support of ordinary residents tired of being tear gassed, clubbed, and manhandled. All this raises the question whether Beijing has given the green light to police officers to act as brutally as they want. Yet whether China did so or not, harsh action by the police is sustaining support for the protesters. Demonstrators this past weekend were chanting “Revenge.” Hong Kong is now at war with itself. There is no end in sight to the fighting.LeBron James Bends the Knee to China, Fails His First Big Test as the NBA’s ConscienceRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Angered at EU, Turkey threatens to release IS prisoners

November 12, 2019 - 3:15am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday issued a veiled threat suggesting Turkey could release the Islamic State group prisoners it holds and send them to Europe, angered at a EU decision to impose sanctions on his country over its drilling for gas in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus. Speaking to reporters before a visit to the United States, Erdogan also said Turkey would continue repatriating foreign Islamic State militants to their home countries, even if those countries decline to take them back. "You should revise your stance toward Turkey, which at the moment holds so many IS members in prison and at the same time controls those in Syria," Erdogan warned European nations, a day after the EU unveiled a system to sanction Turkey.


US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions could make investing environment volatile next year, Goldman Sachs says

November 12, 2019 - 2:30am

Investors could face a bumpy ride next year as geopolitical tensions, including the US-China trade war, continue to bring volatility to the markets, according to Goldman Sachs Asset Management.But, the global economy, while at a late stage in the economic cycle, is likely to avoid a recession next year, meaning there are opportunities for investors in equities, James Ashley, head of the asset management business's international market strategy team, said."From a macro perspective, I think the key question going into the new year is going to be do we have a further extension of what is already unprecedented, really long global expansion or do we see the economy roll over? When you see the start of a recession, our view is very firmly in the camp of the former ... there will not be a global recession," Ashley said."That does not mean it's going to be a smooth ride. That does not mean there will be an absence of shocks along the way and those shocks I think next year can take multitudes of forms. They could be geopolitical, that could be political, they could be markets related, they could be macro related, uncertainty around central banks and what the monetary policy outlook is, and, indeed, uncertainty around the fiscal policy outlook."" Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019The United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war for more than a year as the Trump administration tries to use tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods to force Beijing to change decades of trade and industrial policy.US President Donald Trump said in October that the two countries had reached a "substantial phase-one deal" to ease tensions, but an agreement has yet to be signed. Trump told reporters last week he had not agreed to roll back tariffs on Chinese products despite media reports that Beijing was pressing for tariffs to be rescinded to reach a deal. Trade war forces Asia's companies to look homeward for growthThe trade tensions have forced some companies to relocate parts of their supply chains, cut into global trade and weighed on business sentiment, causing firms to delay future investment.In its latest Global Capital Confidence Barometer report, EY said 72 per cent of Asian-Pacific executives surveyed said they believe the global economy continues to grow. Confidence has declined somewhat in the region, but executives still believe the region's economy will remain resilient, the professional services firm said."Challenges arise from tariff and trade concerns and uncertainties over geopolitics and national politics. These risks are putting downside pressures on export-oriented countries," said Alex Zhu, China North transaction advisory services leader at EY. "However, 70 per cent of Chinese respondents do not expect an economic slowdown in the short and medium term. While there has been more speculation about the potential of a global correction, executives do not see this on the immediate horizon and a majority does not expect a severe downturn. Companies should be taking advantage of today's market conditions to reassess their portfolio vulnerabilities and divest assets that are not part of their future growth strategy."The survey interviewed more than 2,900 senior executives globally across 14 sectors in August and September, including 176 executives from China.Of Chinese executives interviewed, 56 per cent said they expect the global merger and acquisitions market to improve in the next 12 months. That compared with 52 per cent of business leaders globally who said they intend to actively pursue deals in the next 12 months, according to EY.Goldman expects growth to moderate in China over the medium term, but supportive monetary policy in the mainland will extend the cycle into 2020, with an economic growth rate slightly below 6 per cent next year. Goldman remains "moderately overweight" on Chinese equities, Ashley said. M&A; will pick up as companies rush to repair broken supply chains"What is important is to recognise the Chinese authorities, whether it's the [People's Bank of China] or whether it's the government through local government financing initiatives, is making sure that transition to a lower growth rate is done in an orderly way," Ashley said.Trade tensions with the US have been the "most troublesome and challenging aspects" for investors in the past year, but have created opportunities for investment, Ashley said."We know about what's on the table at the moment. You know about trade wars, we know about Brexit, we know about Middle East tensions and the list goes on and on, but what the next shock might be is obviously inherently a surprise and thinking about what that might mean, not just in terms of the primary impact on the markets, but the secondary impacts and thinking about how you should adjust portfolios to that. That's one of the more challenging aspects of what we have to deal with.""Yes, it is creating challenges, but also creating opportunities," he said. "Where we do see those big dislocations, where a shock of whatever form we might take " whether it is geopolitical or something else " where that shock comes along the market often reacts in a very aggressive way, one way or another, to start with and our job is then to say, well is that justified?"This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


Sterling edges off six-month highs vs euro, jobs data awaited

November 12, 2019 - 1:59am

Sterling was softer against the dollar and nudged down from six-month peaks against the euro on Tuesday, a day after racking up firm gains after the Brexit Party said it would not contest previously Conservative held seats in an upcoming election. It rallied as much as 1% on Monday after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he did not want anti-Brexit parties to win, so was standing down candidates in seats won by the Conservatives in 2017. Sterling jumped to six-month peaks against the euro at 85.62 pence on Monday but was a touch softer on Tuesday at 85.88 pence.


Nikki Haley says Trump is "truthful"

November 12, 2019 - 1:05am

The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations decried the impeachment inquiry into President Trump


Brexit Bulletin: The Farage Factor

November 12, 2019 - 12:31am

Days to Brexit deadline: 80(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.Today in Brexit: Nigel Farage has made his move, pledging to hold Boris Johnson’s feet to the fire.What’s happening? The landscape of the upcoming U.K. general election is coming more clearly into view. Nigel Farage’s decision not to run Brexit Party candidates in seats held by Conservatives means that what was a wildly confusing four-party scramble is now effectively a 3.5-party dash, with Farage’s team half-in, half-out. “I have got no great love for the Conservative Party,” Farage said at a rally in Hartlepool, in the northeast of England, as he announced his plan. He repeats that phrase in the Telegraph this morning. He talks of giving Prime Minister Boris Johnson “half a chance” to deliver Brexit “by keeping him honest and holding him to account.”Farage’s loyalty to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal hardly runs deep. Farage made his move only after the prime minister pledged on Sunday night not to seek an extension of the post-Brexit transition period past Dec. 31, 2020. He told BBC Newsnight that his aim is to win some seats in the upcoming election and hold Johnson to his promise when the Westminster drama resumes in the new year. Farage makes no secret of his preference for what he calls a “clean break” Brexit — otherwise known as a no-deal exit — and his excoriating views on the details of Johnson’s deal remain easy to find on the Brexit Party website. With experts skeptical that a wide-ranging EU-U.K. trade deal can be negotiated and finalized before the end of next year, pressuring Johnson in this way remains perhaps Farage’s best hope of the Brexit he craves.What does it mean for the election? There are two takes on this. Andrew Hawkins, chairman of polling company ComRes, told Bloomberg that Farage’s move means the Labour vote is going to be split in key Tory-Labour marginal seats in the north of England, opening a path for the Tories to win. YouGov’s Chris Curtis says the opposite, arguing that the Brexit Party damages the Tories most by staying in the race in seats the Conservatives need to win. Current polls don’t reflect Farage’s move. In any case, Farage’s switch away from a 600-seat strategy will only increase the difficulty of modeling this election, and the shape of Brexit, until the actual votes are counted.Today’s Must-ReadsThere’s a danger in overdoing the Tory celebrations, Therese Raphael writes for Bloomberg Opinion: Johnson will still have to scrap with Farage for Labour seats.Despite their protestations, the Liberal Democrats would put Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn in office to stop Brexit, former Tory leader William Hague writes in the Telegraph.Watching Farage cull half his party’s candidates was to see a man facing the final curtain, Robert Shrimsley writes in the Financial Times.Brexit in BriefOn the Markets | The pound was quick to rally on news of Farage’s decision, rising the most in three weeks as traders judged that the Brexit Party’s move will boost the chances of a Tory majority on Dec. 12. Sterling traded at $1.2863 early on Thursday. Recession Avoided | The Farage boost to sterling was just the latest evidence that the pound is more affected by politics than data these days; it barely reacted to anemic growth figures earlier on Monday. Investment is in a slump and the economy has lost almost all momentum, official figures showed, though quarterly growth of 0.3% nonetheless kept the U.K. out of a recession. The next snapshot of the U.K. economy comes with unemployment figures at 9:30 a.m. today. Economists expect the jobless rate to stay at 3.9%.After Carney | There's “no need” to extend Mark Carney’s tenure as governor of the Bank of England, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid told Bloomberg. Javid said the government would act “very quickly” to announce a new name if the Conservatives win the election. He also promised to reveal details of the Conservative’s fiscal plans at a post-election budget “within weeks” of polling day. Follow the Money | A Conservative majority on Dec. 12 is now the most likely election result, according to betting markets.Boles’ Choice | Can’t decide who to vote for in the upcoming election? Former Tory MP Nick Boles might not be the election analyst you need, in that case. He didn’t mince his words in Monday’s Evening Standard, lamenting an “appalling choice” between “a compulsive liar” and a “blinkered Pharisee.”Coming Up | Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail in Blackpool, northwest England at 11 a.m. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson travels to Wales for a campaign rally at 6 p.m.Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Adam Blenford in London at ablenford@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Caitlin Morrison at cmorrison59@bloomberg.net, Leila TahaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Palestinians fire rockets after Israel assassinates Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza

November 12, 2019 - 12:22am

Israel assassinated a senior Islamic Jihad commander inside the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, prompting a barrage of retaliatory rockets from Palestinian militant groups and leaving both sides bracing for serious escalation.  Israeli warplanes killed Baha Abu al-Ata with an airstrike in Shejaiyah, near Gaza City. The Israeli military said al-Ata was responsible for several recent rocket strikes and was planning “to commit immediate terror attacks”.  Islamic Jihad acknowledged al-Ata’s death and said his wife had also been killed. The group said that one of its senior members had been also targeted in a suspected Israeli airstrike in Damascus, where the Palestinian group has its headquarters. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) refused to say if it was behind the strike in Syria. “We are going to war,” said Ziad al-Nakhala, the secretary general of Islamic Jihad. “Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in the assassination of al-Quds Brigades commander Baha Abu al-Ata. We we will respond forcefully.” Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was killed in Gaza by an Israeli strike Credit: Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images Within hours of the Israeli strike in Gaza, Palestinian militant groups began firing an intense barrage of rockets into southern Israel, sending families running to bomb shelters as warning sirens wailed.  There were no immediate reports of casualties but the Israeli military ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential businesses in southern and central Israel, including in Tel Aviv, the country’s financial capital.  It was the first time schools and shops have been shut in Tel Aviv since the 2014 Gaza War. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, described al-Ata as "a ticking bomb" who needed to be killed before he could launch new attacks against Israel.  He warned that the fighting could continue for an extended period. "This can take time. We need patience, we need cool heads, we have to enable the IDF to do the job," he said. A spokesman for IDF said Israel was “prepared for several days of battle” and would use the Iron Dome missile defence system to intercept rockets and strike back in Gaza if the rocket fire continued.  At least 75 rockets have been fired, the IDF said, and 20 of them were intercepted by Iron Dome.  Mr Netanyahu approved the strike in Gaza Credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen The outbreak of fighting comes at a sensitive political moment in Israel as the country struggles to form a government following a September election that saw Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party essentially tied with Blue and White, a centrist coalition led by former general Benny Gantz.  Mr Netanyahu tried and failed to form a majority coalition and Mr Gantz has one week left to form a government of his own.  Mr Gantz said his political rival “made the right decision” to approve the strike in Gaza. “Every terrorist who threatens our security should know that he will end up dead,” Mr Gantz said. However, some Left-wing and Arab-Israeli politicians accused Mr Netanyahu of seeking to benefit politically from the escalation of violence.  “A cynical man who lost two consecutive elections will leave only scorched earth in a desperate attempt to remain in office,” said Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, the main party representing Israel’s Palestinian minority.    Mr Netanyahu rejected those claims on Tuesday and said the strike had been approved 10 days by Israel's security cabinet. He said the final decision on timing was made by the military and intelligence officials.  Islamic Jihad is a smaller and more radical faction within Gaza which cooperates with Hamas but also sometimes tries to outflank the larger militant group by taking a more aggressive stance against Israel. Unlike Hamas, it is not responsible for running Gaza and therefore has a freer hand to confront Israel without worrying about public opinion in the Strip, which is largely opposed to another war.  Islamic Jihad is estimated to have around 6,000 fighters in Gaza, according to the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank. It receives millions of dollars a year in support from Iran and its top leadership is based in Damascus.  Al-Ata was responsible “for most of the terror attacks in the last year from the Gaza Strip”, according to the Israeli military.  The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said he moved constantly inside Gaza to try to evade Israel. “He behaved like a haunted man,” said Nadav Argaman, the head of the Shin Bet.


Why Iran’s Nuclear Escalation Goes Unchallenged

November 12, 2019 - 12:00am

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- There is never a good time for Israel to learn that Iran is  edging closer to a nuclear bomb, but Tehran’s recent announcement that it is escalating its centrifuges and uranium enrichment comes at an especially fraught moment. Israel is effectively without leadership, both at home and in Washington. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump are both caught up in legal and political troubles that consume their attention. Neither seems willing or able to come up with real answers about how to confront the situation. Many experts say that these new developments could put Iran within a year of break-out time to a nuclear weapon. That doesn't necessarily mean it would be ready for delivery. Nor would Israel be unprotected.  It has its own unconventional air, land and sea based deterrents, as well as a maturing anti-missile capability.  Even so, neither Israel nor the U.S. can afford to ignore the Iranians’ actions. Until recently, it seemed their closeness, and the relationship between the two leaders, would have ensured no developing threat would go unchecked. Now, that seems wishful thinking.Israel has enjoyed a honeymoon with the Trump administration during which Bibi wielded great influence. It was he, more than any American adviser, who convinced Donald Trump to withdraw from the nuclear pact negotiated by President Obama. The U.S. replaced that pact with a 12-point program aimed at reining in Iran’s aggressive regional behavior, dismantling its nuclear capacity and modifying (or changing) the regime in Tehran. The plan reflected Netanyahu’s thinking.   Trump’s commitment to defeating the Islamic Republic was taken for granted by many Israelis, including Netanyahu himself. It appeared that the U.S. president was fully on board. He imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran, stepped up military aid to Saudi Arabia and other enemies of Iran and spoke boldly of ending Iranian aggression and hostility. But so far those sanctions haven’t had their desired effect. If anything, they have emboldened the Iranians, which downed an unmanned American aircraft and, according to U.S. intelligence, attacked Saudi Arabian oil installations with impunity. Now it’s questionable whether he’d honor the pledge never to allow Iranians to get nuclear weapons. Israel’s leading strategic experts warned the prime minister he was being reckless when he put his chips on Trump. Better, they said, to accept the Iran nuclear deal. Flawed as it was, at least it provided a degree of control over the Iranian nuclear program. Trump is nothing if not unpredictable and perhaps some event might trigger the attack on the Iranian nuclear program that Bibi hoping for. But Trump’s time and attention are elsewhere. If Iran is really less than a year away, military force (leading to regime change) will be necessary. That’s not likely in the midst of an impeachment process and an election. Netanyahu is in a similar situation. A decade ago, Bibi invested billions of dollars and considerable political capital in preparing a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. That kind of attack was feasible in 2012, when the Iranian sites were less fortified and more vulnerable. Today, most Israeli strategists believe it’s not. Even to attempt it would require American-supplied bunker-busters and a green light from Washington. And such a daring and dangerous operation, one that could trigger a wider war in the region, would require a country unified behind the prime minister. It is very possible that Netanyahu will emerge from the present coalition talks as the next prime minister. But even then he would lack the stature he had a decade ago. Two years of nasty legal combat over alleged corruption and dereliction of duty have diminished him. He sometimes seems out of control. His newly appointed Minister of Justice, Amir Ohana, is a political stooge who, at Bibi’s behest, has attacked the prosecution and the nation’s legal system that have inspired an unprecedented rebuke by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. The selection of a new Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennett, shines a spotlight on how far Bibi is prepared to go to save himself at the county’s expense. Bennett’s main qualification for the defense job is that he heads a small party Bibi needs to form a coalition government. Netanyahu let it be known that he will be Israel’s de facto defense chief, not Bennett. If so, that isn’t reassuring. A growing number of Israelis no longer view him as essential, or even highly competent, but rather as an embattled politician trying to keep his job and stay out of prison. Anything Bibi now says about the gravity of Iranian nuclear escalation will be viewed through the prism of his ambition to stay in office. Ultimately, dealing with the threat from Iran, which will likely mean regime change in Tehran, is best left to future, less compromised leaders in Washington and Jerusalem. To contact the author of this story: Zev Chafets at zchafets@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Zev Chafets is a journalist and author of 14 books. He was a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the founding managing editor of the Jerusalem Report Magazine.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Farage Retreat Aids Johnson's Election Push: U.K. Campaign Trail

November 11, 2019 - 11:56pm

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson will seek to capitalize on Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage’s announcement he won’t contest seats won by the Conservatives in 2017. The prime minister will now be free to concentrate on winning opposition held districts.Johnson will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee on Tuesday to discuss flooding in northern England after opposition parties accused him of dragging his feet. The Tories will need to pick up seats in the north if they are to win a majority in Parliament.Must Read: Farage Won’t Fight Tories in Election Boost for U.K.’s JohnsonComing up:Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid will renew attacks on Labour’s spending plans with a claim that their tax rises will amount to 2,400 pounds ($3,087) per person. Labour, which hasn’t yet announced its plans, dismissed the estimate as “fake news.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak in Blackpool, northwest England, at 11 a.m. as his campaign focuses on skills and training. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will announce a 5 billion pound fund for flood defenses on a visit to inundated areas. She will then travel to Wales and speak at a campaign rally at 6 p.m.Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee to discuss the floods.The Brexit Party will hold a rally at 11 a.m. in central London. U.K. unemployment data will be released at 9:30 a.m.The Polls:An ICM poll of 2,035 voters between Nov. 8-11 found the Conservatives on 39% (+1), Labour 31% (-), Lib Dems 15% (-), Brexit 8% (-1).BMG’s latest voting intention poll has the Conservatives at 37%, ahead of Labour at 29%, Liberal Democrats at 16%, Brexit Party at 9%.A Conservative majority is now the most likely result, according to betting markets.Here’s a summary of recent polls.Catching Up:Labour denounced the Brexit Party’s announcement it won’t stand candidates in the 317 districts as part of a Donald Trump inspired pact to sell-off the U.K. health service to U.S. companies.Javid sees “no need” to extend Mark Carney’s term as Bank of England governor.The U.K. economy is struggling to maintain momentum after avoiding recession.The Markets:The pound rose after Farage’s announcement on Monday. Sterling was little changed in early trading on Tuesday.\--With assistance from Peter Flanagan.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

November 11, 2019 - 11:20pm

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on what's moving European markets in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.Good morning. Donald Trump is making a closely watched speech, U.K. election math has shifted and protests rage on in Hong Kong. Here’s what’s moving markets.Trump SpeechU.S. President Donald Trump will make a lunchtime speech at the New York Economic Club and the market is on tenterhooks for any comments about trade, taxes, drug prices and everything in between. Trade is the key topic and the question will be whether the president will stick to prepared remarks or go off-script. There have been conflicting signals and stocks took a dip on Monday as the optimism around a possible trade deal started to wane; keep in mind there are consequences for both sides if a deal isn’t reached, in particular for American farmers.Brexit MathThe math has changed a touch in the U.K. election, though quite how much is still a debate. Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party will not contest a few hundred seats against the Conservatives, potentially clearing a path to wins for the Tories but still leaving plenty of marginal seats in the game. Still, the bookmakers now have Boris Johnson on track to win, though whether he will win the majority he needs to push through his Brexit deal is still on a knife edge and one can assume there are plenty more twists and turns to come.Hong KongPro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong gathered Tuesday in the city’s financial district for a second day running, having once more disrupted the morning commute by blocking subway lines and clashing with police. The escalation of the tensions weighed on Asia-focused financials like HSBC Holdings Plc and Prudential Plc on Monday and if this is the new normal, that could continue to be the pattern. Fake news and rumors circulating among the protesters appears to be fanning the flames and heightening the distrust and violence, making resolving the matter a much more difficult task.Car PartnersIndia’s Tata Group, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, is said to have approached the likes of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding and BMW AG as it seeks to form partnerships for its British autos business to share the huge cost burden of investing in creating a new generation of electric vehicles. Car companies are increasingly looking towards mergers and partnerships, as seen with the combination of PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, to bulk up and work through this expensive, transitional period for the industry. One positive for autos, however, is the U.S. may delay tariffs on imported vehicles.Coming Up…Stocks were mixed in Asia, with eyes still on the trade picture and Hong Kong, and European futures are pointing to a slightly positive open. There’s a smattering of European data to digest, including unemployment numbers in the U.K. and the ZEW economic sentiment indicator for Germany. Earnings ramp up again, with the bill topped by telecoms giant Vodafone Group Plc, U.K. broadcaster ITV Plc and German car parts maker Continental AG.What We’ve Been ReadingThis is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours. Ignoring women costs the financial industry $700 billion a year. Adidas abandoned its robot factory experiment. Wealthy folks have amassed $121 billion in tax-sheltered accounts. Burger King’s plant-based Rebel Whopper has been unveiled in Europe. Scary Spice wants to talk to Tesco’s CEO. A branded Amazon grocery store is on the way. Could gimmicky airline safety videos put passengers in danger?Like Bloomberg's Five Things? Subscribe for unlimited access to trusted, data-based journalism in 120 countries around the world and gain expert analysis from exclusive daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. Find out more about how the Terminal delivers information and analysis that financial professionals can't find anywhere else. Learn more.To contact the authors of this story: Sam Unsted in London at sunsted@bloomberg.netPhil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Brussels Edition: Engine Damage, NATO Strain, German Unity

November 11, 2019 - 10:57pm

(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weekday morning.With euro-area economic growth likely to stay muted for the next couple of years, it remains to be seen how badly the engine is damaged and what it will cost to repair. Data later this week are likely to show Germany either in a recession or just skirting one. Investor sentiment indicators due out today will give a taste of what comes next. German businesses are already turning more pessimistic on China, one of their biggest markets. And with monetary policy maxed out, any further evidence of a downturn will amplify calls for Angela Merkel’s government to provide bold economic stimulus — something it has so far vehemently resisted.What’s HappeningCarbon Clash | Germany’s competitive challenges were laid bare in a forgotten frenzy over carbon fiber, which BMW and its peers bet would be the core of future automobiles. But the push, which came as Tesla was inventing the iPhone on wheels, proved to be more of an engineering vanity project and highlights the shortcomings of a corporate culture with a bias for stability. Here's more.NATO Strains | NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  heads to Washington, where he’ll hold a series of meetings, including with Donald Trump. His trip comes days after Emmanuel Macron said Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria marked the “brain death” of the trans-Atlantic alliance. Meanwhile in Brussels, EU defense ministers will talk about EU-NATO cooperation, a discussion that Macron’s comments made a lot more interesting.Farage’s Gift | While a group of EU lawmakers debate the latest on Brexit in Brussels today, Boris Johnson’s chances of winning the U.K. general election got another boost after Nigel Farage said his party wouldn’t contest Tory seats. The move should help Johnson’s efforts to secure a majority for a Brexit deal, but Farage’s party continues to pose a threat in other key regions.Cambodia Action | The EU may move a step closer today to imposing trade sanctions against Cambodia over alleged humans-rights violations, just days after it sent troops to its border and called on neighbors to arrest exiled dissidents, accusing them of plotting a coup. The Commission is due to send a monitoring report to the Cambodian government as part of a threat to suspend a policy that lets it export all goods except weapons duty-free and quota-free to the EU.In Case You Missed ItGerman Unity | Merkel signaled support for her deputy’s push to break a years-long impasse over Europe’s banking integration, saying Monday evening in Rome that the proposals from Finance Minister Olaf Scholz go in “the direction that we need.” While not officially endorsed by the government, Merkel’s comments reflect a willingness to negotiate on establishing EU-wide bank deposit insurance.In the Air | EU regulators stopped the clock on their antitrust probe into Boeing’s plan to invest in Embraer, saying they hadn’t received sufficient information. The heightened scrutiny puts new pressure on Boeing’s plan to take an 80% stake in a venture controlling Embraer’s commercial airplane and services businesses, a move that would broaden its reach into the regional-jet market and position the two companies to better compete with Airbus. A review can only be restarted once the Commission gets the answers it needs.Slovak Split | Slovakia’s former authoritarian premier, Vladimir Meciar, announced he will lead a new party into general elections, adding to the number of groups seeking to derail the country’s pro-western orientation. The vote comes amid rising frustration over corruption, which has boosted liberal and center-right parties but also fueled support for nationalist anti-establishment groups.Warsaw vs Netflix | Poland’s prime minister wrote an official letter to Netflix requesting that the company correct facts about the Holocaust in a documentary series. His move follows last year’s decision by the nationalist ruling Law & Justice party to outlaw the phrase “Polish death camps” and make it a criminal offense to suggest that Poland was complicit in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.Chart of the DayBritain dodged a recession ahead of the now-postponed Brexit deadline, but the figures underscored the economic challenge facing whoever wins next month’s election. The latest numbers give parties across the political spectrum something to latch on to as they campaign, with both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn unveiling massive spending plans in a bid to woo voters.Today’s AgendaAll times CET.8:30 a.m. EU defense ministers meet in Brussels, to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, third-country participation in joint military projects 3 p.m. The European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee debates Brexit state of play ECB Supervisory Board Chair Enria, EBA Chair Campa, EU Commission Vice President Dombrovskis speak at an event on Basel III in Brussels NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg travels to Washington D.C. for four-day trip EU trade chief Malmström in Gothenburg, Sweden, participates in panel discussion on the Global Economy EU antitrust chief Vestager receives the Harvard Club Leadership Prize in Brussels ECB Executive Board member Coeure speaks at money markets event in Frankfurt First parliamentary sitting since Polish election, with Morawiecki to form new government as the ruling party battles for control of the upper houseLike the Brussels Edition?Don’t keep it to yourself. Colleagues and friends can sign up here. We also publish the Brexit Bulletin, a daily briefing on the latest on the U.K.’s departure from the EU. For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for full global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.How are we doing? We want to hear what you think about this newsletter. Let our Brussels bureau chief know.\--With assistance from Jonathan Stearns and Zoe Schneeweiss.To contact the author of this story: Viktoria Dendrinou in Brussels at vdendrinou@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Harris at hharris5@bloomberg.net, Iain RogersFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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