What future for Britain as the EU strikes a trade deal with Japan? | Letters

Alex Orr and Anne Loveday say the UK will leg behind, while John Mills says US negotiators will hold the whip hand

As the Brexit divisions are laid bare in the House of Commons, with the Conservative party split apart, there was more than a little irony that the EU and Japan signed a huge trade deal this week that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods (Report, 18 July).

The agreement covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy. It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine, and Japanese carmakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the EU.

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Donald Trump may kill the global recovery

The economy is being buffeted by growing concerns over the US president’s trade war

How does the current global economic outlook compare to that of a year ago? In 2017, the world economy was undergoing a synchronised expansion, with growth accelerating both in advanced economies and emerging markets. Moreover, despite stronger growth, inflation was tame – if not falling – even in economies such as the United States, where goods and labour markets were tightening.

Stronger growth with inflation still below target allowed unconventional monetary policies either to remain in full force, as in the eurozone and Japan, or to be rolled back very gradually, as in the US. The combination of strong growth, low inflation and easy money implied that market volatility was low. And with the yields on government bonds also very low, investors’ animal spirits were running high, boosting the price of many risky assets.

Related: IMF warns Trump trade war could cost global economy $430bn

The combination of a stronger dollar, higher interest rates​ and less liquidity does not bode well for emerging markets

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A closer look at the small island of Nevis | Letters

Richard Stallman on passing laws making it a crime for local property to be owned by secretive foreign owners, David Murray on John Cleese moving to Nevis, and Chris Baker is reminded of San Serriffe

On reading your article about disguising owners of wealth through opaque corporations in Nevis (‘A bright light needs to be shone on this cockroach’, The long read, 12 July), I thought of a possible approach for correcting the problem, one that was not considered in the article.

Other countries can pass laws making it a crime for local property (including local corporations) to be owned by secretive foreign owners. If a disguised Nevis corporation (or any disguised corporation) is used in that way, the country where the property is located could prosecute it.

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IMF warns Trump trade war could cost global economy $430bn

US could find itself ‘focus of global retaliation’ in tariff dispute, says WEO report

Rising trade tensions between the United States and the rest of the world could cost the global economy $430bn (£324bn), with America “especially vulnerable” to an escalating tariff war, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Delivering a sharp rebuke for Donald Trump, the Washington-based organisation said the current threats made by the US and its trading partners risked lowering global growth by as much as 0.5% by 2020, or about $430bn in lost GDP worldwide.

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China files complaint to WTO over Trump’s $200bn tariff plan

Move comes less than a week after new call by US president escalated trade dispute

China has filed a complaint against the US at the World Trade Organisation over Donald Trump’s threats to place tariffs on an additional $200bn worth of Chinese goods.

The one-sentence announcement on Monday, from China’s ministry of commerce, comes less than a week after the US president called for a second round of tariffs on China, in retaliation for Chinese tariffs placed on American goods.

Related: China files WTO challenge over US tariffs, as its economy slows – business live

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Chinese economy slows as trade war casts shadow – business live

All the day’s economic and financial news, including new growth figures from China and the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook

Tusk: Let’s not start trade wars

“We are all aware of the fact that the architecture of the world is changing before our very eyes. And it is our common responsibility to make it a change for the better.

Let us remember, here in Beijing, and over there, in Helsinki, that the world we were building for decades, sometimes through disputes, has brought about peace for Europe, the development of China, and the end of the Cold War between the East and the West.

Europe and China, America and Russia, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it. I hope this message reaches Helsinki. https://t.co/whPzfDzcfW pic.twitter.com/QmzlvNkkac

Iris Pang, Greater China Economist at ING in Hong Kong, argues that Chinese policymakers need to do more to boost growth.

She says:

“They need to slow financial deleveraging slightly and to turn their focus more on growth-supportive measures, for example increasing liquidity through (bank reserve requirement) cuts.

“If the situation gets worse a lot faster than what we expect I do think Chinese authorities need to beef up supportive measures, both fiscal and monetary.”

China Q2 GDP growth softens as trade row stirs concerns on outlook https://t.co/2RD1g2SAgl pic.twitter.com/67j9KhOHiw

Although China’s growth rate only dipped slightly, it’s a worrying sign for the health of the global economy, argues Bloomberg News.

They fear that the ‘spillover effects’ of China’s slowdown could hurt other countries, arguing:

Confirmation that China’s economy is slowing amid an escalating trade war is a worrying omen for global growth.

Data released since Friday has affirmed what’s been expected for some time: That an ongoing campaign to curtail credit is putting the brakes on the world’s second-largest economy. Given that China generates as much as a third of global growth, that’s adding to signs that the best world expansion in years is plateauing.

China’s cooling economy is a worrying omen for global growth https://t.co/wb2c9XTKVv pic.twitter.com/ryYHQthJNJ

Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong, has warned clients that the trade row between Beijing and Washington could soon cause serious harm to economic growth.

“If the US and China do not resume talks in the next two months or so, the conflict will escalate further, with major economic implications for themselves and the global economy,”

Investment manager Mario Cavaggioni tweets:

China’s economy slowed in line with expectations, signaling broadly stable output as the trade conflict with the U.S. intensifies. GDP rose 6.7% y/y in Q2, the slowest pace since 2016 and down slightly vs 6.8% in Q1. IP, retail sales and FAI also came in close to estimates. (BN)

Back in April, Beijing told state-owned banks to stop lending so much money to local authorities to fund building projects.

That clampdown is now hitting growth, argues Haibin Zhu, chief China economist at JPMorgan in Hong Kong.

“A main reason for the slowdown is that infrastructure investment began to slow down in the first quarter as the government was trying to control local government debt.

“The good news is that there is space to provide more fiscal support through tax cuts and higher infrastructure investment. We expect they will move along these lines.”

Mao Shengyong, spokesperson for China’s National Bureau of Statistics, has told reporters that the Chinese economy made a “good start” to 2018 – despite growth slowing a little in the April-June quarter.

Reuters has more details:

Noting increasing external uncertainties and the fact that China is still going through a critical stage in structural adjustment, Mao said the country would stick to the supply-side structural reform and coordinate efforts to ensure stable and sound economic performance.

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

China’s data had something for everybody. Q2 GDP as expected at +6.7% yoy, though quarterly growth was up (1.8% ann. vs 1.4%). Retail sales accelerated in June but IP decelerated (blue in chart), while investment spending growth also eased a bit to 6.0% yoy. pic.twitter.com/BM9dPHHIHY

#China data dump

Q2 GDP +6.7 pct y/y, +1.8 q/q adjusted (vs +6.7 and +1.6 pct Reuters poll)

June industrial output +6.0 y/y(+6.5 pct poll)
June retail sales +9.0 pct y/y (+9.0 pct poll)
Jan-June fixed asset investmetn +6.0 pct y./y (+6.0 pct poll)

#FTSE100 called to open flat at 7663, Miners likely hindered by China GDP of 6.7% YoY, in-line but the slowest since 2016, as Beijing tries to deleverage and which could worsen with a US-instigated trade war pic.twitter.com/2AujpqupqC

We will release the July 2018 World Economic Outlook Update on Monday, July 16, 10:00am. Watch the #WEO live press conference at https://t.co/0XUacVSx69 pic.twitter.com/a0WX7KXT2l

Related: Justine Greening shows support for second Brexit referendum

Related: Theresa May faces rebellion from Brexit hardliners in customs bill vote

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China trade surplus with US hits record $29bn high

June figures risk further escalation of bitter trade dispute with Washington

China’s trade surplus with the US widened to a record in June, risking further escalation of a a bitter trade dispute with Washington.

Related: Global investors rattled as all-out trade war moves step closer

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George Soros: I’m a passionate critic of market fundamentalism | Letter

George Soros responds to a Guardian article about him by Daniel Bessner

Daniel Bessner has written a thorough and insightful examination of my philosophy and actions over a lifetime (How George Soros thinks, The long read, 6 July) but his assessment itself suffers from a fatal flaw – a set of mistaken assumptions about the beliefs and convictions underpinning that philosophy and those actions.

Bessner says I believe “in a necessary connection between capitalism and cosmopolitanism” and that I believe “a free society depends on free (albeit regulated) markets”. He further asserts that my “class position made [me] unable to advocate the root-and-branch reforms necessary to bring about the world [I desire]”.

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