China and the European Union will seek on Friday to save a global pact against climate change from which U.S. President Donald Trump said he will withdraw.
As China emerges as Europe’s unlikely global partner on areas from free trade to security, Premier Li Keqiang will meet top EU officials at a summit in Brussels that will also address North Korea’s missile tests and global steel overcapacity.
Speaking in Berlin, Li underlined strong support for the 2015 Paris climate change accord from China, which overtook the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.
“China will stand by its responsibilities on climate change,” he told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and before flying on to Brussels.
In a statement backed by all 28 EU states, the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, EU and Chinese officials said.
The joint statement, the first between the China and the EU, commits to cutting back on fossil fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut their emissions.
As part of its periodic Global Economic Outlook, SocGen traditionally includes a discussion of what it views are the biggest “black swans” both to the upside and the downside, and the latest just released edition titled “On a Plateau”, which took a rather grim outlook to the world economy predicting that a US recession will likely hit in the not too distant future while “China, South Korea, Australia, US, Germany, UK and Japan are in the more mature phase of the cycle”, and that current global growth is “essentially as good as it gets”…
Marine Le Pen has repeatedly underscored her desire to mend fences with Russia so that Europe has a peaceful future ahead. She lashed out at the Western sanctions against Russia as “stupid” and recognizes Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.
She believes that France should maintain equally good relations with both the US and Russia, that it has no reasons for waging a cold war with Moscow and needs closer diplomatic, trade and strategic relations with Russia, which she calls “a great country.”
Emmanuel Macron also wants to rebuild relations with Russia and engage into intense and frank dialogue, even though Paris’ vision does not totally correspond with that of Moscow.
Unions and alliances
France’s possible exit from the European Union was the centerpiece of Le Pen’s agenda ahead of the first round vote in April. She has since softened her anti-EU rhetoric a bit and now says she wants to supplant the EU with a “European alliance of free and sovereign states.”
Marine Le Pen said her first order of business on setting foot in the Elysee Palace will be to propose negotiations to radically overhaul what she described as “a totalitarian union,” and announce referendums on EU membership and on withdrawing from the European Union.
Investors breathed a sigh of relief following the first-place showing of centrist and pro-European Union candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of France’s presidential elections Sunday, sending the Euro to a five-month high relative to the dollar. Populist Marine Le Pen ranked second in the voting.
Why it matters: The results make it more likely that Macron will be France’s next president, keeping France in the EU. That should have a positive impact on both French stocks and the U.S. economy.
Paris rising: High Frequency Economics’ Carl Weinberg predicts that French stocks will rally in trading Monday, and that interest rates on French government debt will fall. France isn’t out of the woods, however. Weinberg writes that Macron will have a tough time corralling a divided Parliament to implement pro-growth reforms.
Domestic affairs: A Blackrock Investment Institute note to clients calls Macron a “business friendly” candidate that will not get in the way of Europe’s improving economy. The U.S. economy has seen the benefits of faster growth in Europe—political stability across the Atlantic is good for business here.
Caveat: David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments warns that “it’s not a done deal yet,” and that the push and pull of a high profile election will cause “markets to remain volatile in the run-up to the final round of voting on May 7 and potentially even beyond.”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has dampened hopes for a speedy UK exit and trade deal, warning talks will be bedeviled by details over the next two years.
“Theresa May’s [Article 50] letter seeks a rapid agreement, but quite clearly the devil is going to be in the detail. The six months work I’ve done so far points to that”, said Mr Barnier, addressing MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The former French foreign minister, who will be carrying out Brexit negotiations on behalf of the EU, said Britain’s desire to carry out its divorce talks alongside arrangements for a free trade deal was a “very risky approach”.
“We are not proposing this to be tactical or to create difficulties. It is an essential condition to maximise our chances of reaching an agreement together in two years. It is our best chance to build trust before proceeding to the second phase.”
After yet another round of inconclusive bailout talks in Athens, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he believed a comprehensive deal with creditors could be reached by April while taking a dig at the International Monetary Fund over its tough stance on labor rights.
In comments to reporters at the end of a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, Tsipras said he believed a technical-level agreement could still be reached in time for a March 20 Eurogroup, with a broader accord, including the specification of medium-term debt relief measures, coming in April.
Tsipras indicated, however, that tough talks on collective wage bargaining would be harder to conclude. “That issue can’t be solved at the technical level. There’s a disagreement,” he said, adding that the IMF must understand that Greece is a European country and that non-European labor models cannot be imposed on it.
In a related development, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Tsipras asked the Fund “to stand by Greece” in its third bailout program.
“To commit to Greece, as the Greek prime minister has requested, in addition to reforms, the debt should be sustainable,” Lagarde told French newspaper Le Parisien in an interview.
Tata Steel is to shut its £15bn UK retirement fund at the end of this month, in a move that could help safeguard a future for Britain’s largest steelmaker.
The Indian steel giant said on Tuesday that following a consultation with its UK workforce, it would close the final salary scheme to further accrual, after it became a serious financial drag on its British operations.
Last month, thousands of Tata’s UK steelworkers voted in favour of the proposal, which forms part of a rescue plan to put the troubled business on a sounder footing.
In return, Tata has pledged to guarantee production at the giant Port Talbot plant in south Wales until 2021, keeping both its blast furnaces lit, as well as to invest £1bn into the business.
In surprising comments that may rekindle a verbal currency war between president Trump and Europe, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble told German newspaper Tagesspiegel that in his opinion the Euro is “too low” for Germany, echoing criticism from Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro, who last week told the FT that Germany was exploiting its US and EU partners by using a “grossly undervalued” euro to create a vast trade surplus. The comment placed Germany, alongside China and Japan, in a category of countries that the Trump administration has accused of currency manipulation for competitive advantage.
As the FT reports on Sunday morning, Schauble acknowledged that the ECB had to set monetary policy for the eurozone as a whole, but said: “It is too loose for Germany.” A recent chart from Morgan Stanley confirms that on a PPP basis, the EUR is over 40% undervalued for exporting and current surplus powerhouse Germany on a standalone basis, however for many of Europe’s peripheral countries it still remains expensive.
What was more curious about Schauble statement is that the German finance minister blamed the European Central Bank for the low exchange rate.