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Sat, 25th February 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Fred Trump” Tag

White House Bars CNN, NYT, Others From Media Briefing

Just a few hours after Trump warned during his CPAC speech that “we’re gonna do something about the media”, he did just that after the White House barred a number of news outlets from covering Sean Spicer’s Q&A session on Friday afternoon.  Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room according to press reports. 

Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were various news organizations that Trump has singled out in the past including CNN, The NYT, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News.

Several non mainstream outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network.  Several other major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters and Bloomberg, however AP and Time have boycotted the event.

The White House Correspondents’ Association sharply criticized the decision.

“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” Jeff Mason, the association’s president, said in a statement.  “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” he added. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”

President DonaldTrump calls Chinese ‘grand champions’ of currency manipulation

President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, despite not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

 “Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

During his presidential campaign Trump frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, “stealing” American manufacturing jobs.

But Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday he was not ready to pass judgment on China’s currency practices.

Russia: “The New American Leaders Are Repeating Obama’s Mistakes”

The Trump-Putin honeymoon continues to chill… that is if Trump’s top foreign policy advisors speak for the president, which remains very much unclear.

As discussed yesterday, in the clearest sign yet that when it comes to diplomacy with Russia, there are two clear axes developing within the Trump administration: a Pence/Mattis/Haley foreign policy and a Trump/Bannon/Miller foreign policy, Vice President Mike Pence told the crowd at the Munich Security Conference that he would “hold Russia accountable” even as he vowed “unwavering support” for NATO. This prompted the following interesting scene moments later, as recounted by Bloomberg.

 Shortly after Vice President Mike Pence pledged to “hold Russia to account” while looking for common ground in a speech to European allies, a hawkish Russian legislator reached out to shake his hand as he passed through a crowded hotel corridor.

“Mr. Vice President, I am from Moscow and we hope we will reach those arrangements you were talking about,” said Alexei Pushkov, a member of the defense committee in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament. He enthusiastically told reporters afterward that he saw the Vice President’s smile as a good sign.

Next Week :Yellen testimony, US data, Netanyahu visit

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semiannual testimony takes the spotlight next week as investors watch for clues on US monetary policy and her take on the current political climate.

Here’s what to watch in the coming days.

Yellen testimony

The Fed has signalled three interest rate rises this year. Sticking to its mantra that all meetings are ‘live’, investors will watch for closely watch “how forceful she is in promoting the notion that March is still on the table,” said Tom Porcelli of RBC Capital Markets.

Indeed, federal fund futures currently imply a 13.3 per cent chance of a rate rise next month, according to CME data.

“Given the uncertainty of timing on the fiscal agenda and the relatively modest uptick in inflation thus far this year, we think it will be difficult for the committee to get enough members on board for a hike in March (not to mention that the French election in late April/early May looms large as a potential catalyst for global volatility),” Mr Porcelli said. “But Yellen could certainly move the “perception” needle on this.”

In the Q&A session, Ms Yellen will likely be grilled on Fed independence, the central bank’s economic outlook and its view on Mr Trump’s planned proposals.

US data

Verbatim: Here is exactly what Trump said on currency devaluation

Verbatim on what Trump said on currencies in his press conference with Abe

Exactly what Donald Trump said regarding currency devaluation.

“As far as currency devaluations, I’ve been complaining about that for a long time. I believe that we will all eventually and probably very much sooner than a lot of people understand or think; we will be all at a level playing field. Because that’s the only way it’s fair. That’s the only way you can fairly compete on trade and other things. And we will be on that field and we will all be working very hard to do great for our country. But it has to be fair and we will make it fair. I think the United States is going to be an even bigger player than it is right now, by a lot, when it comes to trade. A lot of that will have to do with our tax policy, which you’ll be seeing in the not-too-distant future. We’ll have an incentive-based policy, much more so than we have right now. Right now nobody even knows what policy we have. We’re working with Congress, we’re working with Paul Ryan, we’re working with Mitch McConnell and I think people are going to be very, very impressed.”

World Leaders “Stunned” By Trump’s Bluntness

As President Trump drops tape (and tweet) bombs left, right, and center; often saying exactly what he is thinking, it appears the world’s leaders (and establishmentarians) are “shocked” at his inconvenient truthiness. As Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, said, reflecting on Brexit concerns,

 “…our reliance on the United States, in normal times, wouldn’t worry too many people… But Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be a normal president.”

Which seemed to sum things up nicely.

From Australia to Iran, and from Germany to Russia, no one is safe from President Donald Trump’s blunt, win-the-deal approach to diplomacy. As The Wall Street Journal reports, his style has U.S. adversaries and some allies struggling to assess its impact for their countries and puzzling over how to react if they land in the new American leader’s crosshairs next

Upcoming Week :Watch for Abe visit, Brexit debate, US deficit and earnings

After the Federal Reserve meeting and US jobs report, attention pivots to geopolitics next week.

Here’s what to watch in the coming days.

Abe visit

Since taking office, Mr Trump has been seeking to renegotiate trade deals to deliver on his campaign promises to put America first. A bilateral trade deal with Japan would be viewed as a win for the Trump administration.

However, Wendy Cutler, who oversaw the US negotiations with Japan during the TPP, said a bilateral deal could prove tricky for Tokyo as it would mean revisiting sensitive issues such as currency, agriculture and cars that proved prickly subjects during negotiations with the Obama administration on the TPP.

Trade deficit

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will drop its trade deficit report for December, and it’s expected that little will change from the previous month when it registered $45.2bn. The report will likely become a political football dropped into the midst of a furious debate over trade, as Mr Trump has vowed to renegotiate or reconsider long-standing partnerships and agreements including Nafta.

Mr Trump has already made noises about a border tax that could shake up US trade relations around the globe, and Republican lawmakers are weighing further changes to the tax code that could benefit exporters.

Overnight US Market :Dow closes back above 20,000, Nasdaq hits record

Banks and other financial companies led stocks higher on Wall Street Friday as President Trump prepares to scale back financial industry regulations. Buyers were also encouraged by a pickup in hiring in January. Small-company stocks, which stand to benefit more than others from stronger economic growth, make sharp gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped back above the 20,000 level as the blue-chip index rose 186.55 points, or 0.9%, to close at 20,071.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 16.57, or 0.7%, to 2297.43, moving within one point of its record closing high of 2298.37. The Nasdaq composite index added 30.57, or 0.5%, to set a new record closing high of 5666.77.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks climbed 1.5% to 1,377.84. Smaller, domestically-focused companies may have more to gain than their larger peers from faster growth in the U.S. The Russell made large gains at the end of 2016 based on those hopes.

The stock market rally kicked off early after the government reported that U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in January, higher than last year’s average monthly gain of 187,000 and a sign that President Donald Trump has inherited a robust job market. The unemployment rate ticked up to a low 4.8% from 4.7% in December, but for a good reason: More people started looking for work. The percentage of adults working or looking for jobs increased to its highest level since September.

Financial firms rose after President Donald Trump took his first steps aimed at scaling back regulations on the industry. He signed an order that directs the Treasury Secretary to look for potential changes to the Dodd-Frank law, which reshaped financial regulations after the 2008-09 financial crisis and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The order doesn’t have any immediate impact, but suggests Trump is intent on reducing regulations, which could boost profits for financial companies and banks.

Dow components Visa (V) and Goldman Sachs (GS) jumped 4.6%, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) added 3.1% and American Express (AXP) gained 2%. Smaller banks, which could find it easier to lend money if regulations are cut, also traded higher.

Ray Dalio Sours On Trump, Warns His Policies “Could Hurt The World Economy (And Worse)”

Less than a week after Donald Trump won the presidency, the head of the world’s biggest hedge fund, Ray Dalio, unexpectedly declared that he was a firm believer in Trump’s policies in a lengthy LinkedIn article in which he praised the coming age of Trump: “there is a good chance that we are at one of those major reversals that last a decade (like the 1970-71 shift from the 1960s period of non-inflationary growth to the 1970s decade of stagflation, or the 1980s shift to disinflationary strong growth)…. there’s a good chance that the economy/market will shift from what we have gotten used to and what we will experience over the next many years will be very different from that.”

It now appears that Trump’s honeymoon with some of the biggest asset managers is now officially over, because in his latest Daily Observations note, scooped by BBG, Dalio and co-CIO Bob Prince write that he’s becoming “more concerned that the damaging effects of President Donald Trump’s populist policies may overwhelm the benefits of his pro-business agenda.”

“We are now in a period of time when how this balance tilts will be more important to the economy, markets, and our well-beings than normally dominant drivers such as central bank policies,” Dalio wrote. The duo added that the current investment environment is marked by “exceptional uncertainty” and recommended avoiding concentrated bets, and holding easy-to-sell assets.

And, as Bloomberg puts it, Dalio is “turning sour” on the new leader following his ban on visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries and his proposed border tax on Mexican goods. Earlier this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dalio said it remains to be seen whether Trump is aggressive and thoughtful, or aggressive and reckless. So far the executives said they haven’t seen much thoughtfulness in Trump’s policy moves.

Voicing a tone of caution that has increasingly gripped markets as they shift away from the euphoria phase and revert back to reality, the Bridgewater authors write that “while there is a lot of potential to improve fiscal policies and make beneficial structural reforms (to enhance the business friendly environment, reduce regulatory inefficiencies, etc.), there is also significant risk that his populist policies could hurt the world economy (and worse),” Dalio and Prince said.

Bank of Japan seen bullish on GDP after eventful 2016

The Bank of Japan is poised to upgrade its three-year economic growth outlook in the final days of January in light of strong recent indicators, though stronger inflation forecasts will be a harder sell.

The central bank will compile its quarterly outlook on economic activity and prices at a two-day policy meeting beginning Monday. The report will outline the BOJ’s forecast for each of the three years through fiscal 2018,

 The last report, released in November, pegged gross-domestic product growth at 1% for fiscal 2016, 1.3% for fiscal 2017 and a slim 0.9% for fiscal 2018. Discussions this time are expected to center on the first two years, with the fiscal 2017 growth forecast thought to be headed for the mid-1% range.

Signs for an upgrade are strong. The BOJ in December boosted its outlook for Japan’s economy as a whole for the first time in 19 months. Such goods as smartphone parts and automobiles are driving up exports and industrial production, while consumer spending on durable goods such as cars is on the rebound as well. Changes made late last year to the GDP calculation method will also give the figure a boost: companies’ research and development spending, which has shown consistent growth over the years, now counts as investment.

BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said at a World Economic Forum panel discussion Jan. 20 that he expects Japan’s economy to grow by around 1.5% in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017, significantly exceeding the country’s potential growth rate.