The Economist

An assessment of the White House’s progress on deregulation
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DEREGULATION, along with tax cuts and trade reform, is one of the three pillars of President Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Republicans promise that, freed of red tape, American firms will invest more and unleash faster economic growth. And while Mr Trump has yet to unite his party around a major piece of legislation, the White […]

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How protectionism sank America’s entire merchant fleet
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IN APRIL 1956 the world’s first container ship—the Ideal X—set sail from New Jersey. A year later in Seattle the world’s first commercially successful airliner, Boeing’s 707, made its maiden flight. Both developments slashed the cost of moving cargo and people. Boeing still makes half the world’s airliners. But America’s shipping fleet, 17% of the […]

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Three trade cases facing the Trump administration spell trouble
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Ruinously competitive IN 1845 Frédéric Bastiat, a French economist, wrote an open letter to his national parliament, pleading for help on behalf of makers of candles and other forms of lighting. The French market was being flooded with cheap light, he complained. Action was necessary: a law closing all windows, shutters and curtains. Only that […]

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America holds the World Trade Organisation hostage
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EIGHT months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the rules-based system of global trade remains intact. Threats to impose broad tariffs have come to nothing. Some ominous investigations into whether imports into America are a national-security threat are on hold. Mr Trump looks less a hard man than a boy crying wolf. All the same, supporters of […]

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Boeing takes off on a flight of hypocrisy against Bombardier
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“WE WON’T do business with a company that is busy trying to sue us.” So said an uncharacteristically stern Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, alongside his British counterpart, Theresa May, in Ottawa on September 18th. The two had teamed up to take on Boeing. The giant American aeroplane-maker is pressing Donald Trump’s administration to impose […]

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Big technology firms are newly in the hot seat at home
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Jane Doe and friend ANTITRUST, privacy, hate speech—whenever the European Union tries to rein in tech giants, Americans accuse it of protectionism. That argument has always been simplistic, but now it is harder to make; scarcely a week passes in Washington when companies like Apple and Google are not in politicians’ crosshairs. The latest target […]

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Putting a new face on an American banknote is oddly difficult
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IT WOULD be hard to find a better example of long-term gridlock in Washington than its treatment of banknotes, whose appearance has essentially been frozen since 1929. The administration of Barack Obama took a half-hearted step towards a new look, proposing the replacement of Alexander Hamilton’s portrait on the $10 bill with a portrait of […]

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What effect is Donald Trump really having on American tourism?
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WHEN Donald Trump was inaugurated in January, he wasted no time in trying to bar people from certain Muslim-majority countries entering America. He swiftly, too, promised to make good on his pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border. The nation’s travel industry shuddered. It did not feel like the actions of a man keen […]

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On NAFTA, Donald Trump’s most dangerous opponents are at home
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EVER game for a fight, President Donald Trump is picking one again with Canada and Mexico, America’s partners in the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On August 27th he tweeted that both were being “very difficult”, adding: “May have to terminate?” His strategy, of getting a better deal by threatening to pull out altogether, is […]

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Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc on American air travel
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Donald Trump went to the Texas coast on August 29th to see for himself the disaster-relief effort in response to Hurricane Harvey. But few other people are able to travel there. The storm has brought record-breaking rains and devastating floods to the Houston area, killing at least 30 people so far (the toll is expected […]

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American bosses continue to lobby, more quietly
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IN CORPORATE America, “Trump” seems to be a dirty word, at least in public. After President Donald Trump seemed to equate the actions of white supremacists and their opponents in Charlottesville earlier this month, dozens of chief executives abandoned his advisory councils. Several organisations cancelled fundraising galas booked at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. […]

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The North American Free-Trade Agreement renegotiation begins
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THE North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a 23-year-old trade deal between America, Mexico and Canada, is being revamped. On August 16th, after months of threats, taunts and tweets, the first round of talks started in Washington. The negotiators face a daunting challenge, straddling domestic and foreign policy. They must please their political masters while grappling […]

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The Trump administration is investigating Chinese trade practices
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BEING tough on China was a constant theme of President Donald Trump’s election campaign. On August 14th he had another chance to wield his presidential pen to show that he is making good on his promises—in this case of a “zero-tolerance policy on intellectual-property theft and forced technology transfer”. With the cameras rolling, he formally […]

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American business leaders break with Donald Trump
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“I’VE never known it to be an embarrassment for a business leader to be associated with an American president,” declares Max Bazerman of Harvard Business School. Donald Trump, in particular, has positioned himself as a businessman-president, whose corporate acumen would unleash a new era for American business. Investors seemed to believe him—his election prompted a […]

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Who will be the next chair of the Federal Reserve?
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LOOK only at unemployment and inflation, says Peter Conti-Brown, a historian of the Federal Reserve, and Janet Yellen is the Fed’s most successful boss of all time. The second indicator may be below target, but that is a blip compared with the recessions most Fed chairmen have endured. So it is perhaps not surprising that […]

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How do you solve a problem like Korea? Investors are unsure
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EUROPEAN markets have started the day with losses of 1% or so, following a 2% decline in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and the 1% loss in the S&P 500 index on Thursday. The Vix, a much used measure of market fear, jumped to 16, its highest level since the presidential election. These are significant […]

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Investment in American infrastructure is falling
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IT IS not a number to tweet about. President Donald Trump plans to plough $1trn of spending into America’s crumbling infrastructure. And a dearth of capital is not a problem: investors are keen on such assets. But investment seems to be falling. Government infrastructure spending in the second quarter fell to 1.4% of GDP, the […]

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Investors are not great at predicting politics
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FINANCIAL markets are supposed to be the font of all wisdom, weighing up the information available and condensing it into a set of prices. Investors are presumed to have an insight into the future—falling bond yields are seen as a sign that the economy is slowing, for example. But are investors that clever when it […]

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A tale of two markets
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THE Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 22,000 on August 2nd, something President Trump is almost certain to mention in a tweet soon*. So it might seem as if the “Trump bump”, which began perking American stocks on the night of the election, is continuing smoothly. But the picture is a lot more complex than […]

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The Trump presidency may not have helped Kushner Companies
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WHEN the deal was struck just over a decade ago, for $1.8bn, 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41-storey Manhattan skyscraper, became the most expensive office building ever sold in America. Now it is in limbo, awaiting billions of dollars of investment to rebuild it and raise it almost twice as high. Across the Hudson River, another […]

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The power of populists
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WITH the defeat of Marine Le Pen in her bid for the French presidency, establishment politicians in rich countries breathed a sigh of relief. The fortunes of extremist candidates have faltered since the populist surge that put Donald Trump into the White House. But it is hard to be confident that this was populism’s high-water […]

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How Donald Trump is monetising his presidency
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Golf conflict “PRETTY close to a laughing stock.” That is Walter Shaub’s verdict on America’s standing in the world, at least from an ethics point of view, under President Donald Trump. Mr Shaub’s view counts: he stepped down this week as head of the Office of Government Ethics, a federal watchdog. He is leaving his […]

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Restrictions are lifted on the last airline affected by America's laptop ban
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JUST like that, America’s laptop ban is all but over. Four months ago the Trump administration announced that travellers from ten Middle Eastern countries would be barred from taking electronics larger than a mobile phone into plane cabins, citing security concerns. In the past few weeks, the government has been gradually freeing carriers, including Emirates, […]

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Podcast: Goodbye, Benito
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Brazil’s rigid labour market regulations were transplanted wholesale from Benito Mussolini’s Italy back in 1943. Now President Michel Temer has approved an overhaul. Will it encourage job creation? Also, an exorcist in Paris fighting “bad spirits”. And why President Trump is playing hardball in renegotiating NAFTA. Hosted by Andrew Palmer. <param name="labels"…Continue reading

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A new approach to financial regulation
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An inspector Quarles DONALD TRUMP promised to unshackle America’s financial firms from mounds of stultifying regulation and the grip of bureaucrats with little practical experience of capitalism. One way to put that pledge into practice is to appoint officials with business backgrounds and deregulatory agendas. This element of the Trump strategy was on show this […]

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A new trade deal between the EU and Japan
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FREE-TRADE agreements have seemed out of fashion as President Donald Trump has set about scotching some of America’s. But on July 5th Cecilia Malmström, the EU trade commissioner, and Fumio Kishida, the Japanese foreign minister, announced they had achieved consensus on a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA). In front of the cameras, they swapped Japanese […]

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The threat of a worldwide laptop ban recedes
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BUSINESS travellers, you can rest easy. Or, rather, you can forget about resting easy and continue to work through your flight. The anticipated expansion of a ban on laptops and other portable electronics devices in carry-on bags on flights to America is not coming to pass. Instead, you might be facing longer lines in airports […]

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How to Trump-proof your company
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TO OUR management team: When I left the White House yesterday, after another two-hour round-table with the president, I knew in my gut that it was time to put in place “plan C” for this great company. The boxer, Mike Tyson, had a point when he said “everyone has a plan until they get punched […]

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Qatar Airways wants a 10% stake in American Airlines
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IT SEEMED, at first blush, to be a masterclass in how to bait a rival. For years, American Airlines, along with other big American carriers, has complained of “unfair” competition from Middle Eastern operators, which stand accused of taking state subsidies. On June 22nd one of those accused, Qatar Airways, said it planned to take […]

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The perils of nationalisation
www.economist.com

WHEN Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his Labour manifesto ahead of the recent British election, opponents gawked at pledges to renationalise the postal and rail systems. Such enthusiasm for state ownership smacks of a philosophy long since abandoned by leaders on both left and right. Despite Labour’s decent electoral performance, nationalisation is not everywhere on the march; […]

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A high-flying Chinese dealmaker has his wings clipped
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“THE total number of airline miles travelled by this team is equal to a round trip between Earth and the moon.” So bragged Wu Xiaohui at a recruiting event held at Harvard University in January 2015. The boss of Anbang, a big Chinese insurer, was dazzling potential hires with his plans to go global. Anbang […]

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Why government-bond yields have been falling again
www.economist.com

EVERY year it seems that analysts and investors play a ritual game. They begin by asserting that government bonds are terrible value and that, accordingly, this must be the year when yields will rise (and prices fall). And then they get mugged by reality. The same pattern seems to be playing out in 2017. Back […]

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President Trump wants to privatise air-traffic control
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IN JUNE 1956 a TWA Constellation collided with a United Air Lines DC-7 over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, killing all 128 people on both aircraft. At the time it was the worst ever airline disaster. Struggling with outdated technology and a post-war boom in air travel, overworked air-traffic controllers failed to spot that the […]

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Big business sees the promise of clean energy
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PITY America’s big businesses. For years their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint were dismissed by environmentalists as “greenwashing”. Now, after months trying to persuade a supposedly pro-business new president, Donald Trump, of the merits of staying in the Paris climate accord, he practically laughed in their faces by withdrawing on June 1st. Executives fear […]

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What will the markets do if Labour wins?
www.economist.com

WHEN the British election campaign started, a victory for Theresa May looked a nailed-on certainty. The Conservative lead was as high as 20 percentage points and the party was 1/20 on to claim the most seats. But a poorly run campaign means that the gap has narrowed; the latest from Survation had the Conservatives with just […]

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Political ostracism means more woe for Qatar Airways
www.economist.com

AFTER years of ascension, the three Gulf superconnectors, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, have recently suffered a bad spell. The low price of oil—usually a boon for airlines—has reduced spending power in oil-rich states, which has dampened demand for flights from the region. Terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East, too, have proved a deterrent. Then […]

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Europe inches closer to a plan for fixing its financial flaws
www.economist.com

DONALD TRUMP and Theresa May may have done more to push Europeans together, and open up an opportunity for reform of its institutions, than any pro-European American president or British prime minister could ever have dreamt. The Commission’s “Reflection paper on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union”, issued on May 31st, points the […]

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Will President Trump rescue failing pension funds?
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TO THE exasperation of budget hawks, Donald Trump has long made clear that he will not reform Social Security (public pensions). But maintaining these entitlements does not fully protect workers’ retirement income. For many, pension promises from their employers are more important. These can shrink or vanish when firms fail. And, like Social Security, the […]

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Donald Trump considers congestion pricing for American cities
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DONALD TRUMP made a splash during the American presidential campaign when he called for a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure. But when he actually released his first major budget proposal this week, funds for roads and bridges hardly attracted notice. Though the document does lay out a target of $200bn in direct federal spending, to be […]

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Donald Trump’s budget ignores what is ailing American workers
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PRESIDENTIAL budget requests are worth exactly nothing. They carry no force of legislation. They land, heavy, bound and shrink-wrapped, so they can be immediately binned as Congress continues its now yearly stumble toward a “continuing resolution”—a supposedly temporary legislative act that in recent decades has almost entirely replaced the statutory budget process. The request from […]

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America’s trade policy has a new face, Robert Lighthizer
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AS IS well known, Donald Trump wants the press to focus not on what he calls “fake” news about himself, but on his administration’s achievements. On May 12th he helpfully tweeted an example: “China just agreed that the US will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products, into China once again. This is […]

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From Russia with risk
www.economist.com

BE CAREFUL what you wish for. Traders were bored last week and now they have got some excitement. The US equity market suffered its worst trading day in eight months, falling 1.8%, with banks dropping 4%. The Volatility index, or Vix, which recently dipped below 10, jumped above 15. The dollar has lost most of […]

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Donald Trump’s family and a controversial visa scheme
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A family affair THE events seemed inconspicuous enough: presentations in smart hotels in Beijing and Shanghai seeking investors for luxury American apartments. The details might have gone unnoticed had not a journalist from the Washington Post heard about the event’s star attraction. But these days the surname “Kushner” is like a magnet. It quickly emerged […]

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On China, commodities, credit and complacency
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THERE is a familiar scene in westerns where the cavalry is riding through the mountain pass and the captain says “I don’t like it. It’s quiet. Too quiet.” Seconds later, a soldier gets an arrow in his chest and all hell breaks loose. Some people feel that about markets at the moment. Deutsche Bank reckons […]

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Podcast: Trumponomics
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Simon Long delves into what Donald Trump means for taxes, growth and trade. Also: the markets react to Emmanuel Macron’s election victory in France and China develops its first large passenger jet <param name="playerKey"…Continue reading

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America may extend its laptop ban to cover flights from Europe
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THE Trump administration is considering extending its ban on laptops and tablets to include flights from Europe, according to CBS news. Security officials originally banned electronic devices larger than a phone on routes from ten Middle Eastern airports in March, citing intelligence that suggested terrorists might be planning to smuggle a bomb on board flights […]

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Did a selfie accidentally reveal the administration’s plan to halt all visas?
www.economist.com

PEOPLE tend to disagree on which adjective best describes Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s strategy chief, but most agree that he is canny. So in reporting that on May 2nd, a rabbi tweeted a selfie with Mr Bannon posing in front of a whiteboard in his office, and thus “inadvertently” revealed a list of possible policies, […]

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America’s economic growth slows to 0.7%
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THE news that America’s GDP growth slowed to 0.7% on an annualised basis in the first quarter of 2017 is no real surprise, for two reasons. First, although consumer and small business confidence have soared since Donald Trump won the presidential election, most measures of actual economic activity have failed to display the same vim […]

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Steven Mnuchin gets started on tax reform but there is more to do
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OF THE things that investors and bosses have come to like about Donald Trump, the most important is his promise to redraw America’s knackered corporate-tax system. On April 26th Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, laid out a guide for reform. After weeks of anticipation, Wall Street will be relieved. The thrust of the plan is […]

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