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US Headlines Special 3: The Outcome
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14 December 2015 |
We know Christmas is coming but the world does not stop there has been plenty going on this week! Oil prices have plummeted once again, Donald Trump has made some outrageous comments, there has been plenty of M&A activity and the US are looking to raise interest rates.
Donald Trump, by now infamous for his controversy, has stirred up more trouble in the past week by claiming that Muslims should be banned from America. This claim in itself not only caused public shock and horror within America but also across the Atlantic in the UK, whereby Trump tried to justify himself by stating that ‘police in London are afraid for their own lives’ reports the Telegraph. Nonetheless, the Pentagon has denied the claims suggesting that the threat referred to was with regard to Islamic state. This has resulted in a petition calling for the ban of Trump from the UK. However, Guardian journalist David Mitchell argues that we should simply ignore his claims and controversy. Trump’s latest claim with regard to immigration policy is aimed at trying to prevent terrorism. Despite Trump’s controversy, the New York Times argues this week that immigration in the US is better than Europe. Whilst this standpoint would be expected, the article justifies its opinion by stating that immigrants to the US become integrated more quickly and buy into the American dream helping with the overall country’s economic prosperity. Therefore, whilst Trump attempts to gain popularity through his controversial claims, if successful, firstly would he be able to implement them and secondly, is this beneficial to the security of America or American society generally, is it not simply discrimination?
Centring the European scene this week is the renegotiation of Britain’s agreement with Europe. However, recent news suggests that the demands Cameron has made are likely to be ‘watered down’. The Independent outlines Eurosceptics stand point which see Cameron become more lenient on his ‘four year ban on European Union nationals qualifying for in-work benefits.’ Hence this follows the resistance Cameron has faced to his immigration demands. Whilst Eurosceptics may hold this opinion of Cameron, conscious that the renegotiation could be make or break for whether the UK votes in or out of the EU, Cameron still is holding strong. Nonetheless, John Humphreys in his article suggests that as with any other European meeting the answers will not be immediate, in particular over the UK renegotiation at the December 17th , as there are no doubt more pressing issues. However, in the midst of the indecisiveness and negotiation Humphreys analyses whether the European Union can really collapse. Whilst a UK exit from the Union will depend on the people’s vote which is influenced by Cameron’s renegotiation, would a Brexit be fatal for the EU?
MERGER AND ACQUISTION NEWS!
Alibaba, Chinese internet giant, has bought Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post for £175 million. This will see Alibaba own several newspapers and online publications. This proposes the question as to why an IT company would interest and want to buy a newspaper? The BBC outlines how South China Morning Post merged with Alibaba in order to ‘leverage on its technology expertise to develop the paper’.
In other M&A news, Dow Chemical and Du Boint, two US chemical companies, are planning to merge in a deal worth £86bn in an attempt to save money. The newly formed company which will be called DowDuPoint will ‘focus on agriculture, materials and speciality products’ according to the BBC. Nonetheless the three companies plan to de-merge following a three year period. This offers an interesting perspective, in contrast to The Alibaba and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post deal, as to why firms choose to merge.
In other business news, RBS argues that within four years they will have a profit. Bloomberg shares ‘European investment banks are undertaking some of the deepest overhauls since the financial crisis to bolster earnings hurt by stricter capital rules, rising costs tied to misconduct and less profitable debt trading.’ It will be interesting to see whether this strategy works, if only one could forward four years and then rewind!
It is nearly the end of 2015, so what has happened to the UK economy? Has it recovered? Is the outlook positive? The IMF argues that the UK economy is very strong however, there are still threats. The BBC reports on the IMF’s statement which suggests there has been ‘employment progress and deficit reduction’ yet there is a ‘high household debt, a “strikingly large” trade deficit and high government debt’ all threatening the UK. The referendum is also placing the economic stability into question. On the other hand, the Guardian offers a more pessimistic perspective suggesting it is ‘groundhog day for the UK economy’ due to the slackening export market and the increasing import market which is worsening the trade deficit, adding to one of the named threats by the IMF which the UK is facing. The Telegraph tackles a similar approach to the Guardian when reporting on UK business confidence falling to the lowest point within a year due to global economic uncertainty. Therefore, whilst growth for quarter three of 2015 was 0.5% and with annual growth from 2014 to 2015 expected at around the 2% mark, it appears that external pressures may lead to another mini crumble for the UK in 2016 as weak economies and global outlook are dampening the UK’s progress.
Buckle Up as the Economist has stated as the US are planning on raising interest rates. One of the three factors contributing to the decision concerning the rates of interest have been released and the positive outcome is paving way for this historic moment with interest rates being at record lows since the financial crash. The Economist reports on the stability of the US economy with unemployment at around 5% and average wages increasing. The article also summarises the Fed’s chair, Janet Yellen reasoning with regard to interest rates and her response to the criticism concerning the potential short term increases in imports, ‘That effect should dissipate if the dollar’s ascent stops. There is also less scope for the oil price to plunge, having already fallen by almost two-thirds over the past year. This suggests inflation may pick up in 2016. That, in turn, argues for a rate rise soon, since monetary policy is thought to have only a delayed impact on the economy.’ It will be interesting to see what the US Fed decide to do and to what rate they increase interest rates to.
Result! The weekend saw the success of a climate change agreement. The Guardian reports on how ‘Developed and developing countries alike are required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, of 2C with an aspiration of 1.5C, with regular reviews to ensure these commitments can be increased in line with scientific advice. Finance will be provided to poor nations to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. Countries affected by climate-related disasters will gain urgent aid.’ The agreement has been branded ‘historic, durable and ambitious’.
This agreement comes at an interesting time considering oil prices have fallen once again reducing transport costs which potentially will stop people from deliberating over alternative means that would reduce emissions. The fall in oil prices, which saw Brent Oil prices fall below 38 dollars per barrel, is a result of worries regarding the oversupply of oil. Reuters explains how and why this has occurred stating that ‘OPEC has been pumping near record levels since last year in an attempt to drive higher-cost producers such as U.S. shale firms out of the market.’ However, will OPEC’s ability to oversupply continue as their currency reserves fall? The question remains.