Saturday, January 28, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • White House Defends Immigrant Ban as Airports Stop Travelers. President Donald Trump defended his order suspending refugee resettlements in the U.S. and barring entry to people from from Iraq, Syria and five other Middle East nations, as confusion broke out at airports around the world and government agencies and airlines tried to interpret the new rules. "It’s not a Muslim ban,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We were totally prepared. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It’s working out very nicely."
  • IMF Warns Eurogroup Loan Measures Not Enough for Greek Debt. Greece’s public debt and financing needs will prove “explosive” in decades to come unless Europe overhauls its bailout program to ease the load, the International Monetary Fund says in a draft report as the country seeks a fresh loan payout. In a baseline scenario, Greece’s government debt will reach 275 percent of its gross domestic product by 2060, at which time its gross financing needs will represent 62 percent of GDP, the IMF says in the report obtained by Bloomberg. The government estimates public debt around 180 percent of GDP at present. The document also says some Greek debt proposals by euro-area finance ministers “are not specific enough to enable a full assessment” of their impact on sustainability. Finance ministers meeting in Brussels last week failed to agree on how to unlock further aid for the country, whose 86 billion-euro ($92 billion) bailout program is under review.
  • ECB Must Maintain Highly Accommodative Conditions, Visco Says. The European Central Bank must maintain an accommodative stance on monetary policy to avoid deflation risks and ensure price stability, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said. “There are as yet no clear indications of any inversion of trend in the core components driving developments in consumer prices and wage growth,” Visco, who sits on the European Central Bank Governing Council, said on Saturday in a speechat the annual Assiom-Forex conference in Modena, near Bologna. “To bring inflation back to a path consistent with medium-term price stability, monetary conditions must continue to be highly accommodative.”
  • Trump Faces Growing GOP Pressure to Maintain Russia Sanctions. A group of Republicans in the U.S. Senate is intensifying calls on President Donald Trump to keep sanctions on Russia in place one day before his planned call with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and others were responding to media reports that Trump administration officials are considering taking executive actions to lift sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 over its occupation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.
  • Ford(F) CEO Told Trump U.S. Fuel-Economy Rules Risk 1 Million Jobs. About 1 million U.S. jobs are at risk if fuel-economy rules don’t align with market reality, according to Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields, who delivered the estimation directly to President Donald Trump. Fields and his peers -- General Motors Co. chief Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Sergio Marchionne -- didn’t ask to have fuel-economy standards eliminated during their meeting with the president at the White House this week, the CEO said Friday. The focus was on combining various sets of government regulations and ensuring they take into account consumer demand.
  • Trump Restrains Lobbying by Administration Veterans in Order. President Donald Trump moved to reorganize his National Security Council, implement a lobbying ban for political appointees once they exit his administration, and order the Pentagon to create a plan to defeat the Islamic State terror organization. The initiatives were signed into effect by Trump in the Oval Office on Saturday, and represented the latest in a cavalcade of presidential directives this week that included banning travelers from seven countries that Trump believes breed terrorism, building a wall along the Mexican border, and seeking ways to restrain implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Saturday’s flurry of orders capped a foreign-policy heavy day for the new president, who had calls scheduled with five foreign leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
  • Mnuchin Dims Banks’ Hopes He Will Allow a Prop-Trading Revival. Steven Mnuchin made clear he doesn’t want Wall Street banks getting back into the business of making risky market bets with their own capital, after Senate Democrats pushed him to clarify his responses to questions they asked during his confirmation process to be Treasury secretary.
Wall Street Journal:
Zero Hedge:

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