Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • Trump’s Top Trade Adviser Quietly Seeks an Alliance With Mexico. (videoPresident Donald Trump’s top trade adviser is quietly working to forge an alliance with Mexico, even as U.S. plans to build a border wall and threats to withdraw from Nafta continue to inflame tensions with its third-largest trading partner. Peter Navarro, who as head of the White House National Trade Council will play a leading role in the effort to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, said in an interview the U.S. wants Mexico and Canada to unite in a regional manufacturing “powerhouse” that will keep out parts from other countries.
  • U.S. Stocks Rise, Treasuries Rally as Fed Tightens. (video) The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4 percent as mining companies rallied 1.5 percent as a group.
  • Iraq Plans to Boost Crude Oil Production and Exports This Year. (video) Iraq pumped 4.57 million barrels a day of oil in February and plans to boost output later in the year even as the OPEC member reaffirmed its commitment to the group’s decision to cut production to counter a global glut. The country plans to increase output to 5 million barrels a day by the end of 2017, Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said Wednesday at a news conference in the southern city of Basra. Iraq exported 3.87 million barrels a day from its southern and northern shipment hubs in February, the ministry’s spokesman, Asim Jihad, said in an emailed statement. 
  • Fed Raises Benchmark Rate as Inflation Approaches 2% Target. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark lending rate a quarter point and continued to project two more increases this year, signaling more vigilance as inflation approaches its target. “In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement Wednesday. “Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.”
  • To Protect Climate Money, Obama Stashed It Where It’s Hard to Find. (video) President Donald Trump will find the job of reining in spending on climate initiatives made harder by an Obama-era policy of dispersing billions of dollars in programs across dozens of agencies -- in part so they couldn’t easily be cut. There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did. The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration. In some cases, the idea was to make climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find. "Much of the effort in the Obama administration was to mainstream climate change," said Jesse Keenan, who worked on climate issues with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now teaches at Harvard University. He said all federal agencies were required to incorporate climate-change plans into both their operations.
Wall Street Journal:
Zero Hedge:
  • China iron ore jumps 5 pct as steel races to 3-yr high. Iron ore futures in China surged more than 5 percent on Wednesday as steel prices rose to their strongest in more than three years on hopes of firm demand as Beijing spurs infrastructure spending and property sales rise.

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