Other News

Mnuchin: ‘I’m very bullish on stocks’ and sustained economic growth over 3%

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that he would be willing to bet that gross domestic product can sustain at least 3 percent growth later this year. “That’s really been the focus. That’s what everyone should be focused on. That’s our scorecard,” he said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “We are well on our way to 3 percent or higher sustained growth,” he predicted. The Commerce Department reported last month that U.S. economic growth slowed in the first quarter, advancing at a 2.3 percent annual rate. However, GDP in the first three months of the year tends to be sluggish because of seasonal quirks. Mnuchin said the stock market is reflecting an improving economy, adding he is “very bullish on stocks.” “...

US-China trade agreements are ‘face-saving’ and ‘lose-lose,’ says Moody’s chief economist

Triumphant tones coming from the White House over the weekend are inconsequential, Moody’s chief economist said Monday, deflating hopes that the U.S. is gaining major ground in its negotiations with China aimed at averting a trade war. “I think it’s a lose-lose. There are no winners here,” Mark Zandi told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday. “This is face-saving, because clearly they’re not going come to terms on anything — at least, not in the near-team.” Zandi was referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s announcement Sunday that a looming trade war was “on hold” as the world’s two largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats and discuss parameters for a wider trade agreement. China conse...

Mnuchin: We’ve made ‘very meaningful progress’ with China on trade issues

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put a positive face on the state of U.S.-China trade negotiations, saying Monday the talks so far already have yielded tangible benefits. “I think we’ve made very meaningful progress,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Now it’s up to both of us to make sure that we can implement it.” His comments come amid a back-and-forth tussle between the two countries over the state of trade, a key issue that President Donald Trump has vowed to resolve. Administration officials have been meeting and negotiating with their Chinese counterparts over myriad issues, including but not limited to technology, agricultural and energy products. The two sides have backed off on threatened tariffs over dozens of products, though M...

Mnuchin: Trump could consider a ‘skinny’ NAFTA if renegotiations don’t go as planned

President Donald Trump could consider a “skinny NAFTA” overhaul that would not require congressional approval, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday. But for now, Mnuchin said in a “Squawk Box” interview, “We’re focused on a new NAFTA that would go through Congress.” Since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was originally passed by Congress, any major reworking of the deal would need reratification. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been “very focused on NAFTA,” Mnuchin said. “As he’s said, there are still some very significant open issues.” Mnuchin said he spoke with the finance ministers of Mexico and Canada last week, adding, “there is a desire on all three parties to try...

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin declares US-China trade war ‘on hold’ as both sides work toward agreement

The U.S. trade war with China is “on hold” after the world’s largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday. Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the agreement reached by Chinese and American negotiators on Saturday set up a framework for addressing trade imbalances in the future. “We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” Mnuchin said in a television interview on “Fox News Sunday.” On Saturday, Beijing and Washington said they would keep talking about measures under which China would import more energy and...

New 3 World Trade Center to mark another step in NYC’s downtown revival

It’s finally happening. More than 16 years after the World Trade Center tragedy, a major component of the rebuilt WTC site is getting ready to open. In early June, 3 World Trade Center will be opening with lead tenants including music streaming firm Spotify and advertising giant GroupM. It will join 1 and 4 World Trade Center — the two other major buildings on the site — along with 7 World Trade Center on Greenwich Street. The completion of this phase of the World Trade Center comes as New York’s financial district is experiencing a renaissance. I was at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 tragedy and worked at the NYSE in the immediate years after. Back then, the financial district was filled with vacancies and relatively sparsely populated. And then, it began to change. &#...

Campbell’s Soup blows up Secretary Ross claim tariffs wouldn’t hurt them — and he pushes back anyway

In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held up a can of Campbell’s Soup to demonstrate how benign the effects would be of steel and aluminum tariffs. In an earnings call Friday, a Campbell official held up the tariffs as a negative factor in the company’s profitability going forward. Ross made the argument during a CNBC appearance, shortly after the administration had announced it would slap a 25 percent levy on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Responding to fears that the duties would be inflationary, Ross said they actually would have little effect on prices, even in a worst-case scenario. “What I’d like to do, though, is to emphasize again the limited impact,” he began. “This is a can of Campbell’s Soup. In the can of Campbell&...

China says it hasn’t offered Trump a $200 billion trade surplus cut

China has not offered to cut its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion, contrary to reports, China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday. Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the claims were not true while speaking at a daily news briefing about the ongoing trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, according to Reuters. “This rumor is not true. This I can confirm to you,” the spokesman told the press. “As I understand, the relevant consultations are ongoing and they are constructive,” he adding, without going into further detail. Various news outlets, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that China offered to meet President Donald Trump’s demand of the trade surplus cut, which included increased purchases of American goods. Trump...

China says it hasn’t offered to cut its trade surplus with the US by $200 billion

China has not offered to cut its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion, contrary to reports, China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday. Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the claims were not true while speaking at a daily news briefing about the ongoing trade talks between the world’s two largest economies, according to Reuters. Various news outlets, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that China offered to meet President Donald Trump’s demand of the trade surplus cut, which included increased purchases of American goods. “This rumor is not true. This I can confirm to you,” the spokesman told the press. “As I understand, the relevant consultations are ongoing and they are constructive,” he added, without going into further detail. Chines...

US, China launch trade talks to avert tariff war, economic damage

The United States and China launch a second round of trade talks on Thursday to try to avert a damaging tariff war, with the Trump administration demanding a $200 billion cut in China’s U.S. trade surplus and greater protections for intellectual property. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose up to $150 billion in punitive tariffs to combat what he says is Beijing‘s misappropriation of U.S. technology through joint venture requirements and other policies. Beijing has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest U.S. imports, including aircraft, soybeans and autos. At talks in Beijing two weeks ago, the two sides presented lengthy lists of demands to each other, agreeing only to keep talking. The Trump administration sought a $200 billion...

Leading indicators up for sixth straight month

A composite index of leading economic indicators gained for the sixth straight month in April. The Conference Board‘s Leading Economic Index gained 0.4 percent to 109.4, matching expectations from economists polled by Reuters. “In April, stock prices and housing permits were the only negative contributors, whereas the labor market components, which made negative contributions in March, improved,” said Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board Ataman Ozyildirim. The measure, which measures 10 key metrics of economic movement, jumped 0.3 percent to 109 in March, which followed a gain of 0.7 percent in February. The index is used to forecast global economic trends and take checks on the U.S. economy. The Conference Board, a business research ass...

US weekly jobless claims rise, but unemployment rolls are the smallest in 45 years

New applications for U.S. jobless benefits increased more than expected last week, but the number of Americans on unemployment rolls fell to its lowest level since 1973, pointing to diminishing labor market slack. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended May 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims data for the prior week was unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 215,000 in the latest week. The labor market is viewed as being close to or at full employment, with the jobless rate near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate is within striking distance of the Federal Reserve’s forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year. The Labor Department said claims for...