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‘The whole world economy’ is at risk if US-China trade war gets much worse, SocGen chair

Financial market participants are not paying enough attention to the escalating U.S.-China trade war, Societe Generale Chairman Lorenzo Bini Smaghi told CNBC on Friday. “I don’t think a trade war is very good, said Bini Smaghi, an Italian economist and former European Central Bank board member. He acknowledged there is a need to “put pressure on China to liberalize.” However, the world’s two largest economies need to find a way to resolve their trade dispute before it spills over and drags down global growth, Bini Smaghi told “Squawk Box.” “If it gets worse, the whole world economy is going to slow down,” said the chairman of SocGen, the Paris-based banking giant. The Trump administration on Monday announced tariffs of 10 percent on ano...

The head of the world’s biggest money manager says US stands to lose big long term in the trade war

The U.S. is winning the trade war with China in the short term but stands to lose significantly over the long term, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said Thursday. Basing his view on recent travels through Europe, Fink said his clients worry that over time the damage could be as severe as companies choosing China over the U.S. as a place to build and the dollar losing its status as the world’s reserve currency to the Chinese yuan, also known as the renminbi. “In the short run the United States is a big winner,” Fink said at a Yahoo Finance conference in New York. “The greatest problem that I see, and this is what I’m hearing from our clients, is this unilateralism that the United States has been taking,” he added. The White House has leveled a series of tariffs ...

Existing home sales unchanged in August

U.S. home sales flatlined in August but inventory increased for the first time in three years as the housing market continued to struggle despite strength across the broader economy. The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that existing home sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.34 million units last month. It follows four straight months of monthly declines. A dearth of properties for sale has pushed up prices, sidelining many would-be homeowners. “As long as we have increased inventory, I think the housing market can turn for the better in terms of sales,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. Supply has also been constrained by rising building material costs as well as land and labor shortages while rising mortgage rates are expected t...

US weekly jobless claims fall as labor market strength continues

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting near a 49-year low in a sign the job market remains strong. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 201,000 for the week ended Sept. 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That is the lowest level since November 1969. Data for the prior week’s claims was unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said only claims for Hawaii were estimated last week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, declined by 2,250 to 205,750 last week, the lowest level since December 1...

Jobless claims fall to the lowest in nearly 49 years

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting near a 49-year low in a sign the job market remains strong. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 201,000 for the week ended Sept. 15, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That is the lowest level since November 1969. Data for the prior week’s claims was unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 210,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said only claims for Hawaii were estimated last week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, declined by 2,250 to 205,750 last week, the lowest level since December 1...

Steel workers gear up for strike, potentially derailing Trump’s steel resurgence

President Donald Trump‘s U.S. steel resurgence might be thwarted as more workers go on strike. About 15,000 workers at plants owned by ArcelorMittal voted on Tuesday to go on strike as contract disputes drag on, USW International said. “The flexibility of our contracts and world-class efficiency and productivity of this particular group of steelworkers enabled ArcelorMittal to survive floods of unfairly traded and illegally dumped foreign imports that brought about the harshest market conditions our industry has faced in decades,” said Leo Gerard, president at USW International, in a statement. “Now that the company is generating enormous – even historic – amounts of cash, it is an insult that bargaining progress has been hindered by management’s unrealistic c...

US housing starts rose in August, boosted by a jump in multifamily construction

U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in August, a positive sign for the housing market which has underperformed the broader economy amid rising interest rates for home loans. Housing starts rose 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.282 million units in August, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Analysts polled by Reuters has expected an annual rate of 1.235 million units. The Commerce Department raised its estimate for starts in July to a 1.174 million-unit rate. U.S. housing starts data can be volatile and subject to large revisions. Much of August’s gain was in the particularly volatile multi-family component, with starts on buildings with two or more units rising 29.3 percent to an annual rate of 406,000 units. Single-family homebuilding, which a...

The Fed has some big decisions to make starting next week

When the Federal Reserve gathers next week, markets likely will be looking past a widely expected rate hike and toward the direction the central bank will chart ahead. A quarter-point increase in the Fed’s benchmark funds rate is already baked in the cake. That will take the funds target to 2 percent to 2.25 percent, where it last was more than 10 years ago. The mystery for investors will be how officials view the future, particularly at a time when they’ve been making public statements that seem to indicate a difference of opinion over how aggressive policy needs to be as the economy ignites. For now, the conclusion of most Fedspeak has been a continuation of the steady but gradual pace of rate hikes and a continued unwind of the balance sheet, which is comprised mostly of bon...

Rising US-China trade tensions ‘couldn’t come at a worse time’: Iowa agriculture secretary

American farmers have already been hurt by retaliatory tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war, and the ratcheting of tensions once again is unfortunate and comes at a bad time, according to Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig. “As we head into the 2018 harvest season for corn and soybean out here in Iowa, this escalation of the trade conflict really couldn’t come at a worse time,” Naig said in an interview Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” On Monday, the Trump administration escalated the trade tussle with China by announcing tariffs of 10 percent on some $200 billion of Chinese goods. Those duties will jump to 25 percent on Jan. 1. Beijing responded by imposing levies of between 5 percent and 10 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. products effective Se...

Trump vows ‘great and fast’ economic retaliation on China if it goes after American farmers

President Donald Trump, who drew a line in the sand Monday with China in officially announcing tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports to the U.S., is now threatening “great and fast” economic retaliation if China targets American farmers, ranchers or industrial workers. China said Tuesday it has “no choice” but to retaliate, according to a statement released Tuesday by its Commerce Ministry. It announced additional duties on $60 billion of American imports in a forced response to U.S. trade protectionism. Before the news from China was announced, Trump unleashed his threats in a pair of posts on Twitter Tuesday morning. Trump said China is “actively” trying to change the U.S. election by attacking these American workers “because of thei...

Audi unveils an electric SUV and it’s taking deposits now

Joining a growing number of luxury auto makers, Audi unveiled a new all-electric SUV. Called the E-Tron, the SUV will be available in Europe later this year and in the United States next spring. Audi said it is taking refundable $1,000 deposits for the E-Tron starting now. Prices will start at about $75,000 or $86,700 for well-equipped “First Edition” models. It’s the first of three new electric vehicles Audi will introduce over the next few years. The German luxury automaker, which is part of the Volkswagen Group (VLKPF), also announced it is partnering with Amazon to handle installation of home charging stations for E-Tron buyers. The E-Tron was revealed at an event on the San Francisco waterfront. Hundreds of drones formed Audi’s four ring logo over a former Ford...

Kudlow says White House aware of the rising deficit, but economic ‘growth solves a lot of problems’

Top White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said while the administration needs to be tougher on spending, growth from recent tax cuts should fix the issue. “If you grow rapidly you’re going to have lesser deficits. Growth solves a lot of problems,” Kudlow said at the Economic Club of New York on Monday. “The gap is principally spending too much.” Thanks to an uptick in gross domestic product, or GDP, after tax cuts, Kudlow said the U.S. has “just about paid for two thirds of the total tax cuts.” The tax overhaul passed in December permanently cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent and temporarily reduced taxes on most individuals. The plan sparked concerns in both political parties about growing budget deficits. “People are quick to blam...