|Bid||34.74 x 800|
|Ask||34.78 x 3100|
|Day's range||34.57 - 35.73|
|52-week range||26.19 - 46.90|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.17|
|PE ratio (TTM)||20.12|
|Earnings date||26 Jul 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||39.90|
Twitter Lists have never gotten the attention they deserve. A feature largely adopted by Twitter power users, lists allow you to create custom timelines by adding only those users whose tweets you want to track. According to a tweet shared today, Twitter has been thinking about how to make lists easier to get to.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump threatened Iran with forceful retaliation for any attack on the U.S. after the Islamic Republic ruled out talks to resolve escalating tensions between the two nations.“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force,” Trump said Tuesday in a tweet. “In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”Iran earlier said the path to a diplomatic solution with the U.S. had closed after the Trump administration imposed sanctions against its supreme leader and other top officials, raising tensions days after the downing of an American drone brought the Middle East to the brink of war.Trump’s comments came after some news outlets reported that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that the Trump administration suffered from “mental retardation.” A more precise translation from Farsi, however, would be: “The Americans have become confused and they do strange things. Things that no wise person in the history of politics has done. The White House has a mental disorder.”Trump’s tweet in response: “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality.”Trump last week abruptly canceled planned airstrikes against Iran for shooting down the drone. The administration also blames Tehran for recent attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, which Iran denies.“I hope they understood the message,” Trump told reporters later Tuesday at the White House. “I decided not to strike -- they shot down an unmanned drone.”Tensions have spiked in the Gulf since May, when the Trump administration revoked waivers on the import of Iranian oil, squeezing its economy a year after the U.S. walked away from the landmark 2015 deal meant to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon. Since then, a spate of attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping chokepoint, has raised the specter of war and pushed up oil prices.‘Futile Actions’“The futile sanctions against the Iranian leader and the country’s chief diplomat mean the permanent closure of the diplomatic path with the government of the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency. “The Trump government is in the process of destroying all the established international mechanisms for maintaining global peace and security.”The new penalties are unlikely to have a significant impact on a country that’s already in recession due to stringent U.S. sanctions on its oil sector and has been largely shut out of the global financial system. The U.S. has sanctioned more than 80% of Iran’s economy, according to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who was in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week to rally a front against Iran.The targeting of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for U.S. sanctions on Monday shocked some Iranians because he’s considered a spiritual guide and a holy man by his most devoted followers.Trump has coupled his “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions with invitations to sit down with Iranian leaders. In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the president said that he thinks Iranian leaders want to negotiate and he’s willing to talk with no preconditions except that the outcome must be Iran acquiring no nuclear weapons.His national security adviser, John Bolton, said on Tuesday that Iran had an “open door” to negotiations on a revised nuclear deal as he met Israeli and Russian officials for talks on the Iranian presence in Syria. But he said that any talks would have to “completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its pursuit of ballistic missiles delivery systems, its support for international terrorism, and its other malign behavior worldwide.”(Updates with Trump comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at email@example.com;Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at email@example.com, Joshua Gallu, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched its Falcon Heavy rocket for the U.S. military early Tuesday in a spectacular night time liftoff that Musk described as the company’s toughest yet.The rocket and payload rumbled aloft at 2:30 a.m. local time from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a three-hour delay. SpaceX then recovered the rocket’s two side boosters -- which flew in April as part of the Arabsat-6A mission -- at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The center core failed to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.https://t.co/nqzTRmYihI pic.twitter.com/GEvNn2L7IS— Bloomberg (@business) June 25, 2019 Falcon Heavy was carrying 24 satellites for the space agency, Department of Defense research labs and other partners. SpaceX fought for the right to compete for Air Force launches, and Tuesday’s liftoff marks a huge milestone for the company’s relationship with the U.S. military.“It’s the first multi-mission, multi-payload deployment for the Falcon Heavy and that’s really exciting for everybody,” Col. Robert Bongiovi, director of the Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space Command, said in a statement before the launch.The mission, known as STP-2, was to place the 24 spacecraft in three different orbits. The payload includes an Air Force Research Laboratory Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) satellite; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-sponsored Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate-2 (COSMIC-2) and four NASA experiments, according to SpaceX’s website. The final deployment was scheduled to take place more than 3 1/2 hours after the launch. Shortly before 3 a.m. local time, SpaceX’s Twitter feed began confirming deployment of the first satellites.https://t.co/ywGmMWnOj9 pic.twitter.com/G1gjpUbT3j— Bloomberg (@business) June 25, 2019 SpaceX set a company record last year with 21 launches for customers. Last month, the Hawthorne, California-based company sent up the first batch of its own satellites, a key step toward creating a space-based constellation that beams broadband to under-served areas across the globe.Much of the focus in 2019 has been on the first flight with humans on board. SpaceX and Boeing Co. have contracts with NASA to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew program.SpaceX completed the Demo-1 flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft in March without humans on board. But in late April, the capsule was engulfed in flames and destroyed during a test, a mishap that probably will push back the commercial crew schedule. NASA and SpaceX are reevaluating target test dates.(Updates with details of liftoff in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tony Capaccio.To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Hull in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at email@example.com, Melinda Grenier, Angus WhitleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- K-pop sensation BTS has racked up a string of firsts over an astonishing six-year run. Now the seven-member group star in their very own smartphone game, marrying two of South Korea’s hottest exports.Netmarble Corp., the country’s biggest mobile-app publisher, has unveiled a game featuring global K-Pop phenom BTS, the latest attempt to wed the country’s tech and entertainment industries to drive economic growth.“BTS World” contains previously undisclosed videos and photos of the boy band. The game takes players to their pre-debut days to recruit and train the singers. Users can pay to quicken the process of guiding the seven young men to stardom. Created by local developer Takeone Company Corp. and published by Netmarble, the game also features video and text chats with BTS members based on pre-written scripts.It’s the first major mobile title to focus exclusively on a K-Pop group, a testament to the rapidly growing clout of two of Korea’s most promising exports -- games and K-Pop -- as Hyundai cars struggle to regain momentum and Samsung semiconductors undergo an industry downturn.BTS or Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, has amassed millions of fans around the world thanks in large part to social media. The band’s Love Yourself campaign, which calls on people to take better care of themselves and encourages them to speak out on social issues, has resonated in particular with young fans.“Managing BTS myself would make me feel closer to the members,” said Paik Ji-min, a 29-year-old South Korean fan who flew to London to attend a BTS concert and said she would be willing to spend about 50,000 won (around $43) playing the game. “Just the thought of it makes me smile ear to ear.”Netmarble already plans a sequel to BTS World, seeking to maximize profit from what has arguably become the biggest K-Pop success after singer Psy. BTS has 20 million followers on Twitter and has made television appearances on Saturday Night Live and Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show. This year, the band sold out London’s 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in just 90 minutes.The company’s founder, Bang Jun-hyuk, teamed up with relative Bang Si-hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind BTS, to develop the game. The entrepreneur is betting the recipe will re-energize growth at Netmarble, which trades about 20% lower than when it listed in 2017.“Even though it’s based on story-telling, as you progress you can discover a lot of missions and gaming elements,” Seungwon Lee, Netmarble’s chief global officer, told Bloomberg Television. “It’s sufficient incentive to keep motivating users to play.”BTS creator Bang Si-hyuk, who is also known as Hitman, told Bloomberg in 2017 that the company was diversifying into intellectual property-protected content that could possibly multiply its revenue. Big Hit is now worth an estimated $2 billion, according to the Hyundai Research Institute. The company is drawing on the popularity of the band to collaborate with Line Corp. for character merchandise and Mattel Inc. for dolls. The K-pop industry is worth about $5 billion, according to the government-affiliated Korea Creative Content Agency.Read More: High School Dropout Turns Billionaire on Games Firm IPONetmarble, whose titles include Lineage 2 Revolution and Marvel Future Fight, ranked 5th among publishers of Google Play and Apple iOS apps last year in terms of revenue, according to analytics firm App Annie. Founded in 2000, the Seoul-based company has drawn backing from Chinese giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and South Korean conglomerate CJ Group.Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said it may be relatively easy to generate money from players because they’re already fans who display a strong willingness to pay for BTS content. But the lifespan of the game could be limited. “Once the content is consumed there should be very little reason to play on, just like how you wouldn’t watch the same movie multiple times,” Ling said.Read More: ‘Hitman’ Worth $770 Million With K-Pop Craze Rocking the PlanetTo contact the reporters on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org;Sam Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Japan sees ensuring the safety of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz as a matter of life and death in terms of its energy security, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.Suga was responding Tuesday to a question about President Donald Trump’s tweet that said nations heavily dependent on fuel exports from the Middle East -- including China and Japan -- should defend their own ships rather than relying on the U.S. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, though Iran denies it.“We are seriously concerned about rising tensions in the Middle East,” Suga said. “In particular, the safety of shipping in the Straits of Hormuz is a matter of life and death for our country in terms of energy security and it is extremely important for the peace and prosperity of the international community.” He added that Japan would continue diplomatic efforts in close cooperation with the U.S. and other countries.In a call with reporters Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said more than 60% of the oil that passes through the strait goes to Asian countries.Read more: U.S. Seeks Support to Watch Gulf Shipping as Iran Tensions RiseHemmed in by its pacifist constitution, Japan relies on the U.S. for security. It has gradually expanded efforts to support U.S. military actions, including sending peacekeeping troops to Iraq about 15 years ago. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the decades-old U.S.-drafted constitution was reinterpreted in 2014 to allow Japan to defend allies in cases where it faces an existential threat.Trump has recently mused with aides about withdrawing from the U.S.-Japan security treaty, Bloomberg News reported.To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at email@example.com;Takashi Hirokawa in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Jon Herskovitz, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google warned employees about protesting against the internet giant at official company events during Pride celebrations, according to people familiar with the situation.Some workers have been planning protests at the Pride parade this weekend in San Francisco to speak out against the company’s policies on harassment of LGBTQ people on YouTube.The Google video service has been under fire for how it responded to homophobic and racist jokes made in clips by conservative comedian and commentator Steven Crowder. Some Google workers spoke out against YouTube on Twitter, and a small group organized protests last week during the annual shareholder meeting of parent company Alphabet Inc.One of the next steps planned by these employees is to speak out about YouTube during Pride activities this weekend because they think the company hasn’t done enough to quash LGBTQ harassment on the video service, the people said. The parade in San Francisco requires people to be invited to a specific contingent to march, so that often means workers attend as part of groups organized by their employers.Google warned workers not to protest against the company if they are marching with Google’s official contingent. Doing so would violate the company’s code of conduct, according to internal memos viewed by the people. The Verge reported the memos earlier. A Google spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday.The company’s actions may violate federal labor law protecting workplace activism, as well as a California law protecting employees’ political activities, according to University of California at Berkeley law professor Catherine Fisk. "Maintaining the policy would chill speech that is protected by law," she said."Google has undermined their own reason for participating in the Pride parade by trying to prevent its gay workers from criticizing Google’s alleged failure to address homophobic hate speech," she added. "They have sort of shot themselves in the foot on this one."\--With assistance from Gerrit De Vynck.To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Brustein in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Josh Eidelson in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and eight senior military commanders, a provocative step designed to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday that the penalties would deny Khamenei and his office access to financial resources.“The supreme leader of Iran is the one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime,” Trump said.Trump last week abruptly canceled planned air strikes against Iran for shooting down a U.S. Navy drone on Thursday. The administration also blames Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, though Iran denies it.The penalties won’t have a significant impact on a country that’s already in recession and facing heavy sanctions from the U.S. Still, the new restrictions serve as symbolic reprimand for the attacks, according to former Treasury officials.‘Annoy the Iranians’“It will have an effect because it will annoy the Iranians and make negotiations hard to pull off if the supreme leader is sanctioned,” said Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who previously worked in the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions unit.The U.S. already has sanctioned more than 80% of Iran’s economy, according to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to rally a front against Iran.Trump has coupled his “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions with invitations to sit down with Iranian leaders. In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the president said that he thinks Iranian leaders want to negotiate and he’s willing to talk with no preconditions except that the outcome must be Iran acquiring no nuclear weapons.At the United Nations on Monday, Iran’s Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi ruled out one-on-one talks with the U.S., urging Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to help organize regional talks instead. “You cannot start dialogue with someone who is threatening you, who is intimidating you,” Ravanchi told reporters.Outside a session of the Security Council called by the U.S. -- where Iran wasn’t invited to participate -- U.K. Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters that “there’s a lot of desire to see de-escalation and to look for diplomatic solutions. At the same time, one has to take very seriously the sorts of attacks that have occurred on the tankers, which is dangerous for international shipping, dangerous for regional security.”Reflecting the same ambivalence, French Ambassador François Delattre said “maximum pressure only makes sense with maximum diplomacy.”Khamenei’s WealthKhamenei, who was initially elected president of the nascent republic in 1981, has “possessions” valued at an estimated at $200 billion, according to a Facebook post by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in April. He’s backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and has survived an assassination attempt and front-line combat.The U.S. Treasury Department said Monday those sanctioned also include eight officials of the Guard Corps who supervised “malicious regional activities,” including its ballistic missile program and “harassment and sabotage” of commercial ships in international waters.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a news conference in Washington that some of the sanctions had been “in the works” and others were a result of “recent activities.” He said sanctions against the Islamic Republic have been effective in cutting off funds to the military and “locking up” the Iranian economy, and that the new penalties would be effective as well.Mnuchin said the U.S. will impose financial restrictions on Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “later this week.” Typically, the U.S. doesn’t announce sanctions in advance against individuals so they don’t hide assets before penalties take effect.Zarif, viewed as Iran’s most skilled diplomat, was lead negotiator in the multi-party nuclear accord reached in 2015 under the Obama administration that Trump has since rejected.Trump told reporters Monday that, “A lot of restraint has been shown by us, a lot of restraint -- and that doesn’t mean we are going to show it in the future, but I thought that we want to give this a chance,” he said.Any financial institution that knowingly assists with a financial transaction for those who were sanctioned could be cut off from the U.S. financial system, according to the Treasury.Even before the new penalties were announced, the U.S. had applied sanctions to almost 1,000 Iranian entities, including banks, individuals, ships and aircraft. In May, the Trump administration prohibited the purchase of Iranian iron, steel, aluminum and copper.Tensions have spiked in the Gulf since May, when the Trump administration revoked waivers on the import of Iranian oil, squeezing its economy a year after the U.S. walked away from the landmark 2015 deal meant to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon. Since then, a spate of attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz shipping choke point have raised the specter of war and pushed up oil prices. The U.S. has blamed the attacks on Tehran, which has denied any wrongdoing.On Monday, Trump questioned in comments on Twitter why the U.S. was protecting the shipping route on behalf of other countries.Hours later, a State Department official said the U.S. was seeking allies to join in a “Sentinel” program to deter Iran by equipping ships with cameras to monitor tanker traffic and document any threats. That would stop well short of the “tanker wars” of the 1980s, when the U.S. re-registered Kuwaiti ships under the U.S. flag and gave them armed escorts.(Updates with Iranian, other envoys at UN starting in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ladane Nasseri and Nick Wadhams.To contact the reporters on this story: Saleha Mohsin in Washington at email@example.com;Shannon Pettypiece in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;David Wainer in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Justin Blum, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Oil investors delivered a split decision Monday that reflected the muddy outlook for the U.S.-Iran confrontation, with global benchmark Brent crude retreating while U.S. futures gained for the third straight day.Brent closed down 0.5% while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added almost 1%. Days after abruptly aborting a strike on Iran, President Donald Trump in a tweet asked “why are we protecting" the Strait of Hormuz, the critical Persian Gulf waterway. Yet he also imposed new sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and eight military commanders.Brent fell in part due to traders downgrading the chances of an immediate confrontation, said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management LLC in St. Louis. U.S. barrels, nonetheless, may look more attractive as tensions simmer, he said; government data last week also suggested U.S. demand is on the rise, O’Grady said.“Between higher exports and hopes for inventory contractions in the U.S., being long on WTI might make some sense," he said.West Texas Intermediate for August delivery rose 47 cents, or 0.8%, to $57.90 a barrel at the close of official trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent for August settlement slipped 34 cents to $64.86 on London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange.Russia added another wild card for oil traders on Monday, with Energy Minister Alexander Novak declining to say whether his nation supported an extension of production cuts with OPEC that many investors see as crucial to stabilizing crude markets. A decision will have to wait until after this week’s G-20 summit of major world economies, he told reporters in St. Petersburg.WTI completed its best weekly gain in more than two years on Friday, adding 9.4%, after Iran shot down an American spy drone, and Monday’s decline may have included investors selling out of the market to lock in profits, said Marshall Steeves, an energy markets analyst at Informa Economics in New York.Traders are also awaiting two key events over the next week. Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Japan, raising hopes they can restart stalled trade talks. Days later, OPEC, Russia and other top suppliers will gather in Vienna.“It’s unclear what the next step is in the Persian Gulf," Steeves said. “We don’t know if there is going to be another attack, what the duration of the hostilities will be. There are a lot of unknowns."\--With assistance from James Thornhill and Saket Sundria.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Nussbaum in New York at email@example.com;Grant Smith in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at email@example.com, Reg Gale, Carlos CaminadaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In his first comments on Twitter about the Federal Reserve since its decision last week to leave interest rates unchanged (but signal that a cut may be coming soon), President Donald Trump seemed to sense that policy makers were on the verge of giving him what he wanted.So in between a couple of insults, he laid out why they ought to lower interest rates in July, as bond traders fully expect:Whether he typed this out off-the-cuff is anyone’s guess (though the fact that the second tweet came instantaneously suggests it was pre-written). But with inflation still below the central bank’s target, job gains slowing a bit and other key data missing estimates, Trump and his team probably feel they have the wind at their backs in advocating for easing policy. Perhaps more important, though, is that this unprecedented public criticism has reached a sort of tipping point — rather than the Fed being seen as exerting its independence by defying the president’s calls for rate cuts, Chair Jerome Powell and others now risk being seen as unduly political if they refuse to lower rates.In fact, former Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer made some stunning comments before the central bank’s latest decision. During a talk in Israel, he said policy makers might not have raised interest rates in December if Trump hadn’t been pounding the table for cuts. “It’s not a desirable thing to have the president pronouncing on monetary policy,” he said. “What the president has understood is that he can have a one-way bet by announcing what he thinks they should have done.” Basically, Trump has nothing to lose from accusing the Fed of bringing about a recession — either the economy slows down and the Fed becomes his scapegoat, or it doesn’t and he boasts about its strength. If the December interest-rate increase was at all political, it was only at the margin. Sure, equity prices were falling, but the general consensus was that policy makers would hike and then signal an extended pause, which Powell did in early January. That has never been good enough for Trump, who has called for reducing interest rates by a full percentage point and demanded the Fed immediately “stop with the 50 B’s” when it came to monthly reductions in its balance sheet. Neither has happened yet.Again, it’s virtually impossible to know whether Trump’s criticism played a role. If anything, the bond market has been a bigger factor than the president in getting the Fed to alter course. At the same time, the political stakes are only mounting. Bloomberg News reported last week that the president believes he has the authority to demote Powell to the level of board governor. Powell responded at his press conference that “I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it.” Then, in an NBC interview aired Sunday, Trump said that he didn’t threaten to demote his pick to lead the Fed but that he’d “be able to do that if I wanted.”There are few winners in a world in which the most important central bank becomes politicized, but Trump senses he may be one of those rare victors. It doesn’t take a political mastermind to realize that the strength of the U.S. economy in recent years — not to mention record stock-market prices — will be one of the main talking points as he seeks re-election. His very next tweet after his Fed comments, in fact, was to reveal a new fund-raising platform. To top it off, the first Democratic presidential primary debates are this week. Trump has a lot riding on keeping the good times going, and he sees easier monetary policy as a way to make that happen.One of the stranger things is that if Trump truly wants the Fed to lower interest rates in a hurry, he has an incentive to keep trade tensions with China elevated after this week’s pivotal Group of 20 meeting. A recent Bloomberg Economics’ analysis of data on more than 10,000 U.S. import categories showed the trade war has struck a significant blow. “The break in supply of crucial inputs is imposing significant costs on U.S. manufacturers,” Tom Orlik and Maeva Cousin wrote. Indeed, on Monday, a Dallas Fed manufacturing index fell to the lowest since mid-2016.Because of these trends, the Fed’s new favorite word appears to be “uncertainty.” Officials seem to have tilted a bit away from data dependency and are thinking more about the path forward in the months ahead. Clearly, based on their updated dot plot, many see a case for reducing rates in the coming 18 months. Just in time for the 2020 election.To contact the author of this story: Brian Chappatta at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brian Chappatta is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering debt markets. He previously covered bonds for Bloomberg News. He is also a CFA charterholder.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump launched the Republican Party’s new digital tool designed to close the online fundraising gap with Democrats.Trump announced WinRed with a tweet Monday, calling its creation “a priority" that “will allow my campaign and other Republicans to compete with the Democrats money machine.”The new tool is the GOP’s version of ActBlue, the online platform that has raised $3.5 billion for Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, including $1.3 billion in the 2018 midterm elections.In his tweet, Trump included a link to a donation page for the Trump Make America Great Again joint fundraising committee, which focuses on small-dollar donors and benefits his campaign and the Republican National Committee.Until the launch of WinRed, which, like ActBlue, also functions as a political action committee, Republicans didn’t have a single platform that donors could use to contribute to candidates across the party. That put the GOP at a disadvantage, forcing donors who wanted to contribute online to create separate accounts each time they gave to a different candidate. ActBlue allows Democratic contributors to give to any candidate they like once they’ve set up their accounts.WinRed relies on two entities that were key to Trump’s 2016 success. It combines Revv, the payment-processing company his campaign used whenever online donors made contributions, with Data Trust, which maintains the RNC’s voter information files.Trump’s campaign and the RNC have built a formidable small-dollar donor fundraising operation. Contributors giving $200 or less have contributed $59 million to them, FEC records show. The GOP hopes that WinRed will allow congressional candidates and committees to emulate that success.In the 2018 midterm elections, ActBlue helped fuel a $525 million spending advantage for all Democratic committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The GOP deficit was particularly pronounced in House races, where Democrats raised $1 billion, compared with $599 million for Republicans.To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Facebook Inc. appears to be moving ahead with the Supreme Court-like content oversight board it has been discussing for a year. It’s a worthy step but also a 1% solution for a unimaginably vast problem. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive officer, has been talking for more than a year about an independent authority that would become a final arbiter about whether a social network post should stay online or be wiped away for breaching the company’s rules against hate speech, calls to violence or other abuses. People can also appeal to the independent body if they think one of their posts has been unfairly flagged or removed. Facebook has solicited feedback on the structure for this Supreme Court-like body, and Bloomberg News on Monday described some of the company's deliberations to come up with the best structure and policies. (Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor and Bloomberg Opinion columnist, pitched the concept of an independent oversight board to Facebook. I haven’t spoken with him about this oversight body.)This is a promising idea, and I’m glad that Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter Inc. and other internet gathering places are all (belatedly) thinking hard about how to deal with the inevitable and sometimes deadly downsides of giving billions of people a public megaphone. Sensible principles, however, must be tested and revised against reality, and I hope when the board does its work it will give the public opportunities to assess how well it’s working. But no one can pretend that this board of perhaps dozens of people will be able to tackle more than a minuscule fraction of disputed posts a year. That’s useful for high-profile judgment calls, such as the doctored video of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that surfaced recently on Facebook and for which Facebook faced criticism about how it handled the situation. Indeed, a Facebook executive suggested recently that the oversight board would be helpful for “dozens” of cases every year in which there is debate within the company on the right approach for a post or video. Dozens of cases are immaterial to Facebook’s scale. The company says that it gets millions of reports every week from people worldwide who believe posts have nudity, graphic violence, hate speech or other potentially inappropriate materials. Many of the judgement calls are made by relatively low-wage contractors who are left scarred by the experience of sifting through the worst of humanity to make split-second calls on whether a post violates Facebook’s rules. It is the hidden horror show behind the internet’s most popular hangouts. A Supreme Court would be the opposite end of this. A high gloss, highly selective, presumably well-paid group that would would deliberate how to best balance free expression and the protection of people from harassment, violence or manipulation. Facebook likes ideas that “scale,” and the Supreme Court cannot possible scale to the 2.7 billion people who use Facebook’s internet hangouts. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, but let’s also not pretend an oversight board is anything close to a silver bullet. I also can’t help think that there is too much focus on Facebook’s policies and procedures and not enough on what the company does in real life. Facebook’s favorite excuse is that terrorism, calls to violence, promotions of illegal drugs, child exploitation or other abuses “are not allowed” on its internet hangouts. That’s because Facebook has written rules, and those rules have specific prohibitions against all manner of misdeeds. And yet all those abuses are rampant because Facebook exists in the real world and not on paper.Facebook is a reflection of the world, with the best and worst of humanity amplified and exposed to a wide audience. That means Facebook’s good intentions don’t matter. Its purported diligence and earnestness do not matter. What matters is what the company does when its good intentions meet reality, and too often Facebook has failed in that regard. Groups in Myanmar complained repeatedly that people in the country were systematically harnessing Facebook to sow hatred and violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority in the country, and yet Facebook could not or would not do anything to stop it. Would the supporters of the Rohingya in Myanmar be served by a Facebook Supreme Court? Would it matter if they appealed to an oversight board about genocide after the fact? Again and again, people broadcast in real time acts of violence on Facebook, and the company believes it should continue to allow live video on its site that is difficult or impossible to police until after the harm has already been done. Setting and enforcing rules for 2.7 billion people is not simple. Dealing with an open space for billions of people is often reactionary. Facebook too often ignores systematic problems until someone important complains or until it’s too glaringly obvious to ignore. Each country also has its own norms about the appropriate balance of free expression and harmful speech. And one post or photo on its own may be innocuous but it becomes dangerous as part of a pattern to encourage violence or sow division in an electorate. Assuming it is transparent about its work, having an oversight board for Facebook’s high-profile content disputes is a good step. But the public and regulators should continue to press Facebook and its peers on the bigger, pernicious problems.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. Tory leadership front-runner Boris Johnson faces mounting pressure to submit to more public scrutiny, after Jeremy Hunt accused him of “cowardice.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn again indicated he’s warming to the idea of a second referendum, ahead of a key shadow cabinet meeting Tuesday.Must read: Johnson and Hunt Share Views, Not Style on U.K. Foreign PolicyKey Developments:Hunt calls on Johnson to submit to media interviews and to join a debate on Tuesday night on Sky News Sky says the debate won’t go ahead unless Johnson agrees. Hunt had wanted the broadcaster to empty-chair JohnsonJohnson repeats “we must and we will” leave EU on Oct. 31, giving little more detail in his Telegraph columnNext hustings, or political roadshow, scheduled for June 27Labour to set its Brexit position on Tuesday, says McDonnellPound fallsCorbyn Signals Support for Second Referendum (4 p.m.)Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to Parliament on last week’s European Union summit largely avoided any of the contentious issues facing her party, and even under questioning, she refused to go near the detail of Brexit. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did seem to signal that he continues to warm to the idea of another Brexit referendum.“What would be worse,” he asked, “crashing out with no deal in October, or putting this issue back to the people for a final say?” He repeated the point at the end of his reply: “Whatever Brexit plan the new Tory leader comes up with, after three long years of failure they should have the confidence to go back to the people on a deal agreed by Parliament.”That’s short of a full commitment to Labour backing a second referendum in all circumstances, but it’s movement from Corbyn’s position a few months ago, when he was focused on a general election.Clarke Would Vote With Labour to Stop No-Deal (1.20 p.m.)Veteran europhile Tory MP Ken Clarke said he would be prepared to vote to bring down the government in a confidence motion to prevent a no-deal Brexit (see 7:30 a.m.).“It might trigger an election, it might trigger a change of government without an election,” Clarke told BBC radio, referring to the law which gives the incumbent prime minister or a challenger a fortnight to find a working majority in the House of Commons.Clarke called for Johnson to "expose himself to public scrutiny" in the Tory leadership race because he isn’t on top of the policy detail of Brexit. "He doesn’t seem to realize that you can’t leave with no deal and have an implementation period during which there is more discussion,” Clarke said.McDonnell: Labour to Find Brexit Stance Tuesday (11:50 a.m.)The opposition Labour Party, which has been accused of maintaining an ambiguous stance on Brexit, will review its position on Tuesday, and shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he hoped a more “definitive” one will emerge.“Out of the shadow cabinet tomorrow I think we’ll find a position -- I’m hoping a more definitive position will emerge and we’ll be able to publicly communicate it,” he said in London.The shadow cabinet is split over a second referendum, with leader Jeremy Corbyn edging gradually toward backing one -- but still with reservations.Hunt Says Johnson is Cynical and Complacent (11:30 a.m.)Responding to Sky News’s decision to pull the leadership debate unless Boris Johnson shows up, Jeremy Hunt accused his rival of running down the clock and avoiding public scrutiny until after Tory members have already started voting in the postal ballot.“Trying to duck debates and run down the clock until after postal ballots have been returned is just cynical and complacent,” a spokesman for Hunt said in a statement. “Boris Johnson must stop trying to slink into No. 10 through the back door and come clean about his program for government.”Conservative members receive postal ballots between July 6 and July 8, and the winner will be announced the week of July 22.Rees-Mogg Attacks ‘Curtain-Twitchers’ (9:15 a.m.)Jacob Rees-Mogg, the veteran Brexit campaigner who is backing Boris Johnson for prime minister, attacked the neighbors who recorded a noisy argument between Johnson and his partner as politically motivated busy-bodies.Johnson allies have rallied to defend his right to privacy since news broke on Friday that police were called to his home. At a hustings on Saturday Johnson was cheered for his refusal to answer questions about the matter.“Corbynista curtain-twitchers are not attractive,” Rees-Mogg told LBC radio. “Putting a glass next to the door with their mobile. Were they doing that every day hoping to get a snippet?”While rival Jeremy Hunt has called for Johnson to face greater scrutiny on his policies, he is being careful to emphasize that he doesn’t want to probe Johnson’s private life. He said earlier that the public don’t want to see Tory candidates throwing “brick-bats” at each other over their private affairs.Hunt Focuses on Johnson’s Many Brexit Views (8:45 a.m.)During his media round on Monday, Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has been pushing rival Boris Johnson to explain how he plans to keep his supporters -- many of whom have divergent views on Brexit -- on side if he becomes prime minister.Johnson hasn’t made any media appearances, but his proxies on Monday rather prove Hunt’s point. Both Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who doesn’t favor a no-deal exit from the EU, and Priti Patel, a Brexiteer who does, have both been defending Johnson’s record.Patel told BBC Radio there would be no Brexit implementation period: “That ship has sailed.”Clegg: No Evidence Russia Shaped Brexit on Facebook (8:30 a.m.)Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, said there’s “no evidence” Russia used the company’s platform to influence the Brexit vote. The pro-EU former leader of the Liberal Democrats told BBC Radio: “The roots to British euroskepticism go very, very deep.”Hunt Won’t Guarantee Brexit by Oct. 31 (8 a.m.)Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt said it’s “possible” for the U.K. to leave the European Union by Oct. 31 but that he’s not going to guarantee it. In comments that are likely to alarm Brexiteers in the Conservative Party, Hunt told BBC Radio that in the event Parliament blocks a no-deal Brexit, the government would have to continue to negotiate with the EU. Hunt said he wouldn’t call a general election in those circumstances.Hunt’s comments come after leadership front-runner Boris Johnson reiterated in his weekly Telegraph newspaper column that the U.K. “must” leave the EU by Oct. 31, without giving details.Minister: MPs Would Bring Down No-Deal Govt (7:30 a.m.)Tobias Ellwood, a defense minister, told the BBC that if the next prime ministers pursues a no-deal exit, a group of Conservatives would join forces with the opposition Labour Party and bring the government down.“I think a dozen or so members of parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no-deal and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers,” he told Panorama.Hunt Asks Whether Johnson Would Call Early Election (7:20 a.m.)Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused front-runner Boris Johnson of “cowardice” for dodging television debates and media interviews as he tries to get the upper hand in a race in which he’s seen as the underdog.Hunt said Johnson has to answer questions about his Brexit policy, how he has pulled together such a broad coalition of supporters, and whether he would call an early election to force his policy through.“The gravity of the constitutional crisis we face as a country is so enormous people want to know what is the plan,” he told Sky.He plans to turn up for a debate on Sky News on Tuesday and called on the broadcaster to leave an empty chair for Johnson if he doesn’t show.Earlier:Hunt Says Johnson Dodges Scrutiny as Race for U.K. PM Heats UpBrexit Bulletin: Dodging ScrutinyTo contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jessica Shankleman in London at email@example.com;Robert Hutton in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma Ross-Thomas at email@example.com, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump accused the Federal Reserve of behaving like a “stubborn child” in refusing to cut interest rates as he attacked the central bank again for keeping credit too tight.“Now they stick, like a stubborn child, when we need rates cuts, & easing, to make up for what other countries are doing against us. Blew it!,” the president said in a tweet on Monday.Trump has spent months criticizing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates last year -- in Trump’s view -- too far and too fast. In his latest tweet, Trump reiterated his belief that if the U.S. central bank would cut interest rates, the economy would be stronger.At the Fed’s policy meeting last week, officials decided to leave interest rates unchanged but they opened the door to a cut.Trump criticized European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in a June 18 tweet after Draghi signaled more monetary stimulus may be on the way for the euro area. Trump said that would make it “unfairly easier for them to compete against the USA. They have been getting away with this for years, along with China and others.”Expectations are growing that the Fed is on a course to cut as soon as its July 30-31 gathering.Trump’s pressure on Powell intensified this month. Bloomberg reported last week that the president believes he has the authority to replace Powell as Fed chairman, demoting him to the level of board governor.Powell was resolute on Wednesday in a press conference after the central bank’s policy meeting, saying: “I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it.”In a NBC interview aired Sunday, Trump denied that he’d threatened to demote Powell but said he’d “be able to do that if I wanted.”The Federal Reserve Act provides explicit protection for Fed governors against removal by the president except “for cause.” Courts have interpreted the phrase to require proof of some form of legal misconduct or neglect of basic duties. A disagreement over monetary policy wouldn’t meet that bar.It’s less clear, however, whether the president can demote a chair, removing him or her from the top position while leaving the person as a Fed governor.To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Boesler in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Rich Miller in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The internet was supposed to render geography irrelevant.(2) But the corporations that dominate the internet have turned out to be remarkably concentrated, geographically speaking. In internet publishing and web search portals, a somewhat ungainly but very important North American Industry Classification System category, 58% of all U.S. jobs in December could be found in just five counties, and more than 70% in the top 10.The location quotient is a measure of how concentrated an industry is in a particular place — a quotient of 1 means it’s right at the national average — and the location quotients in the above table make clear that this particular industry is heavily concentrated in the top five counties, especially the three bordering San Francisco Bay. In San Mateo County, home of Facebook Inc., one is about 30 times more likely to encounter an internet publishing and web search portal employee than in the country in general. Just to the south in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley and the home of Google and its corporate parent Alphabet Inc., it’s 27 times more likely. Just to the north in San Francisco County, home of Twitter Inc. and Pinterest Inc., it’s 13 times more likely. The Bureau of Labor Statistics actually didn’t release fourth-quarter San Mateo County data for the sector, presumably because it was so dominated by Facebook that this would amount to disclosing private information, so I backed out the numbers using metropolitan-area data and a little elbow grease. The BLS did release San Mateo County numbers for the third quarter, and the employment total and location quotient were close to those I came up with (the average weekly wage was higher, at $8,872), so I don’t think this was much of a stretch.Related: Where Microbrewery Jobs Are OverflowingFinancial Jobs Aren’t Just in New YorkA Booming Local Health-Care Industry Isn’t Always a Good ThingEmployment location quotients of 30 and 27 are, it should be stressed, quite high, especially for such populous counties (San Mateo County has about 770,000 inhabitants; Santa Clara County nearly 2 million). Wayne County, Michigan, the headquarters of the U.S. automobile industry, had a December employment location quotient for motor vehicle manufacturing of 16.7; the District of Columbia’s location quotient for federal government employment was 13 and change.Santa Clara County did have a dizzying December location quotient of almost 64 for electronic computer manufacturing (thanks mainly, one assumes, to Cupertino-based Apple Inc.) and 40 for semiconductor machinery manufacturing (industry leader Applied Materials Inc. is based in the city of Santa Clara), but those are at least industries that revolve around creating complex, tangible products, which it stands to reason necessitates lots of people working in the same place. The internet is on first impression different: It’s everywhere, and it can be worked on from anywhere. Yet employment at the corporations that shape it is concentrated in a handful of places in the U.S. and has been getting more so. In March 2014, the top five counties accounted for 48% of the nation’s internet publishing and web search portal jobs, and the top 10 62%.Facebook and Google have been expanding overseas, so it’s possible that this focus on U.S. data is somewhat misleading — sadly there’s no global counterpart to the hyper-detailed Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages from which the data in this column (as well as pieces over the past few days on breweries, financial services and health care) is taken. Also, it’s not all about engineers at Facebook and Google: As the lower average wages outside of Silicon Valley indicate, this category also includes journalists working at online enterprises such as BuzzFeed Inc. and Vox Media Inc. in New York and elsewhere. It may also include contract workers slowly going crazy moderating Facebook pages in Phoenix; it’s often hard to know for sure how specific corporate activities are classified by the BLS, because the BLS isn’t allowed to say, but the goal is to assign the people working at a location to the industry sector that best fits what most of them are working on.Traditional media has a tendency toward concentration, too: Los Angeles County has 27% of the nation’s jobs in motion picture and sound recording industries. New York County (aka Manhattan) has 18% of all U.S. periodicals publishing jobs. The two counties together account for 20% of broadcasting employment. But the top-five and top-10 counties’ shares of jobs in these sectors are much smaller than with internet publishing and web search portals, and in motion pictures and periodicals, the very top counties have actually been losing employment share in recent years as media companies shift production to less expensive locales.In their much-cited 2009 review of what drives economic activity and the resulting wealth to “agglomerate” in certain cities, economists Edward Glaeser and Joshua Gottlieb wrote that:The largest body of evidence supports the view that cities succeed by spurring the transfer of information. Skilled industries are more likely to locate in urban areas and skills predict urban success. Workers have steeper age-earnings profiles in cities and city-level human capital strongly predicts income. It is possible that these effects will be reduced by ongoing improvements in information technology, but that is not certain and has not happened yet.It’s presumably the value of this transfer of information among skilled workers that has driven internet companies to concentrate in a few places. High costs in those places and those “ongoing improvements in information technology” might drive dispersion, although there’s no sign of that yet in this data. Politics might, too: As Facebook in particular has been discovering lately, having your employees concentrated in a few places can mean having few friends in Washington. But for now, the work of internet publishing and web search portals remains tightly clustered along the San Francisco Bay, and to a lesser extent the Hudson River and Puget Sound. Geography still seems to matter, a lot.Coming Tuesday: the sectors with the highest location quotients.(1) I realize that this has become something of a straw man, and that by this point far more has been written attacking the idea that the internet renders geography irrelevant than espousing it. But as someone who was at least halfway paying attention in the 1990s, I think it's fair to say that most people in those days assumed that universal connectivity would lead to a spreading out of economic activity rather than a concentration.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A fire at the largest refinery on the U.S. East Coast sent gasoline prices soaring, threatening to raise pump prices from Delaware to Maine just as American drivers get set to head off on vacation.Futures jumped 3.9%, the most in more than three months after an explosion and fire Friday at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery. Pump prices are likely to rise as the surge filters down to retail stations, reversing a more than 20-cent drop from early May that took the nationwide average down to $2.67 a gallon.A “very small fire” continued to burn Saturday and the company was seeking to isolate it, although it could burn out soon, according to a statement. Access at the site is limited by damage and instability of the structure, the company said.The incident could shut in about 4.2 million gallons a day of supply, enough to meet about 2.7% of East Coast demand, according to Bloomberg estimates. To fill the gap, prices would have to increase high enough to attract more supply from Europe of other parts of the U.S.https://t.co/xb0g3ZYYMw pic.twitter.com/JHcUZ8Cr2b— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) June 22, 2019 “Any shortage ahead of the peak of the summer driving season does not bode well for U.S. consumer pocketbooks,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US LLP, said on Twitter.The complex made up of the Point Breeze and Girard Point plants, can process 335,000 barrels of crude a day. It sends fuel via pipeline and barge to New York and New England, and through pipelines to upstate New York and across Pennsylvania.The blaze started after a leak in an alkylation unit, used to make high-octane gasoline, triggered explosions after which all the boilers stopped, causing a hard shutdown of the Girard Point section, according to people familiar with the plant’s operations. The Point Breeze plant was already undergoing repairs to its 50,000 barrel-a-day fluid catalytic cracker following a fire in a pump earlier this month.The fuel shortfall could be made up with inventory draws from the local region in the near term and from imports over the longer-term, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.Supplies on the Colonial pipeline destined for other markets could be diverted into Pennsylvania, while it takes about 11 days for a tanker to reach the East Coast from Northwest Europe, according to Lipow. But, he said, “there’s certainly going to be price increases from an initial shortfall.”Cherice Corley, a PES spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement that all employees were accounted for. The Chemical Safety Board is deploying a four-person team to the site to investigate the fire.The blast was so large and so hot that it was captured from space in satellite infrared images, the National Weather Service’s Key West office wrote on Twitter.There have been refining operations for 150 years at the site, which has passed through a series of owners, including Chevron Corp. and Sunoco before being consolidated into Philadelphia Energy Solutions, a partnership formed between The Carlyle Group and Energy Transfer’s Sunoco. PES emerged from bankruptcy last year with $260 million of new financing, with the original partners holding smaller stakes.In addition to boosting purchases of fuel from Europe, the incident could redirect crude back into the market. About 8 million barrels of foreign crude is en route to Philadelphia, according to shipping fixtures compiled by Bloomberg.PES is “likely to reoffer at least some of the inbound crude cargoes it has purchased from West Africa and the North Sea if its operations are significantly reduced for a long period of time,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said in an email.(Corrects number in 12th paragraph of story originally published June 21.)\--With assistance from Rudy Ruitenberg, Rachel Graham, Catherine Ngai and Jeffrey Bair.To contact the reporters on this story: David Marino in New York at email@example.com;Barbara Powell in Houston at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at email@example.com, Simon Casey, Reg GaleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In many ways, the economic debate in the U.S. has been stuck for quite a while. Progressives want higher taxes on the rich, more spending on the poor and more government health care; conservatives and libertarians want less. The 2016 election brought some innovation, with Donald Trump’s protectionism and the socialist revival sparked by Bernie Sanders. But the biggest breath of fresh air is coming from Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.Just since the start of this year, Warren has released no fewer than 19 detailed economic policy proposals. This outpouring of ideas has been so dramatic that it has spawned Twitter hashtags such as shehasaplan. Warren’s ideas are neither the cautious, technocratic tweaks that tend to emerge from centrist think tanks, nor the bold but vague promises often issued by the socialist left. Nor are they merely a laundry list of campaign promises. Instead, they represent a coherent, unified program for transforming the U.S. economy.Four Warren proposals stand out as particularly original. The first calls for allocating some corporate board seats to workers -- an idea commonly known as co-determination. Used in Germany, the co-determination system has the potential not just to ensure that company policies take account of the interests of employees, but also to increase productivity by allowing workers to contribute more of their knowledge to the corporate decision-making process.Warren’s second fresh idea is regulation of big technology companies. Although her proposal calls for companies such as Facebook, Alphabet (Google) and Amazon to be broken up, in practice most of her ideas involve enhanced oversight rather than traditional antitrust remedies. Since platforms such as Amazon and Google tend to have strong network effects -- people usually want a one-stop-shop for online retail and a single website for internet search -- breaking them up wouldn’t lead to a competitive market in the long run. Warren’s plan seems to recognize this, and would instead treat these companies more like utilities, forcing them to allow smaller businesses to profit off of the infrastructure they create.The third big innovation concerns housing. With costs for shelter eating a bigger piece of Americans’ paychecks, and local government paralyzed by incumbent homeowners, the country needs a big solution. Warren’s would combine incentives for raising zoning density with increased public construction.But the biggest Warren idea is industrial policy, which she calls “economic patriotism.” Instead of relying on tariffs as President Donald Trump has done, Warren would promote exports. She would also leverage research and infrastructure to promote U.S. industry, and pressure countries to stop holding down the value of their currencies against the dollar. This represents a decisive break with the free-trade consensus of the past few decades, but isn't simply a return to traditional inward-looking protectionism.These four ideas, which are the most unique and original among Warren’s impressive oeuvre, give a picture of the senator’s economic philosophy. A good term for it might be “progressive industrialism.” Though Warren wants to rebalance the economic power of labor and capital, and use government to assist the needy, she also wants to harness private industry to create growth. Her plans for technology regulation and her export promotion would boost small businesses, while her housing plan would leverage the power of private development and her co-determination plan would more closely align the interests of labor and capital. The strategy is reminiscent of the New Deal, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt strove to integrate private industry with government spending in order to advance both growth and equality. It also bears some resemblance to the strategies used by Germany and Japan to recover from World War II.Warren’s ideas are also notable for their specificity. In their recent book “Concrete Economics,” economist Brad DeLong and historian Stephen S. Cohen argued that successful policy programs should have concrete goal instead of leaving the future up to the vagaries of the market. Warren seems intent on doing exactly that -- under her industrialist program, Americans would get more housing, more opportunity to start their own businesses and more respect and power at work. They would also get more child care, cancellation of student debt, assistance with addiction, and a number of other tangible benefits. A health care plan is surely also forthcoming.This isn't to say that Warren’s plans are ideal in their current form. Her co-determination plan could benefit from the inclusion of German-style worker councils, her industrial policy should remove its harmful “buy-American” provision, her corporate tax plan might discourage investment and her wealth tax might run into constitutional obstacles.But ultimately no set of big, transformational ideas will be perfect. The New Deal certainly wasn’t. But by thinking big, combining intelligence with ambition, and being willing to engage both the public and private sectors, Warren has set herself up to be the closest thing modern American politics has to a successor to FDR. Now it remains to be seen if she can communicate this vision to the public in an inspiring way.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump is threatening Iran with additional sanctions on Monday, but there’s not much left for the U.S. to target because most of the Islamic Republic’s economy has been crippled by earlier penalties.The U.S. is already sanctioning significant sectors including oil, banks and steel, leaving smaller targets including certain exports and government officials. Trump could also hit Iran’s central bank with secondary sanctions, at the risk of hurting humanitarian trade.“The Trump administration has already hit most of Iran’s cash-earning exports and pushed the country into a deep recession this year,” said Peter Harrell, a fellow at the Center for New American Security, a Washington-based research group. “A lot of exports to Iran have dried up because of risk aversion and all the banking sanctions.”Trump announced plans for major sanctions on Saturday, following his abrupt cancellation of planned air strikes against the Islamic Republic for shooting down a U.S. Navy drone on Thursday.More than 80% of Iran’s economy is under sanction today, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday before heading to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to rally a front against Iran. The new sanctions “will be a further effort to ensure that their capacity not only to grow their economy but to evade sanctions becomes more and more difficult,” Pompeo said.Tensions have spiked in the Gulf since May, when the Trump administration revoked waivers on the import of Iranian oil, squeezing its economy a year after the U.S. walked away from the landmark 2015 deal meant to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon. Since then, a spate of attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz shipping choke point have raised the specter of war and pushed up oil prices. The U.S. has blamed the attacks on Tehran, which has denied any wrong doing. On Monday, Trump questioned in comments on Twitter why the U.S. was protecting the shipping route on behalf of other countries. Trump Questions U.S. Defense of Oil in Strait After Iran AttacksIran’s Foreign Ministry said the new penalties won’t force the country to negotiate or capitulate.“Are there any other sanctions left for the U.S. to impose on Iran?” ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. The Trump administration “knows full well that if pressure and sanctions were the answer, they would have yielded results much earlier.”Iran’s navy chief warned earlier that other drones would be downed if U.S. intrusions into Iranian airspace continue. The U.S. says the aircraft was in international airspace.The U.S. has applied sanctions to nearly 1,000 Iranian entities, including banks, individuals, ships and aircraft. In May, the Trump administration prohibited the purchase of Iranian iron, steel, aluminum and copper.The U.S. has also revoked waivers that had allowed eight countries including India and China to import Iranian oil despite American sanctions. Trump seeks to drive Iranian oil exports to zero to force Tehran to abandon support for militant groups in the Middle East and renegotiate the 2015 nuclear accord the U.S. quit a year ago. Observed crude flows from Iran dropped to 190,000 barrels a day in the first half of June, less than 10% of the volume shipped in early 2018.Forecasts from earlier this year show Iran’s GDP set to contract 6% this year after declining 4% in 2018.Exceptions to U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales will be made for humanitarian purchases such as for food and medicine, though it’s not clear how those would be determined or approved.The U.S. Treasury Department has also sanctioned Iran’s central bank governor and another senior official in the bank for allegedly providing support for terrorist activities.‘More Desperate’The moves so far haven’t been enough for at least one Republican lawmaker. Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top GOP member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Sunday egged on the Trump administration’s efforts.“We want them to be more desperate,” McCaul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” news program. “We want them to have their economy crippled” so Iranian leaders will negotiate, he said.But with little left to sanction, added punishments would be mostly symbolic and “risk Iran escalating in retaliation,” Harrell said.Iranian authorities have already said new sanctions show that Trump’s call for negotiations -- repeated over the weekend -- was hollow. On Monday, President Hassan Rouhani’s adviser Hesameddin Ashena suggested the U.S. needs to offer incentives to Iran if it wants concessions.(Updates with Iran spokesman in sixth, seventh, navy official in eighth, Rouhani adviser in 16th.)To contact the reporters on this story: Saleha Mohsin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy Teibel, Michael GunnFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “I have an organization but it’s largely myself,” Donald Trump confided to the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in early 2016, acknowledging that his bare-bones presidential campaign was essentially a one-man show.Trump has always described his eponymous business as an “organization” too, even though it was a disorganized, bankruptcy-prone Tilt-a-Whirl ride catering to the whims and needs of him alone. And the Trump who ran a business and a campaign built on ego and intuition rather than teamwork and strategy wasn’t going to be transformed by the responsibilities and powers that enveloped him once he landed in the Oval Office.In a word, President Trump was never going to become “presidential.” It was inevitable instead that he would find himself most interested in frequenting the corridors of power that allowed him to operate independently. That’s not an uncommon phenomenon for presidents, but in Trump’s case it’s uniquely perilous because no president in the modern era has been as ill-informed, unhinged and undisciplined as the current one. None has been as needy, nor as willing to playact without remorse while making the most consequential of decisions.To help demonstrate the point, Trump has given the world a trifecta of sorts in recent weeks involving trade with Mexico, a military strike in Iran, and government raids on the homes of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Trump launched all three episodes with public threats and bravado showcased on Twitter, embroidered them with promises of imminent and decisive action, and tethered them to the notion that complex challenges can be solved with blunt force wielded by a single man. He then abruptly abandoned all three provocations just before they were to take effect.In early June, Trump threatened, via Twitter, to impose onerous tariffs on Mexico if it failed to help solve the immigration and humanitarian crisis spilling over from Central America and into the U.S. His own political party and the business community brought him to heel within a week and he abandoned the tariff threat on the eve of imposing it. Mexico didn’t agree to substantially change any new policing activities along the border. But in the few days that his threat stood, Trump managed to destabilize financial markets and nearly upended a global trade and supply chain that supported legions of businesses and millions of people on both sides of the border.Last Thursday, Trump noted on Twitter that “Iran made a very big mistake!” when it shot down a U.S. drone that Iran claimed had crossed into its airspace. Later that same day the president authorized a military strike against the country, only to call it off when, reportedly, he became aware that as many as 150 might be killed. While Trump is now embracing tougher economic sanctions against Iran, he has exposed deep divisions among his national security and military advisers. He’s also proven himself to be dangerously unpredictable to allies whose help he still needs if he wants to see substantial long-term changes gain traction in Iran and the rest of the Middle East.To top it off, Trump barely gave observers time to digest his abandoned military strikes before he engaged in a bit of Orwellian doublespeak. “I never called the strike against Iran ‘BACK,’ as people are incorrectly reporting,” he said on Twitter on Saturday. “I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”The same day – on Twitter, of course – Trump said he also had decided to postpone raids on the homes of about 2,000 undocumented immigrant families living in the U.S. who had already received deportation orders. This came on the heels of Trump’s threats earlier in the week – made just before he traveled to Florida to kick off his 2020 presidential campaign – to deport “millions” of immigrants (a figure that vastly overstated what his immigration officials were considering, but might have been reassuring for Trump’s political base to hear).Trump said he postponed the raids because Democrats had asked him to wait so they could discuss other policy options with him. But the postponement was also reportedly due, in part, to concerns that Trump’s telegraphing of specifics about the raids had jeopardized the safety of immigration officers and the welfare of children potentially caught up in the sweeps. In any event, the brinksmanship and escalation that marked Trump’s public blustering on tariffs and Iran had a decidedly more obscene quality when deployed against a population of migrants left vulnerable and rootless by the drug wars and economic uncertainty that have engulfed much of Central America. The president’s vacillating, set against a backdrop of an administration already under fire for separating migrant families at the southern border and jailing children and teenagers in squalid detention centers, may harden both sides in the border debate and prevent Congress from overhauling immigration laws in tandem with the White House.Expect Trump’s cartwheeling to continue. It’s who he is. The only real difference between what he’s doing now and what he was doing in his businesses decades ago is who it affects. Long ago, his bungling harmed his investors and employees and some of the communities in which he operated. It was troubling, but the damage was limited. Now Trump inhabits the presidency and the radius of potential wreckage is global.To contact the author of this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market currencies had their best weekly gain since July 2017 lat week and stocks strengthened for a fourth consecutive week as major central banks adopted a more dovish stance, improving investors appetite for risk assets. Bonds also gained, with yields on local government notes nearing an all-time low as the drumbeat for an interest rate cut in the U.S. got louder.Read here, our emerging-market week ahead story.Listen to the emerging-market weekly podcast, here.The following is a roundup of emerging-markets news and highlights for the week ending June 23.Highlights:The Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to lower rates for the first time since 2008, citing “uncertainties” that have increased the case for a cut as officials seek to prolong the near-record U.S. economic expansionThe decision was not unanimous, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard seeking a quarter-point rate cutMinneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he had advocated for a 50 basis points rate cut at the last meetingMario Draghi nudged the European Central Bank closer to pumping more monetary stimulus into the economyU.S. President Donald Trump accused the euro area and China of weakening their currencies to gain an economic advantage, calling out European Central Bank President Draghi for a willingness to inject monetary stimulus if neededThe U.S. and China said their presidents will meet in Japan later this month to relaunch trade talks after a month-long stalemate, triggering a rally in financial markets. Trump said Tuesday that he had a “very good” phone conversation with Chinese counterpart Xi JinpingA group of chief executive officers of American corporations are set to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as the simmering trade war ensnares companies from both countriesChina cut its U.S. Treasury holdings to the lowest in almost two years as the months-long trade conflict dragged on between the world’s two largest economiesChina’s Xi told Kim Jong Un that the world wanted him to make progress in nuclear talks with the U.S., drawing a complaint from the North Korean leader that he had already attempted to compromise with little successSecretary of State Michael Pompeo said the U.S. and North Korea were in a “better place” after the leaders of the two countries exchanged lettersTurkey will retaliate against any U.S. sanctions imposed after it takes delivery of a missile-defense system from Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saidThe Trump administration is weighing three sanctions packages to punish Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, according to people familiar with the matterErdogan also slammed the Turkish central bank’s high borrowing costs and said they must come down, a statement sure to worry investors concerned about the bank’s autonomy Iran said it shot down a U.S. drone near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, escalating tensions in a region that’s been on the brink of a military confrontation for weeksTrump on June 22 said the U.S. will impose major new sanctions on Iran on MondayHe called off retaliatory strikes on three Iranian sites following the downing of the U.S. Navy drone because the action would not have been “proportionate”Trump downplayed the attack, suggesting a “loose and stupid” individual may have been responsible for the strike Iran will exceed an agreed cap on its inventories of low-grade uranium on June 27, potentially breaching for the first time a landmark 2015 agreement that was meant to prevent it from developing a nuclear bomb Lebanon’s Eurobonds have entered distressed territory as a budget delay and rising political tension in the region complicate efforts to tackle the nation’s fiscal crisisExchange-traded funds that invest in emerging markets suffered a seventh week of outflows, led by Asian assetsGold prices surpassed $1,400 an ounce for the first time since September 2013 on Friday, buoyed by dovish central banks Asia:China will maintain its long-standing commitment to reform and opening up of the economy in order to continue to expand, Premier Li saidThe People’s Bank of China and the main securities regulator called on big banks and brokerages to increase financing support for leading securities firms at a meeting on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matterHuawei Technologies Co. is preparing for a 40% to 60% drop in international smartphone shipments as the Trump administration’s blacklisting hammers one of the Chinese tech giant’s most important businessesChina will likely increase the quota for new municipal bond issuance this year, and government debt levels will continue to rise, according to Zhao Quanhou, a researcher at Chinese Academy of Fiscal Science, which is under the Ministry of Finance.New home-price growth quickened last month after government measures to spur demand in smaller cities took effectMinutes of the Bank of Korea’s May 31 meeting showed there were at least two dissenting voicesThe escalating U.S.-China trade dispute and concerns over global economic slowdown have increased volatility in South Korea’s financial markets and somewhat weakened companies’ financial soundness, the Bank of Korea said in a semi-annual Financial Stability Report submitted to parliamentExports are showing no sign of recovery as a downturn in the global technology cycle and the U.S.-China trade war drag onBank Indonesia left its key rate unchanged while it cut reserve ratio requirements for lenders. Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Thursday that policy makers will cut rates, but it’s considering “the timing and the magnitude” The government plans to boost investment and improve balance of payment resilience to boost economic growth, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani IndrawatiIndia’s flagging growth prospects and subdued inflation give room for decisive action through easing of both monetary and fiscal policies, minutes of the latest meeting of monetary policy makers showedThe end of political uncertainty associated with elections and continuation of economic reforms will lead to a reversal of the current weaknesses in some economic indicators, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das saidThe Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy is data dependent with an eye on financial stability as well as the tough export outlook, Somchai Jitsuchon, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, saidThe central bank is closely monitoring baht strength and watching out for currency speculation, Assistant Governor Vachira Arromdee said as the baht reached its six-year high during the weekThe U.S.-China trade war is a serious concern for Thailand that has the potential to undermine global business, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha saidExports fell for a third month to 5.79% from year earlier in May, exceeding estimate of a 5% dropBank Negara Malaysia isn’t budging from a trading ban on offshore ringgit derivatives, according to Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd YunusShamsiah said that companies shifting operations from China to Malaysia to sidestep higher U.S. tariffs could add about 10 basis points to growth this year, on top of the current forecast of 4.3% to 4.8%The Philippine central bank surprised most economists by keeping its policy rate unchanged at 4.5%. The monetary authority said it expects the peso to be at about 52.01 per dollar this year and at about 51.50 next yearThe Philippines has ample supply of dollars to meet any increase in demand during imports season, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin DioknoTrade Secretary Ramon Lopez says the nation’s exports may still grow by about 4% this year when global demand recoversTaiwan’s central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 1.375% as expectedThe ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s executive committee officially nominated President Tsai Ing-wen as its candidate in the presidential election scheduled for JanuaryEMEA:Russia returned to the Eurobond market after the dovish Fed meeting, selling $1.5 billion of debt maturing in 2029 and $1 billion of them maturing in 2035, with yields at 3.95% and 4.3% respectively The dovish market mood has driven Poland’s benchmark bond yield below the inflation rate for the first time in almost two decades Serbia raised 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from its first publicly syndicated euro deal, taking advantage of low borrowing costs in Europe to refinance more expensive dollar securities Saudi Arabia may sell euro-denominated bonds for the first time after testing investor appetite for a possible deal, according to two people familiar with the matterSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said Aramco will go through with an initial public offering as soon as next year, though no decision has been made on where the stock will tradeHe also blamed Iran for the recent attack on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, adding to accusations that are stoking tensions in a region supplying a third of the world’s oilMSCI Inc. will probably upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging-market index this week, which could trigger $2.8 billion of inflows from passive funds, according to the head of of the nation’s stock exchangePressure on South Africa’s credit rating is “more to the downside than the upside at the moment,” with state-owned electricity company Eskom the “main focus,” said Fitch Ratings’ managing director, Ed ParkerMoody’s Investors Service said South Africa’s credit-rating outlook is stable, giving the country’s new government more time to tackle key challenges such as low economic growth and embattled state-owned companies to ward off junk statusTurkish opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won the redo of the Istanbul mayor’s race by a landslide on Sunday, in a stinging indictment of President Erdogan’s economic policies and his refusal to accept an earlier defeatThe Istanbul exchange started publishing quotes for the lira overnight reference rate, or TLREF, on June 17. The fixing is calculated using a weighted-average of repo transactions, which are short-term borrowings secured by government securitiesGhana’s first-quarter economic growth slowed after expansion eased in mining and the quarrying industry, which includes oil Uganda’s central bank kept its key rate at a two-year high for a fourth straight meeting as it sees inflation edging higher. The Monetary Policy Committee held the rate at 10%Zimbabwe’s stock market hit a record high, for all the wrong reasonsThe nation’s inflation rate is showing no signs of slowing down, reaching the highest level since it peaked at 500 billion% in 2008An attempted coup failed June 22 in Ethiopia, the prime minister’s office said on its Facebook/Twitter page. The nation has one international bond, a $1 billion facility due 2024 that saw its yield plummet about 200 basis points this year to 5.59% on Friday Latin America:Brazil held its benchmark interest rate at a record low and signaled it will be able to cut borrowing costs to help a frail economy once a key austerity measure advances further in CongressThe government struck a deal with lawmakers to vote the pension reform bill in the lower house of Congress in the first half of July, local newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reportedOdebrecht SA, the holding company of the Brazilian conglomerate that stretches from construction to oil and gas, filed for bankruptcy protection in a Sao Paulo courtThe company’s construction unit, which was not included in the bankruptcy filing, made a proposal to restructure $3.1 billion of its debt in an out-of-court dealMexico’s Senate ratified the North American trade deal with the U.S. and Canada, becoming the first to do so amid a truce reached with Trump over an unrelated tariff threatTrump praised Mexico’s efforts to crack down on migrants crossing the border into the U.S. after the two countries entered an agreement aimed at stemming the flow of people crossing Mexico from Central AmericaState-run oil producer Pemex plans $2.5 billion of debt refinancing in 2019, Reuters reportsArgentina remained in recession in the first quarter as unemployment hit a 13-year high and the central bank maintained the world’s highest interest ratesFormer central bank chief Federico Sturzenegger said monthly inflation could slow to 1% by year-endNation’s primary budget surplus rose to the highest level recorded since the data series began in March 2000, in nominal termsColombia left its benchmark interest rate unchanged as its economic recovery stalls and the peso surges the most in the worldProtests broke out in eastern Caracas on Friday during the third day of visits by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in Venezuela\--With assistance from Colleen Goko, Selcuk Gokoluk, Philip Sanders, Aline Oyamada and Alec D.B. McCabe.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yumi Teso in Bangkok at email@example.com;Netty Ismail in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ben Bartenstein in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tomoko Yamazaki at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alex NicholsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump denied that he’d threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell but said he’d “be able to do that if I wanted.”The president repeated his criticism of Powell’s actions as Fed chief in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” conducted Friday and broadcast on Sunday. “I’m not happy with his actions,” Trump said of Powell. “No, I don’t think he’s done a good job.”Trump has spent months criticizing Powell, 66, whom he chose to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair in 2018, for raising interest rates, in his view, too far and too fast.“I didn’t ever threaten to demote him,” Trump told NBC. “I have the right to do that. But I haven’t said that.”Trump told confidants as recently as Wednesday that he believes he has the authority to replace Powell as Fed chairman, demoting him to the level of board governor, according to people familiar with the matter. Powell said on Wednesday that he intends to serve his full four-year term and that “the law is clear” on that issue.Read More: Trump Believes He Has the Authority to Replace Powell Trump said the U.S. economy is strong enough to “bull through” what he sees as the headwinds created by the Fed’s four interest rate hikes in 2018 “but I’m not happy with” Powell’s actions.“I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake. That’s been proven,” Trump said. By contrast, Trump said his predecessor, President Barack Obama, “had somebody” -- Yellen -- “that kept rates very low.”“Obama was playing with funny money,” Trump said. “I’m playing with the real stuff.”Trump’s strident attacks on the Fed in interviews and on Twitter are a departure from almost three decades of caution in the White House about making public comments on monetary policy, out of respect for the independence of the central bank.The Federal Reserve Act provides explicit protection for Fed governors against removal by the president except “for cause.” Courts have interpreted the phrase to require proof of some form of legal misconduct or neglect of basic duties. A disagreement over monetary policy wouldn’t meet that bar.It’s less clear, however, whether the president can demote a chair, removing him or her from the top position while leaving the person as a Fed governor.(Updates with Trump quotes, background from eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs.To contact the reporter on this story: Ros Krasny in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Rare is the week that doesn’t bring some new controversy over someone or something being banned from Twitter or Facebook for being too offensive. (Latest: a Led Zeppelin album cover.) As regular readers know, I prefer more speech to less speech, but this column isn’t about what content rules private companies should enforce. Today I’m wearing my fair-process hat. These mighty controversies over kicking users off social media would be mightily reduced if there was a better process for making the decisions.And I have one. I can summarize my proposal this way: Human at the front end, human in the middle, human at the back end. Each phase has two rules. Here’s how things would work.“Human at the front end”:Rule 1 — Human complaint. No initial action should be taken against a user except in response to a complaint. The complaint must come from a human being, not an algorithm. The human being, moreover, must not be an employee or associate of the provider itself. In this way, any sense that the provider is targeting a particular point of view is avoided at the outset. (The complaint should also cite a particular offending post or set of postings rather than a general objection.)Rule 2 — Notice of specific charges. If after reviewing the complaint, the provider decides to move forward, it must provide the accused user with a statement of the specific content that potentially violates the rules in question.(1)“Human in the middle”:Rule 3 — Human judges. Actual human beings must decide whether to proceed with the suspension or banning process, and other, separate human beings must be assigned to judge the merits of the case.Rule 4 — Some kind of hearing.(2) The accused user must have the opportunity to defend the questionable content before a human judge (or, better, two human judges). During the process of adjudication, there will be no suspension of the user’s ability to post and no deletion of any posts.(3)If both human judges agree that the user should be sanctioned, they should send their recommendation to a third judge, not involved in the case, for approval and action.“Human at the back end”(4):Rule 5 — Human judgment. The judgment delivered to the user should be signed by a human being (but see below), and must give clear information about whom to contact if the user seeks to appeal. (That is, there must be something other than a general email from a department.)Rule 6 — Specific conclusions. A judgment that involves suspension of an account or other restrictions must state with specificity which content constituted the violation and how. There should be an end to conclusory messages about having run afoul of the provider’s policies.*What’s the advantage of all this? For one thing, when users deal with people rather than a faceless monolith, they’re more likely to believe that their concerns are being taken seriously. When one’s account is being suspended, this is no small thing.More important, these rules would slow things down by making both the complaint process and the adjudication process time-consuming. A user who’s upset might decide not to bother; judges might decide that a particular offense is too minuscule to be worth the bother. This would be to the good, because more speech would remain untouched.At the same time, none of this would eliminate algorithms from the process. The human judges would use them, not only to collect data on the accused’s previous posts — is this a pattern or a one-off? — but also to compare the mendacity or viciousness of the posts with those of other users, particularly those of different political persuasions. (The difference in politics will be easy for the software to detect.) But the algorithms would be used by human beings to resolve particular complaints rather than crawling through the servers on their own to find violations.As to the judges themselves, the provider would do well to task people of varying political stripes with this role. And if the provider’s own employees are exorcized because of the politics of some judges, the provider should think twice about whether to restrict content at all (other than for harassment or personal attacks). After all, if the employees can’t accept the possibility that other employees disagree with them, it’s hard to imagine how they could possibly be fair judges of content.You might reasonably object that letting the accused know the identity of the judges might open the judges themselves to harassment and perhaps doxxing. Fair point. But the provider can make harassment of the judges, by any user, a violation per se, much as a court can punish contempt. And the analogy is not unimportant. Trial judges, after all, manage to sign their names to decisions that do far more than simply kick people off a website.Still, you might think that it’s too much to ask the provider to disclose the names of those responsible for a particular ban. Certainly the proposal can be modified to keep the identities of the human judges secret, as long as the accused still has a way of contacting them directly, as opposed to sending a note to an amorphous department.But the prospect is worrisome. I oppose, deeply, the exercise of anonymous power. There is a certain confidence in the rightness of one’s views that stems from signing one’s name to what one has to say. Judges do it. So do columnists. It’s a way of standing behind one’s views, no matter how controversial.And it’s very human.That’s why if you’re bold enough to decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t, you should have the courage to sign your name.(1) One possibility at this point is to allow the user to avoid the proceeding entirely and emerge with a clean slate simply by deleting the content in question.(2) With apologies to the brilliant Judge Henry J. Friendly, the 60th anniversary of whose appointment to the federal bench we celebrate this year.(3) An exception can be made if the user is dilatory or uncooperative during the hearing process.(4) Some might argue for a third back-end rule which would allow for proceedings against users who file multiple complaints that lead to no sanctions. The idea would be to discourage litigious but frivolous plaintiffs from hunting for possible violations to file against. The user subject to a proceeding would also be entitled to some kind of hearing. Nevertheless, I think a potential rule of this kind would be a bad idea. For one thing, the rule might swiftly tax the provider’s human resources. For another, only rarely does a court punish the litigious pro se plaintiff. Most important, the rule wouldn’t be necessary. The humans who review complaints would soon get a sense of which users filed a steady stream, and would likely take those less seriously.To contact the author of this story: Stephen L. Carter at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His novels include “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” and his latest nonfiction book is “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.