By Kranti Kumara 17 July 2019 Hemmed in by a deepening socioeconomic crisis that has sent unemployment to a 45-year high, the recently re-elected pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by the Hindu strongman Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has presented the first annual budget of its second five-year term. Alongside soaring unemployment, economic growth has plummeted to a five-year low of 6.8 percent and an agrarian crisis is devastating rural households. Prior to the unveiling of the budget on July 5, competing demands were being made by domestic and foreign big business on the one hand and the credit rating agencies and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the other. Corporations
The June jobs report showed the economy created 224,000 jobs in the month, a sharp increase from the revised level of 72,000 reported for May. With considerable evidence that the economy is slowing, and the ADP report showing the economy created just 102,000 jobs in June, the jobs growth number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was much higher than most analysts had expected. It led the markets to reverse their expectations of a July cut in the federal funds rate. With average job growth of 171,000 over the last three months, the thinking was that the Fed did not need to provide any additional boost to growth. A bit deeper look suggests that additional stimulus may still be a good idea. First,
Wall Street equity indexes have barely moved this week in a sign investors may be starting to focus on the issue after a report late last week indicated the debt ceiling issue could be triggered earlier than first thought and before legislators return. Previously it was thought Congress had until October to address the problem. Analysts say these include a straight forward increase in the debt ceiling, an increase plus additional spending on defence and social programs such as more money for veterans to see private doctors, and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's proposal to cut spending caps on domestic outlays while hiking the Pentagon's budget. With both sides of Congress brawling over President Donald Trump's inflammatory call for four female congresswomen of colour to return to "the places from which they came", many warn the ability of moderates on both sides of the aisle to fashion a deal is shaky.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell highlighted the growing importance of global developments in monetary policy—a reflection of how slowing growth abroad has likely set the stage for the U.S. central bank to cut interest rates.
(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s economy is less likely to suffer a painful whiplash from a sales tax increase scheduled for October, early sales figures for autos and apartments suggest.Demand for cars and houses hasn’t picked up noticeably in the run up to the 2 percentage point tax bump so far, indicating that purchases are less likely to plunge afterwards. During the previous hike in 2014, the economy contracted after consumer spending surged ahead of the increase and plunged afterwards.Avoiding an economic shock from the tax increase is a top priority for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he tries to keep a vulnerable economy expanding despite smoldering trade tensions between the U.S. and China, a slump in global tech demand and deteriorating sentiment at home. To that end, the government has announced a range of measures to offset the economic effects of the hike.Vehicle sales fell 0.9% in June from a year earlier, four months ahead of the tax hike, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association. That compares with seven straight double-digit jumps in the months before the 2014 increase.The number of condominiums sold in Tokyo also fell 14% in May from a year ago, a fourth consecutive monthly drop, according to Real Estate Economic Institute Co. There’s little sign of rush demand this time, partly because of the government measures, said Tadashi Matsuda, a researcher at the institute.What Our Economists Say"In 2014, front loaded demand was mostly shown in household consumption and residential investment, but it appears to be muted this time due to the government’s policy to smooth spending and a lack of pent-up demand."Yuki Masujima, Japan economistCars and houses are the main big ticket items that are likely to attract early rush demand in the months before a sales tax hike in Japan. Sales of smaller items, such as TVs, refrigerators and other electrical appliances, didn’t surge until the final few weeks before the 2014 increase.Consumption holds the key to Japan’s economic health with the outlook for exports highly uncertain. While Abe’s administration underestimated the economic impact of the last tax increase, the prime minister has vowed to press ahead with the tax hike this time, after two postponements, as he tries to ease the nation’s ballooning debt burden. Abe, facing a national election this weekend, said he doesn’t see a need to raise the tax again over the next decade.Why Japan Is Risking a Tax Hike in a Slow Economy: QuickTakeThe government’s counter-measures include tax breaks on car purchases and homes after the higher tax rate comes into effect, and rebates for those making cashless payments to help prop up spending. The latest increase is also smaller than the 3 percentage point hike in 2014 and won’t apply to essential items such as food.To be sure, it’s still too early to gauge the full scale of rush demand. Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute, estimates demand worth 50.9 trillion yen is potentially subject to front-loaded purchases. Housing and auto sales comprise roughly half of this amount, while the smaller items, like domestic appliances, furniture and cosmetics, make up the rest.The economy is also in a more vulnerable position than it was five years ago. So even without a jump in sales ahead of the tax increase, gloomier households might still react negatively to the squeezing of their budgets.Consumer sentiment is already deteriorating, according to Cabinet Office figures. Households’ appetite for durable goods purchases has slipped to the lowest level since April 2014, the month the tax rate went up last time, signaling that shoppers may not flock to electronic stores this time round.For Harumi Taguchi, Tokyo-based principal economist at IHS Markit, the deteriorating sentiment shows that consumer confidence is fragile and the economy lacks strength. “I’m concerned that a recovery may be slow to come if the economy weakens and people feel more uneasy,” Taguchi said.To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Malcolm Scott at email@example.com, Paul Jackson, Henry HoenigFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Turkey's central government budget balance posted a deficit of TL 78.6 billion in the first half of the current year, the Treasury and Finance Ministry announced Tuesday. The country's budget revenues totaled TL 403 billion in the first six months of this year, up 14 percent year-on-year, data showed. Budget expenditures rose 20.5 percent to nearly TL 481.6 billion – marking a TL 78.6 billion deficit. The budget balance, excluding interest payments, saw a deficit of TL 27.8 billion from January to June. Official figures showed that tax revenues rose 4.4 percent to TL 307.7 billion, while interest payments were TL 50.7 billion over the same period. In June, the budget balance also saw a deficit
Political uncertainty over upcoming reform plans in Brazil will continue to cast a shadow over the outlook of Latin America's biggest economy, a Reuters poll of analysts showed. Prolongation of the tense climate sparked by an initiative to reform the country's generous retirement system threatens to keep business confidence and investment subdued next year, economists said. Brazilian economic growth was seen at 1.0% by the end of 2019, according to the median estimate of 40 analysts polled July 2-11, half the expected rate in April and the third cut to this year's forecast, in line with other surveys. The estimate for 2020 dropped to 2.2% from 2.5% in April's poll, flagging worries about a repeat of recent political friction.
France's finance minister said on Tuesday the post-war international monetary order needed to be reinvented or become increasingly dominated by China. The pillars of that order, the International Monetary Fund and its sister institution the World Bank, have been controlled by the United States and Europe since their inception at the Bretton Woods conference in New Hampshire in July 1944. "The Bretton Woods order as we know it has reached its limits," French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a conference at the French central bank marking the 75th anniversary of the conference.
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Tuesday signaled reservations about International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposals for Lebanon which he said included floating the Lebanese pound, which has been pegged at its current level for more than two decades. Hariri was speaking on the first day of a three-day parliamentary session that is expected to approve a state budget that aims to slash the deficit, as a step toward putting Lebanese state finances on a sustainable path. Lebanon has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world. The state's main expenditures are the public sector wage bill, paying interest on its debt, and subsidizing the loss-making state power company. The
BOSTON — A top Democrat in the Legislature asked Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to file another stopgap budget as talks aimed at producing a permanent state spending plan for the fiscal year that began on July 1 dragged on Tuesday without resolution. House Speaker Robert DeLeo believes it would be “prudent” for the governor to submit an interim budget that would, if needed, keep state government afloat through the end of August, Catherine Williams, a spokeswoman for DeLeo, said in an email. A $5 billion spending authorization currently in place expires July 31. The request by DeLeo was based on the “current status of negotiations,” over the $42.7 billion annual spending plan, Williams said, possibly
(Bloomberg) -- One of the most bearish economists covering Panama is none other than the nation’s new finance minister, who took office two weeks ago.The economy will grow a little less than 4% this year, according to Finance Minister Hector Alexander, a former student of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman at the the University of Chicago. That compares to an expansion of 3.7% in 2018, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis a decade ago.While many governments in the region highball their growth forecasts, Alexander’s is lower than that of the three main ratings agencies, the International Monetary Fund and all analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast is for an expansion of 4.9%.“We’re falling short of where we could be in growth and development, and this is our big challenge,” Alexander, 76, said in an interview in his Panama City office. “We think we can turn it around.”The nation’s China-like growth rates over the last decade have given it the highest living standards in Latin America, and the glass and steel of Panama City’s skyline now looks more like Miami than a Central American capital. The IMF warned in January that Panama’s “stellar” growth will be harder to sustain as it gets closer to being a high-income country.Unemployment has risen as activity slows in construction and agriculture, Alexander said. The strength of the U.S. dollar, Panama’s national currency, has made it more expensive, dissuading some travelers from visiting, he added.Public FinancesEven if Alexander’s relatively gloomy forecast proves correct, Panama’s economy would still outpace that of every economy in the Americas except the Dominican Republic, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.The new government has pledged to provide preferential rates for home loans for as much as $180,000 in a bid to revive the flagging construction sector, which has been one of the economy’s main growth engines in recent years.President Laurentino Cortizo, from the center-left Revolutionary Democratic Party, was sworn in for a five-year term this month. He pledged to overhaul the way public contracts are awarded, following a series of bribery scandals, and revive the $60 billion economy.After taking office, he described the state of public finances as “worrying.” A task force is studying how much is owed to government suppliers and how big the budget deficit will be this year.Fiscal DeficitAlexander said results should be in soon, at which point the government will know whether or not they will be able to keep the fiscal deficit below 2% of GDP, which is the upper limit allowed by the fiscal responsibility law.“We are anticipating an imbalance, and we’ll have to see how we balance it out,” he said.Panama’s first copper mine, operated by Canada’s First Quantum, will support the economy in the second half of the year as it ramps up production and starts exports, Alexander said. The mine will generate an annual $2 billion in export revenue once it is fully operational, according to the mine’s website. Paying off arrears to suppliers will also provide the economy with a lift, he said.The new cabinet authorized the economy and Finance Ministry to issue as much as $2.5 billion in debt. Alexander said he’ll seek to issue part of the nation’s debt in the U.S. and Europe and $1 billion will be used to pay a bond maturing in January 2020.Alexander served as minister of finance and treasury from 1985-88 and minister of economy and finance from 2007-2009. He earned a masters in economics from the University of Chicago in the 1970s and was a member of the team that negotiated the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which granted Panama control of the canal in 2000.To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in San Jose, Costa Rica at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Bristow at email@example.com, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) - An influential Hindu nationalist group close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party has demanded his government review its plan to raise money by selling foreign currency bonds. "We can't allow this to happen," declared Ashwani Mahajan, the co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS was the key founder of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and has people it nurtured in top positions in the government, including Modi himself.
After achieving the longest economic expansion in the U.S. history and growing a solid 3.2% annualized rate in the first quarter of 2019, which way is the $19 trillion income-generating economy headed? Not as strong. The constant trade war rhetoric has disrupted business freedom and is showing up in the hesitancy of whether to invest more and with which new suppliers. Business spending on equipment fell 1%, the worst showing in three years. Shipments from manufacturing sector are slightly lower this year after notching up a good growth rate of 7% last year. With inventories of manufactured products rising, a further pullback in production is likely. Fortunately, the tech companies are investing
More people are in insecure self-employment, pay levels are still £5 lower than a decade ago and a no-deal Brexit could ruin the party.
The House of People's Representatives (HPR) ended its fourth year of the current parliamentary term by endorsing the proposed federal government's budget worth 386,954,965,289 birr (over USD 13.8 billion) for the fiscal year 2012 E.C (2019/20 GC). However, despite the growing concerns from various sides, the Prime Minister insisted that the country is not in a dangerous situation regarding the accumulation of external debts amounting to USD 27 billion. In the same session, the House has also heard the House Speaker's report before MPs went on a three-month long recess. Accordingly, the House has approved unanimously over 386.954 billion Birr for the upcoming Ethiopian fiscal year. This year's