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Finally, The EU And Trump See Eye-To-Eye On One International Policy: China

Finally, The EU And Trump See Eye-To-Eye On One International Policy: China

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Finally, The EU And Trump See Eye-To-Eye On One International Policy: China Tyler Durden Mon, 06/22/2020 - 02:00

Authored by Martin Jay via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Both Trump and the EU are turning on China for very similar reasons but with different timescales ahead of them. The West still struggles with what it requires from China and whether it wants to get rich and become a big spender, or become poorer and flood western markets with cheaper and cheaper goods. Expect more devaluation of the Yuan.

EU is “rebalancing this relationship” with China. EU ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida tells Chatham House. It’s not about “isolating” or “ganging up” on China, but it’s about addressing issues. We have different systems of values on human rights and other areas”.

A pretty remarkable statement to make and one which could only have come from a relatively obscure EU official, if it was based on solid support from the highest echelons of the EU in Brussels – who, in turn, would not go ahead with such a bellicose policy if they didn’t have the gilt-edged backing from France and Germany.

So, in a matter of weeks, where the EU was caught red-handed redacting its own internal report which slammed China over its COVID-19 role – and media coverage – now, we seem to be in the midst of the EU waking up to its own economy imploding and a political calamity to follow which could be the end of the EU as we know it.

The EU is starting to think about protectionism and is about to develop a new relation with China, which, we should assume means cutting less slack to Beijing on its goods, by jacking up tariffs.

In the U.S., analysts are also saying that the U.S.-China trade deal is dead in the water, chiefly due to corona crashing world oil prices, which knocked a big hold in the first phase of Trump’s deal which involved China buying huge chunks of oil and gas from the U.S. at higher prices. In reality, for most of this year China’s energy needs have also been dramatically reduced due to chaos and lockdowns which are corona-related. Trump got the first phase off to a good start by forcing China’s hand on agricultural goods which were floundering in many states which supported Trump, but the ‘art of the deal’ U.S. president is actually not very good at doing trade deals. The essence of a trade deal is its rigidity and sustainability. Trump’s barely lasted weeks. Foreign Policy, the high-brow international politics magazine, put it aptly.

“Amid the collapse in oil demand and prices unleashed by the pandemic, it is now all but certain that China will fail to meet its targets for energy purchases and expose the folly of Trump’s trade strategy” it says. “While Trump was right to address China’s problematic trade practices, the administration’s approach made little sense before the pandemic—and makes even less sense now”.

And many might argue that Trump’s determination to get a trade deal with China which helped blue collar families back home, was all about getting re-elected anyway, according to John Bolton’s bombshell book which reveals that the U.S. president right from the off was positioning the Chinese premier to help him (Trump) get re-elected. Trump believed all he needed to nail a second victory was a deal with China. Remarkable.

The toughening of both rhetoric and action now from Trump as the deal falls apart was inevitable. Almost like a petulant child, as it becomes clear that Beijing can’t keep its side of the bargain, Trump goes into self-preservation mode to deflect blame. Barely within a heartbeat, U.S. media announces news of sanctions against China on its reported concentration camps against Muslim groups, which, according to Bolton, he had secretly supported all along with Xi, which the former National Security chief claims was the “right thing to do” according to Trump.

Within seconds, almost, it’s as though if China cannot serve Trump with his specific needs, then it has to become and enemy to at least generate the requisite media traffic which continues to get Trump on the front pages. And this is what is playing out now. Already Beijing sees the game and is ready to play that role.

“We again urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes and stop using this Xinjiang-related law to harm China’s interests and interfere in China’s internal affairs,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Otherwise China will resolutely take countermeasures, and all the consequences arising there from must be fully borne by the United States.”

That sounded like a pretty lucid threat from China. Remarkably, Trump, despite the losses to business and the crippling effect on U.S. companies in China, is happy to get tough with China. There is, in fact, no limit in what he can do to get re-elected – even make friends with the Taliban, if that’s what it takes.

More remarkable is that the EU seems to be following his lead with their rationale why they should be tougher on China. Its own political survival beyond the next European elections in 2024.

With the catastrophic impact on the EU economy, many member states – not only Italy and Spain which were hit particularly hard – themselves are going to have to make tough decisions which resonate with angry voters over how to hold China accountable for the pandemic. The EU will be forced to follow this trend for its own survival as, for those member states where the political establishment save their own seats, scapegoats will be required. The Blame Game will make losers of the EU and its delusional ideas of being a super power.

Some political elites will blame Brussels and will have some success with this. And it’s as though EU chiefs are already ahead of the game, if one of its “ambassadors” in London can openly make a comment to the press which talks about a new relationship with China. Xi and his ministers will patiently wait for Trump to fall on his own sword in November, as the scandal mounts up and the pressure on the Republican party reaches fever pitch. For the EU though, there is a longer game at play, with higher stakes. But will Brussels make it to 2024 though?

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The 4th Japan SciCom Forum 2022 on October 21 online

A range of experts in social and political science, communications, science engagement, and media production will contribute to keynote talks, workshops,…

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A range of experts in social and political science, communications, science engagement, and media production will contribute to keynote talks, workshops, and a panel discussion at the 4th Japan SciCom Forum (JSF 2022). Topics include media production for scientists, running hybrid and online events, public perception of COVID-19 vaccines, and tips for participating in TED talks.

Credit: OIST

A range of experts in social and political science, communications, science engagement, and media production will contribute to keynote talks, workshops, and a panel discussion at the 4th Japan SciCom Forum (JSF 2022). Topics include media production for scientists, running hybrid and online events, public perception of COVID-19 vaccines, and tips for participating in TED talks.

The fourth edition of JSF 2022 will be hosted by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) online on October 21, 2022, 10:00 to 17:00 JST, with the support of EurekAlert! AAAS, Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), Impact Science, Miratuku, and Falling Walls Engage.

“Science communication is more important than ever. Across mediums, our work must communicate the relevance and impact of science to make it accessible,” said Heather Young, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at OIST. “We are very proud to host this year’s Japan Scicom Forum to help contribute to training and development within the profession.” 

JSF is a community of science communication researchers, practitioners, and learners that gathers annually for the conference and bimonthly for online professional sharing. JSF organization has held three annual conferences, which were hosted by ELSI in Tokyo and gathered over 400 press officers, researchers, and students from across Japan. Last year’s conference was held online and had a significant number of international participants.

“The overarching goal of JSF is to build a network and professional identity, share knowledge and highlight best practices and new tools, and boost the English-language and international initiatives of Japanese higher education and research institutions,” said Thilina Heenatigala (ELSI), JSF organizing team. Ayumi Koso (NIG), JSF organizing team, added, “After three years of running the JSF conference, we are adapting a model to move the conference around Japan, and we are excited to have OIST to host this year.”

Registration is free. Participants from outside Japan are welcome. See the schedule and register here: https://www.japansci.com/conference/jsf22

Contacts:

Tomomi Okubo
Manager, Media Relations Section
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)
E-mail: tomomi.okubo@oist.jp
Tel: +81-080-6483-2675

Thilina Heenatigala
JSF Organising Team
Japan SciCom Forum (JSF)
E-mail: info@japansci.com
Tel: +81-3-5734-3163


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Coronavirus dashboard for October 5: an autumn lull as COVID-19 evolves towards seasonal endemicity

  – by New Deal democratBack in August I highlighted some epidemiological work by Trevor Bedford about what endemic COVID is likely to look like, based…

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 - by New Deal democrat

Back in August I highlighted some epidemiological work by Trevor Bedford about what endemic COVID is likely to look like, based on the rate of mutations and the period of time that previous infection makes a recovered person resistant to re-infection. Here’s his graph:




He indicated that it “illustrate[s] a scenario where we end up in a regime of year-round variant-driven circulation with more circulation in the winter than summer, but not flu-like winter seasons and summer troughs.”

In other words, we could expect higher caseloads during regular seasonal waves, but unlike influenza, the virus would never entirely recede into the background during the “off” seasons.

That is what we are seeing so far this autumn.

Confirmed cases have continued to decline, presently just under 45,000/day, a little under 1/3rd of their recent summer peak in mid-June. Deaths have been hovering between 400 and 450/day, about in the middle of their 350-550 range since the beginning of this past spring:



The longer-term graph of each since the beginning of the pandemic shows that, at their present level cases are at their lowest point since summer 2020, with the exception of a brief period during September 2020, the May-July lull in 2021, and the springtime lull this year. Deaths since spring remain lower than at any point except the May-July lull of 2021:



Because so many cases are asymptomatic, or people confirm their cases via home testing but do not get confirmation by “official” tests, we know that the confirmed cases indicated above are lower than the “real” number. For that, here is the long-term look from Biobot, which measures COVID concentrations in wastewater:



The likelihood is that there are about 200,000 “actual” new cases each day at present. But even so, this level is below any time since Delta first hit in summer 2021, with the exception of last autumn and this spring’s lulls.

Hospitalizations show a similar pattern. They are currently down 50% since their summer peak, at about 25,000/day:



This is also below any point in the pandemic except for briefly during September 2020, the May-July 2021 low, and this past spring’s lull.

The CDC’s most recent update of variants shows that BA.5 is still dominant, causing about 81% of cases, while more recent offshoots of BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 are causing the rest. BA’s share is down from 89% in late August:



But this does not mean that the other variants are surging, because cases have declined from roughly 90,000 to 45,000 during that time. Here’s how the math works out:

89% of 90k=80k (remaining variants cause 10k cases)
81% of 45k=36k (remaining variants cause 9k cases)

The batch of new variants have been dubbed the “Pentagon” by epidmiologist JP Weiland, and have caused a sharp increase in cases in several countries in Europe and elsewhere. Here’s what she thinks that means for the US:


But even she is not sure that any wave generated by the new variants will exceed summer’s BA.5 peak, let alone approach last winter’s horrible wave:



In summary, we have having an autumn lull as predicted by the seasonal model. There will probably be a winter wave, but the size of that wave is completely unknown, primarily due to the fact that probably 90%+ of the population has been vaccinated and/or previously infected, giving rise to at least some level of resistance - a disease on its way to seasonal endemicity.

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JOLTs jolted: Did the Fed break the labour market?

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) August release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the number of job openings, a measure…

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In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) August release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the number of job openings, a measure of demand for labour, fell to 10.1 million. This was short of market estimates of 11 million and lower than last month’s level of 11.2 million.

It also marked the fifth consecutive month of decreases in job openings this year, while the August unemployment rate had ticked higher to 3.7%, near a five-decade low.

In the latest numbers, the total job openings were the lowest reported since June 2021, while incredibly, the decline in vacancies of 1.1 million was the sharpest in two decades save for the extraordinary circumstances in April 2020. 

Healthcare services, other services and retail saw the deepest declines in job openings of 236,000, 183,000, and 143,000, respectively.

With total jobs in some of these sectors settling below pre-pandemic levels, the Fed’s push for higher borrowing costs may finally be restricting demand for workers in these areas.

The levels of hires, quits and layoffs (collectively known as separations) were little changed from July.

The quits rate (a percentage of total employment in the month), a proxy for confidence in the market was steady at 2.8%.

Source: US BLS

From a bird’s eye view, 1.7 openings were available for each unemployed person, cooling from 2.0 in the month prior but still above the historic average. 

The market still appears favourable for workers but seems to have begun showing signs of fatigue.

Ian Shepherdson, Economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics noted that it was too soon to suggest if a new trend had started to emerge, and said,

…this is the first official indicator to point unambiguously, if not necessarily reliably, to a clear slowing in labour demand.

Nick Bunker, Head of Economic Research at Indeed, also stated,

The heat of the labour market is slowly coming down to a slow boil as demand for hiring new workers fades.

Ironically, equities surged as investors pinned their hopes on weakness in headline jobs numbers being the sign of breakage the Fed needed to pull back on its tightening.

Kristen Bitterly, Citi Global Wealth’s head of North American investments added,

(In the past, in) 8 out of the 10 bear markets, we have seen bounces off the lows of 10%…and not just one but several, this is very common in this type of environment.

The worst may be yet to come

As for the health of the economy, after much seesawing in its projections, which swung between 0.3% as recently as September 27 and as high as 2.7% just a couple of weeks earlier, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow estimate was finalized at a sharply rebounding 2.3% for Q3, earlier in the week.

Rod Von Lipsey, Managing Director, UBS Private Wealth Management was optimistic and stated,

…looking for a stronger fourth quarter, and traditionally, the fourth quarter is a good part of the year for stocks.

As I reported in a piece last week, a crucial consideration that has been brought up many a time is the unknown around policy lags.

Cathie Wood, Ark Invest CEO and CIO noted that the Fed has increased rates an incredible 13-fold in a span of just a few months, which is in stark contrast to the rate doubling engineered by Governor Volcker over the span of a decade.

Pedro da Costa, a veteran Fed reporter and previously a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, emphasized that once the Fed tightens policy, there is no way to know when this may be fully transmitted to the economy, which could lie anywhere between 6 to 18 months.

The JOLTs report reflects August data while the Fed has continued to tighten. This raises the probability that the Fed may have already done too much, and the environment may be primed to send the jobs market into a tailspin.

Several recent indicators suggest that the labour market is getting ready for a significant deceleration.

For instance, new orders contracted aggressively to 47.1. Although still expansionary, ISM manufacturing data fell sharply to 50.9 global, factory employment plummeted to 48.7, global PMI receded into contractionary territory at 49.8, its lowest level since June 2020 while durable goods declined 0.2%.

Moreover, transpacific shipping rates, a leading indicator absolutely crashed, falling 75% Y-o-Y on weaker demand and overbought inventories.

Steven van Metre, a certified financial planner and frequent collaborator at Eurodollar University, argued

“…the next thing to go is the job market.“

A recent study by KPMG which collated opinions of over 400 CEOs and business leaders at top US companies, found that a startling 91% of respondents expect a recession within the next 12 months. Only 34% of these think that it would be “mild and short.”

More than half of the CEOs interviewed are looking to slash jobs and cut headcount.

Similarly, a report by Marcum LLP in collaboration with Hofstra University found that 90% of surveyed CEOs were fearful of a recession in the near future.

It also found that over a quarter of company heads had already begun layoffs or planned to do so in the next twelve months.

Simply put, American enterprises are not buying the Fed’s soft-landing plans.

A slew of mass layoffs amid overwhelming inventories and a weak consumer impulse will result in a rapid decline in price pressures, exacerbating the threat of too much tightening.

Upcoming data

On Friday, the markets will be focused on the BLS’s non-farm payrolls data. Economists anticipate a comparatively small addition of jobs, likely to be near 250,000, which would mark the smallest monthly increase this year.

In a world where interest rates are still rising, demand is giving way, the prevailing sentiment is weak and companies are burdened by excessive inventories, can job cuts be far behind?

The post JOLTs jolted: Did the Fed break the labour market? appeared first on Invezz.

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