Geopolitical Risk Tracker>> Americas Fridays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

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GLOBAL RISK

Challenging' talks expected as Trump, other G7 leaders meet Talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's rich nations at the G7 summit on Friday were expected to be "robust" and "challenging" -Reuters

IN SICILIA>> Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States

The Shrinking of the Presidency The president of the United States – the position, not the person occupying it – is a pillar of the international order. The US presidency gives direction and guidance to the entire system, a kind of rudder that guides the world toward calm waters or, when necessary, through periods of creative disruption. -Project Syndicate

U.S. RISK

Trump chastises fellow NATO members, demands they meet payment obligations -The Washington Post

Trump still hasn't given allied leaders what they want As the president arrives in Sicily, allies are still wondering how to bridge the gap with the new U.S. administration on climate, trade — and Russia. -Politico

Does Trump Care About Human Rights? The president says his foreign policy is based on “principled realism.” Where’s the principle? -Politico

Senate Panel Approves Stiff Iran Sanctions and Says Russia Is Next The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on Thursday the most sweeping sanctions against Iran since the United States and five other nations reached an agreement with Tehran in 2015 to sharply limit that nation’s nuclear capability, and the committee warned Russia that it was almost certain to be the next target. -NYT

Senators make new push to rein in Trump's military powers -Politico

James Mattis, a Warrior in Washington The former Marine Corps general spent four decades on the on the front lines. How will he lead the Department of Defense? -The New Yorker [h/t GBI]

Agencies retool their missions to align with the Trump administration The federal government is undergoing a rebranding under President Trump — although not all at his direction. -Washington Post

U.S. visas issued to citizens of Trump travel ban nations continue to decline The United States issued about 50 percent fewer visitor visas in April to citizens of seven countries covered by President Donald Trump's temporary travel bans than it did in an average month last year, according to a Reuters analysis of preliminary government data released on Thursday. -Reuters

The total number of U.S. non-immigrant visas issued to people from all countries was about 15 percent lower in April compared with the 2016 monthly average.

In blow to Trump, U.S. appeals court refuses to reinstate travel ban -Reuters

AMERICAS

U.S. lawmakers reintroduce bill to end restrictions on Cuba travel A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reintroduced legislation on Thursday to repeal all restrictions on travel to Cuba, this time attracting far more co-sponsors in a sign of growing support for U.S.-Cuban detente even as its future looks uncertain. -Reuters

Protesters Torch Government Building in Brazil Demonstrations against embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer exploded into scenes of violence across the capital city of Brasilia on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Protesters set fire to the Agriculture Ministry, trashed several government buildings and clashed with police. -Bloomberg

U.S.-AMERICAS || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT +

OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Big Payoff After Blackstone Courted a Saudi Prince Mr. Schwarzman’s company, the Blackstone Group, already counted Prince bin Salman’s Public Investment Fund as a major client. But the American financier now had a bold new idea: Court Saudi money to invest in projects like tunnels, bridges, airports and other sorely needed infrastructure improvements, predominantly in the United States. -NYT

Trump Blasts German Carmakers’ U.S. Sales, Threatens Barriers -Bloomberg

California says VW clean car spending plan has shortcomings California regulators said Volkswagen AG's (VOWG_p.DE) spending plan on clean vehicle infrastructure had shortcomings and that it lacked details on how it would help disadvantaged as well as promote hydrogen fuel cell technology. -Reuters

Brazil’s Car Wash Scandal Reveals a Country Soaked in Corruption What may be the largest corruption case in modern history runs deep in Latin America’s largest country. -Bloomberg 

GLOBAL MACRO

Buy? Sell? Politics May Move the Market, but Rarely for Long The United States stock market shuddered last week on a report that President Trump had tried to stop an F.B.I. investigation of his former national security adviser, with the Dow Jones industrials falling 373 points in one day and drawing comparisons to the Watergate-era bear market. -NYT

Services, Investment Make U.S. Growth Less Tepid Than Estimated The U.S. economy’s first quarter wasn’t so miserable after all, as consumption contributed more to growth and business investment was even stronger than thought, Commerce Department data showed Friday. -Bloomberg

Japan's big insurers expand their appetites for U.S. Treasuries -Reuters

Venezuela Secretly Plotted to Sell Banned Syrian Oil to the U.S. -Bloomberg

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

Goodbye globalism, hello mercantilism? Market fundamentalism is based on neoclassical economics. But its roots go further back to 1776, when Adam Smith published “The Wealth of Nations,” which was critical of mercantilism pursued by absolute monarchs of Western Europe from the mid-16th to 18th centuries to enrich national wealth by exporting more and importing less. -The Japan Times

CHINA RISK

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward. -NYT

China's big push for its global trade narrative Mr Xi is gathering all the presidents and prime ministers he can muster in Beijing, hoping to inspire them with a vision about China as a force for good in the world. -BBC

A New Model for Chinese Overseas Investment Chinese enterprises are already taking these investment cues seriously. By 2020, China’s overseas assets are forecast to triple, to $20 trillion, from $6.4 trillion today. But moving quickly to invest in overseas projects, while appealing to many, carries great risks-Project Syndicate

Who Is Actually Attending China's Belt and Road Forum? Which countries are sending officials to China’s big international summit? -The Diplomat

US and China sign trade agreement -BBC

JAPAN RISK

Japan scrambles jets over China drone flight near disputed islets Japan scrambled fighter jets on Thursday after four Chinese coastguard vessels entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed East China Sea islets and a drone-like object flew near one ship -Reuters

56% of voters back Abe bid to legitimize SDF in war-renouncing Article 9: survey -The Japan Time 

Japan's abdication bill stirs debate on Imperial future As a bill to let Japan's Emperor Akihito relinquish the throne heads to the Diet -Nikkei

Okinawa reversion, 45 years on -The Japan Times

'TPP 11' ministers pledge to revive stalled agreement After US withdrawal, other signatories to press ahead with trade deal -Nikkei

SOUTH KOREA RISK

N. Korea fires another ballistic missile, flies about 500km -Nikkei

Can J-nomics Save South Korea’s Economy? South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, a former human-rights lawyer representing the center-left Democratic Party, has his work cut out for him. -Project Syndicate

READ>> A Murderous History of Korea He happened to remark that he sometimes wondered whether the Korean Demilitarised Zone might be ground zero for the end of the world. This April, Kim In-ryong, a North Korean diplomat at the UN, warned of ‘a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment’. A few days later, President Trump told Reuters that ‘we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea.’ -London Review of Books

The Korean War: A History – Bruce Cumings

TAIWAN RISK

A turbulent first year for Taiwan’s president Efforts to reduce the island’s economic reliance on the mainland have struggled in the face of Beijing’s pressure, and face further headwinds from the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ -SCMP

Most Taiwanese support ‘status quo’ peace Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) … adding that 83.9 percent of respondents believed that maintaining positive bilateral exchanges was a shared responsibility between Taiwan and China, and that both should refrain from non-peaceful or intimidating words or deeds. -Taipei Times

MONGOLIA RISK

ELECTION WATCH>> General Election Commission certifies last of three Presidential nominees; MPRP Ganbaatar joins MPP Enkhbold and DP Battulga on the June 26 ballot; may go to first-ever run-off [h/t NAMBC]

SOUTHEAST ASIA RISK

Asean powers continue to arm-wrestle over China’s nine-dash line and its potential abundance of resources, including the seaweed Resources greater than those held in US shale deposits will be accessible a decade from now in the South China Seabed, according to some estimates. -SCMP

3 myths about Singapore-China ties -The Straits Times

Myth 1: Singapore has changed its stance on China and now aligns itself more overtly with the United States

Myth 2: Singapore is a Chinese society and should be more sympathetic to China

Myth 3: China is out to punish Singapore, and Singaporeans should feel worried about this and pressure the Singapore Government to be more accommodating of China

Vietnam: The Curious Fall of a Communist Leader Questions have arisen about the anti-corruption campaign that saw the first firing of a Politburo member in 21 years. -The Diplomat

Malaysia's balancing act between Asean and Beijing The Philippines, and sometimes Vietnam, are often the focus in debates over China's designs on and claims over the South China Sea. But a pattern is emerging that points to Malaysia as the budding linchpin in Beijing's strategy to dominate the South China Sea and trade among Asean. -The Straits Times

Duterte: China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil -SCMP

APAC || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Ex-IBM employee from China pleads guilty to code theft charges A former software engineer for IBM in China pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing proprietary source code from the company, federal prosecutors announced on Friday. -Reuters

27 startups in Asia that caught our eye -Tech-in-Asia

TWO PODCASTS>>

Episode 183: The Apple Supply Chain in Asia with Tim Culpan http://sumo.ly/zEen

Episode 181: Ant Financial with Zennon Kapron http://sumo.ly/zbwK

SoftBank kicks off $93bn investment fund Global flow of money to young companies may have new starting point -Nikkei

Cheap Lesson for Cathay Pacific -Bloomberg Gadfly

Korea Inc's China problems go beyond anti-missile system spat FTCR survey data show Korean names losing ground long before diplomatic row -Nikkei

Temasek trims stake in ICBC, says remains confident in Chinese banks -Reuters

GLOBAL MACRO

Why the US has changed its tune on the yuan -BBC

China's Bond Connect Could Be Win-Win The People's Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority this week unveiled plans to establish a mutual access program between the mainland and Hong Kong bond markets. Details on timing have yet to be announced but there's speculation it could start on July 1, the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover. -Bloomberg Gadfly  

China seeks alternative benchmark for iron ore Others see Singapore Exchange as fair pricing platform -Nikkei

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> Americas Fridays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

THE MARKETS ARE QUIET. Too quiet? The low level of a popular measure of volatility causes alarm -The Economist

U.S. RISK

First stop on Trump’s first official trip overseas signals Saudi Arabia’s importance -The Washington Post

Trump's Saudi Agenda The president, bearing a basket of arms deals, should get some reassurances from the royal family. -Bloomberg View

How a presidential prerogative can become a national security risk His actions appear to be upending conventions and generating enormous concern within the US system of government and with intelligence partners abroad. -The Interpreter

DEEP BREATH, AMERICA Donald Trump and the law A special counsel will lead an independent probe into the Russia allegations -The Economist

FCC kicks off effort to roll back net neutrality rules The Federal Communications Commission took the first formal step toward dismantling Obama-era net neutrality rules Thursday, kicking off what's likely to be a bitter and months-long lobbying battle over the future of internet regulate -Politico

U.S. sanctions 8 judges on Venezuela’s supreme court -The Washington Post

AMERICAS

Trump Sends Nafta Renegotiation Notice to Congress The Trump administration gave Congress official notice on Thursday that it plans to renegotiate Nafta, but provided only the vaguest of hints about modest changes President Trump would seek -NYT

New scandal erupts that threatens to force out Brazilian President Temer -The Washington Post

U.S.-AMERICAS || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT +

OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

The WannaCry attack reveals the risks of a computerised world The good news is that there are ways to fix things -The Economist

Restoring Competition in the Digital Economy With “superstar” companies operating globally, and dominating markets in multiple countries simultaneously, market concentration throughout the Group of 20 developed and major emerging economies has increased considerably in just the past 15 years. -Project Syndicate

Facebook wins dismissal of U.S. lawsuits linked to terrorism -Reuters

BuzzFeed sues for records on Trump-Obama tapping tweets -Politico

Technology's Path From Creepy to Acceptance I'm willing to bet that I will cave, and one day I will invite into my home an always-listening virtual butler and ersatz surveillance device. -Bloomberg Gadfly

U.S. academic groups oppose Trump's visa-vetting plans -Reuters

Brazil meatpacker JBS says executives to pay 225 million-real fine -Reuters

GLOBAL MACRO

DOLLAR ERASES ALMOST ENTIRE ‘TRUMP BUMP’ Dollar slides to 6-month low as geopolitics weigh -MW

U.S. Stocks, Dollar Rebound; Brazil Shares Plunge: Markets Wrap -Bloomberg

Time up on Trump trade, hedge funds look abroad Hedge fund managers said they are looking beyond the United States for investment ideas as the so-called Trump bump stock market rally shows signs it may be fizzling. -Reuters

Chile first-quarter growth weakest since 2009 after copper strike -Nasdaq

Emerging Markets Are Slapped in Brazil Test Emerging markets funds have attracted a disproportionate amount of money this year. But now, are they willing to keep ignoring the fragility of some developing markets just to earn a little extra yield? -Bloomberg Gadfly

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

Taking Eurozone Growth Seriously When it comes to the eurozone, embracing the idea that economic growth may be about to take off might be enough, at least until recently, to earn one a referral to a mental-health specialist. But, … on the off-chance that this crackpot notion were true, there would be some serious money to be made in today’s generously valued markets. -Project Syndicate

EUROPE RISK

The 40 MEPs Who Matter in 2017 Here’s who you need to know in the European Parliament -Politico

“Come and Get Them”: Prying Open the Black Box of Europe’s Power Politics -War on the Rocks

The End of the Left/Right Divide? Hence the political terms “left” and “right.” Many commentators on the French presidential election have pointed out that these categories no longer fit contemporary politics in France – or, indeed, anywhere else. Emmanuel Macron prides himself on being neither right nor left. -Project Syndicate

EU steps up pressure on Poland over rule of law European Union countries urged Poland's nationalist-minded government on Tuesday to address concerns that it is undermining democratic checks and balances, in a dispute that has highlighted growing tensions between western and eastern Europe. -Reuters

Emmanuel Macron’s EU honeymoon: Nice while it lasted France’s 39-year-old president-elect has big ideas — and the push-back has already started. -Politico

EU countries to decide on Singapore trade deal An EU-Singapore free trade deal cannot take effect fully unless parliaments in all 28 member states approve it, the EU's top court has decided. -BBC

EU’s top court: Trade deals must be ratified at national level Ruling sets precedent for similar agreements Brussels aims to conclude with Japan, Mexico, Australia — and UK. -Politico

RUSSIA RISK

Putin is not the geopolitical genius the world makes him out to be As for Putin, he has been forced to learn a lesson that should be clear from history — invading countries is not a good way to make friends. A Ukraine that has always been somewhat fractured is now united in resisting Russia. -Washington Post

MIDDLE EAST RISK

Turkey's Erdogan calls arming of Kurdish YPG 'unacceptable' in meeting with Trump Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken out against the US proposal to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria. His comments came during a brief press conference in the White House. -DW

ELECTION WATCH>> Iran presidential election: Five things to know -BBC

1. It matters to the outside world

2. Iran is a mixture of political systems

3. The polls will be free and fair - within limits

4. No female presidents - but women are politically active

5. Voters care about ordinary issues

Iran’s Election: Where the Candidates Stand Iran’s May 19 election is being fought as a referendum on the policies of President Hassan Rouhani, the moderate cleric who championed integrating Iran with the global economy and curbed his nation’s nuclear work in exchange for relief from sanctions. -Bloomberg

Iran election: Jahangiri withdraws and endorses Rouhani -BBC

Iran changes course of road to Mediterranean coast to avoid US forces New land corridor to move 140 miles south to avoid buildup of US forces assembled in north-east Syria to fight Isis -The Guardian

AFRICA RISK

Ivory Coast Sends Forces to Quash a Violent Military Mutiny -NYT

Sudan President, Charged With Genocide, Invited to Saudi Summit with Trump Sudan’s president, indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes including genocide, has been invited to a summit in Saudi Arabia alongside President Trump -Reuters

EMEA || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

France fines Facebook over 'targeted advertising' French regulator CNIL has penalized the US social network for failing to protect its users' data, with the fine being relatively modest, but marking a new phase in the spat between Facebook and the EU. -DW

Ethiopian politician Yonatan Tesfaye guilty of terror charge Ethiopian opposition politician Yonatan Tesfaye has been found guilty of encouraging terrorism for comments he made on Facebook. -BBC

Germany's highest court rules IP addresses may be saved in interest of cybersecurity -DW

EU to launch legal case against Italy over Fiat emissions: sources -Reuters

Taking back control? Not unless you eat more fish Brexiteers want out of the Common Fisheries Policy, but they will still need the EU. -Politico.eu

Wider Laptops Ban Would Cost Airlines $1 Billion, IATA Head Says The widening of a U.S. ban on carrying electronic devices aboard aircraft to include flights from Europe would cost travelers more than $1 billion, the head of the airline industry’s global lobby group said. -Bloomberg

Absent from America, French cars drive into Iran election Rouhani pushed the French investment to the forefront of his election campaign when he attended a ceremony this month to mark the production launch of the Peugeot 2008, the first product of post-sanctions manufacturing deals with foreign carmakers. -Reuters

US nears $100bn arms deal for Saudi Arabia in time for Trump's visit Senior White House official says it is close to completing a series of deals to boost Saudi defense capabilities, as Trump readies for trip next week -The Guardian

GLOBAL MACRO

Saudi Arabia, Russia push to extend oil output cut until March 2018 -Reuters

How natural gas could be a geopolitical game-changer in the Mideast Deep under the eastern Mediterranean lies the largest natural gas basin ever found on Europe's doorstep. But the gas fields often coincide with disputed borders between rival nations. -France24

Sterling hits one-and-a-half month low against resurgent euro -Reuters

Geopolitical Risk Tracker>> Americas Fridays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

Trump on Trumponomics: nationalism plus flexibility In an interview, the president sets out the economic ideas that will help him make America great again -The Economist

U.S., China reach deals on access for beef, financial services The countries have agreed that China will allow U.S. imports of beef by no later than July 16. -Reuters

By that same deadline, the United States said it would issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry to enter U.S. markets, Ross told reporters at a briefing.

Beijing also agreed to issue guidelines by then to allow U.S.-owned card payment services "to begin the licensing process" in a sector where China's UnionPay system has had a near monopoly. Foreign-owned firms in China will also be able to provide credit rating services.

U.S. RISK

Trump signs long-delayed executive order on cybersecurity The executive order places greater responsibility for federal cybersecurity with the military -Tech Crunch

 “Civil society organizations in the United States have fought hard against the militarization of the domestic internet”

All the President’s Guests The unauthorized White House visitor logs Who has the president’s ear? Who’s hitting the links with the commander in chief? And who’s on the outside looking in? The official White House visitor logs keep a record of who sees the president and his staff — but they don’t tell the whole story. -Politico

How Trump’s N.S.A. Came to End a Disputed Type of Surveillance -NYT

John McCain: Why We Must Support Human Rights Word had reached the gulag that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth had spoken in defense of their right to self-determination. America, personified by its president, gave them hope, and hope is a powerful defense against oppression -NYT

China complains to U.S. over lawmakers visit to Dalai Lama -Reuters

U.S. Senate confirms Trump trade representative ahead of NAFTA talks -Reuters

$500,000.00 AND A DREAM>> Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged the head of the Homeland Security Department to affirm that no one would receive preferential treatment from the EB-5 investor visa program -Politico

An Update on the Volume of Open Internet Comments Submitted to the FCC -FCC

ADD YOUR TWO CENTS>> Make a difference. Submit your comments and let your voice be heard. -Regulations.gov

U.S.-AMERICAS || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT +

OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Is the Gig Economy Working? Many liberals have embraced the sharing economy. But can they survive it? -The New Yorker

Federal probe into Uber now includes operations in Austin A U.S. Department of Justice criminal investigation into Uber’s operations now includes how the company operated in Austin. -Statesman

GE's Immelt bets big on digital factories, shareholders are wary $4 billion in the last six years to transform GE's jet engines, power plants and other large industrial products into smart machines that are connected to computer networks. -Reuters

Taiwan's Foxconn to begin construction on U.S. plant in second half of 2017 – source Taiwan's Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and major Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier, will begin construction on a U.S. plant in the second half of this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. -Reuters

GLOBAL MACRO

RICARDO, DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT>> In Trump's shadow, Fed official says trade barriers a 'dead end' Trade protectionism is a "dead end" that may score political points but will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy -Reuters

That’s Right: Saudis Control Largest U.S. Refinery Saudi Aramco now owns the largest U.S. refinery and controls Shell gasoline sales in many Southern states. -Barron’s

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

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GLOBAL RISK

Information Warfare Versus Soft Power The concept of soft power was incorporated into Russia’s 2013 Foreign Policy Concept, and in March 2016, Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov stated that responding to such foreign threats “using conventional troops is impossible; they can be counteracted only with the same hybrid methods. -Project Syndicate

DR. DOOM>> Whistling Past the Geopolitical Graveyard The populist backlash against globalization in the West will not be stilled by Macron’s victory, and could still lead to protectionism, trade wars, and sharp restrictions to migration. If the forces of disintegration take hold, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU could eventually lead to a breakup of the EU – Macron or no Macron. -Project Syndicate

EUROPE RISK

5 takeaways from Emmanuel Macron’s win in France What the centrist’s victory in the presidential vote means for France, Europe and the world. -Politico.eu

1. European, ‘globalist’ France wins

2. Transatlantic ‘continuity’

3. Setback for far right, but populism alive and well

4. En Marche toward the third round — the parliamentary elections

5. Reformer or healer?

France: A critical player in a weakened Europe This paper assesses the presidency of François Hollande (2012-2017) and looks at the state of France as a significant actor on the world stage and as a leading member of the European Union and the trans-Atlantic alliance. -Brookings

Juncker vs May: You ain’t seen nothing yet The unwanted consequences of Brexit muscle their way onto the EU’s agenda. -Politico.eu

Germany eyes new North Korea sanctions: government sources Germany will tighten economic sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program in line with a U.N. resolution passed in November and subsequent EU regulations -Reuters

RUSSIA RISK

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House on Wednesday to discuss Syria and a wide range of international issues -Reuters

MIDDLE EAST RISK

Iran's Rouhani lashes rivals with rare criticism of security forces, ruling clerics Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has delivered rare rebukes in recent days to the country’s powerful Shiite clergy and allied security forces, lashing out at rivals and their hard-line backers ahead of his reelection bid next week. -Washington Post

U.S. to arm Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State, despite Turkey's ire Despite fierce opposition from NATO ally Turkey, U.S. President Donald Trump has approved supplying arms to Kurdish YPG fighters to support an operation to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. -Reuters

AFRICA RISK

US cuts Kenya health aid money over corruption allegations -BBC

EMEA || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

The Eurocrat Who Makes Corporate America Tremble Apple. Google. Amazon. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has challenged them all. -Bloomberg

“If you want to do business in Europe, you play by the European rule book”

Silicon Valley tech lobbyists swarm Brussels Commission creates feeding frenzy for consultants. -Politico.eu

French Businesses Hope Macron’s Victory Will Ignite an Economic Revival -NYT

“The best case is it takes some time, but he manages to implement at least half of what’s needed to stop decreasing competitiveness and change the trajectory of France”

Facebook Aims to Tackle Fake News Ahead of U.K. Election Despite the Silicon Valley giant’s increased efforts to clamp down on how misinformation is spread, policy makers, journalists and others in Europe remain skeptical about the ability of Facebook and other technology companies to fight such digital falsities. -NYT

Italian village offers €2,000 gifts to boost dwindling population -Guardian

#tempting

Russia blocks China’s social media app WeChat Developer Tencent Technologies says aware of move and communicating with authorities -SCMP

Tanzanian bank FBME shut down over US terror funding charges -BBC

GLOBAL MACRO

ECB Says Slow-Declining Labor-Market Slack Poses Wage Hurdle -Bloomberg

Time to Run With the Bulls in Europe Emmanuel Macron's election as French president removes the risk that one of the founding members of the European Union might seek to extricate itself from the euro. That in turn should be the signal for equity investors to take advantage of a less febrile political environment and buy European stocks. -Bloomberg Gadfly

Saudi to cut June oil supply to Asia as local demand rises: source Saudi Aramco will reduce oil supplies to Asia by about 7 million barrels in June … as the oil giant cuts output as part of global supply pact and trims exports to meet rising domestic demand for power during hot summer months. -Reuters

Geopolitical Risk Tracker>> Americas Fridays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

There's a Limit to What Nationalism Can Do Our central debate no longer concerns big vs. small government, or traditionalism vs. progressivism on morals. -BloombergView

Instead it pits nationalism against globalism.

Fixing Fixed-Investment Incentives Still, some observers – and not just chronic pessimists – have countered that the evidence remains anecdotal, and that it is impossible to predict how long the current economic moment will last. -Project Syndicate

As Arctic Ice Vanishes, New Shipping Routes Open The changing conditions offer an opening to shipping companies. The Arctic is potentially a faster, more direct route between Asia and ports in Europe and eastern North America. -NYT

U.S. RISK

Trump goes soft on Saudi It’s just the latest example of how Trump—who will continue to Israel and then the Vatican—is largely shelving his incendiary campaign views about the world in favor of more traditional diplomacy. -Politico

The U.S.-China 50 Meet the people powering the world's most complex and consequential relationship. -FP

 Why Trump’s Budding Bromance With Xi Is Doomed -NYT

 6 policies Congress hid in the new spending bill -Politico

1. More immigrant workers.

2. Protections for medical marijuana

3. An emergency fund for infectious diseases

4. More visas for Afghans

5. A new front against Russia

6. "Golden" crabs

The Military Debate We Need The Pentagon received an extra $15 billion in the spending bill that will keep the government open through September. To put it in perspective, that’s 1.5 percent of the pool of about $1 trillion that funds the Pentagon and the rest of the national defense. -BloombergView

Stephen Vaughn, the Hamiltonian at USTR Vaughn, the current acting U.S. Trade Representative, is a trade lawyer who shares Trump's distaste for recent U.S. trade policy. Vaughn, has echoed many of Trump’s complaints about how past U.S. trade policy has eroded the nation's manufacturing base. -Politico

How Mexico’s Unions Sell Out Autoworkers The German automaker had unwrapped its own gift two days earlier, a labor contract signed by a representative from the state chapter of the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM), the country’s largest union confederation, and notarized by a Labor Ministry official. -Bloomberg

AMERICAS

Mexico, Canada seek U.S. soft spots to bolster NAFTA defense From launching a data-mining drive aiming to find supply-chain pressure points to sending officials to mobilize allies in key U.S. states, Mexico and Canada are bolstering their defenses of a regional trade pact President Donald Trump vows to rewrite. -Reuters

How Brazil’s political class came undone The messy business of governing Brazil, a country with 35 active political parties, has long taken place far from the symmetrical towers and domes of Congress that dominate the capital’s skyline. -The Washington Post

U.S.-AMERICAS || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT +

OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

GE CEO: Protectionism isn’t the answer -Washington Post

Apple Announces $1 Billion Fund to Create U.S. Jobs in Manufacturing In introducing the fund, Apple joined a growing list of companies that have said in recent months that they will add, promote or keep jobs — many of them related to manufacturing — in the United States. -NYT

Where US Manufacturing Jobs Really Went -Project Syndicate

Families of San Bernardino shooting sue Facebook, Google, Twitter -Reuters

Exclusive: Uber faces criminal probe over software used to evade authorities The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber Technologies Inc's use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation said. -Reuters

How to Protect Your Privacy as More Apps Harvest Your Data In the real world, your personal life is a private space. But in tech, your personal data is a ripe resource for businesses to harvest in their own interests. -NYT

The big winners from Trump’s business tax cut How a tiny slice of top earners would reap a windfall from a lower small-business tax rate. -Politico

Trump begins to put in place team to oversee banks President Trump has begun putting in place a new regulatory team for the banking industry, which his top advisers hope to leverage in their efforts to ease industry rules and make it easier for financial companies to lend money. -The Washington Post

GLOBAL MACRO

Markets Volatility Reaches 10-Year Lows Despite Geopolitical Risks, Trump -- Should Investors Worry? -TheStreet.com

PRECIOUS-Gold at 1-month low as dollar climbs, Fed holds rates -Reuters

Oil Collapses to $45 as U.S. Shale Output Confounds OPEC Cuts Oil slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since OPEC agreed to cut output in November as U.S. shale confounds the producer group’s attempts to prop up prices. -Bloomberg

Puerto Rico Drops Hammer on Creditors The island moved on Wednesday to start bankruptcy-like proceedings that will most likely foist bigger losses on debt investors than they've been willing to accept. -BloombergGadfly

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GLOBAL RISK

INTO THE ECHO CHAMBER>> A False Spring at the Spring Meetings? Because these officials attend multiple events over the course of the week, an echo chamber develops, from which a general perception of the state of the global economy emerges. Policymaking around the world is then influenced by that perception. -Project Syndicate

EUROPE RISK

DIMANCHE >> Opinion Lab

Emmaeul Macron = %60

Marine Le Pen = %40

How Le Pen could win She needs to reassure conservatives and discourage leftists from voting. -Politico.eu

BRUSSELS = BUREAUCRACY>> Brexit puts security cooperation at risk Commission to London on Europol: You can’t blackmail us. -Politico.eu

BLOODY RIGHT >> Brexit: Theresa May says she'll be 'bloody difficult' to Juncker -BBC

Theresa May swipes Brussels and hits Labour It’s a textbook example of how the Conservatives plan to see off potential crises during the June 8 general election campaign. -Politico.eu

Italy's Renzi regains party leadership with big primary win -Reuters (video)

Italy Is Europe's Next Big Problem Across the Alps, an economic and political storm is brewing -- and there's no sign anyone can stop it. -BloombergView

EU Schengen controls to be lifted by November Brussels says controls put in place because of the migrant crisis should be phased out by the end of the year. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU Norway introduced the ID checks in 2015. -DW

RUSSIA RISK

Trump, Putin discuss Syria ceasefire in first talks since U.S. air strikes -Reuters

Merkel: EU will lift Russia sanctions when Minsk accords implemented All parties must work toward ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, German chancellor says after talks with Putin. -Politico.eu

MIDDLE EAST RISK

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad: Propped up by Tehran and Moscow Iran and Russia will set the agenda at the Astana talks as the president's "protecting powers" have effectively taken control of government, writes DW's Kersten Knipp. The US is to send a representative to the talks. -DW

Champion of Iran Reforms Backs Rouhani Before Presidential Election -Bloomberg

Dialogue With Iran Is Impossible, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Says Saudi Arabia’s powerful deputy crown prince slammed the door Tuesday on the prospect of dialogue with Iran, the kingdom’s regional rival, accusing it of following an “extremist ideology” and seeking to take over the Muslim world. -NYT

Hamas softens stance on Israel in new policy document -France24

AFRICA RISK

ELECTION WATCH>> Algerian voters go to the polls on 4 May to elect a new parliament amid uncertainty over the health of the country's ailing president, dwindling oil revenues, and instability on the borders with neighbouring countries. -BBC

Is China the World’s New Colonial Power? The rising superpower has built up enormous holdings in poor, resource-rich African countries — but its business partners there aren’t always thrilled. -NYT

Ethiopia: China Grants 8 Mln. USD to Mitigate Drought Impact in Ethiopia -AllAfrica

EMEA || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

SMART>> E.U. Sets Aside Calls to End Visa-Free Travel for Americans -NYT

Europe’s Surprising Tech Success In fact, according to a new report by the London venture capital firm Atomico, European startups are now taking the lead in artificial intelligence, building new tech hubs, and drawing investment from traditional industrial stalwarts.

REPORT HERE>> Three major trends:

1.      Deep tech is thriving and diversifying.

2.      New tech hubs are emerging

3.      Traditional industries are awakening to tech.

JPMorgan to Move Hundreds of Staff to Three EU Offices on Brexit -Bloomberg

German companies want a soft Brexit German companies are already noticing a decline in sales to Britain. They’re pinning their hopes on a soft Brexit that takes the needs of business into account. -DW

China's HNA raises Deutsche Bank stake to nearly 10 pct-source -Reuters

Alitalia slides into administration -BBC

Tough times for doing business in Russia The event attracted professionals from all over the world and presented an opportunity to assess bilateral business ties. -DW (video)

BP Starts to Steer Away From the Financial Rocks -BloombergGadfly

HIGHER DIESEL STANDARDS COMING>>Africa rejects Europe's 'dirty diesel' Ghana and Nigeria - Stricter limits on the sulfur content of diesel will come into force on July 1.-DW

GLOBAL MACRO

Euro-Area Recovery Keeps Pace as ECB Stimulus Decision Nears -Bloomberg

Elusive debt fix for Greece Creditors still haven’t figured out how to make Athens’ liabilities affordable. -Politico.eu

CAPITAL CONTROLS>> Le Pen says euro a deadweight, capital controls an option if she wins power -Reuters

France presidential candidate Le Pen pledges to replace euro in two years Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has renewed her vow to replace the euro with the French Franc. -DW

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays

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GLOBAL RISK

Trump’s First 100 Days in Asia Continuities and discontinuities in Trump’s Asia policy. When the acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Susan Thornton stated on March 17 that “the pivot to Asia” was dead. But its early moves in the Asia-Pacific suggest that Washington’s strategic emphasis on Asia will, itself, continue. -The Diplomat

Asia’s American Menace With so many political flashpoints threatening to trigger violent conflict, the last thing Asia’s leaders need is another strategic wild card. -The National Interest

The Global Growth Hotspots of the Future Are Here Emerging market cities are turning into the drivers of the global economy -Bloomberg

CHINA RISK

Why China May Play Tough in the Lead-Up to Its 19th Party Conference At the heart of the coming drama are succession and elite politics within the CCP and their interplay with a series of unprecedented structural challenges facing China on both the domestic and global fronts. -The National Interest

Learning from China’s Industrial Strategy Start with industrial policy. According to China’s strategy, by 2025, the country should have a set of internationally competitive multinational firms that have made progress in upgrading their positions in global value chains. -Project Syndicate

China deports U.S. citizen convicted of espionage China has deported a U.S. citizen who was convicted of espionage this week after being held without trial for two years, removing a source of friction between Washington and Beijing. -Reuters

HONG KONG

Beijing could intervene in Hong Kong affairs if serious political problems emerge, Chinese expert warns Basic Law Committee member tells seminar in the city that intervention becomes possible if problems endanger national sovereignty and security -SCMP

JAPAN RISK

Japan issues 1st order to protect U.S. ships amid N. Korea tension Japan has issued its first order for forces to protect U.S. military vessels since new security legislation was enacted last year, Japanese government sources said Sunday, amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula. -Nikkei

Japanese sharply divided over revising Article 9 amid regional security threats, poll finds -Japan Times

49 percent of respondents said Article 9 must be revised

47 percent oppose such a change

Abe’s Trumpian opportunity Central to Abe’s long-term political vision is for Japan to play a security role commensurate with its economic and demographic scale. He sees the postwar settlement, in which Japan was a civilian great power, renouncing the use of force and depending on the U.S. alliance for all but the most acute security challenges, as both anachronistic and dangerous. -The Japan Times

KOREAS RISK

North Korea fires another ballistic missile, the 75th of Kim Jong Un’s tenure -The Washington Post

Top Admiral Says Not Looking at Regime Change in North Korea The head of the U.S. Pacific Command warned on Wednesday that North Korea directly threatens American interests and allies in the Pacific region, but tempered his dour assessment of the secretive country’s motivations by saying regime change is not the policy of the United States. -FP

South Korea says U.S. reaffirms it will pay THAAD costs; joint drills wrap up -Reuters

South Korea already working on reducing trade surplus with U.S.: finance minister South Korea's finance minister said on Sunday the government was already working on downsizing its trade surplus with the United States -Reuters

TAIWAN RISK

Taiwan's Pursuit of F-35 Tests Trump's Early Rapport With Xi -Bloomberg

“We hope we can get F-35s,” Wang told Bloomberg News. “We have been waiting for updated F-16s for too long. Their time has gone. If we buy them now, in 10 years time they’ll be no use.”

Taiwan could counter Chinese carrier: analysts -Taipei Times

Say hello to the new Taiwanese Nearly 70 percent of foreigners who became naturalized R.O.C. citizens in 2016 were from Vietnam -China Post

SOUTHEAST ASIA RISK

ASEAN gives Beijing a pass on South China Sea dispute, cites 'improving cooperation' -Reuters

Duterte, Trump talk North Korea US president invites Philippine counterpart to Washington -Nikkei

Exclusive: Widodo’s peace formula for South China Sea Joint projects in maritime research and the fishing industry could be a building block for a code of conduct in the disputed waters, says Indonesian president -SCMP

'Bottom up' campaigning failed Ahok, and it might fail Jokowi The Jakarta election is widely seen as a testing ground for the presidential election campaign two years later. Two major changes occurred in this election which will shape the presidential elections in 2019. -Jakarta Post

Indonesia's Q1 FDI growth slows to weakest in five years Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indonesia grew at its weakest pace in at least five years in the first quarter, as the government's deregulation efforts slowed, risking investment growth. -Nasdaq

Vietnam protests violations of its sovereignty over Hoang Sa -VietNamNews

CENTRAL ASIA RISK

Steppe change — Mongolia Mongolia’s transition is all the more remarkable when you consider its location: democracy is not exactly a hallmark of the region. To the north lies Russia, to the south China. Further west are five other former Soviet central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – that are ruled by repressive regimes. -Monocle

APAC || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Chinese ride-hailer Didi raises $5.5bn from SoftBank, others Japanese company adds to stake, with sights on internet of things -Nikkei

Dear Uber, That Record Funding Means Didi Is Coming for You The world’s two most-valuable startups are ride-hailing companies with a sleek vision of a driverless future they would own. -Bloomberg

PODCAST OF THE WEEK>> Episode 181: Ant Financial with Zennon Kapron from China Fintech & Kapron Asia joined us in a conversation to discuss the Ant Financial, one of China’s largest finance companies. -Analyse Asia

Private equity firms bullish on China’s internet-related companies -SCMP

Netflix is dipping its toe in China—and the battle for streaming supremacy in Asia begins -Quartz

Hong Kong shouldn’t sink another HK$5.45 billion into the Disneyland black hole Commerce minister Greg So’s claim that we will lose HK$31.6 billion if we don’t invest in revamping the theme park is just smoke and mirrors -SCMP

TSMC looks to feed AI boom Making Apple chips puts Taiwanese company on equal footing with Intel -Nikkei

Singapore Creates S$1 Billion Innovation Fund to Drive Growth Singapore is creating a S$1 billion ($718 million) fund to help innovative companies develop their businesses and expand overseas, part of the city state’s drive to boost economic growth. -Bloomberg

Top lawmakers agree on Korea-VN tech transfer National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyn Th Kim Ngân urged her Korean counterpart yesterday to work for additional investments by the Republic of Korea (RoK) in Vit Nam’s transporation infrastructure and boost technology transfer. -VietNamNews

GLOBAL MACRO

Asia Shares Retreat From Recent Highs Amid Geopolitical Concerns -Bloomberg

Building Asia's capital markets New frontiers, new opportunities the Nikkei Asian Review and The Banker, a Financial Times Group publication, have teamed up to produce a special report looking at the state of South and Southeast Asia's capital markets and the biggest issues they face. -Nikkei

Is The Geopolitical Risk Premium In Oil Overrated? -Huffington Post

China April manufacturing growth slows faster than expected -Reuters

Bank of Japan cuts inflation forecast, maintains stimulus The Bank of Japan kept its stimulus policies unchanged while lowering its inflation forecast, underscoring that any exit from its unprecedented monetary easing remains far away. -Bloomberg

Geopolitical Risk Tracker>> Americas Fridays

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GLOBAL RISK

A Grand Strategy for Donald Trump? As with any human interaction, international relations, whether economic or political, is a combination of cooperation and competition. -Project Syndicate

The “cooperation” part benefits all involved, whether by sustaining world peace or boosting growth and prosperity through free trade.

The “competition” part creates serious risks, from economic impediments to war and environmental destruction.

U.S. RISK

ADMINISTRATION TRACKER>> Tracking how many key positions Trump has filled so far The Post and Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, are tracking more than 500 key executive branch nominations through the confirmation process. -Washington Post

Trump's immigration crackdown is well underway The president has engineered a major shakeup during his first 100 days in office — by combining a quick stroke of the pen and his forceful rhetoric. -Politico

Where to Build Trump’s Wall? -Project Syndicate

What the Press Still Doesn’t Get About Trump He’s not unprecedented. He’s not going to change. And 11 other lessons the media still haven’t learned about the president. -Politico

Trump Warns That ‘Major, Major Conflict’ With North Korea Is Possible President Trump warned Thursday of the possibility of a “major, major conflict” with North Korea -NYT

Trump’s Diplomatic Deficit Connecting the strategic dots between Afghanistan, Syria, and North Korea has become an unavoidable task. Only by doing so can the world begin to discern something resembling a coherent, if misguided, approach to US foreign policy -Project Syndicate

Hopes for Trump's military buildup dimming nearly 100 days into his presidency, Republican legislative stumbles have fueled doubts that Congress will approve the $84 billion defense boost he has proposed for this fiscal year and next — a jump that many advocates have already slammed as too small. -Politico

In an apparent shift, Tillerson says U.S. willing to hold direct talks with N. Korea -Washington Post

Exclusive: Trump vows to fix or scrap South Korea trade deal, wants missile system payment -Reuters

China wants a bold presence in Washington — so it’s building a $100 million garden -Washington Post

AMERICAS

‘I was all set to terminate’: Inside Trump’s sudden shift on NAFTA -The Washington Post

“I was all set to terminate,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview Thursday night. “I looked forward to terminating. I was going to do it.”

U.S.-AMERICAS || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT +

OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

What Trump’s Done—or Undone—for Business in 100 Days -Bloomberg

Wealthy Chinese Scramble for Imperiled Commodity: U.S. ‘Golden Visa’ He has a lakeside villa valued at more than $3 million, two Mercedes sedans in the garage and a butler who fluffs his pillows and shines his shoes. But Liu Xiyu, a real estate executive in Beijing, still lacks the convenience he says he most wants in life: an American green card. -NYT

Trump's Tariffs Won't Work imported steel a threat to national security? How about aluminum? The White House has its suspicions, and plans to invoke an arcane statute to investigate. If the probes turn up anything, President Donald Trump will have essentially unlimited power to restrict or limit imports in response. -BloombergView

Westinghouse says will operate normally in Asia, Europe despite Chapter 11 -Reuters

Top executives of Foxconn, including founder and chairman Terry Gou, visited the White House on Thursday, as the Apple Inc supplier ponders a $7 billion-plus U.S. investment in a display-making plant. -Reuters

GLOBAL MACRO

Treasury Haters Gonna Hate It’s apparently a lot of fun to bet against U.S. Treasuries. So much fun, in fact, that traders just keep doing it, regardless of how much money they lose in the process. -Bloomberg Gadfly

U.S. refiners bet on strong exports to balance market U.S. refiners have come out of maintenance season betting that big exports to Mexico and South America will help alleviate high product inventories and boost margins as the critical summer driving season nears. -Reuters