Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> Americas Fridays




Reconciling the IMF's 3 Growth Messages Now that it has, any analysis needs to be careful not to underestimate the extent to which the already protracted period of low and insufficiently inclusive growth has planted the seeds -- economic, financial, institutional, political and social -- of its own instability and eventual demise. -BloombergView      


FRIDGE MATERIAL??>> Donald Trump gets his 100-day report card voters grade the president's performance in 10 different policy areas. -Politico

“No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days — that includes on military, on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement — we love our law enforcement — and on government reform” -President Trump

PROCESS MATTERS>> The House of Representatives Is a Mess Process may seem boring to many, and it certainly is easy to lampoon from the campaign trail. It also matters a lot within Congress if you want policy to come out right. -BloombergView  

Speaker Ryan’s Remarks at Policy Exchange in London -Hon. Paul Ryan

Trump to investigate imports of foreign-made steel: report The memo Trump will sign at the White House cites a law allowing the president to impose restrictions on imports for national security reasons, the report said. -The Hill

TRADE LAW GEEKS READ >> “Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962: Industrial Fasteners, Machine Tools and Beyond” -Maryland Journal of International Law

Trump: Commerce probe into steel imports has nothing to do with China -Politico

PODCAST OF THE WEEK >> Foreign Investment and National Security: Does CFIUS Need Expanded Powers? -CSIS (video)

Free Trade With South Korea Is Working -BloombergView

The Foreign Policy Establishment or Donald Trump: Which Better Reflects American Opinion? the 2016 Chicago Council public opinion survey, also conducted before the election, showed that rather than aligning with the foreign policy views of President Trump, the general public was more attuned to the broad outlines of foreign policy positions promoted by the foreign policy opinion leaders, or “the Foreign Policy Establishment.” -Chicago Council Survey

“the Foreign Policy Establishment” conducts a survey; agrees with itself… 


Trump: Dairy trade dispute with Canada a ‘disgrace’ caused by NAFTA -The Hill

Trudeau defends Canada's dairy system against Trump protectionist charge Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday brushed off an attack by U.S. President Donald Trump on Canada's system of dairy protections, saying every nation defended its agricultural industries. -Reuters

Trump and Cuba should start dialogue: Mississippi governor says -Reuters

"Sometimes people have a narrative of Mississippi as if it's 1960s, and it's not, and it's not the 1960s in Cuba"

ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER PROTEST >> Venezuelan opposition protests again against Maduro Government officials dismiss the protests, characterized by street barricades and clashes with security forces, as violent and lawless efforts to overthrow Maduro's leftist government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington. -Reuters




Google is seeing more requests for user data worldwide, but it’s responding to fewer Note: The company also has more users than before. -Recode  

Western Digital, Japan Investors in Toshiba Unit Sale Talks -Bloomberg

Trump’s billionaire adviser stands to gain from policies he helped shape Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has extensive holdings in China and influence on Trump’s policies there -Politico

Last stand: Nebraska farmers could derail Keystone XL pipeline -Reuters

Canada is North America’s up-and-coming startup center -Tech Crunch

EXPROPRIATION WATCH >> U.S. reviewing Venezuela's seizure of GM assets GM said on Wednesday that Venezuelan authorities had illegally seized its plant in the industrial hub of Valencia. -Reuters

Brazil port M&A frenzy proves not cheap for MSC, Dubai World Dubai Ports World Co and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co SA are seizing on Brazil's three-year-long recession and rising debt levels among local port operators to bid for marine terminals in one of the world's top commodity exporters. But their plan will not come cheap. -Reuters

Mexico's Telecommunications Industry's Bull Run Continues -Yahoo Finance


Long, Long Bonds and Even Longer Odds The Treasury Department released a questionnaire to primary dealers on Friday, asking for detailed responses about their appetite for 40, 50 or 100-year bonds -BloombergGadfly

Trump’s shockingly traditional approach to currency policy Despite his campaign promises, Trump has learned that the “currency manipulator” label is a useful bargaining chip—just like president's before him. -Politico

How Geopolitical Risks Affect Gold and the Dollar -Market Realist

RISK FATIGUE>> Default Assumption Of Geopolitical Risk Dragging Oil Prices Up Is A Fallacy One The other reason, less deliberated reason, was that the market had simply developed risk fatigue. -Forbes

YET>> Geopolitics is becoming the main driver of global oil prices -Asia Times

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> Americas Fridays




How Markets Overcame Past Geopolitical Crises Investors should be aware how the markets have reacted to geopolitical events in the past. -BloombergView

Trump and Yellen may not be an odd couple after all -Reuters

NYE: WHAT I TELL MY NON-AMERICAN FRIENDS >> invariably my foreign friends ask, with varying degrees of bewilderment: What in the world is going on in your country?

Here is what I say …  -Project Syndicate


Trump threatens action on North Korea -Politico

BOSCO: The Message of the Tomahawk The U.S. opportunely demonstrated to China that the U.S. would no longer be deterred from dealing firmly with lawless regimes simply because they enjoy by great power protection like that Beijing has provided North Korea for decades. -Reuters

THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW >> Trump’s Previous View of NATO Is Now Obsolete That was then. After 82 days in office, Mr. Trump officially pronounced NATO rehabilitated, taking credit for transforming it into a modern, cost-sharing, terrorism-fighting pillar of American and European security. -NYT

“I said it was obsolete,” the president noted on Wednesday as he hosted NATO’s secretary general. “It’s no longer obsolete.”

Mr. Trump’s Fickle Diplomacy Until a few days ago, Americans and the world had reason to think that the Trump administration’s policy toward Russia would involve cooperation and harmony and seek to reverse the acrimony and dysfunction that had come to characterize relations between the Kremlin and the Obama administration. -NYT

Tillerson meets with Putin amid deepening tensions over U.S. missile strikes in Syria The rift between the United States and Russia was laid bare Wednesday when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held his first direct talks with Russia’s president. -The Washington Post

TRUMPISSIMO >> Trump to host Italian PM at White House next week White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the two leaders would discuss the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) summit meeting in Italy “and a range of issues of mutual concern.” -The Hill

BAT is DOA (maybe) >> A Fiscal Reality Test for US Republicans A plan offered by Republicans in the US House of Representatives to reduce the corporate-tax rate from 35% to 15%, and to make up for the lost revenues with a border adjustment tax, is dead on arrival. The BAT does not have enough support even among Republicans, and it would violate World Trade Organization rules. -Project Syndicate


Meeting with U.S. NAFTA point man Ross ‘reassuring’: Ambrose Canada's Opposition leader says she's feeling a bit reassured after meeting U.S. President Donald Trump's point man on trade and wants to take that message home to calm jitters in the business community. -Globe and Mail

Brazil’s political class is in crisis as over 100 are investigated for corruption Brazil’s Supreme Court has authorized an investigation of over 100 top politicians, implicating an entire swath of the country’s governing elite in a corruption probe that has tarnished the political system and threatened to derail the nation’s economic recovery. -The Washington Post

Venezuela Staves Off Default, but Low Oil Prices Pose a Threat Venezuela has put off a reckoning on its tens of billions of dollars in debt, but its ability to avoid a disastrous default will probably require much higher oil prices than appear likely in the next year or two, financial experts say. -NYT




Trump turns to CEOs amid White House turmoil Business leaders are making a push for moderation — and meeting with some success. -Politico

BUY AMERICAN >> Industry assails Trump’s ‘Buy America’ steel plan President Trump is facing criticism from oil companies, pipeline operators and foreign governments for his proposal to require that domestically produced steel be used in pipelines that are built in the United States. -The Hill

ESPECIALLY AT SEA >> Trump administration moving ahead with ending Jones Act exemptions The Trump administration appears to be moving ahead with an Obama administration proposal aimed at reversing long-standing Jones Act exemptions and is not considering weakening its criteria for waivers from the maritime law -Platts

AND BY LAND >> GM to add 1,100 jobs in California over five years at self-driving unit -Reuters

Microsoft reveals new intelligence requests in transparency report -The Hill

Tech companies are pushing the FCC to preserve its net neutrality rules Tech companies are pushing the Federal Communications Commission not to water down its rules on net neutrality, teeing up a confrontation between Silicon Valley and Washington as the nation's top telecom regulator mulls a plan to undo the Obama administration's regulations for Internet providers. -The Washington Post

#RECIPROCITY ARGUMENT RISING>> Chinese Investment in the United States: Time for New Rules?

China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in the U.S. increased some 800% between 2009 and 2015.

These developments have not been reciprocal. Foreign investors—including U.S. investors—do not enjoy similar openness inside China. -Lawfare

Also consider Harris’ book War by Other Means

Yahoo faces Chinese dissidents' lawsuit -BBC

Canada Tries to Turn Its A.I. a handful of researchers in Canada — backed by the Canadian government and universities — were laying the groundwork for today’s boom in artificial intelligence. -NYT


TREASURIES-U.S. bond yields flat as geopolitical worries offset supply -Reuters

* U.S. sells $12 billion 30-year bonds to soggy bids

* Worries about overseas conflicts underpin bond demand

* Hopes for less tension after Russia, China comments

Gold settles at a 5-month high as investors focus on geopolitics -MarketWatch

June gold GCM7, +0.94% gained $20.30, or 1.6%, to settle at $1,274.20 an ounce.

U.S. looks to IMF to strengthen its forex rates oversight: Treasury official -Reuters

Donald Trump: China 'not a currency manipulator' -BBC

"I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that's my fault because people have confidence in me." He added that a strong dollar had benefits, but would ultimately hurt the US economy.

Dollar rises as geopolitical strife grows -MarketWatch

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays




Italy promises G7 with geopolitical focus Next month’s session has potential to be a flashpoint between the United States and the hosts who are promoting multiple agenda items at odds with Trump -GN

Geopolitics has biggest negative impact on investments -Money Manager

Cyber breaches have cost shareholders billions since 2013: report Severe cyber security breaches, such as those having legal or regulatory consequences, involve the loss of hundreds of thousands of records and hurt the firm's brand, caused share prices to fall on average 1.8 percent on a permanent basis, the analysis of 65 companies affected since 2013 globally has found. -Reuters


'Pulse of Europe' rallies converge across Germany and EU for an united Europe Thousands of pro-Europe demonstrators have taken to the streets for the ninth time in cities across Germany and Europe. A minute's silence was also held for the victims of the Stockholm and St. Petersburg attacks. -DW

Europe’s Reform Opportunity Because national governments are politically accountable to their own citizens, they often lack incentive to increase cooperation at the EU level. This disconnect is now hampering further Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) reforms. -Project Syndicate

Mogherini’s mid-term report card We grade the EU’s foreign policy chief on everything from Iran to migration -Politico

“The challenge for the rest of her term — and very possibly for who comes after her — is finding hard power to match the soft power.”

Germany won't spend 2 percent on defense, says SPD candidate In a Q&A session with foreign journalists, Social Democrat Martin Schulz said there would be no big defense spending boosts in the context of NATO. Instead, he stressed the primacy of the European Union. -DW

APRIL 24 ELECTION WATCH >> As goes France, so goes the EU French voters hold the Continent’s future in their hands. If the opinion polls are accurate and fickle voters, angry with the political class, don’t change their minds at the ballot box, the second-round runoff on May 7 is likely to pit anti-EU nationalist Marine Le Pen against pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron. Still in contention in the first round on April 24 are conservative Gaullist François Fillon and evergreen leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

France election: South-west voters eye Brexit with envy -BBC

"How lovely, a lady from Brexit Britain. I think Brexit's great. I'd like France to get out of Europe so she could find her own identity again."

Basque separatists ETA deliver weapons inventory to French police on 'Disarmament Day' -France24

TRUMP-XI MEETING WITH EUROPEAN CHARACTERISTICS WATCH >> The Quadrangle Relationship via Philippe Le Corre (YouTube)


Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. -Reuters

US, German, UK leaders discuss pressure on Russia to end Syria links US President Donald Trump and his German and British counterparts have agreed that Moscow must be urged to halt links with Syria. Both Berlin and London have stressed their support for holding Assad's regime to account. -DW

YET >> Syria war: G7 rejects sanctions on Russia after 'chemical attack' -BBC


Assad allies threaten to act against further 'aggression' A joint command centre made up of forces from Russia, Iran and militias backing Syrian President Bashar al Assad threatened reprisals against any party that carries out "aggression" against Syria, two days after US missiles hit a Syrian air base. -France24

BACK >> Ahmadinejad Stirs Up Iran Presidential Race With Shock Bid -Bloomberg

Turkey Deserves a Better EU Trade Deal With European roots reaching back to the mid-19th century, Turkey clearly sees its future in Europe. But ever since the European Union and Turkey signed an association agreement in 1963, progress has come at a snail’s pace. Now even the linchpin of that relationship -- the customs union that took effect in 1996 -- is no longer fit for purpose. -BloombergView


South Africans protest against Zuma as country downgraded to 'junk' Sporadic violence broke out in Johannesburg as more than 50,000 people marched in South African cities to protest against President Jacob Zuma on Friday, demanding he quit after a cabinet reshuffle triggered the latest crisis of his presidency. -France24

Trump administration 'to sell Nigeria planes' for Boko Haram fight -BBC



French election: Macron vows to tackle terrorism by taking on tech companies -BBC

He said it was "no longer acceptable" for companies to insist that they have a contractual obligation to clients after offering protected communication.

He cited Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter as those he wants to have frank discussions with.

31 CITIES IN FRANCE Airbnb signs dozens more tax agreements in the U.S., France -Reuters

German Car Brand Gets New Lease on Life With Chinese Money Borgward, the Bremen car brand revived by a state-owned Chinese bus maker after going bust in 1961, has surprised many including its own CEO by racking up more than 30,000 units in sales for its first model over eight months. The winning formula: touting its German heritage while saying as little as possible about its Chinese backers. -Bloomberg

POLITICAL WINDS WINDS CHANGE>> China's President Xi praises normalization of relations with Norway after long Nobel rift The leaders of China and Norway have met, signaling the resolution of a diplomatic spat which lasted six years. It followed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an imprisoned dissident in China. -DW


World trade seen growing 2.4 percent in 2017, uncertainty weighs: WTO World trade is on track to expand by 2.4 percent this year, though there is "deep uncertainty" about economic and policy developments, particularly in the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday. -Reuters

MIND THE SPREAD >> France's Bond Roller-Coaster The spread in yield between French two-year government bonds and their German equivalents has widened to the most in almost five years. -Bloomberg Gadfly

Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘I rule out Italy leaving the euro’ The country’s economy is on the right track after budget cuts, European Commission president said.

Commodities: Crude futures rise on Libya oilfield shutdown, Middle East geopolitical tensions -Digital Look

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays




Navigating Great Power Rivalry in the 21st Century The post-Cold War international system is coming to an end ... After a period in which a dominant, U.S.-led Western coalition largely set and enforced the rules of the international order — and in which other major powers, such as Russia and China, largely acquiesced to U.S. leadership of that order — the global system is returning to a state of sharper and more explicit great-power competition. -War on the Rocks

Currents of disruption: Not just a new world order, but a new world As such, how does one respond to what is unfolding at the cusp of the 2020s and what exactly are the markers of change in the international system that should define responses, solutions and statecraft? -The Interpreter

YOUR BIG DATA FIX >> Data Show 50 Years of Changing Asia From 12% of global GDP in the early 1960s to almost one third today, Asia's enviable economic growth has been consistent and robust. -ADB

World Energy Outlook 2017 to include focus on China’s energy outlook and the natural gas revolution -IEA


China's Xi urges trade cooperation in first meeting with Trump Chinese President Xi Jinping urged cooperation with the United States on trade and investment on Thursday, inviting President Donald Trump to visit China in a cordial start to their first meeting likely to broach sensitive security and commercial issues. -Reuters

BUSINESS AS USUAL?? >> Donald Trump’s first meeting with Xi Jinping was all about business Climate change, human rights and North Korea’s nuclear programme were not priorities -The Economist

The Trump-Xi Strategic Face-Off In ancient times, Chinese emperors never traveled to another country to meet its new ruler. Rather, that ruler, or his envoy, would visit China’s imperial capital to request investiture from the Son of Heaven. -Project Syndicate

Xi Jinping's goal eludes him in the US Xi frustrated in attempt to revive 'new model of major power relations' -Nikkei

What Chinese News Reports Tell Us About Beijing’s View of Trump what is really going on behind the scenes, and what does Mr. Xi’s government really think of Mr. Trump? China’s state-controlled news media offered some hints. -NYT

Cf. WHITE HOUSE READ OUT >> Briefing by Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mnuchin, and Secretary Ross on President Trump's Meetings with President Xi of China -White House 

PODCAST FOR THE WEEK >> Nationalism in Russia and China Is nationalism really rising in China? How does it differ from patriotism? How much of China’s nationalism is rooted in the “century of humiliation” that the country suffered at the hands of Western countries and Japan between 1839 and 1949? -Sinica


Japan to stake claim to 148 inhabited isles, register 273 others as state-owned property -The Japan Times

“As a maritime country, we must take long-term, systematic measures to protect, maintain and expand peace, security and our maritime interests,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of the maritime policy task force that approved the plan.

“The situation surrounding our seas is increasing in severity”

Abe backs U.S. missile strike on Syria but might draw backlash from Putin -The Japan Times

BLACK SHIPS (FOREVER) ON THE HORIZON - PUBLIC OPINION WATCH >> 'No foreigners allowed': Survey shows heavy discrimination in Japan40% are refused housing because they are not Japanese -Nikkei


U.S. Navy strike group to move toward Korean peninsula: U.S. official -Reuters

Trump explained U.S. position on THAAD to Xi: South Korea U.S. President Donald Trump told South Korea on Saturday he had explained to China's President Xi Jinping America's position on the deployment of an anti-missile defense system to South Korea -Reuters

ASTUTE >> The real reason China won’t exert economic pressure on North Korea US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thinks that if only he can enlist Beijing’s support, sanctions will compel Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear arsenal – here’s why he’s wrong -SCMP


Taiwan marks Freedom of Speech Day -Taiwan News

“As the president of Taiwan, I will continue to strive for the nation’s hard-fought democracy and social justice," Tsai said.

PUBLIC OPINION WATCH >> Tsai needs to focus on home now After comparing two recent polls — which have received little media attention — with other documentation, I found that although there were a few perplexing outliers, the polls revealed some meaningful findings worth analyzing. -Taipei Times

Taiwan not mentioned at Trump-Xi summit -Taiwan News


The New Trans-Pacific Partnership The Pacific Alliance and ASEAN are crafting a key partnership of their own. -The Diplomat  

Indonesia’s Unfolding Corruption Scandal The scandal could serve as a political turning point for President Joko Widodo. -The Diplomat

Asian Development Bank's Latest Report on the Indonesian Economy -Indonesia Investments

ADB's advises Indonesia to:

Improve infrastructure
Deepen structural reform
Address the skills gap

ADB sees the following risks for Indonesia:

Possible delay in the implementation of policy reforms
Shortfall in fiscal revenue
Uncertain trade policies in advanced economies
Weaker-than-expected economic recovery of main trading partners
Possible weaker-than-expected recovery in commodity prices

Duterte and generals split on China rapprochement High stakes internal battle under way over direction of Philippine foreign policy -Nikkei

Is foreign investment really stalling in Myanmar? Signs of a slowdown under new government may be only half the story -Nikkei



China takes down insurance regulator, capping a yearlong shakeout of industry -SCMP

This fintech startup is helping Chinese people move their money abroad The Beijing-based startup, founded early last year, has picked one hell of a time to start helping Chinese investors move their money abroad. Since China’s sharp yuan-devaluation in 2015, about US$1.2 trillion has left the country. In response, the Chinese government has tightened capital controls -Tech-in-Asia

Ford plans to launch Ranger pickup truck in China in 2018 Ford would import the Ranger to China and currently has no plans to manufacture it locally, a spokeswoman said. -Reuters

Fully unmanned drones are coming to China’s farmlands -Tech-in-Asia

Can Li & Fung recast itself to catch up with the Internet age? Li & Fung, now run by fourth-generation CEO Spencer Fung, has packed more ambition and change into its current transformation plan. Will it work? -SCMP

Argosy opens new composites facility in Taiwan The configuration of the new space will allow the company to provide composite aerospace manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region with composite kitted solutions. -CW

Samsung boss Lee Jae-yong goes on trial in South Korea The acting head of Samsung Group has gone on trial in South Korea for his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the ousting of the president. -BBC

Are ports the next industry startups can shake up? PSA Unboxed thinks so -Tech-in-Asia

ExxonMobil May Acquire Petrochemical Complex in Singapore -Zacks Equity Research

Trump Trade Threats Force Export-Dependent Vietnam to Pivot From a possible border tax to higher tariffs, America’s push to reset trade relations is putting Vietnam’s small economy at risk. -Bloomberg


#ORIGINAL >> Chinese Consumers Will Change the Global Economy As China’s massive population begins to spend more, the world will take notice. -The Diplomat

China's A-shares have better shot at MSCI index But concern about mainland market brings significant controls -Nikkei

JPY: Geopolitical risk in East Asia –Deutsche Bank

“If a crisis materializes in East Asia involving Japan, we imagine this will provoke a disposal of Japanese assets by foreign investors and a selloff of the yen. However, we suspect that a plunge in Japanese stock markets would strengthen risk-off sentiment, recalling post-quake reactions for many market participants. Upward pressure on the yen could thus prevail, at least in the near term. To repeat, we do not consider such possibility lightly and hope fervently that no such crisis will come to reality.”

S. Korean stocks, won hit 3-wk closing lows as geopolitical tensions weigh South Korean shares and its currency won closed at three-week lows … as geopolitical risks weighed on investor sentiment -Reuters

Geopolitical Risk Premium Is Back In Oil WTI and Brent jumped to one month highs on the news of U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and while direct risks to oil supply are limited, oil traders are on edge.

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> Americas Fridays




Dozens of U.S. Missiles Hit Air Base in Syria President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week, which killed more than 80 civilians. -NYT

Transcript and Video: Trump Speaks About Strikes in Syria -NYT

Trump says chemical attack in Syria crossed many lines -Reuters


At Mar-a-Lago, Trump welcomes China’s Xi for ‘very frank discussion’ in first summit President Trump welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping here Thursday at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago estate, kicking off a two-day summit that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said would include “very frank discussions” over North Korea and trade. -The Washington Post


PODCAST OF THE WEEK >> Trump Meets Xi - John Pomfret on the Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom -Harvard University (audio)

Trump drops Steve Bannon from National Security Council -Reuters

BILLS ON HILL >> Wyden, Paul, Polis and Farenthold Bill Requires Warrants to Search Americans’ Digital Devices at the Border Bill Ends Policy That Allows Unlimited Searches of the Phones, Laptops and Other Devices When Americans Cross the Border -Sen. Wyden

ANGRY AMERICANS >> Chris Christie: Donald Trump won because anger was the more powerful emotion than fear -Palm Beach Post

“And Donald Trump essentially, for the most part, ignored her, and said, ‘I know how angry you are. I’m just as angry as you are. Send me there because I know how to deal with the anger.’

U.S. Commerce chief says EXIM Bank part of Trump 'trade toolbox' -Reuters


The Truth About NAFTA Bilateral trade between the US and Mexico amounts to over $500 billion per year. The US is by far Mexico’s largest trading partner in merchandise – about 80% of its goods exports go to the US – while Mexico is America’s third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China). -Project Syndicate

Don’t Fear Trump’s Trade and Tax Moves, Envoys Tell Trudeau Team -Bloomberg

Mexico urges respect from U.S. for 2018 presidential election U.S. officials should be respectful of the Mexican 2018 presidential election, Mexico's foreign minister said on Thursday, after a top U.S. security official suggested a win by a leftist candidate would be bad for both nations. -Reuters

Protesters clash with government forces in Venezuela tens of thousands of Venezuelans flooded a main highway in the capital on Thursday in the latest protest over what opponents consider an attempt by the government to seize power from the legislature and further sideline the opposition. -The Washington Post

Nicolas Maduro Hasn’t Gotten the Message -Bloomberg View




Trump adviser from Wall Street backs U.S. bank breakup law White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said he backed bringing back the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law that would revamp Wall Street banks by splitting their consumer-lending businesses from their investment arms. -Reuters

The government is demanding to know who this Trump critic is. Twitter is suing to keep it a secret. Twitter filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, asking the court to prevent the department from taking steps to unmask the user behind an account critical of the Trump administration. -The Washington Post

U.S., Japan in talks to prevent China acquiring Westinghouse: U.S. official -Reuters

China’s Great Wall Motor eyes plant in Mexico states hit by Trump: sources Chinese auto maker Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd. is considering building an auto plant in two Mexican states hit by U.S. President Donald Trump’s drive to make American companies invest at home, sources said. -The Globe and Mail


ADRIFT >> Homeless Gasoline Tankers Are Drifting Around the Caribbean Three tankers holding about 1.35 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate, an octane-boosting component blended with motor fuels, are drifting with no instructions for delivery. The cargoes came from India with intent to land in the U.S., but now they’re in limbo as traders from Trafigura Group Ltd. and Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. shop around for the bestselling value in the region. -Bloomberg

Trump’s Failure to Fill Key Government Posts Is Stalling Key Pipeline Projects Without a quorum, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can’t approve energy-infrastructure projects expected to create thousands of high-paying blue-collar jobs. -The National Review

Coal Is on the Way Out at Electric Utilities, No Matter What Trump Says -NYT

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays




Illiberal Stagnation Today, a quarter-century after the Cold War’s end, the West and Russia are again at odds. This time, though, at least on one side, the dispute is more transparently about geopolitical power, not ideology. -Project Syndicate


EU ambassador addresses cooperating with US on Russian aggression David O’Sullivan testified on how Europe and the US can jointly address Russian aggression.

German president Steinmeier blasts Brexit and populism President Steinmeier warned that populists were using nationalism to keep focus away from the big picture in his first speech to the EU parliament. He called Brexit "bitter" and "irresponsible." -DW

French presidential hopefuls clash over economy, Europe in marathon debate -France24

Marine Le Pen’s tricky alliance with Donald Trump In the early hours of Nov. 9, Marine Le Pen was the first foreign politician to congratulate the new U.S. president-elect. In the weeks that followed, the leader of France’s far-right National Front did everything she could to tie her presidential campaign to the upset victory of Donald Trump, claiming that she would be the next chapter in a global populist revolt against the “establishment.” -The Washington Post

UK-Spain tensions over Gibraltar flare A senior Conservative politician made comparisons with the 1982 Falklands conflict. Senior British politicians stoked a war of words with Spain over Gibraltar, as a former leader of the U.K. Conservative Party suggested London would use force to defend the disputed territory in the event of Spanish aggression.

Xi’s Nordic Stopover on His Way to U.S. Reveals a Global Trade Shift Before his first meeting with Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping will stop over in Helsinki. More than just logistics, the Finnish trip reflects a fundamental shift in commercial and diplomatic ties. -Bloomberg

LIVING THE HYPERBOLE >> No offense to Finland; but it’s market is not particularly a posterchild for a “fundamental shift”

EU parliament endorses tighter emissions checks The EU parliament in Strasbourg has approved concrete proposals to tighten vehicle emissions rules and to provide proper compensation to European consumers following the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal. -DW


Russian metro bombing puts Putin's Syria policy to the test Kremlin-watchers say the risk is that Russian voters could decide, after seeing the destruction in St Petersburg, that the Syrian operation is making them more vulnerable to such attacks - not safer as Putin promised. -Reuters


Syria 'chemical attack' down to Assad, US says -BBC

Syria chemical 'attack': Russia blames rebel weapons -BBC

How the world responds to chemical gas attacks: Outcry but no real action -The Washington Post

“Airstrikes on the northwestern town of Sheikh Khanoun began just after daybreak, delivering an unidentified chemical agent that killed at least 58 people and filled clinics across the area with patients foaming at the mouth or struggling to breathe.”


Trump backs Sisi as he seeks to 'reboot' US-Egypt ties Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is visiting the White House for the first time since he led the military's overthrow of his predecessor in 2013. -BBC

Allies abandon South Africa President Jacob Zuma South Africa's powerful trades union federation Cosatu has called for President Jacob Zuma to step down. -BBC

Zuma Said to Survive Calls to Quit Ruling South Africa's ANC South African President Jacob Zuma survived calls to resign by members of the ruling party following his decision to fire his finance minister and stack the cabinet with loyalists, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. -Bloomberg

FX>> The rand reversed earlier gains.



EU clears ChemChina takeover of Syngenta with conditions ChemChina [CNNCC.UL] won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $43 billion bid for Swiss pesticides and seeds group Syngenta (SYNN.S), a crucial deal that could help China boost its domestic agricultural output. -Reuters

Credit Suisse scandal threatens Swiss efforts to clean up reputation -Reuters

GM's German-made Buick highlights risks from trade policy General Motors Co (GM.N) on Tuesday unveiled a German-made Buick crossover wagon it plans to sell in the United States, and in so doing highlighted the U.S. auto industry's vulnerability to shifting trade politics. -Reuters

MOVING FAST >> JAB Holding to buy bakery chain Panera Bread in $7.5 billion deal -Reuters

Trump Faces Test as Boeing Announces Deal to Sell Jetliners to Iran The Boeing Company announced a tentative agreement on Tuesday to sell up to 60 737s to an Iranian airline, a transaction valued at $6 billion that angered American critics of Iran and appeared likely to test the Trump administration’s avowed hostility toward that country. -NYT

AN UNDERRATED MARKET >> Made in Senegal? New industrial park woos Chinese firms Four new factory buildings rise up from fields on the outskirts of Senegal's capital, the first phase of a government plan to woo Chinese companies shifting low-end manufacturing to Africa as wages in East Asia rise. -Yahoo Finance


Zuma calls for calm after sovereign debt downgrade As S&P downgrades South Africa's credit rating to junk, a powerful trade union organization has now branded him as not the "right person" to lead the country. -DW

World Bank provides $445 million loan to Ethiopia -NBE

Senegal at 57: Oil investment boom fuels growth hopes BP has bought equity in Kosmos Energy’s Tortue oil project, while Cairn Energy is drawing up detailed plans to develop the nearby SNE oil field. Most recently, between January and March, Scottish oil company Cairn drilled the SNE 5 appraisal well to a depth of 2,853m and the well uncovered further oil, confirming the company’s expectations. -Africa Business

Commodity hedge fund Blenheim sees upside in copper, zinc -Reuters

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays




Tillerson Goes to Asia In South Korea, with the required trip to the demilitarized zone on his mind, Tillerson intoned that President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” with the North was over. He concluded with a favorite statement of American policymakers when there seems no obvious way forward: “all options are on the table,” he said, implying that military action should also be considered. -Project Syndicate


China downplays tensions with U.S. as Xi prepares to meet Trump Beijing sought to play down tensions with the United States and put on a positive face on Friday as the U.S. administration slammed China on a range of business issues ahead of President Xi Jinping's first meeting with President Donald Trump. -Reuters

CHINA’s KISSINGER??? >> China Learns How to Get Trump’s Ear: Through Jared Kushner -NYT

DAVID SHAMBAUGH Q&A >> Will Xi Jinping run circles around Donald Trump? -The Straits Times

“I am not sure it is strictly mature for the Americans to have a summit at this stage. It is not certain they have a global policy; certainly they don't have an Asia policy, much less a China policy.”

China says U.S. trade orders should respect international rules -Reuters

China Uighurs: Xinjiang ban on long beards and veils The measures include prohibiting "abnormally" long beards, the wearing of veils in public places and refusing to watch state television. -BBC


Why would Beijing trust Carrie Lam but not John Tsang? Despite backing former chief secretary in Hong Kong leadership race, central government has not shut the door on popular ex-financial secretary -SCMP


Japan must be capable of striking enemy bases, LDP panel says Japan must gain the military capability to strike enemy bases in light of North Korea's continued nuclear and missile development, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's security research commission told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -Nikkei

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK – HASHIMOTO-SAN >> Japan Chair Forum: Toru Hashimoto The Future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance -CSIS (video)

Japan must bolster itself as a proactive actor on world stage -Indian Express

Trump orders review of U.S. trade deficits with all nations, including Japan -The Japan Times

Japan’s foreign residents offer up insights in unprecedented survey on discrimination -The Japan Times


Trump: 'Totally' possible for U.S. to address North Korea threat alone -FT

Treasury Sanctions Agents Linked to North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Financial Networks -US Treasury

“These sanctions underscore this Administration’s commitment to countering the threat to the United States, to our allies, and to stability on the Korean peninsula and in the wider Asia Pacific region … ” -Mnuchin

Making China Pay on North Korea Why Beijing's Coal Ban Isn't Enough -Foreign Affairs

Why China’s shadow boycott of South Korea is self-defeating If Beijing keeps breaking free-trade rules to make its foreign-policy points against rival nations, it will hurt domestic markets and lose international stature -SCMP


‘One country, two systems’ an empty pledge The unfair election system in Hong Kong should be a reminder to Taiwanese to ensure freedom for future generations, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui said -Taipei Times

Taiwan’s Search for Security Partners: Looking Beyond Washington The rationale for Taipei to look beyond Washington to the expertise and assistance of other partners and allies is simple. Taiwan’s needs cannot be met by reliance on Washington alone; additional relationships are necessary to ensure the island has political, economic, and security ties to sustain its future. -Jamestown Foundation

Unpacking Tsai Ing-wen’s New Southbound Policy Can Taiwan’s latest attempt to avoid economic dependence on China succeed? -The Diplomat

Xi and Trump tipped to play down Taiwan at Florida summit Experts anticipate trade and North Korea to dominate meeting, overriding status of Taiwan -SCMP

Taiwan targeted by Trump executive order Taiwan on list of 16 countries facing trade practices investigation -Taiwan News

Trump Should Follow Reagan's Lead on Taiwan Policy Trump should use the Mar-a-Lago summit to issue assurances for Taiwan. -The National Interest


Vietnam and Taiwan Spar over South China Sea Taiwan has been engaging in military drills this week around Taiping Island, its major foothold in the South China Sea—and Vietnam is having none of it. -The American Interest

Beijing, Manila facing new maritime dispute Chinese survey mission pushes Philippines to also launch study The territorial dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea could flare up again after Chinese ships were found surveying a resource-rich area located within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. -Nikkei

The 'Chinazation' of Cambodia China's deepening economic presence is bringing progress -- but at what cost? -Nikkei

Suu Kyi’s party wins string of seats in by-elections but rejected by Myanmar’s minorities The voting to fill 19 seats in the national and regional parliaments was seen as a test of the democracy icon’s popularity after a bumpy first year in office -SCMP



Jack Ma's Latest U.S. Expansion Plan Threatened by Trump Agenda -Bloomberg

Tesla Needs Help in China That might seem surprising for a company that's nearly synonymous with the future. But China, the world's largest car market, isn't about to cede its auto industry to foreign entrepreneurs. -Bloomberg View

The New York Times vs. the ‘Great Firewall’ of China In this article, Craig S. Smith, a former Times Shanghai bureau chief and China managing director who is now a staff writer-at-large, reflects on the ups and downs of delivering New York Times content to the Chinese world. -NYT

HK$350 million proposed for struggling Hong Kong Disneyland by US parent company Lawmakers across the political spectrum are still wary as funding vote for park expansion nears -SCMP

Apple, Amazon, Google join bidding for Toshiba chip unit: media -Reuters

New rules on ‘minpaku’ lodging The government has proposed legislation setting rules on the practice of renting out private lodging (minpaku) to tourists. The measure is designed to respond to a sharp increase in the number of inbound tourists by accommodating them in private residences, while preventing potential troubles involving lodgers, owners and neighbors. -The Japan Times

Park scandal forcing rethink of cozy public-private ties The conglomerates known as chaebol are taking a second look at their historically close relationship with the South Korean government as prosecutors home in on arrested ex-President Park Geun-hye's ties to the Samsung group. -Nikkei

An Investor’s Guide: How to Minimize Risk in Indonesia -Indonesia Expat

REGULATIONS WATCH >> Regulating the Ride-Hailing Apps Revolution in Indonesia On Saturday, 01 April, 2017, the new regulations for ride-hailing apps in Indonesia came into effect, designed to protect consumers of these apps and support traditional transportation services such as taxi operators, minivans, buses and motorcycle taxis. -Indonesia Investments


No Big Bang: MSCI Slashes Its Proposal For China A-Shares -Frontera News

JBIC, Japanese mega-banks to lend $1 billion for Kuwait oil refinery renovation project -The Japan Times

Two Mega International ETFs debut on TWSE The two ETFs track two indices compiled and maintained by TWSE fully owned subsidiary Taiwan Index Plus Corp (TIP, 台灣指數) and are comprised of 30 heavyweights on the local market, the TWSE said. -Taipei Times

U.S. Nuclear Setback Is a Boon to Russia, China The bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co., the Pittsburgh-based nuclear power company, is a geopolitical setback for the U.S. It halts a long-standing U.S. effort to get Eastern European countries to buy U.S. rather than Russian fuel, and leaves state-controlled Russian and Chinese companies the dominant suppliers in the huge global market for nuclear technology. -Bloomberg View

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> Americas Fridays




The Risks to America’s Booming Economy After a long and slow recovery from the recession that began a decade ago, the United States economy is now booming. The labor market is at full employment, the inflation rate is rising, and households are optimistic. Manufacturing firms and homebuilders are benefiting from increasing activity. The economy is poised for stronger growth in the year ahead. We no longer hear worries about secular stagnation. -Project Syndicate


The Crisis of Trumpism This isn’t a function of poll numbers, or the Russia controversy, or any other melodrama of the past three months, but something more fundamental: No officeholder in Washington seems to understand President Donald Trump’s populism or have a cogent theory of how to effect it in practice, including the president himself. -Politico

Increased Scrutiny of Visa Applications and Possible Delays On March 17, 2017, the Department of State (“DOS”), through the Secretary of State, issued a cable to all US consulates and embassies with guidance on enhanced screening and vetting of applications for US visas and other immigration benefits. -JD Supra

THE PALM BEACH STORY >> China's Xi to meet Trump for the first time next week -Reuters

The honeymoon's over for Trump and Putin Washington and Moscow are trading sharp words over Russia's weekend political crackdown, civilian deaths in Iraq and the revival of U.S. sanctions touching Russian interests. -Politico

On whirlwind trip to Turkey, Tillerson tries to assuage a frustrated ally -The Washington Post

The Ghost Ship Anchored at Foggy Bottom It would take a consummate diplomat to be the face of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy. -Arms Control Wonk

Trump to unveil $1 trillion infrastructure plan in 2017: official -Reuters


Trump to seek tariff 'snap-back', tax equality in NAFTA revamp In revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trump administration will seek tax equality and the ability to reimpose tariffs if a flood of imports from Canada and Mexico causes "a threat of serious injury" to U.S. industry, a draft of negotiating objectives shows. -Reuters

Venezuela's Maduro decried as 'dictator' after Congress annulled Opposition leaders branded Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro a "dictator" on Thursday after the Supreme Court took over the functions of Congress and pushed a lengthy political standoff to new heights. -Reuters




GLOBALIZATION DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN – BUT CONSUMERS DO >> Remember When Trump Said He Saved 1,100 Jobs at a Carrier Plant? Here’s the essential thing to understand about this business: Furnaces are all pretty much the same, a heater and a blower inside a box. “There are not any key industry secrets that make one manufacturer better than another.” Web-savvy consumers determine what they want and gravitate toward dealers that prove themselves reliable and able to offer good prices. -Bloomberg

A scramble at Cisco exposes uncomfortable truths about U.S. cyber defense When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) swung into action. -Reuters

7 Things the U.S. Business Community Wants from Brexit Negotiations -US Chamber of Commerce

1. Market Access

2. Labor Movement

3. Financial Services

4. Regulation

5. Data

6. Tax Policy

7. Transition measures should be enacted to limit economic uncertainty

Netflix and Amazon are now so big that they’re changing the way global TV shows are financed -Quartz

Delta, American Eye Trans-Pacific Market As Trans-Atlantic Rivals Grow Delta said early Wednesday Eastern time, a move that could strengthen its position in the trans-Pacific as competition escalates just about everywhere else. -Investors Daily

China telecom firm ZTE removed from U.S. trade blacklist The U.S. Department of Commerce will remove Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) from a trade blacklist on Wednesday after the company pleaded guilty to violating sanctions on Iran and agreed to pay nearly $900 million, the agency said in a notice. -Reuters

Chinese Firm Takes Stake in U.S. Investment Bank Cowen As China looks to spread its economic influence around the world, it is taking a bigger interest in financial companies, a move that could raise scrutiny in the era of President Trump. -NYT DealB%k

Liberals reverse course on Chinese takeover of Montreal high-tech firm The Trudeau government has approved a Chinese takeover of a Montreal high-tech firm, a deal that national-security agencies had warned Ottawa in 2015 would undermine a technological edge that Western militaries have over China. -The Global and Mail

Chile surpasses Thailand as a supplier of fruits for China According to data released by the Chinese Customs, in 2016, Chile exported about $1,200 million dollars of fresh fruit to China, i.e. 22% more than in the previous year, replacing Thailand as the largest supplier of fresh fruit for China.

Goldcorp-Barrick Partnership Shows Miners Tip-Toeing to Growth Canada’s two biggest gold miners, Barrick Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc., are teaming up to develop a gold-copper deposit in Chile as part of a complex chain of transactions. -Bloomberg


U.S. economic growth revised higher, boosted by consumer spending Gross domestic product increased at a 2.1 percent annualized rate instead of the previously reported 1.9 percent pace, the Commerce Department said on Thursday in its third GDP estimate for the period. -Reuters

The Geography of U.S. Productivity Cities and the energy belt are the most productive economic regions in America. What does that mean for the rest of the country? -The Atlantic

WHAT YOU MISSED IN THE OIL MARKETS >> Oil Market Movers – Fundamentals, Finance, and Volatile Sentiment -CSIS (video)

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> EMEA Wednesdays




'We are in a geopolitical environment that is extremely dangerous for Europeans' The leaders of France and Germany must use the window of opportunity that opens up after elections in both countries to inject new momentum into their single currency project or risk its failure -Business Insider

A Dramatic Comeback for Europe The Dutch are famous for building dykes that hold back the tides and storms sweeping across the Atlantic. Have the Dutch now done it again, holding back the wave of populist politics that seemed to be threatening Europe after last year’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory in the United States? -Project Syndicate


Tillerson’s message to NATO: Show Trump the money Secretary of State will make his first trip to the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels this week.

BACK TO THE FORTRESS - GLOBAL BRITAIN SAYS CHEERIO TO EUROPE >> Article 50: May signs letter that will trigger Brexit Giving official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk on Wednesday. -BBC

Scottish Parliament backs referendum call MSPs voted by 69 to 59 in favour of seeking permission for a referendum before the UK leaves the EU. -BBC

France’s Extraordinary Election Sixty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, France is poised to hold an election that could make or break the European Union. -Project Syndicate

Economists See Macron Win in France Most Positive for Europe Economists overwhelmingly expect Emmanuel Macron to become the next President of France and see its relationship with the EU improving the most of any other policy if he’s elected -Bloomberg

Populist Italian marriage to give Brussels heartburn 5Star Movement may join forces with the far-right Northern League to govern. Italy’s next government could see a populist alliance between the 5Star Movement and the Northern League that if consummated would turn Italian and European politics on their heads.

One constant in Italian politics = the opposite of cohesion

UK manufacturers: trade deal with EU crucial A leading association of British manufacturers has told the country's prime minister that a Brexit without a new trade deal with the EU would be a disaster as firms would have to bear the brunt of future barriers. -DW

Can Europe “Be Open But Not Stupid” on Foreign Acquisitions by China? Like the United States, the European Union (EU) and its member states are concerned about potential security threats posed by foreign acquisition of firms, especially by Chinese investors, in sensitive sectors of the economy. -PIIE

Moran is a sage voice on the risks + rhetoric associated with foreign direct investment

OFF THE SHELF >> Read - Philippe Le Corre’s “China’s Offensive in Europe”


Anti-corruption demonstrations sweep across Russia The protests show opposition leader Alexei Navalny remains a force -The Economist

Russia jails protests leader Alexei Navalny -BBC

What Russia's Latest Protests Mean for Putin After the largest demonstrations in years erupted across the country on Sunday, the Kremlin is fighting back. -The Atlantic


Turmoil and terrorism breed economic uncertainty for Turkey International concerns about political uncertainty, as well as a drive to increase Islam's place in public life, are also contributing to the economy's decline -PBS Newshour (video)


Brexit as an opportunity for Africa? As British Prime Minister Theresa May is slated to trigger formal Brexit talks, African nations are gearing up for negotiations of their own. But it's not all doom and gloom since Brexit could work in Africa's favor. -DW



EU clears Dow-DuPont chemicals mega-merger US firms Dow Chemical and DuPont have gained EU antitrust approval for their planned merger, on condition that they sell assets. -DW

ANTI-TRUSTED >> Deutsche Boerse, LSE merger plans rejected by EU regulators -Reuters

EU nations vote against GM crops A majority of EU nations voted against genetically modified corn during a meeting of the EU appeals committee. However, that was not enough to stop GM cultivation. The decision now rests with the Commission. -DW

UK government renews calls for WhatsApp backdoor after London attack -The Verge

Uber to end services in Denmark after less than three years Uber has faced headwinds since its app went online in Denmark in November 2014 as local taxi driver unions, companies and politicians complained that Uber posed unfair competition by not meeting legal standards required for established taxi firms. -Reuters

Qatar announces £5bn UK investment One of the largest investors in the UK has committed £5bn of new money to invest in transport, property and digital technology. -BBC

Major China-Africa infrastructure cooperation projects -Xinhua

Lobito-Luau railway in Angola

Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) in Ethiopia

Kigamboni Bridge in Tanzania

Abuja-Kaduna railway in Nigeria

Ethio-Djibouti railway

Tanzania-Zambia railway

Pointe Noire special economic zone

Garissa power plant

ANOTHER READ>> “China’s Continent” -French


Eurozone growth nears six-year high, survey data suggests -BBC

Why are American bond yields higher than Europe’s? It is no longer a simple matter of risk and reward So investors look at a combination of future central bank policy; inflation and growth rates; political risk; and the balance of supply and demand in the private sector. -The Economist

Global stocks slip, sterling steadies as Brexit becomes real -Reuters

BUYING OPPORTUNITY - MORE SA PRODUCE ON US SHELVES? >> Rand drops as Zuma recalls South Africa's finance minister South African President Jacob Zuma has ordered Finance Minister Gordhan to return from an overseas trip. The recall spooked foreign exchange markets and fueled speculation about a cabinet reshuffle. -DW

War-Ravaged South Sudan Draws $500 Million Oranto Oil Bet -Bloomberg

Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays




China’s Fear of U.S. Missile Defense Is Disingenuous A key responsibility of mine during my time in the Pentagon was to devise and implement U.S. defense policies and strategies related to North Korea. One unfortunate aspect of this responsibility was the repeated need to quickly develop options, in collaboration with my colleagues, to respond to North Korean ballistic missile tests. -Foreign Policy

The Sino-Korean Trade War Must End As the United States and South Korea rush to deploy THAAD before the South’s snap presidential election on May 9, China is ramping up economic sanctions, in the hope of compelling the next president to reconsider. Already, South Korea’s tourism, consumer goods, and entertainment industries have been hit hard. -Project Syndicate


Xi Jinping stronger after March meetings This year, at the annual parliamentary session that ended last week, any lingering doubt about Mr Xi's power consolidation ahead of a crucial leadership transition later this year was dispelled. -The Straits Times

AMB. CARLA A. HILLS >>> The Future of US-China Trade Relations Insights from Ambassador Carla A. Hills. -The Diplomat

Beijing has stern words for Hong Kong and Taiwan Pushback against notions of independence could be taken as message to Trump -Nikkei


Carrie Lam Wins Vote to Become Hong Kong’s Next Leader Mrs. Lam, a former No. 2 official in the city, received 777 out of 1,163 votes cast to become the next chief executive, as Hong Kong’s leader is called. She defeated John Tsang, a former finance secretary who polls indicated was more popular with the public. -NYT

How Hong Kong picks its chief executives Carefully weighted committees do the work of choosing leaders for the people –The Economist

Hundreds protest ahead of Hong Kong election - Reuters (video)


Tokyo to push for stronger missile defenses in ‘two-plus-two’ talks with U.S. Japan plans to propose putting priority on bolstering missile defense systems during its security dialogue with the United States late next month, a government source said Saturday. -The Japan Times

Japan sends highest ranking official to Taipei since end of official ties in 1972 Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Jiro Akama became the highest ranking Japanese official to visit Taiwan on Saturday since Japan switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1972. -SCMP

Japan moves gingerly toward accepting immigrants While local integration efforts flourish, national policies get low marks -Nikkei


China’s North Korea Debate There are three broad camps on how to deal with an increasingly unruly Pyongyang. -The Diplomat

Tillerson's Asia trip shows US is ready to lead again on North Korea Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a significant announcement during his recent tour of the Far East, declaring that the U.S. policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over. -The Hill

Widening income gap tops list of voter gripes in South Korea Presidential candidates vowing to tackle inequality face an uphill battle -Nikkei


A Taiwan Perspective It is dangerous to suggest, as some American experts do, that Taiwan could be used as a bargaining chip to get China to act tougher on North Korea. United States’ interests in Taiwan range from its democracy to economics and security, and are underpinned by the United States commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. -NYT

Taiwan unveils $29 billion stimulus amid uncertainty over U.S., China Taiwan's trade-reliant economy is showing signs of recovery, but it is highly vulnerable to protectionist policies from U.S. President Donald Trump and increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers, as well as political tensions with Beijing. -Reuters

Taiwan arrests Chinese fishermen in protected waters -UPI


Why are Chinese moving to Malaysia by the thousands? With an election looming, the country’s often fraught race relations are as complicated as ever, but that hasn’t dented its appeal to a ‘third wave’ of immigrants from China -SCMP

Duterte threatens to impose martial law to ‘finish all the problems’ -The Japan Times

Myanmar: UN to probe 'killings and rapes' of Rohingya Some 70,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh in the last six months, and the UN has gathered accounts of gang rapes and mass killings. -BBC



Chinese court rules in favor of Apple in local design patent disputes A Chinese court has ruled in favor of Apple in design patent disputes between the Cupertino, California company and a domestic phone-maker, overturning a ban on selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in China -Reuters

AT THE RIVER>> China Vice Premier Sees `Unstoppable Momentum' of Globalization -Bloomberg

“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,”

Why Airbnb Won't Conquer China But capturing a major piece of that market will require Airbnb to navigate a far more tangled thicket of cultural issues than what confronted Uber and other tech companies in China. And judging by its efforts so far, it probably won't be up to the task. -Bloomberg View

Exclusive: China-backed fund relaunches bid for U.S. chip deal approval Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC, the China-backed buyout fund that agreed to acquire Lattice Semiconductor Corp (LSCC.O) in November for $1.3 billion, has resubmitted the deal for U.S. government review, three people familiar with the matter said. -Reuters

American Air in Negotiations to Buy Stake in China Southern -Bloomberg

Brazil meat scandal: China and others lift ban -BBC

Hong Kong Property Agents Won't Accept China UnionPay Cards Banks are asking Hong Kong property agents to stop accepting China-issued UnionPay cards, as mainland authorities escalate their crackdown on capital flows out of the country. -Bloomberg

Toshiba finalizing Chapter 11 plan for troubled Westinghouse The embattled Japanese conglomerate is looking to use the bankruptcy filing to finalize losses related to the unit in the fiscal year ending March 31 because its major creditors are urging the company to do so. -The Japan Times

Uber Rival Grab Raising $1.5 Billion in New Funding Round –Bloomberg


Taiwan likely to remain on U.S. currency watch list: Central Bank -Focus Taiwan

Everyone's a Loser in Australia's LNG Boom Why is it that one of the world's top five energy exporters can barely keep the lights on? That's not as much of a contradiction as it sounds. -Bloomberg Gadfly