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There’s no escaping the “Trump effect” on politics and the global economy. But is it a positive or a negative? Higher growth forecasts from the OECD came today with a note of caution about increased volatility and the threat of higher trade barriers. Meanwhile, Russia has finally exited its long recession, even as the Dutch seem to be growing wary of their own populist: support for Geert Wilders is sagging ahead of next week’s election. — Andy Reinhardt
Do you want the good news or the bad news? The global economy may not be strong enough to withstand risks from increased trade barriers, overblown stock markets or potential currency volatility, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Paris-based group of rich nations nevertheless forecasts a pickup in global growth this year, to 3.3 percent, and revised up its 2017 forecast for U.K. growth for the second time, to 1.6 percent.
What do you call an unpopular populist? Once upon a time, Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders was seen as a beneficiary of the global turn to populism typified by the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump. But his poll lead is evaporating a week before the Dutch election, with pundits saying that a backlash against Trump’s policies may be partly to blame.
Russia longest recession in two decades is over. Partly that’s down to statistical tweaks. Rising oil prices also have played a big part. But the surprise is that non-energy sectors of the lopsided Russian economy are finally growing, too, although consumer spending still isn’t back in positive territory.
Something worth getting grumpy about. Rising Bank of England star Charlotte Hogg made a “terribly unfortunate” nondisclosure when she was hired as chief operating officer in 2013. It turns out her brother works at Barclays Investment Bank. It was an “unwillful act of omission,” by the now-deputy governor, according to Bradley Fried, deputy chair of the central bank’s Court of Directors. “It warrants grumpiness.”
Never mix business with pleasure. When Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch go fishing together they always refuse to talk shop. Now they have agreed to merge Scotland’s two largest money managers, Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life, and to become co-CEOs of the new entity. That may prove challenging for the “very different” fishing buddies.
Grappling with hate speech in the social media era. Facebook won dismissal of a lawsuit involving a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a Syrian refugee that raised questions about the social network’s duty to remove racist comments by its users. A court in Wuerzburg ruled that Facebook was not responsible for the postings “as its own opinion.”
The annual Geneva Motor Show is under way with a crush of announcements from the world’s big automakers. From luxury models from Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen to Lamborghini, Ferrari and McLaren supercars, the convention is a petrol-head’s paradise.
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