Stories We’re Watching
Qatar to Quit OPEC amid Tension with Saudi Arabia
Qatar has announced its withdrawal from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), effective January 2019. Qatar’s national oil company, Qatar Petroleum, tweeted plans to increase natural gas production. The announcement comes just days before OPEC’s meeting in Vienna later this week. Industry and political analysts point to Qatar’s strained relationship with OPEC founding member Saudi Arabia, and warn that the move risks further degrading OPEC’s market power.
- Wall Street Journal: Qatar to Leave OPEC as Cartel Pressured to Cut Production
- Reuters: Qatar to withdraw from OPEC as of Jan 2019 – minister
- Economic Times: Qatar to withdraw from OPEC as of January
- NPR: Energy-Righ Qatar Announces It Will Leave OPEC In New Year
Macron Responds to Paris’s Yellow Vest Protesters
Yesterday President Emmanuel Macron returned to France from the G20 summit meeting amid the violent ‘yellow vest’ protests in Paris. President Macron inspected damage from the anti-government demonstrators who have protested increases in gasoline tax and declining living standards. As the protests turned violent, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Analysts say this is the Macron administration’s most serious crisis yet. A government spokesperson said the government might declare a state of emergency to prevent further civil unrest.
- The Economist: Emmanuel Macron faces the toughest test of his presidency
- BBC: France fuel protests: Ball in Macron’s court after violence
- The Daily Beast: Paris Is Burning as French Say, ‘Macron, Listen to Us!’
- The Guardian: Warnings of latest crisis facing Macron were in plain sight
Market Rallies as US & China Call Truce in Trade War
World markets surged today after Saturday’s much-anticipated dinner between Presidents Xi and Trump, leaders of the world’s two largest economies. President Trump agreed to a 90-day truce on imposing 25% tariffs, and President Xi agreed to increase imports of US agricultural goods. Trade and market analysts are watching closely the next 90 days since further negotiations are set to include intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, and cyber theft. Insiders caution increased market turbulence should those negotiations encounter setbacks.
- Reuters: China-U.S. trade sends world stocks, emerging markets surging
- Barrons: Trump and China Called a Truce in the Trade War. Now What?
- China Economic Review: Breaking down the US-China trade war truce
- Bloomberg: US-China Trade War Truce: What’s Happened and What’s Next
- The Guardian: Markets rally as Trump hails ‘extraordinary’ trade talks with China
- Bloomberg: Trump Deserves Some Credit for a Truce With China
Trump Seeks Halt in Arms Race with Russia & China
Earlier today President Trump tweeted “I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race”. The tweet comes after the president returned from the G20 summit, where he met with Presidents Xi and Putin. Earlier this year, President Trump authorized the $716B 2019 Defense Authorization Act which declared that “long-term strategic competition with China is a principal priority” of the US.
- Politico: Trump wants ‘meaningful halt’ in arms race with Russia, China
- Reuters: Trump to discuss ‘arms race’ with China, Russia some time in the future
- Voice of America: Trump Boasts of Relations with Xi, New Trade Deal with China
Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu in Bribery Case for the Third Time
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Brussels earlier today for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Insiders say the talks centered around responses to Iranian aggression. The meeting comes as Israeli Police recommend for the third time this year that PM Netanyahu and his wife be indicted for fraud and for taking bribes. Analysts warn that the case is likely to create internal chaos as some speculate that Netanyahu may try to continue to serve as prime minister during the trial.
- Axios: Israeli police recommend indicting Netanyahu in bribery case
- Al-Monitor: Expect drama as attorney general weighs Netanyahu indictment
- Haaretz: Netanyahu Lands in Brussels Ahead of Pompeo Meeting
- The Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu avoids discussing bribery charges, eulogizes Bush instead
Mexico’s New President Vows to Work with US & Canada on Immigration
Earlier today Mexico’s new president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed closer cooperation with the US and Canada on immigration. Obrador was inaugurated as Mexico’s fifth democratically elected president on Saturday. In his first official act, he signed an agreement with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to create a development plan. The inauguration came just one day after his predecessor signed a $1T trade deal with the US and Canada at the G20 summit. Policy analysts caution that Friday’s singing was ceremonial since the deal still has yet to be approved by the US congress, which isn’t expected to happen until the next legislative session in January 2019.
- The Atlantic: The US-Mexico Relationship Is About to Get Weirder
- Financial Times: López Obrador is bigger threat to liberal democracy than Bolsonaro
- The Telegraph: Mexico’s new president announces US migration deal – and thanks ‘friend Jeremy Corbyn’ for attending ceremony
- Channel NewsAsia: Mexico president says working with US, Canada on immigration plan
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