Economy

Trump steps up trade war over NAFTA

By Nick Beams, 28 April 2017

The Trump administration has signalled that it will take an aggressive economic nationalist stance in negotiations on NAFTA after making moves to withdraw altogether.

Trump tax cuts: A bonanza for corporations and the wealthy

By Patrick Martin, 27 April 2017

The proposal unveiled Wednesday would channel trillions of dollars into the pockets of the financial elite at the expense of social programs and working class living standards.

Rail companies Bombardier and Siemens plan merger

By Gustav Kemper, 25 April 2017

Since the beginning of 2017, the two rail companies have been engaged in secret merger negotiations behind the backs of their employees.

IMF meeting signals descent into global trade war

By Nick Beams, 24 April 2017

Pledges to “resist protectionism,” long included in statements issued by the world’s major global economic institutions, are now regarded as too controversial.

Latest economic data dampen US growth prospects

By Nick Beams, 22 April 2017

The stock market has lifted but consumer spending is falling and industrial production is flat.

Canadian government seeks to placate Trump following NAFTA comments

By Roger Jordan, 22 April 2017

Trump’s sharp criticism of Canada over its trading practices in a number of economic sectors prompted a conciliatory response from Ottawa.

Over 8.3 million American adults suffer from severe psychological distress

By Kathleen Martin, 22 April 2017

Research released by the Psychiatric Services journal indicates disturbing growth of psychological distress in the United States, correlating directly to the continuing economic crisis.

Small uptick in growth but major downside risks remain, says IMF

By Nick Beams, 20 April 2017

The IMF reports make clear that none of the underlying problems that have beset the world economy since the eruption of the global financial crisis in 2008 has been resolved.

Trade spat precedes IMF meeting

By Nick Beams, 18 April 2017

While forecasting a “cyclical recovery”, IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde has said a “sword of protectionism” hangs over the world economy.

Tesla’s market valuation pushes past Ford and GM

By Gabriel Black, 17 April 2017

Unbridled speculation and a shift towards high-tech products, like automated cars, explains the electric car manufacturer’s seemingly absurd valuation.

The domination of finance capital: Who rules the world?

By Nick Beams, 15 April 2017

There is no meaningful distinction between industrial and finance capital because, in the end, all capital is finance capital, an important study has found.

BBC documentary exposes Bank of England’s role at centre of Libor-fixing scandal

By Jean Shaoul, 13 April 2017

The Libor scandal revealed not only the criminality of the global financial system centred in London, but the massive web of corruption and complicity involving governments and financial regulators the world over.

IMF documents labour’s declining share of global income

By Nick Beams, 12 April 2017

The IMF analysis of labour’s share of income is consistent with the essential logic of capital as revealed by Marx.

US retail stores closing at record rate

By Niles Niemuth, 12 April 2017

Along with mounting store closures, retailers eliminated nearly 60,000 jobs in February and March, making it the worst two-month period for the retail sector since 2008.

China offers plan to ease trade tensions with US

By Nick Beams, 11 April 2017

Trump officials struck a conciliatory tone following discussions on trade with Chinese president Xi Jinping, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he expected “tangible results.”

Super-rich in America live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent

By Kate Randall, 11 April 2017

Income-based disparities in US life expectancy are worsened by the for-profit US health care system.

Subprime auto loans threaten new crisis

By J. Cooper, 11 April 2017

Wall Street is concerned at the surge in auto loan defaults, a further indication that the sales boom of recent years is winding down.

Sharp fall in US jobs growth in March

By Shannon Jones, 8 April 2017

The worst job numbers since May 2016 underscore the disconnect between surging stock prices and the underlying economy, and the fraud of Trump’s “jobs” agenda.

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 1 April 2017

US President Donald Trump signed two protectionist executive orders Friday, signalling a return to the kind of measures that proved so disastrous in the 1930s.

Market turbulence fuels warnings on health of global economy

By Nick Beams, 30 March 2017

Two major international economic organisations, the IMF and the OECD, have voiced concerns about the impact of the US protectionist trade agenda on the stability of the world economy.

G20 conflict over protectionism: From post-war to pre-war capitalism

By Nick Beams, 24 March 2017

The post-World War II economic and trading order, constructed in the main by the US, was the product of a push to prevent the kind of protectionist and trade war measures that led to the Second World War.

Concerns over Trump crisis roil financial markets

By Barry Grey, 23 March 2017

Whatever the short-term trend on the financial markets, Tuesday’s downturn reflected the underlying unsustainability of the massively inflated stock valuations.

Wealth of world’s billionaires soars amid stock market surge

By Shannon Jones, 22 March 2017

In 2016 the combined wealth of the world’s richest individuals rose 18 percent to a staggering $7.67 trillion.

US blocks statement opposing protectionism in G20 communiqué

By Nick Beams, 20 March 2017

While attempts were made by G20 finance ministers to downplay the significance of the breach with the US, the decision to drop resistance to protectionism is a significant step towards a global trade war.

Trade talks in Chile on continuing TPP without the US

By James Cogan, 18 March 2017

Despite concerns expressed about protectionism, the most obvious feature of the Chile summit was the manner in which various states pursued their own national trade agendas.

Trump budget to fund wider wars by slashing domestic spending

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2017

The budget proposes to increase spending on the military and homeland security by nearly $60 billion, while slashing spending on the environment and social programs.

US Fed lifts interest rate and reassures markets

By Nick Beams, 16 March 2017

The US stock markets rose after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.25 percent but concerns were voiced over the divergence between the world’s three major central banks.

RadioShack closing 187 more stores

By James Brewer, 11 March 2017

This announcement follows on the heels of thousands of job losses, giving the lie to the optimistic jobs report by the Labor Department.

European Central Bank maintains a balancing act

By Nick Beams, 10 March 2017

The ECB retained its negative base interest rate, placing it on a divergent path from the US Federal Reserve.

Trump administration document lays out trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 7 March 2017

The Trump administration has issued a document making clear that it is taking aim at the World Trade Organisation and agreements that have governed international trade in the post-World War II period.

China lowers economic growth target

By Nick Beams, 6 March 2017

The Chinese government has cut its target in an attempt to address growing problems in the country’s financial system.

The Snap IPO: Trump agenda fuels an orgy of speculation

By Nick Beams, 3 March 2017

The massive rise in Snap Inc. stock took place amidst a surge in US markets, which has seen $3 trillion added to share values since the election of Trump.

Trump steps up trade war agenda

By Nick Beams, 28 February 2017

The objective logic of Trump’s agenda of economic war, based on “America First” leads inexorably to military conflict.

Trade growth slows to lowest level since global financial crisis

By Nick Beams, 23 February 2017

A World Bank report found that growing political uncertainty was a significant factor in the further decline in world trade growth in 2016.

Sri Lankan elite discusses “frightening economic situation”

By Saman Gunadasa, 22 February 2017

The country has been severely hit by the continuing global downturn and a prolonged drought that has destroyed key crops and driven up the prices of staple foods.

Trump’s “America First” policies and the global eruption of economic nationalism

By Nick Beams, 21 February 2017

Speaking on behalf of European capital, the London-based Financial Times has described the trade policies of the Trump administration as a “clear and present danger” to the global trading and monetary system.

US stocks hit new highs following Senate testimony by Fed chief

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2017

While Yellen defended the Dodd-Frank banking law, she repeatedly stated her support for “mitigating” the regulatory “burden” on financial firms.

US Senate confirms former Goldman Sachs executive as Treasury secretary

By Patrick Martin, 14 February 2017

The vote came as the stock market roared ahead, hailing Trump’s promises of a bonanza for US corporations and banks through the cutting of taxes and regulations.

GM makes $9.4 billion in global profits as it slashes thousands of jobs

By Jerry White, 8 February 2017

GM is doling out $14 billion in stock buybacks even as it lays off 3,300 workers in Michigan and Ohio.

Trump issues orders to roll back bank regulations

By Barry Grey, 4 February 2017

Nothing could more clearly expose the farce of Trump's pretensions to be a champion of the American worker than his drive to lift all restraints on the financial oligarchy.

Amid trade war rhetoric from White House, Fed holds interest rates steady

By Barry Grey, 2 February 2017

The central bank's deliberations were dominated by uncertainty over the course of both the US and world economy as a result of Trump's "America First" trade and monetary policies.

US growth rate lowest in five years

By Nick Beams, 30 January 2017

The lowest US growth rate in five years and the record 20,000 high for the Dow highlight the ever-widening disconnect between the financial system and the underlying economy.

Wall Street’s Trump euphoria propels Dow above 20,000

By Barry Grey, 26 January 2017

The surge was buoyed by Trump’s promises of massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich, the wholesale lifting of business regulations, a massive expansion of military spending, and the prospect of a full-scale attack on social programs.

Trump scraps TPP and outlines trade war agenda

By Mike Head, 23 January 2017

Ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a retreat into US isolationism but a ramping up of the offensive, commenced under Obama, to reassert American hegemony in Asia.

Canada’s ruling elite braces for reopening of NAFTA

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 21 January 2017

The Trudeau Liberal government intends to deepen Canada’s military-strategic cooperation with Washington so as to ensure privileged market access for Canada in a Trump-led America.

Davos annual summit: A social order confronting a growing crisis

By Nick Beams, 21 January 2017

The atmosphere at the World Economic Forum was a mixture of bewilderment over the disintegration of the present global order, coupled with fears as to where it might be leading.

Trump signals shift on “strong dollar”

By Nick Beams, 19 January 2017

Trump’s remarks to the Wall Street Journal were in line with the anti-China rhetoric that marked his election campaign.

India’s demonetisation scheme causing mass hardship

By Kranti Kumara, 18 January 2017

Demonitisation has forced farmers to sell to wholesalers at fire-sale prices, depressed consumer demand, and led cash-short employers to lay off workers en masse.

Oxfam issues report on eve of Davos conference

Eight billionaires control as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population

By Nick Beams, 17 January 2017

The report, released as the world’s billionaires converge on Davos, Switzerland, reveals that global inequality is even more pronounced than previously recognized.

US Millennials face higher unemployment, lower income than parents’ generation

By Shelley Connor, 16 January 2017

While the media glowingly reviews Obama’s legacy over the last eight years, sobering reports point to significant declines in living standards among young people.

In wake of Trump election victory

US banks report massive fourth quarter profits

By Gabriel Black, 16 January 2017

Bank share prices and profits have surged in anticipation of the installation of Trump, who has packed his cabinet with Wall Street insiders and pledged to remove regulations.

Report to Davos summit: Rising inequality threatens “market capitalism”

By Nick Beams, 14 January 2017

The central theme of the World Economic Forum report for this year’s annual gathering of the global elites is that the very legitimacy of “market capitalism” is being called into question.

Economic nationalism and the breakdown of the post-war order

By Nick Beams, 11 January 2017

The United States was the guarantor of the post-war economic order based on the lowering of tariffs and trade barriers under the rubric of “free trade,” but Trump’s “America First” agenda signals the collapse of that order.

New year opens with wave of layoffs in the US

By Jerry White, 9 January 2017

The Ohio-based retailer The Limited’s decision to close 250 stores and eliminate 4,000 jobs follows store-closing announcements by Macy’s and Sears.

US jobs report shows lower than expected hiring in December

By Tom Hall, 7 January 2017

The December jobs report for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the American economy added 156,000 jobs last month, less than the 175,000 expected by economists.

Macy’s, Sears announce mass layoffs, hundreds of store closings across the US

By Niles Niemuth, 6 January 2017

The closings and layoffs are an indication of the actual state of the economy, more than seven years after the beginning of the supposed economic “recovery.”

Uncertainty over Trump program dominated Fed meeting

By Nick Beams, 6 January 2017

The Federal Reserve open market committee forecast a gradual rise in interest rates, and made clear it would take action to prevent wages from rising substantially.

World’s richest increased their wealth by $237 billion in 2016

By Nick Beams, 29 December 2016

US billionaires alone have increased their wealth by $77 billion due to the rise in the stock market since the election of Trump less than two months ago.

No “Peace on Earth” in 2016

By Andre Damon, 24 December 2016

The vast scale of global violence this past year will be eclipsed only by what next year threatens to bring.

Homeownership rates at historic lows for young people in the US

By Nick Barrickman, 22 December 2016

Recent reports reveal that homeownership levels for young people have dropped to record lows in the years following the 2008 financial crisis.

General Motors announces mass layoffs of workers in the US

By Jerry White, 21 December 2016

In its latest layoff announcement, the largest US automaker said it would eliminate the second shift at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, wiping out 1,200 jobs.

Christmas on Wall Street: The Dow closes in on 20,000

By Barry Grey, 21 December 2016

The American corporate elite anticipates that Trump will remove all constraints on its ability to plunder American society for personal gain.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde let off scot-free after negligence conviction

By Alex Lantier, 20 December 2016

As French finance minister in 2008, Lagarde failed to do due diligence to oppose calls for a €400 million state payoff to corporate raider Bernard Tapie.

Federal Reserve hikes key rate, signals faster monetary tightening

By Barry Grey, 15 December 2016

Despite the Fed’s pledge to keep interest rates below previous norms, there were indications that, in the face of Trump’s inflationary policies, it could move quickly in the opposite direction.

Study on pay for young adults highlights plunge in US living standards

By Niles Niemuth, 12 December 2016

It is the social catastrophe, rooted in the decline of American capitalism, that underlies the political crisis of both big-business parties and will lead to immense social convulsions.

Markets pushed to record highs on Trump surge

By Nick Beams, 12 December 2016

The chief component in the rise in the Dow over the past month has been a 33 percent surge in shares of Goldman Sachs, accounting for 29 percent of the stock index’s ascent.

European Central Bank rejects request by Italy for more time to rescue ailing lender

By Nick Beams, 10 December 2016

The move increases the odds of a government bailout that would impose major losses on small investors and bondholders.

European Central Bank cuts asset purchases but insists “quantitative easing” continues

By Nick Beams, 9 December 2016

President Mario Draghi emphasised that “uncertainty prevails everywhere” and it was very difficult to assess the long-term impact of the “radically new administration” in the US.

Italian Prime Minister Renzi officially resigns

By Marianne Arens, 8 December 2016

Italy’s Senate voted in favour of the budget and thus cleared the way for Renzi’s resignation.

European Union finance ministers insist on more austerity

By Julie Hyland, 7 December 2016

Following seven years of austerity, the EU insists that Athens impose an extra €4.2 billion in austerity savings and further labour reforms, including abolishing collective bargaining.

US Congress overwhelmingly backs $619 billion Pentagon budget

By Bill Van Auken, 5 December 2016

The legislation, which won overwhelming bipartisan approval, also bars the shutdown of the American prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

West Virginia governor orders $60 million in budget cuts

By Joe McGee, 5 December 2016

The state’s most vulnerable residents will be hit with an $11 million cut in public schools and a supposed one-time reduction of $25 million to Medicaid.

November jobs report highlights impact of Obama’s eight-year assault on the working class

By Niles Niemuth, 3 December 2016

Even as the official unemployment rate continues to fall, wage growth remains limited and the labor force participation rate for working-age adults is far below what it was before 2009.

OPEC announces deal to cut oil production

By Nick Beams, 1 December 2016

The OPEC negotiations were marked by considerable tension, with warnings that oil price could fall to as low as $20 per barrel if no agreement were reached.

"No" vote in Italian referendum could spark banking crisis

By Nick Beams, 29 November 2016

Finance capital sees the referendum as a test of whether Prime Minister Renzi can push though “market restructuring” of the banking system and deepen attacks on the working class.

Election of Donald Trump foreshadows trade war in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 2016

Trump has not only sunk the Trans Pacific Partnership but called into question the entire basis of the post-World War II order in the Asia Pacific.

The 19,000 Dow: Markets soar on prospects for profiteering under Trump

By Nick Beams, 24 November 2016

Trump’s agenda for the US economy bears a striking resemblance to his own business operations: a mixture of tax evasion, swindling and profit-gouging.

Insurance fund for US pensions could be insolvent by 2025, agency director warns

By Gabriel Black, 22 November 2016

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s annual report points to the growing danger of a general collapse in the US pension system.

Trump’s election overshadows Asia-Pacific summit

By Mike Head, 21 November 2016

The meeting was dominated by anxiety and uncertainty in the face of an incoming Trump administration based on protectionist and nationalist policies.

Fed set to lift key interest rate

By Nick Beams, 19 November 2016

The rise in interest rates and US bond yields could have major international implications, particularly for emerging markets.

Trump victory batters emerging markets

By Nick Beams, 14 November 2016

The decline in emerging bond and currency markets hit Latin America, South Africa and Asia, driven by fears of rising interest rates and protectionist measures in the US.

Dow hits record high as Wall Street celebrates Trump victory

By Nick Beams, 11 November 2016

The sharp rise in stock prices is being driven both by Trump’s pro-corporate policies and the support he has received from the Democratic Party establishment.

Big market swings after Trump's election

By Nick Beams, 10 November 2016

After initial fears of a market plunge, Wall Street reached near-record highs as investors decided that Trump’s policies could provide a road to increased wealth.

Election eve US jobs report reflects continuing stagnation

By Barry Grey, 5 November 2016

The decline in the official unemployment rate to 4.9 percent was not the result of workers joining the labor force and finding jobs, but the departure of 425,000 more working-age Americans.

Fed keeps rates on hold as disarray over central bank policies increases

By Nick Beams, 3 November 2016

The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold amid continuing uncertainty about the direction of policies in Europe and Japan.

Selloff in global bond markets

By Nick Beams, 31 October 2016

Significant falls in the price of bonds last week could be the sign of greater turbulence to come amid uncertainty about the monetary policies of the world’s central banks.

US mergers set new record in October

By Barry Grey, 29 October 2016

The extraordinary level of mergers and the scale of the combinations are expressions of economic stagnation and the growth of financial parasitism.

The gig economy: More than 160 million in US and EU rely on “independent work”

By Genevieve Leigh, 29 October 2016

Up to 162 million individuals in the US and the EU work as contractors.

China growth on target but debt concerns mount

By Nick Beams, 27 October 2016

Chinese firms are estimated to have about $18 trillion worth of debt, equivalent to 170 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

EU crisis deepens as trade deal with Canada stalls

By Jordan Shilton, 27 October 2016

Whether or not the deal is ultimately ratified, the conflicts over CETA have again starkly exposed the advanced state of decomposition of the European Union.

BRICS summit riven by geo-political rivalry

By Deepal Jayasekera, 26 October 2016

India’s attempt to use the BRICS summit to isolate Pakistan met with stiff Chinese opposition—underscoring the hardening of the Indo-US and Sino-Pakistani alliances.

Thomas Piketty in Sydney: Data on social inequality, but no solution

By Nick Beams, 26 October 2016

Despite the wealth of vitally important data, there was a paucity of historical and political analysis on how ever-widening social inequality can be overcome.

Social inequality and the fight against capitalism

By Nick Beams, 25 October 2016

Facts and figures featured in the analysis conducted by French political economist Thomas Piketty underscore that there is no possibility of combating ever-growing social inequality other than by means of socialist revolution.

AT&T-Time Warner merger to expand corporate, state control of media

By Barry Grey, 24 October 2016

If the merger goes through, this quasi-state entity will be in a position to directly control the content of much of the news and entertainment accessed by the public.

European Central Bank “obfuscation” likely to fuel market volatility

By Nick Beams, 21 October 2016

The decision by the ECB not to indicate the future of its bond-buying program reflects deep divisions inside the central bank with growing opposition from Germany.

Fed Chair Yellen speaks in Boston: An admission of perplexity and impotence

By Nick Beams, 17 October 2016

A conference convened by the Boston Federal Reserve revealed that neither the Fed nor bourgeois economics in general has an answer to the stagnation of the US and global economy.

“Existential crisis” dominates IMF meeting on world economy

By Nick Beams, 11 October 2016

The IMF meeting was dominated by the spectre of secular stagnation, global disintegration and the rising hostility of masses of people to the present economic and political order.

British pound plummets over “hard Brexit” fears

By Nick Beams, 8 October 2016

The currency’s sudden fall on Friday was a warning that capital inflows needed to finance the British current account deficit could dry up.

As geo-political and economic tensions mount

IMF warns of record high global debt

By Nick Beams, 7 October 2016

The International Monetary Fund said low and negative interest rates are reaching the limits of their effectiveness and could undermine the solvency of pension and insurance funds.

IMF cuts growth forecasts for major economies

By Nick Beams, 5 October 2016

The International Monetary Fund has warned of a “deflationary trap” where further cuts in interest rates cannot provide a stimulus to the world economy.