World economy

999 US Steel idiling plants

21 June 2019

US Federal Reserve signals readiness for interest rate cut

By Nick Beams, 20 June 2019

Fed chairman Jerome Powell gave a clear indication that rate cuts were on the table, pointing to “significant changes” in the statement of its policy-making body.

Canada rules out overture to China, vows to extradite Huawei CFO to US

By Roger Jordan, 19 June 2019

The Trudeau government has curtly dismissed the suggestion of former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien that Ottawa use its legal prerogative to block Meng’s extradition.

On eve of auto contract talks, VW workers in Tennessee reject UAW again

By Jerry White, 17 June 2019

Workers in Chattanooga were correct to reject, for the second time, “representation” by the United Auto Workers, a corrupt agent of corporate management.

Fed under pressure to indicate cut in interest rates

By Nick Beams, 17 June 2019

The push for an interest rate cut has increased, after Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index revealed a record decline for June, falling to its lowest level since the financial crisis in December 2008.

Trump threatens immediate imposition of China tariffs if Xi does not attend G20

By Nick Beams, 11 June 2019

In an interview with CNBC, Trump attacked opponents of his tariff measures within US business groups and renewed his offensive against the Federal Reserve on interest rates and monetary policy.

Market surge continues on prospect of Fed rate cut

By Nick Beams, 10 June 2019

One financial analyst told the Wall Street Journal the markets were a “slave to liquidity, and when the Fed is accommodative, it’s a good sign for the markets.”

US job growth down sharply, wages stagnate

By Jerry White, 10 June 2019

US workers have seen a mere 1.1 percent increase in real wages over the last year.

IMF warns of growing trade war

By Nick Beams, 7 June 2019

Trump’s threat to use tariffs against Mexico over immigration has sent a shock wave through the international trading system because it makes clear the US is prepared to use economic and trade warfare measures to pursue all of its policy objectives.

US coal producer Cloud Peak Energy files for bankruptcy

By Zachary Thorton, 7 June 2019

Over 1,200 miners face a precarious future after the third-largest US coal producer declared bankruptcy.

US stocks surge as Fed signals rate cut

By Barry Grey, 5 June 2019

US stock prices shot up Tuesday, reversing weeks of declines, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that he was prepared to slash interest rates.

Three reports expose extreme inequalities in Britain

By Steve James, 4 June 2019

Three recent reports and surveys have exposed intensifying levels of mass poverty, alongside the grotesque accumulation of wealth by a few.

The US and China on a collision course

By Andre Damon, 3 June 2019

The “cold war” between the United States and China took a major step toward becoming a “hot” war over the weekend at the annual Shangri-La defense summit in Singapore.

US defense secretary issues military threat against China

By Nick Beams, 3 June 2019

US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan delivered a 40-minute blast against China accusing it of seeking “Indo-Pacific hegemony in the near-term and, ultimately, global pre-eminence in the long-term.”

Trump’s Mexican tariff threat hits global markets

By Nick Beams, 1 June 2019

In pursuit of his political agenda, Trump has made clear he is prepared to resort to the unprecedented use of economic measures, with far-reaching international ramifications.

China considering “rare earths” retaliation in conflict with the US

By Nick Beams, 30 May 2019

An editorial published in the state-owned People’s Daily warned that the US should not underestimate China’s ability to fight a trade war.

Rumored deal between Fiat-Chrysler and Renault foreshadows mass layoffs

By Tom Hall, 27 May 2019

The proposed deal with the French automaker will be used to eliminate “redundancies,” particularly in FCA’s unprofitable European operations.

Dressbarn to close all its stores as US “retail apocalypse” exceeds 2018 closures

By Anthony Bertolt, 27 May 2019

The liquidation of the clothing retailer will throw approximately 6,800 workers out of their jobs with little, if any, support.

Former Trump adviser lays out plan for all-out economic war against China

By Nick Beams, 25 May 2019

Steve Bannon has called for Huawei, the Chinese telecoms firm, to be driven out of US and Europe, declaring this is ten times more important than any trade deal.

25 May 2019

Markets fall on trade war and global growth fears

By Nick Beams, 24 May 2019

The Financial Times cited one fund manager who said it was “panic mode” and “people are realising that the economy could be a lot slower than we thought.”

Macron’s Labor Law in France: Unions organize 3,000 layoffs at Carrefour supermarket chain

By Anthony Torres, 23 May 2019

The unions and company are using a procedure for so-called voluntary redundancies introduced in the Labor Law initiated by the Socialist Party and imposed by Macron.

The Huawei shock

By Nick Beams, 23 May 2019

The actions by the Trump administration against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei have sent shock waves through the global economy and the international trading system.

White House and Google launch technology war against China

By Andre Damon, 21 May 2019

Google and other companies have announced measures that would effectively destroy Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Trump manoeuvres in economic war against China

By Nick Beams, 20 May 2019

US intelligence chiefs have held meetings with major American companies, providing them with classified information to warn of the dangers of doing business in China.

Police escort workers out of closed plant in Central Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 20 May 2019

Police were called to stand by as nearly 1,000 workers were abruptly thrown out of their jobs at this Central Pennsylvania factory

Democrats back trade war with China

By Patrick Martin, 18 May 2019

The main criticism of Trump’s trade policy by congressional Democrats and most presidential candidates is that the president should focus exclusively on China and enlist Canada, Mexico and the European Union in an anti-China coalition.

In another escalation of trade war against China

Trump issues executive order directed at Huawei

By Nick Beams, 16 May 2019

The latest US action is an escalation in what could be described as a drive to “weaponise” all arms of the state in the economic confrontation against China.

A new stage in the US-China trade war

By Nick Beams, 14 May 2019

The fundamental and irresolvable contradiction of world capitalism, between world economy and the nation-state system, lies at the root of the accelerating US-China trade war.

“Act now” on trade or it will get worse, Trump threatens China

By Nick Beams, 13 May 2019

The increasingly belligerent US rhetoric is being matched by action expected to target another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs of 25 percent.

No agreement at US-China trade talks as positions harden

By Nick Beams, 11 May 2019

A week ago, a deal had been expected, but that scenario was blown up when the Trump administration accused Beijing of backtracking on its commitments.

The Uber IPO: Billions for investors, increased exploitation for workers

By Shannon Jones, 11 May 2019

The global strikes and protests by Uber and Lyft drivers amid an orgy of stockholder enrichment underscore the need for workers to adopt an international socialist strategy.

US tariff hike against China goes ahead

By Nick Beams, 10 May 2019

Trump said talks with Chinese representatives would proceed, but “I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

China to hit back if new US tariff threat goes ahead

By Nick Beams, 9 May 2019

The US is demanding China submit an inventory of laws and regulations it will enact to guarantee compliance with any trade deal—in effect dictating economic policy to Beijing.

Financial parasitism and the stock market surge

By Nick Beams, 9 May 2019

In its maniacal drive for higher profits, increasingly generated by the parasitic inflation of stock prices, finance capital and its mouthpieces in politics and the media demand that more cheap money be made available through the slashing of interest rates.

On eve of trade talks in Washington

Trump threatens new tariffs against China

By Nick Beams, 6 May 2019

Trump’s threats, aimed at putting intense pressure on Chinese negotiators when they sit down with their US counterparts on Wednesday, could have the effect of blowing up the talks.

US-China trade talks enter final phase

By Nick Beams, 4 May 2019

One of the main sticking points is agreement on the procedure by which US tariffs imposed on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods would be lifted if a trade agreement is reached.

US threatens UK over Huawei involvement in 5G network

By Robert Stevens, 1 May 2019

After it was leaked that Huawei could help build the British 5G network, the Trump administration is threatening to shut Britain out of “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing.

Preparing for World War Three

Global military spending tops $1.8 trillion, highest on record

By Niles Niemuth, 30 April 2019

Nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the world’s capitalist elite, led by the United States, are preparing for a devastating conflict of global proportions.

Amazon posts record $3.6 billion profit in first three months of 2019

By Niles Niemuth, 27 April 2019

Amazon plans to increase the exploitation of workers in the US and internationally by implementing free one day shipping for Prime subscribers to ensure ever-bigger profits.

Fed “pivot” promotes stock market surge

By Nick Beams, 26 April 2019

While share prices soar, the global economic outlook has worsened, with growing signs of a downturn.

UK: May unable to stem Tory crisis over Brexit, but still propped up by Corbyn

By Robert Stevens, 26 April 2019

For Corbyn’s faction, the political function of these talks over Brexit is to side-line a discussion on the political crisis facing the government that could precipitate a general election.

Ontario Tory government intensifies assault on workers’ rights

By Penny Smith, 26 April 2019

Ford’s thinly veiled threat to criminalize teachers’ strikes must be taken as a serious warning: emboldened by the unions’ complicity, the Tories are escalating their class-war assault.

The fraud of “progressive capitalism”

By Nick Beams, 26 April 2019

Calls for “reform” of the capitalist economy advanced by billionaire CEOs in the US and supported by “left” economists are motivated by deep fears of the implications of the shift to the left in broad sections of the American population.

Miners’ union sells out five-month long strike at Sibanye Stillwater in South Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 April 2019

The South African Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union agreed to a deal ending the five-month strike by gold miners on the same terms as the “slave labour” agreement signed with three other unions.

OECD report: Growth of social inequality fuels global political and economic crisis

By Jessica Goldstein, 23 April 2019

The findings of the report showed that among OECD countries, a growing number of middle-income earners perceive “that the current socioeconomic system is unfair.”

Major Indian airline grounded, threatening 23,000 jobs

By Deepal Jayasekera, 23 April 2019

The crisis facing Jet Airways, and which has caused it to ground all its aircraft, is part of a global crisis of the aviation industry.

Empty buildings, empty promises: Foxconn con job continues in Wisconsin

By Jacob Crosse, 22 April 2019

An estimated $300 million has already been siphoned from public coffers to provide transportation access for a nonexistent factory complex.

New round of US-China trade talks

By Nick Beams, 19 April 2019

Among the most contentious issues that remain unresolved are which US tariffs would continue force and the establishment of an enforcement mechanism.

Trump, the Fed and the New York Times

By Nick Beams, 17 April 2019

Trump has repeatedly attacked the Fed after Wall Street last year experienced its worst December result since the depths of the Great Depression in 1931.

US Tax Day 2019: Sixty giant corporations pay zero income tax

By Patrick Martin, 16 April 2019

As a consequence of Trump’s 2017 tax cut for the wealthy, the number of Fortune 500 companies paying no federal income taxes has doubled.

240 Trump and Fed

16 April 2019

Two giant German banks plan merger

By Gustav Kemper and Peter Schwarz, 12 April 2019

The German government is pushing for the combination of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank to establish a financial behemoth capable of competing with the US and China.

As trade tensions increase, IMF lowers forecasts for global growth

By Nick Beams, 11 April 2019

The IMF reported that industrial production and investment remained weak in many advanced and developing economies, and world trade had yet to recover.

Trump calls for more cheap money for financial markets

By Nick Beams, 8 April 2019

Proposals by Trump to fill two vacancies on the Fed’s board of governors have brought denunciations of political stacking.

US-China trade deal pushed back

By Nick Beams, 6 April 2019

Trump emerged from a meeting with chief Chinese trade negotiator Liu He to say it would take at least four weeks to reach an agreement as he declined to set a date for a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Investigation shows that a malfunctioning Boeing sensor caused Ethiopian Airlines crash

By Kevin Reed, 5 April 2019

The preliminary report by the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau shows that a faulty angle-of-attack sensor was behind the crash on March 10 that killed 157 passengers and crew.

UK local councils sell off billions of pounds in public assets due to austerity

By Joe Mount, 5 April 2019

Since 2014, over 12,000 publicly-owned assets with a total value of over £9.1 billion have been sold off, including libraries, health clinics, youth centres and public spaces.

Amid auto layoffs and warnings of manufacturing “bloodbath”

IMF chief points to global growth deceleration

By Nick Beams, 4 April 2019

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde noted that while two years ago 75 percent of the global economy was experiencing an upswing, today 70 percent is in a slowdown.

Sears abruptly slashes life insurance coverage for 90,000 retirees

By Jacob Crosse, 3 April 2019

Retirees have been given two options—either convert all or a portion of the previously held policy into a new plan, and begin making payments, or watch it evaporate.

Lyft IPO: Wall Street rakes in billions from the growth of casualized labor

By Dan Conway, 1 April 2019

A small layer of investors and company employees have become multimillionaires and billionaires, while hundreds of thousands of drivers struggle to make ends meet on poverty level wages.

US-China trade deal still in the balance

By Nick Beams, 30 March 2019

The issue of enforcement has been at the centre of US demands, with Washington wanting the right to impose tariffs on China without any retaliation.

Xi signs strategic EU-China deals amid growing EU-US tensions

By Alex Lantier, 29 March 2019

Rome’s endorsement of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the face of explicit US disapproval points to deep tensions between US and European imperialism.

Mounting warnings of a global recession

By Nick Beams, 29 March 2019

Bloomberg has reported that the amount of global bonds with negative yields has topped $10 trillion, an indication of the growing uncertainty in financial markets.

Turkish economy falls into recession, amid fears of further US economic reprisals

By Baris Demir, 26 March 2019

The Turkish lira depreciated by more than 5 percent last Friday, just nine days before nationwide local elections in which the ruling AKP is expected to suffer significant losses.

Massive Hudson Yards real estate project opens in Manhattan

By Fred Mazelis and Mark Witkowski, 25 March 2019

The development is the latest and most extreme expression of the gentrification and inequality that has reached unprecedented levels in the capital of American capitalism.

Fiction and reality: The Italian Five-Star Movement’s citizen income scheme

By Marianne Arens, 22 March 2019

The “reddito di cittadinanza” (citizen income) is a vanity project of the co-governing Five-Star Movement that will not change Italy’s stark social inequality.

060 Matamoros strike

22 March 2019

French public sector strikes; further protests in Algeria; union ends wage strike at South Africa’s Sibanye Gold without an agreement

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

22 March 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Median CEO pay in US tops $1 million a month

By Patrick Martin, 18 March 2019

Attacks on workers are paying off for the bosses at Ford, Boeing, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other giant corporations.

A tirade against China at US Senate committee hearing

By Nick Beams, 14 March 2019

The questioning of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer centred almost exclusively on the content and progress of trade talks with Beijing.

New York Times lines up with anti-China hawks

By Nick Beams, 12 March 2019

The key US demand is that China must make “structural” changes to its economy, including abandoning state subsidies to major industries.

US jobs numbers highlight global growth concerns

By Nick Beams, 11 March 2019

Last week the OECD cut its growth forecast for advanced economies in 2019 from 1.8 percent to 1 percent, with Europe taking the brunt of the downward revision.

US “retail apocalypse” expected to exceed annual high with more than 1,100 store closures announced in one day

By Trévon Austin, 9 March 2019

More than 6,300 stores are already set to close in 2019 already surpassing the total number of closures last year.

Some economic and political conclusions

The ten-year stock market bull run

By Nick Beams, 9 March 2019

Over the past decade, as a result of policies carried out by the US government, financial authorities and the US Federal Reserve, trillions of dollars have been pumped into financial markets, lifting the Dow and the S&P 500 by more than 300 percent.

European Central Bank announces major policy reversal

By Nick Beams, 8 March 2019

The decision by the ECB came as a result of what President Marion Draghi characterised as “substantial” downward revision of growth estimates for the region.

Record US deficit in traded goods

By Nick Beams, 7 March 2019

The increased deficit is an expression of the inherent contradictions of Trump’s “America First” trade agenda, within the framework of a globalised economy.

US-China trade deal reported to be in the making

By Nick Beams, 5 March 2019

The Trump negotiators are insisting that the US retain the right to impose tariffs if it considers a deal has been abrogated and China should not impose any retaliatory measures.

Canada gives go-ahead for Huawei executive’s extradition to US

By Nick Beams, 2 March 2019

A statement from Meng’s defence lawyers objected to the Canadian decision in the face of what it called “the political nature of the US charges.”

British retail sector continues shedding thousands of jobs

By Simon Whelan, 2 March 2019

Some 19,000 high street jobs have been lost or put at risk in the two months since Christmas.

Enforcement and technology key issues in China trade deal, Lighthizer tells US Congress

By Nick Beams, 1 March 2019

The US Trade Representative made it clear the fundamental question is “structural reforms” in the Chinese economy.

Socialism and the case for expropriation

By Andre Damon, 27 February 2019

A growing movement of the working class confronts the entrenched power of a financial oligarchy intent on expanding its wealth and domination over society.

Ford production crippled by Mexican workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 27 February 2019

After concealing news about the strike in Mexico for six weeks, the Detroit Free Press acknowledged that it has forced Ford to halt production due to a lack of steering wheels.

Despite talk of “progress” in trade negotiations

Deep divisions remain between US and China

By Nick Beams, 26 February 2019

The key point in US demands on any agreement is that China opposes a unilateral decision on compliance by Washington, insisting it must be determined by a joint evaluation.

Trump announces delay in China tariff deadline

By Nick Beams, 25 February 2019

Trump said that if “additional progress” were made in the negotiations, he would plan a summit meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping.

Illinois and New Jersey governors sign $15 minimum wage into law

By Jacob Crosse, 25 February 2019

Promoted by the unions and the pseudo-left, the “Fight for $15” campaign has been utilized by the Democratic Party to institutionalize poverty wages for millions of workers.

Further blows to US anti-Huawei campaign

By Nick Beams, 23 February 2019

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the German government is “leaning towards letting Huawei … participate in building the nation’s high-speech internet infrastructure.”

Trump receives “national security” report on auto imports

By Nick Beams, 21 February 2019

A Commerce Department investigation is believed to state that auto imports constitute a “threat.”

No agreement on US-China trade with talks to continue

By Nick Beams, 16 February 2019

The next round will be virtually the last chance to reach a formal agreement before March 1, after which the US will increase tariffs—from 10 to 25 percent—on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Wealth concentration increases in US and globally

By Nick Beams, 15 February 2019

The top 1 percent in the US now owns about 40 percent of household wealth, increasing its share by at least 10 percentage points since 1989.

Worsening slump and inequality fuel social tensions in Australia

By Mike Head, 13 February 2019

Growing signs of a global downturn and a domestic slump saw Australia’s central bank suddenly reverse course on interest rates.

As China-US trade deadline nears

Global economic war intensifies

By Nick Beams, 12 February 2019

Prospects for a US-China trade deal took a blow last Thursday when US President Donald Trump ruled out a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping before the expiration of a March 1 deadline.

Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Sears to former CEO Edward Lampert for $5.2 billion

By Jacob Crosse, 11 February 2019

The beleaguered retail chain lives to die another day as remaining workers are left with an uncertain future

US-China trade talks to resume as deadline nears

By Nick Beams, 8 February 2019

While the Trump administration put a degree of positive “spin” on last month’s discussions, little progress has been reported on the key US demands.

More US drug price hikes in 2019

By Alex Johnson, 4 February 2019

According to Reuters, drug manufacturers raised the prices of more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira.

No deal reached at US-China trade meeting

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2019

A statement issued by the White House at the conclusion of the discussions said Trump had reiterated that the US will increase tariffs unless an outcome is reached.

The Fed’s interest rate U-turn: Some economic and political conclusions

By Nick Beams, 2 February 2019

The financial elites on Wall Street, addicted to the supply of ultra-cheap money as they appropriate the wealth produced by the labour of billions of workers, dictate economic policy.

Foxconn drastically scales back Wisconsin investment

By Jacob Crosse, 1 February 2019

This is the second time the Foxconn investment, promoted by the Trump administration as proof that its tax cuts would benefit workers, has been significantly reduced.

In the wake of December’s market turbulence

US Fed does about-turn on interest rates

By Nick Beams, 31 January 2019

The Federal Reserve’s statement yesterday dropped its language stating that further rises would be appropriate.

IMF to resume Sri Lankan loan program discussions

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 January 2019

The Sri Lankan government has assured the IMF of its commitment to “strong” austerity measures.