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(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. isn’t the only corporation that has seen its Tesla Inc. solar panels catch fire.On Friday, Amazon.com Inc. said a June 2018 blaze on the roof of one of its warehouses in Redlands, California, involved a solar panel system that Tesla’s SolarCity division had installed. The Seattle-based retail giant said by email that it has since taken steps to protect its facilities and has no plans to install more Tesla systems.Tesla also said in a statement it worked with Amazon following the “isolated event” last year that occurred in an inverter at one of the sites. “Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate,” it said. “We also performed inspections at the other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems,” adding that all 11 Amazon sites are generating energy and are monitored and maintained.News of the Amazon fire comes just three days after Walmart dropped a bombshell lawsuit against Tesla, accusing it of shoddy panel installations that led to fires at more than a half-dozen stores. The claims threaten to further erode Tesla’s solar business at a time when the company is fighting to gain back market share.Walmart and Tesla issued a joint statement late Thursday, saying they were in discussions to resolve their issues. “Both companies want each and every system to operate reliably, efficiently, and safely,” they said. Tesla fell 0.8% in after-hours trading on Friday to $209.75.In the complaint filed Tuesday, Walmart said it had leased or licensed roof space at more than 240 stores to Tesla’s energy unit. Two of the Walmart fires occurred in May 2018. Amazon said it has a very small number of solar systems installed by Tesla.More widely known for its electric cars, Tesla bought panel installer SolarCity three years ago in a $2 billion deal that proved highly controversial. SolarCity’s chief executive officer at the time is the cousin of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Musk was the chairman of SolarCity’s board.Also this week, Business Insider reported that Tesla launched an effort to replace a faulty part used in some of its solar panel systems last year. It was unclear whether issues with the component known as a “connector” affected Walmart or Amazon installations.Tesla said in response to the Business Insider story that some connectors manufactured by Amphenol Corp. “experienced failures and disconnections at a higher rate than our standards allow.” Over the past year, the company said, less than 1% of sites with these connectors exhibited abnormal behavior.Amphenol did not respond to a request for comment.(Updates with Tesla’s response in third and fourth paragraphs.)\--With assistance from Brian Eckhouse.To contact the reporters on this story: Dana Hull in San Francisco at email@example.com;Matt Day in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Kara WetzelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The world’s biggest tropical forest is back in the headlines, for all the wrong reasons. Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna are worried. NASA and Amnesty International are tracking the ruin. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to make the Amazon emergency a priority during the meeting of the G-7 countries in Biarritz and threatened to block the recently signed trade pact between the European Union and South America’s Mercosur countries because of Brazil’s dereliction of duty in the Amazon.What’s mostly missing from this grim tableau are broader explanations of why destruction is rising and how to get a grip. The default has been to round up the usual rainforest suspects: Bootleg loggers, rogue ranchers, pick-and-pan gold miners. That’s partially true. “A lot of the command-and-control measures that limited forest clearing and burning development in the Amazon are weaker now,” said Daniel Nepstad, a rainforest expert and president of the Earth Innovation Institute. “And with official eyes off the Amazon, rural property owners feel empowered to move forward, clear and burn.” Yet a strategy of demonizing instead of assisting farmers and ranchers misses the bigger picture and forsakes potentially valuable allies in preserving the South American frontier.Why the Amazon Is on FireBrazilian environmental policy is a rainforest of rules and red lines. Amazon property holders must leave 80% of their land untouched. Even on the remaining 20%, deforesting without a permit is illegal. Violators pay stiff fines (around $1,200 per hectare), land in jail or do both. Obtaining environmental permits to develop rural property is a vexing, months-long process that is onerous for big landowners, let alone capital-starved smallholders.While there is every reason to treat offenders severely, saving the rainforest requires doing more. To curb deforestation, honor the ambitious pledge to slash climate-cooking greenhouse gases more than a third from 2005 levels by 2030, and comply with the green clauses of the nascent Mercosur trade deal with the European Union, Brazil should plant more carrots, not wave more sticks.That means treating farmers and, yes, cattle ranchers more as Amazon stakeholders than aspredators. Low-tech herders are some of the most formidable threshing machines in the tropics. They graze their cattle on scraggly pasture then move on when that land is spent, slashing and burning deeper into the forest. That routine is one reason the Amazon has an area twice the size of Portugal (200,000 square kilometers) of degraded or failing pasture. In many cases, penury is the driver of villainy.Research in the western Amazonian state of Acre shows that employing the right tools can curb and even reverse the destructive spiral. Herders who shift cattle around a property, protect pastures with fruit trees, and plant hardier forage that shields the ground from the withering sun and traps soil-nourishing nitrogen have multiplied their herds without cutting more trees. Where most Amazonian farmers graze just one cow per hectare, Acre’s best farms now raise three or four. Agronomist Judson Valentim, Acre station chief for the Brazilian pastoral research company Embrapa, found that adopting such techniques plus modest subsidies of just $12 per hectare can do what heavy fines and penalties cannot: encourage herders to restore their fields. Restored pastures lead to less new deforestation. Merely keeping better track of costs, say weed control or vaccinations, also leads to healthier farms: adding 17 hectares of restored field for each check-listed ranch item.There’s also a close parallel between poverty and predatory ranching. Poorer, less-educated herders, enjoying little access to credit and working farthest from city and market hubs, tend the worst farms. Even as heavy fines may scare big landholders into compliance with environmental law, they reap little but resentment and furtive forest-cutting among smallholders. It’s little wonder that small farmers and settlers in land reform projects are some of the main drivers of deforestation.Sustainable development is beautiful, but expensive. It’s much easier for rural landowners in Amazonia to obtain a license to clear their land than to secure permits for sustainable logging. Just hiring experts to carry out the forestry inventory for prospective logging on a midsized property can cost up to $50,000, Valentim said. The tangle of rules is confusing, costly and counterproductive. “Does it make sense to tie farmers in knots?” asks Nepstad. “We need ways to make them more efficient, less inclined to burn and more inclined to put out fires.”Such barriers may explain why many Brazilian farmers put so little stock in preservation, and threw their support to Bolsonaro and his blazing saddle frontier agenda. “Take the money and reforest Germany,” he quipped, after the German government, followed by Norway, froze tens of millions of dollars in conservation aid due to the surge in forest clearing. Never mind that Bolsonaro on Friday ordered the armed forces to combat Amazon fires, so confirming the emergency he so vehemently denied.Slash-and-burn diplomacy may feed the partisan hearth, but it’s reckless economics. Trade partners are increasingly reluctant to import goods from bad environmental stewards. “As an exporter, I tell you things are getting tough,” Brazil’s biggest individual soybean producer and former agriculture minister Blairo Maggi recently told the Brazilian paper Valor, taking issue with Bolsonaro’s strident rhetoric. Amazon farmers need help, not hubris.To contact the author of this story: Mac Margolis at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gibney at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- As Europeans threaten to block access to Brazilian exports over President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, some of the agribusiness players loyal to the former Army captain are starting to fret about the consequences of his rhetoric.French President Emmanuel Macron issued the most explicit ultimatum yet to Brazilian commercial interests on Friday, stating that France would oppose the trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur, the South American customs union, in retaliation to Bolsonaro’s hostility to tackling climate change. While ratification of the deal is still a long way away -- and German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not share Macron’s position -- Brazilian exporters are uneasy.“You’re starting to see an expression, a movement of people who represent the sector, and it doesn’t seem like just a hypothetical threat,” Rubens Ricupero, former finance minister and former secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development said. “These are people who have a sensitivity to exports, not a sensitivity for the environment.”Unswerving defense of farmers in Brazil’s heartland along with a pledge to slash environmental regulations to unlock the Amazon’s productive potential helped lift Bolsonaro to the presidency. With the world’s largest rainforest ablaze, prominent representatives of the sector are sounding the alarm, saying farmers’ hard-won reputation for sustainability is in jeopardy and, in turn, their exports to conscientious consumers. Among lower-house lawmakers from the farm caucus surveyed by Ibope this month, 80% think illegal deforestation is already hurting Brazil’s image and business.Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, even raised the idea of banning Brazilian meat imports on Friday in response to Bolsonaro’s lax stewardship of the Amazon.The European Union ranks second only to China as the final destination of Brazil’s agriculture exports, and accounted for 16% of the shipments in 2018. Brazil exported $13.6 billion in agricultural products to the region last year.Speaking OutRoberto Brant, the agriculture confederation’s president and a former lawmaker, called on producers to loudly counter Bolsonaro’s damaging statements. And Senator Katia Abreu, a former agriculture minister, said she’s very afraid Brazil will lose European markets. “Farmers are being deceived,” she told Estado de S. Paulo. “They may be happy today, and they will be crying tomorrow.”Soybean traders signed the Brazilian Soy Moratorium in 2006, pledging not to buy soybeans from deforested areas. But some exporters believe Bolsonaro’s decision to blame NGOs for the fires in the rainforest may lead importers to require certifications to import Brazil’s soy products if the situation over the Amazon deteriorates, according to an industry representative speaking on condition of anonymity. Some buyers may prefer purchasing soy-meal from rivals Argentina and U.S, the person added.On Thursday night, the soybean processors group Abiove said in a statement it’s “cautiously following” recent statements on preserving the Amazon. It also reiterated its commitment to the environmental agenda, adding that its companies don’t acquire or finance soy from farms where deforestation has been detected.One meat executive said in an interview that, while agribusiness may be disappointed by Bolsonaro’s attacks on Macron and joking demands that Merkel should “reforest Germany”, producers are happy with his policies and the European Union doesn’t need deforestation as an excuse if it wants to cut imports.Other producers mimic Bolsonaro’s defiance in the face of foreign consternation, as well as his disdain for environmental NGOs.“Bolsonaro’s comments are only controversial for people who don’t know Brazil,” Bartolomeu Braz Pereira, head of soybean farmers group Aprosoja, said in an interview. “Bolsonaro is pulling back the curtains and presenting Brazil how it really is. We had international NGOs imposing the rules, and that isn’t right. After deforesting their lands, they want to tell us how we should protect ours?”Fire StartersSmall-scale producers are feeling emboldened to set fires to recover their fields, less because of Bolsonaro’s bluster than because regulators were completely debilitated in recent years during Brazil’s fiscal crisis, according to Moises Fernandes, an agronomist and environmental consultant in the Amazon state of Rondonia. The fact Bolsonaro keeps speaking out, however, means blame is fully ascribed to him.“As he’s head of state, logically when he talks any country that already wants to apply commercial sanctions to Brazil can cite that as a factor,” said Fernandes, who voted for Bolsonaro. “The truth is he talks too much: saying you can save the environment by pooping every other day, ordering Angela Merkel to plant trees. Why? Why is he wearing himself out?”\--With assistance from Simone Iglesias.To contact the reporters on this story: David Biller in Rio de Janeiro at firstname.lastname@example.org;Tatiana Freitas in São Paulo at email@example.com;Fabiana Batista in Sao Paulo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at email@example.com, Bruce Douglas, James AttwoodFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Emmanuel Macron has gone off script.It took the French president less than 24 hours to wrong foot his closest partners and toss a curve ball into the buildup to the Group of Seven summit. His fellow leaders hadn’t even landed. And all this when Macron was supposed to be shoring up the European alliance for another confrontation with Donald Trump.When the summit begins Saturday in the French beach resort of Biarritz, the European contingent is supposed to be holding the line over Brexit, pushing for tougher action on climate change and addressing the trade tensions threatening global growth without provoking the U.S. leader. Now they are going to be distracted by a rift between Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel over how to tackle the environmental threat posed by Brazil.For Macron, for the European Union, and for the transatlantic relationship, the consequences could be far-reaching.Preparations for the summit began to unravel on Thursday evening as Biarritz was about to go into lockdown. The strip of sand that will provide the backdrop for the family photo was still crammed with bathers taking their last swim. Even Macron’s close advisers had no idea about the bombshell the president (who is not a regular tweeter like Trump) was about to drop.Alarmed by the record number of fires ravaging the Amazon jungle, Macron announced that the “emergency” would be a central focus of his summit, abandoning months of careful choreography that even involves France’s most celebrated chef preparing meat for Trump and vegetarian fare for special guest Narendra Modi.Problem was he didn’t seem to have let key players in on his decision. Within two hours, his call to arms was met with a furious response from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who accused Macron of colonial posturing. Affairs relating to Brazil should not be discussed without Brazil at the table, Bolsonaro said.Read more: The Amazon Rainforest Is on Fire, and It’s Getting WorseMacron’s critics on social media pointed out that he’d used an outdated picture of an older blaze.Officials in the G-7 clan were waking up to the news along with the rest of the world. Concern about the environment is something shared by many Europeans, and the sense from officials was that they were willing to accept having the burning of the rainforest thrust onto the agenda at the last moment.A slow drip of benign responses began to come in. A spokesman for the U.K.’s Boris Johnson said the British leader would echo his call for action on the Amazon. Merkel’s spokesman backed Macron’s decision to involve the international community, siding with him against Bolsonaro.Trump, meanwhile, exchanged attacks with Beijing over trade. Markets tumbled as the president said he’d “ordered” the U.S. to disengage from China. But rather than seeking to capitalize, the French leader upped the ante.Another ShockerMaybe he took offense at the colonialist jibe, maybe it was headlines from Brazilian officials bringing up forest fires in Portugal and Siberia. Whatever it was, Macron had another shocker up his sleeve.In a terse statement from the Elysee palace, he branded Bolsonaro a liar and vowed to block the EU’s trade deal with South America’s biggest economies unless Brazil takes its environmental obligations seriously.Tearing up a summit agenda is one thing. But this was a whole other order of magnitude.The EU’s trade accord with Mercosur has been 20 years in the making, will ease tariffs on some $90 billion of annual commerce, and was Europe’s biggest riposte to Trump’s assault on the multilateral trading order. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, invited to the summit as Macron’s special guest, is set to be one of the biggest winners from the deal and invested time and political capital to get it over the line just eight weeks ago. Sanchez had no warning the announcement was coming, according to an official.In the OpenThe public slapdown in the end came from Merkel.Her spokesman told Bloomberg that the chancellor doesn’t believe shooting down the trade deal will achieve Macron’s aim of slowing deforestation in Brazil and actually contains binding commitments on climate protection. She doesn’t think threatening to block the accord is an appropriate response to what is happening in Brazil, he added.After Macron’s political maneuvering over talks with Washington, Merkel had already concluded that she couldn’t rely on France when it comes to trade. Now their split is out in the open.EU President Donald Tusk on Saturday backed Merkel’s stance, while seeking to calm the tensions."We, of course, stand by the EU-Mercosur agreement which is also about protecting the climate and environment," he said at a press conference ahead of the talks. All the same, "it is hard to imagine a harmonious process of ratification by the European countries as long as the Brazilian government allows the destruction of the green lungs of our planet, Earth."Merkel is due to land in Biarritz around 3:30 p.m. and will head straight into a bilateral meeting with her French counterpart.Johnson is seeking to divide them over Brexit. Trump is cranking up the pressure on a host of issues from trade to Iran and economic policy. Both are looking for encouragement that there are cracks in the EU’s essential alliance.Macron just handed it to them on a plate.(Updates with comment from Donald Tusk in fourth to last paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Arne Delfs in Biarritz, France at firstname.lastname@example.org;Helene Fouquet in Biarritz, France at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Flavia Krause-Jackson at email@example.com, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The trade battles between China and the U.S. are often discussed as sterile policy matters. But every so often a tale like “American Factory,” a documentary that debuted on Netflix this week, serves as a reminder that people and complexities are involved.“American Factory,” the first film backed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, tells the unvarnished story of a shuttered General Motors plant outside Dayton, Ohio, bought and revived as an auto glass factory by China’s Fuyao Glass.The film’s political relevance comes from the fact the new factory opened in October 2016, just weeks before Donald Trump was elected wielding a campaign promise to stunt China’s economic rise that has since turned into a trade war convulsing the global economy. But what makes it compelling is that what begins as an optimistic story of revival ends up as a tangled one about a clash of cultures and the powerful and perplexing forces of globalization and automation.The fact that the first film issued by the Obamas’ new production company as part of a partnership with Netflix is about the economic relationship between two powers struggling to figure out how to co-exist may raise eyebrows among the current team in the White House. At the very least it offers a nuanced counterpoint to Trump’s proclamation that trade wars are “easy to win.”“I think one of the things that makes the movie powerful is the fact that it’s not all black and white. There’s a bunch of gray,” Barack Obama says in a short interview with “American Factory” directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar issued with the film.The film is, above all, good at capturing unguarded moments featuring its Chinese characters.Changing Views“The most important thing is not how much money we earn, but how this will change Americans’ view of the Chinese and toward China,” Fuyao’s billionaire chairman, Cao Dewang, tells a group of Chinese workers brought in to help set up the factory a half-hour into the film.Regardless of that proclamation the cultural clash on show is often raw. “They are pretty slow. They have fat fingers,” one Chinese manager complains early on as he leads Cao past a line of American workers.“The Chinese really don’t help us out. They just walk around and tell the Americans what to do,” an American employee complains later as tensions threaten to boil over.During a visit by a small group of American managers to Fuyao’s headquarters in China the camera captures a conversation between a Chinese supervisor and his Chinese-speaking American counterpart from the Dayton factory.“You guys have eight days off every month. You have all the weekends,” the Chinese supervisor complains, pointing out that the workers laboring nearby get only a day or two off per month.American executives and supervisors recruited to run the Ohio plant are eventually replaced with Chinese managers more attuned to Cao’s ruthless demands for efficiency and profit and his bristling at the idea of his workforce becoming unionized.Shortly after he makes the change, Cao offers that he has grown more suspicious of the land he has invested in. “We hired Americans to work as our managers and supervisors. Our expectation was that we could trust them, pay them a high salary and they would serve the company. Why didn’t they? I think they are hostile to Chinese,” he tells the filmmakers.There are heartwarming and even hopeful moments in “American Factory." Rob, a furnace supervisor, invites a dozen Chinese Fuyao employees over for Thanksgiving dinner at his rural home, letting them pose with his guns and giving the brave ones rides on his Harley. “They talked about it forever. That made me happy,” he says.But underlying it all are also harsh economic realities. By the end of the film Rob has been fired for taking too long to call up information on a computer. And the executive leading Cao through a factory being transformed yet again is laying out in cruel detail how and when new robots will be replacing the workers nearby.“This one is being tested now. We’re hoping to cancel four workers in July and August,” he says. “I’ll change that into machine work. We can’t get the work done now. They are too slow.”Which sends another message about the current trade wars. All the tariffs and tussling over soybeans and supply chains may be missing a bigger transformation underway in the global economy. One that, as the film makes clear in its closing frames, is likely to hit both American and Chinese factory workers alike.To contact the reporter on this story: Shawn Donnan in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at email@example.com, Sarah McGregor, Brendan MurrayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Brazil's president has signed an order deploying the military to help protect the Amazon from wildfires, a state governor in the country has said. President Jair Bolsonaro had earlier suggested troops could be sent in to battle the fires in the face of a global outcry. Mr Bolsonaro's office also said he will reveal firefighting plans for the Amazon on Friday and they are already being implemented.
(Bloomberg) -- Central bankers from around the world are gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the Kansas City Federal Reserve’s annual retreat.This year’s meeting occurs against a backdrop of volatile financial markets, rising fears of recession and global trade tensions. On Friday, the trade war between the world’s biggest economies escalated further as China announced that it would levy retaliatory tariffs on another $75 billion of U.S. goods. President Donald Trump quickly tweeted that he’ll respond later in the day.Markets gyrated as the U.S.-China news unfolded and as comments emerged from Jackson Hole, headlined by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said the U.S. economy was in a favorable place but faced “significant risks.”Here’s a running summary of news and commentary from the gathering.Fed’s Clarida: 4:25 p.m.Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida says the U.S. economy is in a good place, but the global outlook has worsened and policy makers will take that into account when they meet next month.“We adjusted policy at our July meeting. We take our policy decisions one meeting at a time,” he tells CNBC in an interview at Jackson Hole. “But as we’ve indicated, we will do what we need to, to put in place the appropriate policies and we’ll act as appropriate to keep the economy in a good place.”“We run monetary policy for the U.S., but we have to take into account global developments,” he said. “They impact exports, they impact inflation, and we are going to factor that in.”BOE’s Carney: 3 p.m.A collapse of Brexit talks resulting in the U.K. leaving the European Union without a transition agreement would likely prompt the Bank of England to loosen monetary policy, Governor Mark Carney said in a speech at the symposium.Carney, who is a few months away from stepping down as BOE governor, also laid out a proposal for an overhaul of the global financial system that would eventually replace the dollar as a reserve currency with some form of global digital currency -- similar to Facebook Inc.’s proposed Libra.Read more about Carney’s remarks here.Choose a Rule: 12:55 p.m.Former Federal Reserve Economist and European Central Bank policy maker Athanasios Orphanides renewed the argument for central bankers to set interest rates by following a formulaic policy rule.“Monetary policy is most effective when it is formulated in a systematic manner, following a clearly communicated monetary policy rule,” Orphanides wrote in the third paper presented Friday at Jackson Hole.A long-time proponent of policy formulas, Orphanides argued that choosing a simple rule as a benchmark would help the Fed communicate its reasons for interest-rate movements and shield it from the perception that it was influenced by political pressure. That’s a timely point as the Fed has been under relentless pressure from Trump to slash rates.Orphanides, who is now an economics professor at MIT, recommended a so-called first-difference rule, which would adjust the benchmark interest rate according to changes in near-term projections for inflation and growth. He and New York Fed President John Williams co-authored a paper on the concept in 2002.World’s Central Bank: 11:55 a.m.Powell and his colleagues don’t want the Fed to be viewed as the world’s central bank, but their monetary policy has huge ripple effects on economies in Europe and Asia, according to the second paper presented Friday at Jackson Hole.University of Maryland economist Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, in a review of policy implications, found that Fed interest rate changes have “large spillover effects” on emerging markets, affecting capital flows, domestic borrowing and exchange rates.Developing countries can mitigate the impact of U.S. rate change in part by having a flexible exchange rate and by strengthening institutions to reduce corruption and ensure the rule of law, the economist wrote in the paper “U.S. Monetary Policy and International Risk Spillovers.”Riders on the Storm: 10:30 a.m.Central bankers are like “riders on the storm,” their policies buffeted by global forces beyond their control. That was the argument made in a paper by that name which was the first presented Friday at Jackson Hole.In it, economists Oscar Jorda of the San Francisco Fed and Alan Taylor of the University of California, Davis argue that central banks that ignore global interest rate trends risk generating imbalances and credit dislocations in their own economies.The research has some relevance for Fed officials today, as they struggle over what policy changes, if any, to make in response to weakening economies and falling interest rates overseas, and a rising dollar.Much of the paper deals with the so-called neutral interest rate that neither spurs nor restricts a nation’s economy.Powell Speaks: 10 a.m.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy is in a favorable place but faces “significant risks” as growth abroad slows amid trade uncertainty, keeping another rate cut on the table when officials meet next month.“We will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective,” Powell said in the text of his remarks to the conference.“We have seen further evidence of a global slowdown, notably in Germany and China. Geopolitical events have been much in the news, including the growing possibility of a hard Brexit, rising tensions in Hong Kong, and the dissolution of the Italian government,” he said.Fed’s Harker: 9:45 a.m.Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker weighed in with the hawks in a Jackson Hole interview, saying lower rates wouldn’t boost the economy when the concern is a trade war.“Right now, we are where we need to be,” Harker told Bloomberg Television. “There are clearly downside risks to the economy. We would have to act as appropriate if those look like they are coming to fruition.”“If business investment is not being held back by the cost of capital, us reducing interest rates will have no effect,” he said. “What is holding you back is uncertainty around policy, particularly trade policy.”Fed’s Mester: 9 a.m.Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester says she will probably favor keeping rates on hold when policy makers gather in September, but she has an “open mind” about the argument for further cuts.“At this point, if the economy continues where it is, I would probably say we should keep things where they are, but I am very attuned to the downside risks of the economy,” Mester said in interview Friday with CNBC television.Mester isn’t a voter on the Federal Open Market Committee this year. Several of the Fed’s policy makers have voiced their resistance this week to the notion that the U.S. economy needs lower interest rates.The Cleveland official told Bloomberg’s Michael McKee Friday that China’s latest plan to impose additional tariffs against the U.S. just adds to the uncertainty surrounding businesses’ plans.“If we were ever data-dependent before, we have to be uber-data dependent now,” she said.As Mester spoke from Jackson Hole, U.S. President Donald Trump resumed his tweets pressuring the Fed. He’s repeatedly called for the central bank to slash rates more aggressively.Fed’s Kaplan: 8:40 a.m.Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who is not an FOMC voter this year, also sounded hesitant about cutting at the next Fed meeting, set for Sept. 17-18.“Even though I am open to an adjustment either in September or the next few meetings, I prefer not to have to make an adjustment,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Friday, because it encourages risk taking.“The fulcrum or center of gravity of U.S. economic today policy is not monetary policy. It is trade uncertainty, it is probably immigration policy to some extent, it is policies that relate to improved skills training, infrastructure spending,” he said. “That is the center of gravity.”Fed’s Bullard: 8 a.m.Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Friday that the central bank needs to take out additional “insurance” in lowering interest rates, and hinted he might be willing to support a cut larger than a quarter point.“I think there will be a robust debate about 50, so I think it’s creeping on to the table here, but obviously the markets have a base case of 25 basis points,” Bullard said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Michael McKee from Jackson Hole.Bullard said the Fed needs to be cushioning against the impact of a global manufacturing slowdown and U.S. trade war with China. He compared the situation to the mid-1990s, when a Fed led by Alan Greenspan reduced rates 75 basis points to keep the expansion going.“That’s what they did in the 1990s, I don’t know where we will end up,” Bullard said.Insurance Cut: 7:30 a.m.“How much risk are we facing from the fact that we’ve got a global manufacturing contraction going on?,” Bullard asked in an earlier interview Friday with CNBC television. “There is some downside risk, and I would like to take out more insurance against the downside risks.”One of the most dovish members of the Federal Open Market committee, Bullard said low inflation and the unusual dynamic in the U.S. Treasuries market also provide policy makers justifications to cut.“The yield curve has inverted,” he said, referring to the fact that yields on longer-dated debt have fallen below yields on short-term securities. He also noted that the federal funds rate is high relative to Treasury yields. “We have one of the higher rates on the yield curve. That is not a good place to be.”\--With assistance from Vince Golle, Michael McKee, Christopher Condon, Steve Matthews and Brian Swint.To contact the reporters on this story: Rich Miller in Jackson Hole at firstname.lastname@example.org;Craig Torres in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alister BullFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The $100 million fine that Facebook Inc. agreed to pay last month over claims that it misled investors about business risks tied to Cambridge Analytica’s use of account holders’ private data wasn’t supported by all of the members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Robert Jackson Jr., who occupies a Democratic seat at the regulator, voted against the settlement, according to a tally of commission votes posted on the agency’s website.Key DetailsOn Thursday, a federal judge signed off on the agreement between Facebook and the SEC.The settlement was approved in a 3-1 vote, with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and two Republican commissioners supporting it.Jackson, who was only commissioner in Democratic seat at time of the June vote, declined to comment.The SEC announced the settlement on July 24.Facebook separately agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty levied by the Federal Trade Commission in a related case stemming from data obtained by Cambridge Analytica.The FTC’s two Democratic commissioners opposed that agency’s settlement, arguing it was too weak.Read MoreFacebook to Pay $100 Million SEC Fine Over Cambridge Data UseTo contact the reporter on this story: Ben Bain in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Since Netflix posted its Q2 results, its stock has fallen 18%. Could the streaming giant lose its disruptor position as new players enter the market?
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. struck a deal that gives it the right to eventually buy a stake in India’s Future Retail Ltd., as the U.S. giant seeks to bolster its presence in one of the world’s fastest-growing retail markets.Amazon.Com NV Investment Holdings LLC agreed to buy 49% of Future Coupons Ltd., Future Retail said in a filing Thursday. The deal gives Amazon the option to buy all or part of Future Coupons’ shareholding in Future Retail, though that won’t be exercisable until between three and 10 years.The terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. The Indian company said earlier this month that Future Coupons held warrants that would give it a 7.3% stake in the listed entity.People familiar with the matter said last week that Amazon was in late-stage talks to acquire as much as 10% of Future Retail, with the Indian company seeking a valuation of about 20 billion rupees ($278 million) for the stake.“Amazon has agreed to invest in Future Coupons Limited, which is engaged in developing innovative value-added payment products and solutions such as corporate gift cards, loyalty cards, and reward cards primarily for corporate and institutional customers,” the Seattle-based company said in an emailed response to Bloomberg. “This investment will enhance Amazon’s existing portfolio of investments in the payments landscape in India.”Shares of Future Retail fell 4.6% in Mumbai on Friday while the main S&P BSE Sensex index gained.Amazon’s AmbitionsThe link-up with India’s No. 2 retailer by revenue underscores Amazon’s ambitions in the country, after losing ground in China. India’s modern retail market will more than double to $188 billion by 2023 from $79 billion last year, according to consultant Technopak Advisors.Amazon is in a battle for India’s consumers with rival Walmart Inc., which spent $16 billion last year to acquire e-tailer Flipkart, and the e-commerce venture of Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, that plans to combine online and offline retail formats in India.Amazon has been acquiring small stakes in other Indian brick-and-mortar chains in the past few years, such as Shoppers Stop Ltd. and a grocery chain from the Aditya Birla Group.Mumbai-based Future Retail operates more than 2,000 stores across 400 Indian cities, including the “Big Bazaar” stores that are designed to appeal to value-conscious urban consumers.The deal with Amazon will help the Indian retailer adapt better in the highly competitive sector, local brokerage Edelweiss Securities Ltd. said in a note on Friday.“Players opting for omni-channel platform will ace the game,” Edelweiss said, adding that it was essential for Future Retail “to join hands with a global player to bolster it financially as well as technologically.”(Adds Amazon response)\--With assistance from P R Sanjai and Saritha Rai.To contact the reporter on this story: Angus Whitley in Sydney at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeff Sutherland, Bhuma ShrivastavaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.