World Economy

Mixed signals on rate cut prompts Trump to demand the Fed enlist in US trade war against rivals

By Nick Beams, 20 July 2019

Trump is demanding that the Fed drop all pretence of “independence” and openly serve as an instrument of Washington’s economic war against its global competitors.

As US senators deepen attack on Huawei

Trump’s trade war against China hits Asian economies

By Nick Beams, 18 July 2019

Because it functions as a transhipment hub for final destinations in the rest of Asia, a sharp decline in exports from Singapore last month points to an economic slowdown across the region.

China’s growth slows to lowest level since 1992

By Nick Beams, 17 July 2019

While the growth figure is still within the official target range, there are clearly growing concerns in Beijing that it could go lower in the months ahead.

US-China trade negotiations at virtual standstill

By Nick Beams, 15 July 2019

While Beijing continues to maintain that it is open to discussions, the evidence indicates it has all but given up on any prospect of reaching an agreement.

Fed signals it will bow to Wall Street’s demands

By Nick Beams, 11 July 2019

Fed Chairman Powell’s testimony to Congress yesterday was warmly welcomed by the financial markets, with Wall Street’s S&P 500 index at one point surpassing 3,000, a new record.

As industry analyst calls UAW-automaker negotiations “Kabuki theatre”

Autoworkers demand substantial improvement in wages and conditions on eve of contract talks

By Jerry White, 9 July 2019

With negotiations set to begin on July 15, workers are determined to overturn decades of givebacks accepted by the United Auto Workers.

Australian retail giant to cut jobs, wages

By Eric Ludlow, 9 July 2019

Woolworths, one of Australia’s two major supermarket chains, last month announced a restructure that endangers thousands of jobs across the country.

Germany: Riva steelworkers in Trier and Horath on strike for four weeks

By Marianne Arens, 9 July 2019

Workers are fighting against the wage dumping of parent company Riva Stahl, which is trying to pit them against the rest of the workforce to force down wages.

Britain: Gang convicted of running “extensive and prolific” modern slavery network

By Richard Tyler, 9 July 2019

According to the International Labour Office, there are 40.3 million people in conditions of modern slavery across the world, including 10 million children .

Costa Rican public health workers strike over pay cut, government policies; truckers block highways

Workers Struggles: the Americas

9 July 2019

Three Costa Rican public health unions began strike action July 4 against government policies while Costa Rican truckers blockaded highways over imposition of a value added tax.

As economic conflicts intensify

One year since the start of US trade war against China

By Nick Beams, 8 July 2019

Under conditions of its relative economic decline, the US regards China's industrial and technological development as intolerable, and will use all methods necessary to prevent it.

International Labour Organization report documents growing assault on wages

By Nick Beams, 5 July 2019

In a “key finding,” the report states that “increases in top labour incomes are associated with losses for everyone else, with both middle class and lower-income workers seeing their share of income decline.”

Bank of England chief issues warnings on global economy

By Nick Beams, 4 July 2019

In a major speech, Mark Carney pointed to a “sea change,” defined as a “profound transformation,” in the global economy, with “worrying” portents.

Australian prime minister lines up with Trump at the G20

By Peter Symonds, 3 July 2019

Trump made clear that he expected Morrison and the Australian government to back the US in its confrontations on all fronts—in particular against Iran and China.

Mass protests resume against Sudan’s junta

By Jean Shaoul, 2 July 2019

Protesters were met Sunday with tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition that killed at least seven people and injured 181 more.

Amazon’s meat grinder in the Dallas, Texas suburbs

By Tom Carter, 2 July 2019

Over a two-year period, 567 workers were injured at Amazon’s DFW7 fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Human rights imperialism, social media censorship and the fraud of Facebook’s “Oversight Board”

By Kevin Reed, 2 July 2019

Behind the recent report on the creation of an Oversight Board to oversee “content decisions” at Facebook is a plan for social media censorship in defense of the global capitalist system.

2,000 workers to lose jobs as Philadelphia refinery shuts down

By Samuel Davidson, 2 July 2019

Blaming high costs from fire damage, Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced the closure of the largest oil refinery on the US East Coast.

Platitudes at the G20 can’t mask a world on the brink of war

By Nick Beams, 1 July 2019

Trump’s theatrical overtures of peace toward North Korea after the G20 summit were belied by the Senate’s passage of the biggest military budget in American history.

The G20 Summit in Osaka: The war of all against all

By Andre Damon, 29 June 2019

World leaders gathered in Osaka, Japan for the G20 summit amid the relentless promotion of trade war, protectionism and militarism.

Ford announces 12,000 layoffs, five plant closures across Europe

By Will Morrow, 28 June 2019

A global restructuring is underway, with all the automakers relying on the trade unions to seek to suppress the seething and growing opposition of autoworkers.

All eyes at G20 summit on Trump-Xi meeting

By Nick Beams, 28 June 2019

The sideline meeting is widely viewed as the last chance to restart trade negotiations that broke down in early May.

Union works to sabotage unity of Minnesota nurses’ struggle

By Matt Rigel, 28 June 2019

The Minnesota Nurses Association is working to sell out nurses in Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region by negotiating contracts at some hospitals while others remain unsettled.

Greek dockers plan 24-hour strike; Irish health workers strike; sit-in strike at South African chrome mine

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

28 June 2019

Greek dock workers have announced a 24-hour strike on Wednesday July 3, which is expected to heavily impact ferry services in the busy tourist season.

Sharp downturn in Sri Lankan economic growth

By Dilruwan Vithanage, 27 June 2019

International credit rating agency Moody’s revised down its prediction for this year from 3.4 percent to 2.6 percent.

The significance of Trump’s awarding of the Freedom Medal to Arthur Laffer

By Nick Beams, 25 June 2019

The fact that Laffer’s theories were exposed as economic nonsense from the outset did not in any way lessen their influence because they encapsulated the unrelenting drive for increased wealth that has dominated the ruling elite over the past four decades.

As contract talks set to begin

GM throws down gauntlet to autoworkers

By Jerry White, 21 June 2019

The industry publication Automotive News says the automaker will demand the hiring of more low paid temps and cuts to existing health care benefits.

US names Taiwan a “country,” stoking tensions with China

By Robert Campion, 21 June 2019

Washington deepens ties with Taipei in preparation for war against mainland China.

“Sully” Sullenberger testifies that the 737 Max 8 was “fatally flawed”

By Bryan Dyne, 21 June 2019

The airline captain’s statement to Congress exposed the negligence of Boeing and questioned the relationship between the company and regulatory agencies.

Italian and French dockers refuse to load ship to protest Saudi Arabia war in the Yemen; UK Bridgend Ford workers strike vote against closure

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 June 2019

Protests against the Saudi war in Yemen continued by French and Italian dockworkers, while Ford workers in Britain voted 83 percent for strike action against threats to shutter the facility.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 “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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.