International Headlines: Economy


TTIP is Death:” Over 100 Arrested in Brussels at US-EU Trade Deal ProtestRT October 16, 2015

At least 100 people have been arrested in Brussels, where hundreds more protested against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an impending free trade deal between the US and the EU, as the next round of TTIP talks approaches. A group of 150 demonstrators approached police barracks blocking the traffic along the way. To stop the crowd from disturbing the work of the negotiators inside, the security forces carried out 105 arrests. The activists were later released. The protest was organized by Alliance D19-20, and 120 members of the "Euro-market" parties of Spain, France, Italy and Greece who wanted to voice their concerns. Protesters argue that that the agreements will lower standards across the EU in a range of areas and will harm social, consumer and environmental standards. The activists are taking an especially harsh stance on GM crops as the deal could allow for US companies to bypass EU regulations and sell GM products in Europe.

Quantitative Frightening The Economist October 10, 2015

The world’s stockpile of reserves is falling, raising fears of dwindling global liquidity. While central banks, led by China and the oil-producing states, had accumulated unprecedented foreign-exchange reserves, they are now depleting these reserves. This has sparked warnings that the world faces a liquidity squeeze which could lead to a rise in global interest rates that would threaten a fragile growth and skittish financial markets are skittish. However there are doubts about how tightly reserves and interest rates are connected due to  domestic variables that might outweigh foreign ones and other mitigating factors such as the reintroduction of depleted foreign reserves through the entry of capital. Ultimately, it will be countries that amassed reserves in the first place that might be the most affected. However, even they have various banking and capital control mechanisms to control their economies.  

China's Yuan Jumps to Fourth Most-Used World Payment Currency The Guardian October 6, 2015

The recently devalued Chinese yuan has surpassed seven currencies in the past three years as a payment currency and now only comes behind the US dollar, euro and sterling. More than 100 countries used the yuan for payments in August, but more than 90% of flows were concentrated in 10 countries. More than 1,700 financial institutions made worldwide payments in the yuan, up 14% from a year earlier. In the trade finance sector, the yuan has a 9.1% share in the global issuance of letters of credit by value, strengthening its position as the second most used payment currency. Foreign exchange transactions in the yuan by value also increased by 20% in August from a month earlier. More than 50% of the yuan foreign exchange trading outside China and Hong Kong is done with the UK, followed by the US, Singapore and France.

The Numbers are Staggering: US is “World Leader” in Child Poverty Rawstory April 15, 2015

The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world and the situation is worsening. UNICEF reports, “[Children’s] material well-being [is] lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.” Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of Black children under the age of six are living in poverty, and nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, who averaged about $5 a day for their meals.  20% children are on food stamps, up from 12% in 2007. 138,000 children, according to the U.S. Department of Housing, were homeless in January 2015. The U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Early education should be a primary goal for the future, as numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most, but Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history. Only two nations still refuse to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: South Sudan and the United States.